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BCSD students share stories of perseverance at Turnaround Achievement Awards Ceremony

Published Friday, April 20, 2018

Photo from Turnaround ceremony

Timberland High School's Machela Mullins becomes emotional at Thursday's Turnaround Achievement Awards Ceremony after speaking the audience and receiving a standing ovation. (BCSD photo)

Thirty Berkeley County School District students were honored Thursday during a special ceremony at Westview Middle School in Goose Creek. They were recognized for making positive and lasting changes in their lives.

Every student at the 21st Annual Turnaround Achievement Awards Ceremony had a story of overcoming obstacles in life to improve performance in school. Some of those students took the microphone and shared more personal versions of their journey. Tears, laughter and applause were visible in the audience as those students thanked the people in their lives responsible for helping them succeed and never giving up. VIEW PHOTOS

“Sometimes you gotta get through things and achieve your goals,” Timberland High School's Machela Mullins said. “You have to keep fighting, no matter what, even if your own family is not around.”

Machela received a standing ovation from the audience after she spoke passionately about her progress to become a better student. She came to Timberland after being picked up and processed by law enforcement as a runaway multiple times. She was placed in foster care due to circumstances out of her control in the summer of 2017. She then spent time at several group homes and DJJ before making her way to a new foster home in St. Stephen. Machela now works as a mentor to other students at the school.

Machela did not share deeper details of her story, but she admitted she had shared information with her supporters at Timberland that she hadn’t shared with anyone else.  

“My story is very personal,” she said as she began to cry and speak to those in attendance at the ceremony.  “I shared things that I didn’t even share with my own friends or family.”

A common theme among students deciding to take the microphone and speak to those in attendance was a show of appreciation for teachers, administrators and mentors that never gave up on them.

The Turnaround program began 21-years-ago with a partnership between school districts and Royal Z Bowling Lanes. After Royal Z ended the sponsorship three years later, some school districts stopped holding a Turnaround ceremony.

Passionate principals at BCSD schools decided the program would continue and began to set aside funds from their school budgets.

“Thanks to the strong leadership from our group of principals, past and present, we’re able to continue this program and acknowledge our students that have chosen to make a difference in their lives,” said BCSD Senior Associate Superintendent Deon Jackson.

2018 Turnaround award recipients

Cainhoy Elementary                                   Jaiden Anderson

Cane Bay Elementary                                 Bryce Boone

Marrington Elementary                               Jaymee Waltz

St. Stephen Elementary                              Ashton Moultrie

Westview Elementary                                 Josh Flanders

Whitesville Elementary                               Destinee Gourdine

Whitesville Elementary                               Adriana Rogers

Berkeley Middle                                         Queen Mouzon

Berkeley Middle                                          Damarion Simmons

Cane Bay Middle                                        Konner Marinovich

Cane Bay Middle                                         Waylon Seaton

College Park Middle                                     Kayla Pye

Daniel Island School                                    Jack Altenbach

Daniel Island School                                    Alyssa Tribolet

Hanahan Middle                                          Cooper Alexander

Macedonia Middle                                      Brandon Miklosi

Marrington Middle School of the Arts           Demetri Simmons

Philip Simmons Middle                                Danearis Washington

Sangaree Middle                                         Marcus Williams

St. Stephen Middle                                      Demetruis Willis

Sedgefield Middle                                       JaSaundra Baylock

Westview Middle                                        Alayna Blair

Berkeley High                                            Megan Rolader

Cane Bay High                                           Kayla Lawrence

Cane Bay High                                           Benjamin Ciezadlo

Cross High                                                 Chamanik Johnson

Goose Creek High                                       Codrick Bass

Hanahan High                                             Ashton Lawrence

Stratford High                                             Tyler Frost

Timberland High                                          Machela Mullins

Brian Troutman