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Turnaround students learn to overcome fears, work as a team with Dragon Boat Charleston

Published Thursday, May 17, 2018

Recipients of Berkeley County School District’s annual Turnaround Achievement Awards found themselves all in the same boat this week – literally.

As part of the program, Dragon Boat Charleston provides a morning on the water. The experience is packed from bow to stern with life lessons on overcoming challenges, teamwork and maintaining a positive outlook.

BCSD recognized 30 students this year for improving behavior, grades and perceptions. More than 20 of those students participated in the event Monday hosted by Dragon Boat Charleston on the Ashley River near Brittlebank Park.

“It’s a lot of teamwork,” said Konner Marinovich of Cane Bay Middle School.

For some of the students, it was the first time they had been on the water in addition to being in a sometimes wobbly dragon boat. Some were anxious and even frightened as they left the land behind them and worked together against the current of the river and a steady coastal breeze.

“I was scared a little, but I overcame my fears,” said Timberland High School’s Machela Mullins. “…When we were on the boat, we had to work together to make sure the boat would keep going forward. We have to keep going forward, no matter what.”

Dragon Boat Charleston Executive Director Amy Brennan said instilling the importance of moving forward and through challenges is what Dragon Boat Charleston is all about.

“At Dragon Boat, we get to work with cancer survivors. …Cancer survivors don’t get to have a choice in their diagnosis, but these students made a choice to turn around their lives and to overcome something that was amazing,” Brennan said.

Dragon Boat Charleston’s Mark Scarbrough Turnaround Paddle Day is named in honor of a beloved member of the club who lost a long-fought battle with cancer.

“He wanted to provide an opportunity for children to experience the water as his legacy, so the Turnaround Paddle became a reality,” Brennan said.

Brian Troutman