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BCSD, Nucor ink historic agreement at Philip Simmons High School

Published Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Photo of Nucor/BCSD ribbon-cutting

Pictured from left to right at Monday's ribbon-cutting are Philip Simmons High School Principal Dr. James Spencer, Nucor General Manager Giff Daughtridge, BCSD Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram, BCSD Board Member Frank Wright and BCSD Board Member Mac McQuillin. (BCSD photo)

Monday was a big day for a local corporation and Berkeley County School District.

With state and local leaders/lawmakers present, representatives from Nucor Steel and BCSD signed a partnership agreement benefiting the Mechatronics Academy at Philip Simmons High School.

The event was described by Philip Simmons Principal Dr. James Spencer as historic. VIEW PHOTOS

Philip Simmons High School hasn’t completed its first school year yet, and it doesn’t yet serve a full student body. But the young school has a mechatronics instructor worthy of applause and several students passionate about learning the trade that combines electronics and mechanical engineering.

The partnership between BCSD and Nucor was several years in the making. In fact, it spawned from an idea of BCSD Career and Technical Education Academy Coordinator Sonya Addison-Stewart four years ago.

“We are looking forward to this great partnership with Nucor, and we believe our students are going to benefit from continued involvement of Nucor in our schools,” Mrs. Addison-Stewart said.

BCSD Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram said the deal is a step in the right direction as the school district focuses on evolving 21st century learning.

“I’ve always said we have three choices in life. We can drive the train, we can jump on the train or we can get run over by the train. Here at Berkeley County schools, we are driving the train,” Dr. Ingram said.

Nucor General Manager Giff Daughtridge described the day as exciting. Nucor has four plants in South Carolina, and now, it’s the official partner of an industry-led educational experience at one of the state’s newest schools.

“Manufacturing brings good jobs,” Daughtridge said. “…We’re not going anywhere.”

Congressman Mark Sanford was among lawmakers and leaders in attendance. He spoke highly of the importance of the partnership.

“I think that what ya’ll are doing in this partnership  is remarkable in terms of what it means in terms of academic excellence, what it mean in terms of educational choice and what it means in terms of competitiveness for young people in our part of the world,” Sanford said.

Planning for the Mechatronics Academy began two years before Philip Simmons High School was constructed. The decision on mechatronics came as industry professionals and educators worked to identify local need.

“What you guys are learning is what they are really doing at Nucor,” BCSD Director of Career and Technical Education Tana Lee said to students in attendance.

Brian Troutman