Deaf student headed to Winthrop earns SC scholarship; Rock Hill vet joins hall of fame

S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind

Here are highlights of what people are achieving in the York County region.

SC School for deaf grad accepted to Winthrop’s Think College

Jyda Good of Rock Hill is the first student from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind accepted to Winthrop University’s Think College Program, according to the school for the deaf and blind.

Good, 21, also received the McAlister Scholarship from the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind. The scholarship covers tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Good was born deaf. At age 6, she started at the Cedar Springs Academy at the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind. The school serves students up to age 21 who are either deaf or blind and live with at least one other disability. The main campus is in Spartanburg.

Good communicates using sign language.

The Think College Program provides higher education opportunities to students with a range of disabilities, according to a description on Winthrop’s website. The program aims to prepare students for employment and independent living.

Think College graduates find jobs at local restaurants and stores, according to the School for the Deaf and Blind. Good hopes to work in distribution or retail for FedEx or Lowe’s after completing the program.

Good works part time at Carolina Garden World in Spartanburg through the state school’s partnership with S.C. Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“Jyda is a go-getter, nothing stops her,” Good’s teacher Bridget Sitarski said in the release. “Once she has her mind set on accomplishing a goal, she will complete it. However, Jyda knows what her limits are and finds a way to adapt and move forward.”

While at the state school, Good participated in track, volleyball and basketball. She also competed in Special Olympics.

Good will start classes at Winthrop in the fall. She joins nine other students accepted this year into the Think College program.

“I’m excited about continuing my education, becoming more independent, and working when I complete the program,” Good said in the release.

Rock Hill veteran inducted into S.C. Aviation Hall of Fame

Frank Walker of Rock Hill and a Vietnam veteran was recently inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Association’s Hall of Fame.

U.S. Congressman Ralph Norman, who wrote a letter of recommendation on behalf of Walker, presented Walker with a plaque on April 24 at the Rock Hill/York County Airport.

Walker’s father was a World War II B-17 pilot. Walker grew up in the Neelys Creek community and earned his Eagle Scout badge as a member of Boy Scout Troop 132, according to the aviation association.

Walker was a member of the ROTC program at Clemson University. In 1970, Walker attended Army Aviation Flight School. He began a tour in Vietnam in 1971 as an OH-6A scout pilot, according to the association. In 1972, he helped rescue passengers and crew of a downed Marine helicopter in enemy territory.

Walker was later assigned to Fort Jackson in Columbia, and in 1979, joined the S.C. National Guard. Ft. Jackson in 2008 dedicated Range 14 in Walker’s name, according to the association. He retired from the Guard in 1994 and owned Walker Electric Co. until 2006.

Winthrop students achieve highest GPA in May 2019 class

Five Winthrop seniors earned the President’s Award for Academic Excellence for having the highest GPA in their graduating class, according to the university. The awards were presented during the May 4 commencement ceremony.

According to Winthrop, the winners are:

  • Sarah Ondrish: Ondrish, from Wake Forest, N.C., majored in human nutrition. Ondrish plans to work in public health. She is headed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a master’s degree and a registered dietitian credential.
  • Cooper Aiken: Aiken, from Rock Hill, majored in business administration. Aiken studied healthcare management and is headed to the dental school at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Terrell Stauffer: Stauffer, from Turbotville, Penn., majored in economics. Stauffer was one of five Winthrop students selected for the Schwab Impact Conference in Washington, D.C. His performance led to the opportunity to interview for several companies. He has been offered a position with Abiding Wealth Advisors, a wealth management firm in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Blake Wallert: Wallert, from Clover, majored in exercise science. She played on the Big South Conference All-Academic Team. Wallert was offered a scholarship to the University of Florida, where she was accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program.
  • Casson Helms: Helms, from Clover, majored in business administration. Helms’ focus was on accounting. She has been selected for the Emerging Leaders program at Ernst and Young, one of the largest public accounting firms in the world, according to Winthrop. Helms is also going to pursue her master’s degree in accounting at Wake Forest University.

Lake Wylie volunteer named Rotarian of the Year

Amy Gulig Strong was named the 2018-19 Lake Wylie Rotarian of the Year, according to the Rotary Club of Lake Wylie. The award honors someone who lives the club’s motto “Service Above Self.”

Strong joined the Lake Wylie rotary club in 2016.

Strong has helped organize the club’s shoebox program through Samaritan’s Purse, assisted a canned food drive for the Clover Area Assistance Center, was one of the top sellers during a charity raffle for club projects and volunteers with the Clover school district and community cafe, according to the club.

Strong is also one of three club members to graduate from the Rotary Leadership Institute, according to the Lake Wylie club.

Chester County students place in Giti STEAM competition

Chester County students applied Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics principals to compete in the Giti Tire’s Math and Science Award competition April 9-11, according to a release from Giti Tire.

Giti Tire, which has a manufacturing plant in Richburg, sponsors the annual competition.

“There’s nothing more important for the future of Chester County and our country than encouraging young people to get interested and involved in STEAM curricula,” Tim Fulton, CEO of Giti Tire North America, said in the release.

Entries were judged on presentation, use of math and science, design, written report and collaboration. Participants are members of the Giti Math and Science Club, which meets multiple times between September and April.

Chester Park Center of Literacy students won in the elementary division for a project that developed models to describe the characteristics of the Earth’s continents, with an emphasis on volcanoes, according to Giti Tire.

Great Falls Middle School and Lewisville High School took their divisions.

The Great Falls team designed a machine to reduce the amount of force needed to lift a two-pound weight, , according to Giti Tire. Lewisville High students used physics to create a device to minimize the force applied to an egg that was dropped vertically.

York County students join National Honor Society

Several York County residents were inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, according to a release from the society.

The top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership to Phi Kappa Phi, which is by invitation only.

Savannah Crosby of Great Falls and Ashley Gilbertson of Indian Land were initiated at Winthrop University. The list also includes Francis Marion University student and Clover resident Haley Hurst.

Rock Hill initiates include Winthrop students Megan Loveland, Addison Wilson and Katherine Zanowski and Francis Marion student Jessica Garnett, according to the society. Michael Hazell of York was also initiated at Winthrop.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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