‘Wow’ says it all: West Columbia school named Palmetto’s Finest

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That pins-and-needles feeling suddenly gave way to sheer elation Tuesday as students and staff at B-C Grammar No. 1 reveled in the announcement that their school is the winner of a 2016 Palmetto’s Finest Award.

Principal Walter Clark ran down an aisle of excitedly cheering students sitting on the floor of the school’s cafeteria floor, high-fiving and hugging everyone around him.

“Wow. Wow,” Clark said, struggling to find the words to convey his pride in the school’s students, teachers and staff. “All I can say is wow.”

The Palmetto’s Finest Award has been presented each spring since 1978 by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. According the SCASA website, the award recognizes schools “which offer excellent instruction and outstanding leaders, augmented by strong family and community involvement and a supportive business community.”

Each year the award is presented to two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school in the state.

B-C Grammar No. 1, a Lexington School District Two elementary school, was one of four local finalists for the Palmetto’s Finest Award. Even being named a finalist is a highly coveted honor, as only about 10 schools in the state receive such recognition.

But to be named a Palmetto’s Finest Award winner is especially rare in Lexington Two. Before Tuesday the district could boast of only one other such winner, Northside Middle School, which won the award in 2005.

“This is one of the biggest events to happen in this school district,” Superintendent Bill James told those gathered at B-C Grammar No. 1 for Tuesday’s announcement. “You (students) represent all the good things going on here.”


Students and teachers waited patiently for the Palmetto’s Finest Awards to be revealed via livestream. After each elementary school finalist school was highlighted in a brief video segment, the first winning named was called — B-C Grammar No. 1! — and the cafeteria erupted in a frenzy of cheers and chants.

“This is a moment worth freezing in time,” Clark said. “We brought it home to Lexington Two.”

Clark thanked his school’s teachers, secretaries, custodians, other staff and parents for their parts in creating a “culture of service” for young students.

Then he told the still-excited students, “You are some of the finest and brightest students today in the country.”

Other local Palmetto’s Finest Award finalist schools are Lexington Middle School in Lexington District One, and Dutch Fork Middle School and Oak Pointe Elementary School in Lexington-Richland District Five.