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Good Times in District 56

As JJ would say, we are Dyn-o-mite!


I remember watching “Good Times’ in the early-mid 1970’s. I liked the show. I loved the characters, especially John Amos (James Evans) and Esther Rolle (Florida Evans). The simple plot of the show was how a nuclear family made the best of their time, hence “Good Times,” in a Chicago housing project with three VERY different children and a slew of support cast members.

I loved the show for its wholesome display of good common sense, the joy of living the most in the moment provided, and the success of traditional family virtues most often displayed by Ms. Rolle and Mr. Amos.

So far, the fall of 2023 is our own form of “Good Times”  for District 56. Academically, our schools excelled according to the SC Report Card, with 60% of our schools receiving Good or Excellent on the 2022 - 2023 data metrics and the two remaining schools consistently meeting all state accountability and performance standards.

The fall has been very good for athletics as well. Three of our CHS athletic teams are Region IV-AAA champions--girls’ tennis, boys’ cross country, and football. Volleyball made the playoffs and lost to the defending state champions; and our girls’ cross-country team finished second in the Region and will run next Friday, along with the boys, in the UpperState finals.

The CHS Devil Regiment did an amazing job under the direction of first-year band director, James Prather, and drum major, Augustus (Gus) Lanford. Although the Devil Regiment did not move beyond UpperState, they performed their best and cleanest show of the season at the most important time of the season.

The Clinton Drama Department and the Laurens County Community Theatre (LCCT) jointly performed “The Wizard of Oz” in October at the Clinton High School auditorium. District 56 is honored to work with the LCCT and provide a home for the county-based theatre. Two more plays are scheduled for the winter and spring. 

The CHS Academic Team competed in the Clemson Tigertown Throwdown. They gained valuable experience and had four of their players in the Top Forty overall: Jules Darden, a senior (10th overall). Jacob King, a sophomore (23rd overall). Matthew King, a sophomore (30th overall), and Avery Barnes, a sophomore (32nd overall). 

Ms. Tanya Wilson and selected teachers at Eastside Elementary presented at the South Carolina Association of Title I Administrators conference at Myrtle Beach on October 25 and October 26, 2023. 

Why are so many good things happening in District 56? Is it luck? I don’t think so. I think it is predicated on our very motto: “The Experience Matters!” As JJ would say, we are Dyn-o-mite!

From our School Board (which I would say is the best in America) to the classroom, from the BUDD Group (our custodial cleaning service) to the bus stop, and from the cafeteria to all supporting services, the district promotes a sense of community, involvement, and expertise.

So it is in District 56…a first-class, high-quality education is available to all students; it is not an accident that success breeds success and it is not an accident that parents are needed to make their children see the “Good Times” a District 56 education can be…both inside and outside of the classroom. 

Last month’s article talked about the district’s need to have parents “up close and personal” in the lives of their children. James and Florida Evans (from the television show “Good Times”) had three very different children--the wildly erratic and excitable JJ, the voice of reason Thelma, and the politically minded Michael, yet the constant in these children’s lives were their parents. They shepherded their children, they didn’t let them do what they wanted…they helped them learn the consequences of their actions. Today in this present time, it seems children are raising their parents…to do exactly what the children want. Next month, I plan to write another column about this unfortunate yet all-too-glaring peroxide stain on the social fabric of 21st-century America.