From donating books to helping raise money, Sun City residents are making a difference in the launch of the Royal Live Oaks Academy of the Arts & Sciences charter school in Hardeeville.
"Sun City volunteers have been able to donate to us about 750 books from one of their book drives and they have indicated that there will be more books donated,'' said Karen Wicks, executive director of the new charter school, which opened Aug. 20 in portable classrooms on the old Hardeeville schools campus.
Wicks said Sun City Hilton Head resident Robert Huff, in an effort to gain financial support for the new school, has contacted companies, foundations and individuals to help make them aware of the school's goals.
"A school culture that fosters academic pride, positive peer support and a sense of personal responsibility among students, parents, teachers, staff and community will provide a unique learning venue in an area that has been seeking that opportunity for its children,'' Huff said.
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Mary Helen Grady, a resident of Sun City's Cypress Hollow neighborhood, said that her neighborhood, in conjunction with the Sun City book clubs, was able to collect books under the "My Very Own Book'' project. Initially, the plan was to donate the books to Hardeeville Elementary School.
"Because of the generosity of Sun City residents, we had accumulated extra books which were donated to the charter school to help them get off to a good start,'' Grady said.
The "My Very Own Book'' project has been active for many years. Grady said popular books for elementary school children include works by Eve Bunting, Beverly Cleary and Cynthia Rylant; favorite series are Arthur, Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, Nate the Great and the Waldo series. Anyone who would like to donate a book or volunteer with the project is welcome, Grady said. Wicks said that the charter school's media specialist, Amanda McTeer, organized the book drive, which included donations from Sun City.
No calculators here
Leona Smith of Sun City has offered her expertise in mathematics to the new charter school. "I did a minor in mathematics in college and afterwards, I worked for IBM in mathematics and applications. It will be rudimentary instruction, fingers and all, depending on the age of the child,'' Smith said.
Huff says he sees Sun City volunteers helping out in various ways.
"It might be expected that residents with backgrounds in education will follow that path, while those with talent in the arts or music may be volunteering in those areas. Others may wish to help with programs that stress personal responsibility, good citizenship, financial literacy or entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs from the community will be welcomed to mentor students in exploring innovative ways for problem solving,'' Huff said.
In the early weeks of the school year, Wicks said, students will visit a grocery store, the town hall and a library to talk to adults about their work.
"Children can learn real world experience from experts in the community,'' Wicks said.