Lunch Bunch (Without the Bunch) at Beaufort Academy

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

April 28, 2011

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon at Beaufort Academy, coordinated by Bethany Byrne, director of development and enrollment. As an alternative to my regular Lunch Bunch column, I decided to write about the luncheon and Beaufort Academy’s invitation to local leaders in the community.

Catered by City Java, the luncheon was attended by leaders in economic development in the Beaufort area, including the Chamber of Commerce, Penn Center, USCB, TCL, Kazoobie Kazoos, United Way of the Lowcountry, 303 Associates, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, BJWSA, The Beaufort Gazette, BJHCHS, the city of Beaufort, the Town of Port Royal, SCE&G, the Lowcountry Economic Network, and, of course, The Island News.

This was the second in a series of four luncheons with intent to inform more people in town about Beaufort Academy and to gain valuable feedback from the community.

The first, catered by Berry Island, included area realtors. Two additional luncheons in May will focus on the military community and additional realtors and community leaders.

The lunches are funded by generous supporters, and the idea was initiated by BA alumni, local business owner, and BA development committee member, William Trask. Under the lead of BA board member and Development Committee Chair Chilton Simmons, the luncheons have been a success.  They fit in perfectly with part of BA’s new strategic plan, presented by the board of directors, to be more community focused.

Dr. Randy Wall said, “These lunches are a much needed opportunity for us to tell the community who we are and about our focus and vision. We are very grateful to our guests who are giving up their lunch time to come visit with us.  Our goal at Beaufort Academy is to not only make sure we can guarantee each student go to the college of their choice, but also be successful at that level.  We value athletics and arts and, among other things, the leadership opportunities they provide, but our primary focus is academic college preparation.”

“BA’s low teacher/ student ratio enables its teachers and administration to know each child as an individual and enables them to focus on the whole child. The small school atmosphere also fosters lifelong friendships that provide roots in an increasingly transient business climate and world. These roots are grounded in BA’s core values of excellence in intellect, respect, integrity, leadership, and (school) pride,” remarked Chilton Simmons.

During the luncheon, community learned more about the following topics:

• College acceptance by BA’s students. All of the school’s graduates are accepted into four-year colleges and universities, and they are attending schools both in South Carolina and all over the country.

• With some 30%-35% of students receiving some portion of financial assistance, assistance awards are based on need.  The awards given are part of the annual operating budget of Beaufort Academy.

• Through continuing reaccreditation, the school is being continually evaluated to keeps its top-notch standards and teaching up to date.

• BA graduates average higher SAT/ACT scores than both local and national averages.  There is also a full-time college advisor for its students. BA averages about 80-100 students in grades 9-12.

• The Learning Center is open to the community, whether or not you attend Beaufort Academy. It is intended to serve college-bound students with diagnosed learning differences. The school is currently hosting an SAT Prep Course, and the school hopes to add more programs like this soon.

I was humbled and honored to have been asked to attend one of these luncheons and congratulate Beaufort Academy for its forward thinking initiative in today’s times.

I was among respected members of Beaufort’s diverse leadership, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation.  Thank you Dr. Wall and Bethany Byrne for the invitation.

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Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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