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Mentoring Program helps CCHS students

A recently formed Mentoring Program formed by local residents from many facets of the community was recently formed to help guide students at Colleton County High School (CCHS) in the right direction.

The CCHS Football Lettermen’s Club group is composed of former high school football players who have both good morals and character. On Friday morning, the club held its first official meeting at Shoney’s Restaurant. The group is currently composed of CCHS Varsity Football Coach Chris Collins; Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative President Jason Dandridge; Remax Southern Real Estate Construction Supervisor Jack Bridge; Bridge Landscaping owner Scott Bridge; Walterboro Police Chief Otis Rhodes; Colleton County School District Director of Building and Grounds  Director  Kenny Blakeney; Bank of Walterboro Loan Officer and Assistant Vice-President Jamie Bunton; Walterboro Attorney Bert Duffie; Colleton County Board of Voter Registration Director Eric Campbell; Shawn Brown, retired from Asten Johnson; IP Construction Owner/President Ian Padgett; and I F C O Systems General Manager Jody McLaine.

Officers were elected during Friday’s meeting. Campbell will serve as president; Padgett will serve as vice-president; Dandridge will serve as secretary; Bunton will serve as Treasurer; and Blakeney, Duffie, and Bridge will serve as members at large.


Coach Collins pointed out that many players don’t have a father figure in their lives. “Many of them just don’t have a male mentor, and the sons don’t have fathers. These kids need successful men to look up to, they need a male influence.”

Shawn Brown added that some of the youths in high school not only don’t have a father as a part of their regular lives, they don’t have a father at all. “Some of them got killed, and others died in accidents. One student told me his dad was killed on the slab. You’d be surprised,” he noted. The slab is an area along Hampton Street between Padgett Loop and Robertson Boulevard.

Campbell also pointed out that more than one of the past football lettermen eventually became victim of the streets. “Some good players have ended up in trouble. We need to make the youths we come into contact with believe in themselves and also need to guide them in the right direction.”

Duffie noted he is also involved in youth soccer and many mothers are taking an active role in activities. “I give credit to the moms who coach in some of the sports, such as soccer. It’s a sign of the times, now there are more mothers coaching soccer than fathers.”

According to the club’s bylaws, the purpose of the organization is to:

(1.)  Encourage an atmosphere of good conduct and sportsmanship in the athletic endeavors of Colleton County High School (CCHS) athletes.

(2.)  Promote involvement of the community in the positive support of all competitive (athletics) in cooperation with and within the counsel of appropriate CCHS athletic staff, advisors, administration, and school board.

(3.)  Promote a spirit of good will and fellowship among parents, guardians, participants, coaches, faculty, school administrations, and others who have interest in the competitive sports activities of CCHS>

(4.)  Develop financial resources and support services for all athletic activities.

All men who have lettered in the public school system’s veteran football programs are eligible for Active Membership. Active members have a special section reserved for them within the stands for both home and away games, and are eligible to hold office.

Men and women who have contributed to the CCHS football program are eligible to become Associate Members. Associate Members are not eligible to hold office, but have all the other benefits of being in the club.

Collins said that two freshmen players, Norman Hand (the son of the late Norman Hand who was  an outstanding Walterboro High School football player who went on to play in the National Football League) and Kenyon Richardson, are turning out to be very good players, adding that junior Dyquan Crosby is also proving to be a key player as the season is progressing.