At 60 years old, Hammond Hill Elementary School is functioning better than ever. With principal Janet Vaughan at the helm, HHE has continued to grow and win awards for excellence, including having three teachers named District Teacher of the Year in the past five years.
The school has received the Palmetto Gold Award and the Closing the Achievement Gap awards for the past three years; was named a Red Carpet School from 2007-2010; met Adequate Yearly Progress for the past three years; and is a National Blue Ribbon School. South Carolina ETV filmed this notable event and government officials visited the school.
With HHE’s 60th birthday this year, a celebration has been planned, starting with a theme for the 2012-13 school year that encompasses the anniversary. There will be T-shirts with the theme, the school’s Web site will have information on anniversary events and the school will even be added to the Christmas Tour of Homes in December.
‘‘(I am) hoping that former faculty, staff and students will attend and take a trip back in time with memorabilia from days gone by,” Vaughan said.
Over the years, HHE has changed in many ways, including technologically.
‘‘We no longer use chalk and chalkboards. Instead, each class has been equipped with SMART Boards and other savvy technological ways that we can teach a concept,” Vaughan said.
Sometimes though, 60 years can take their toll and things need updating. Thanks to the PTO, plus many students and parents who have participated in fundraisers through the years, the school has had many updates, including the kindergarten playground, SMART Boards for all school rooms, a TV studio and security cameras, among other things, said PTO vice president Joye McCurry.
“One of our current missions is to update the courtyard to be more beneficial to students and teachers alike,’’ McCurry said.
The School Improvement Council and the PTO have formed a Courtyard Committee, headed by McCurry and Happy Parker, that will oversee the project and lead fundraising efforts.
The look of the courtyard will help to update the school building, Vaughan said.
‘‘This is an area that the students view daily on their way to class and the cafeteria,’’ Vaughan said. ‘‘An amphitheater is planned so that we can provide an area where students can gather to view performances outdoors. A plaza with new picnic tables and umbrellas has been included in the plan so that students may enjoy socializing outdoors during their lunch. A water feature and grassy area will also promote a serene environment where students can study and learn.’’
There will also be a commemorative brick walkway throughout the courtyard. This will be aesthetically pleasing and functional, as well as help raise money for the project.
The bricks will be placed from the amphitheater to both doors leading inside the school. The bricks can be used to recognize students, alumni, friends and teachers with up to three lines of inscription.
Bricks can be purchased by anyone in the community, Parker said. Bricks cost $50 each, or get two for $80 and three for $100. The bricks can be purchased by going to the school’s Web site, http://hhe.acps.schoolfusion.us, and clicking on the “Buy a Brick” link, filling out the form and taking or mailing it to the school, along with the payment.