WOHS New Head Football Coach

posted Dec 12, 2017, 2:20 PM by SHANNON GIBSON   [ updated Dec 12, 2017, 2:32 PM by Oconee Google ]

West Oak HIgh School Logo
The School District of Oconee County is excited to name Tim Carson as the new Head Football Coach at West-Oak High School. Coach Carson, an Oconee County native, has 29 years of football coaching experience, including 15 as a head coach. While most recently at Weddington High School in Matthews, NC, Coach Carson has a 75-23 record which included winning the Southern Carolina Conference Championship three times. Weddington was the 2016 NC 3A State Champion and the 2014 State Runner Up. Five of his teams advanced to at least the third round of the state play-offs.

Before taking over at Weddington, Coach Carson served as the Defensive Coordinator for Sun Valley High School in Monroe, NC helping turn a 1-21 team into a traditional play-off team. He also coached at Parkwood High School, serving as both the Defensive Coordinator and Head Coach during his tenure.  

Coach Carson is currently serving as the Defensive Coordinator for the North Carolina squad in the 2017 Shrine Bowl. His other honors include being named the 2017 Bronco Nagurski Coach of the Year, the 2016 Carolina Preps 3A Coach of the Year, 2016 NC East/West All Star Game Defensive Coordinator, and he is a three time Southern Carolina Coach of the Year.

Coach Carson is a 1984 graduate of Seneca High School where he was a standout in football under legendary Coach Tom Bass. He also participated in wrestling and baseball. He played college football at Mars Hill College. Coach Carson and his wife Leslie have two adult children, Lauren and Justin.

Coach Carson stated, “My family and I are thrilled with the opportunity to be the next Head Football Coach at West-Oak High School. I believe that we can help build West-Oak’s football program by instilling good sportsmanship, self-discipline, and character in our players. This allows us to develop game plans that lead to success on the field of play, no matter the situation.”

Coach Carson will be in town on Monday, December 18th to meet with his players. We will also plan an opportunity for community member to meet with him that evening. Those details will be released in the next few days.

West-Oak Middle School Beta Club Diaper Drive

posted Dec 7, 2017, 5:31 AM by Oconee Google

West-Oak Middle School Beta Club Members
Beta Club members from West-Oak Middle School participated in a diaper and wipe drive for the month of November.  Members were encouraged to bring diapers or wipes to support foster families and foster children in need in our community.

Beta Club advisor, Jason Ray, takes to heart the need of foster care, since his family is and have been foster parents for the last 4 years.  "I get to see everyday the need, the heart break and hardships that children endure when they are ripped out of their homes and schools and placed with a stranger; a stranger who wants to care for their basic needs and show them love in the process."  He goes on to say, "Currently, there are over 100 children from Oconee County in foster care and less than 40 foster homes.  There is a huge burden placed on foster families, and this is a small but much needed gesture that the students and families of West-Oak Middle School have done."

The Beta Club of West-Oak Middle School focuses on helping or serving others and what better way to help, than helping children in our community.  The students and families of West-Oak Middle School donated over 100 packs of diapers and over 120 packs of wipes to Fostering Faithfully.  The items donated will be placed in the resource closet where foster families come and get items as children come and go in their homes.  

Seneca Area Elementary Schools License Plate Contest

posted Nov 30, 2017, 12:26 PM by Oconee Google

Seneca area school resource officer and Northside Elementary school student

Seneca area elementary school resource officer, Mike Thompson, recently sponsored a license plate contest for the three Seneca area elementary schools.  Justin Lee Mauldin, a fourth grader from Northside Elementary School, was chosen as the winner.  His license plate will be displayed on the front of Mr. Thompson's patrol car.  

(Officer Mike Thompson and Justin Lee Mauldin)

VFW Auxiliary Patriot's Pen Essay Contest Winners

posted Nov 20, 2017, 9:45 AM by Oconee Google   [ updated Nov 20, 2017, 9:46 AM ]

Patriot's Pen Essay contest winners
Congratulations to Beau Garrett and Jeremy Dobbs, eighth graders at West-Oak Middle School.  These two students were named the 2nd place and 3rd place winners in the local level VFW Auxiliary Patriot's Pen essay contest, which is part of a nationwide essay contest, "Patriot's Pen".  The theme for this year's essay was "American History:  Our Hope for the Future".  The contest is open to all students and students have an opportunity to win $500 to $5,000 if they are a national winner.

Seneca Middle School Welcomes New School Resource Officer

posted Nov 3, 2017, 10:17 AM by Oconee Google   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 10:17 AM ]

After giving long-time and well-respected school resource officer John Pearson many best wishes in retirement, Seneca Middle School welcomed a new resource officer into the fold.  Jesus De Luna Soto, the 2016 Clemson University Officer of the Year, worked with the Clemson University Police Department for two years prior to making the move to the Oconee County Sheriff's office to serve daily at Seneca Middle School.

De Luna Soto is a West-Oak High School graduate who was born in Nogales, Mexico before moving to the United States at age nine.  De Luna Soto has been married to his wife Laylla for six years and they have a four-year-old daughter named Chloe.  His fluency in both English and Spanish as well as his ease and skill at quickly building a rapport with others will undoubtedly be highly useful as he interacts with both students and parents in the Seneca Middle School community.

When asked why he sought the opportunity to serve as a school resource officer, De Luna Soto said, "I enjoy having an impact on student lives and getting to know kids and teaching them about policing."

Upstate Schools Promote Inclusion Year Round

posted Oct 10, 2017, 11:51 AM by Oconee Google

Encouraging the development of real relationships between students with disabilities and students without disabilities is often difficult.  Students with disabilities can spend their entire school day in special education classes, limiting the time spent with students in the general population.

To address this issue, Walhalla High School, Seneca High School, and Pickens High School participate in Unified Champion Schools activities.  This is an initiative of Special Olympics to promote inclusion through organized competitions with other Unified Champion Schools.  Teams are made up of students with disabilities along with students without disabilities in order to foster meaningful relationships between the participants.

"Walhalla High School, Seneca High School, and Pickens High School are all very active with Unified Champion Schools," said Terry Buckallew, special education teacher at Walhalla High School.  

Recently, the schools held their first Unified Champion School activity for the 2017-18 school year.  Walhalla High School hosted a bowling tournament at Oconee Lanes that included Seneca High School and Pickens High School.  Walhalla High School placed first; Seneca placed second; and Pickens placed third.

"Even though we were competing against each other, I feel like we grew closer together as a community," said mentor Tyler Hogan.

Walhalla High School will sponsor a kickball tournament on November 17; Pickens High School will host a basketball tournament in January; and Seneca High School will host a soccer tournament in March.

For more information, please contact Terry Buckallew at

First "NOW" Cohort Experiences Success

posted Oct 10, 2017, 11:28 AM by Oconee Google

The NOW program, under the leadership of Chad Lusk, Director of Hamilton Career Center, started in the fall of 2016 with thirty students from the three area high schools.  Over the course of the year, students wrote resumes, participated in mock interviews, interacted with business leadership, and made visits to industries in Oconee County.

In addition to industry visits, several businesses in Oconee County hosted students in summer internships.  Congratulations to these students who participated in the internship program:  Lake Alexander (WOHS), Adam Moore (WHS) and Olivia Grant (WHS) at Sandvik; Ryan Butts (WOHS) at Feltman Bros.; Sam Harbin (WOHS) and Jesse Murphy (WHS) at ITT/Compact Automation; Colin Keylon (WHS) at Koyo Bearings; Logan Richardson (SHS) at Brown CNC;  Jordan Lee (WOHS) at the School District of Oconee County; and Alex Galvez (WHS) at Dynamic Fluid Components.

Hamilton Career Center and the School District of Oconee County are excited about a new year with the NOW Team.  Seniors will participate in co-op experiences around the county and will visit various industries.  New NOW Team members will be chosen from the students currently enrolled in a program at Hamilton Career Center.

Students interested in taking courses at Hamilton Career Center or in joining the NOW Team can call (864) 886-4425 and ask for:  Chad Lusk, Director of Hamilton Career Center; Greg Bearden, Guidance Counselor; or Amanda Donald, Career Specialist.

The NOW Team would like to offer a big thank you to these manufacturers for allowing them to tour industry facilities:  BASF Catalysts FFC., BorgWarner, Inc., ITECH South, ITT/Compact Automation, Just Aircraft, Koyo Bearings and Itron, Inc., and Sandvik.

WOMS Helps Keep Oconee Beautiful!

posted Oct 3, 2017, 5:55 AM by Oconee Google

About 30 members from West-Oak Middle School Beta Club took part in Keep Oconee Beautiful Association, or KOBA project, last weekend.  Students walked and picked up several bags of trash over an eight mile route.

Beta Club focuses on teaching students to serve their community.  Toward that end, WOMS Beta Club students are required to perform 100 hours of community service each year.

"Teaching students to serve their community or other people who are in need is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, things we can teach kids to do today," said Beta Club Advisor Jason Ray.  "What better way to show love than to serve your community and school!"

WOMS Beta Club will perform many service learning projects this year from a diaper and wipe drive for Fostering Faithfully to collecting shoes for Shoes for Water.  Their next service learning project is a canned food drive this month to help students in their school.

Thank you to the Beta Club advisors involved in the KOBA project:  Amy Burgess, Lisa Newman, and Jason Ray.

Board Member Recognized for Achievement

posted Sep 22, 2017, 7:26 AM by Oconee Google

SDOC School Board Member Joe Rukat recently earned recognition by the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) for achievement in the 2016-17 Boardmanship Institute.

School board members are elected to office by the voters in their area.  Once the members are established by the board, they are required to attend a New Board Orientation, which is the only state-mandated training.  However, for dedicated board members, learning does not stop there.

"I am proud to serve the School District of Oconee County," Mr. Rukat said.  "Being a school board member is an honor that carries a great responsibility for me to do the best job possible.  To me, that includes attending training on issues I may not be overly familiar with."

The SCSBA Boardmanship Institute, established in 1982, offers a year-round training curriculum to help board members develop skills and stay abreast of state and national education issues.  Workshops focus on school law, advocacy and legislation, improving board operations, leadership for improving student achievement and other timely topics.  Each year, about 80 percent of board members statewide attend at least one training session.

Board members can achieve up to six levels of recognition by earning points that are accrued annually from July through June for participation in statewide conferences and a training provided onsite in their district.  Mr. Rukat has been on the board for less than a year but has already progressed to level two of six levels.  SDOC is very proud to have such dedicated board members.  

New Absence Policy

posted Sep 21, 2017, 12:10 PM by Oconee Google   [ updated Sep 21, 2017, 12:11 PM ]

Parents need to be aware of a new state policy defining chronic absenteeism.  Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, a student who misses 50% or more of the instructional day for any reason will be designated as absent.
Each school will pull reports at regular intervals and students who have been marked absent for 10% of the days to that point will be considered chronically absent.  The main change is that all types of absences contribute to identifying chronic absenteeism including excused absences, unexcused absences and suspensions.

"The state is making this change to put more emphasis on attendance," said Michael Thorsland, district superintendent.  "Chronic absenteeism is associated with poor academic performance, increased dropout rates and decreased graduation rates.  The bottom line is that it is important for students to be in school."

Chronic absenteeism should not be confused with truancy, which is a designation for three consecutive full-day unexcused absences or five total unexcused absences throughout the school year.  For questions about this change, parents may call Evie Hughes at 864-886-4400 extension 6144.

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