John de la Howe Doubles Enrollment for Second Year of School | New

Make it a double, please.

As the SC Governor’s School for Agriculture in John de la Howe prepares for its second year, it will provide its agricultural education to twice as many students as last year – despite the coronavirus pandemic limiting recruitment efforts to the ‘school.

Tim Keown, president of the McCormick County school, told the board of directors on Friday that the school will have 75 students next year.

“That’s all we have room for right now as we grow up,” Keown said.

He said in an email on Wednesday that several buildings needed renovations to accommodate more students, but the goal is to house 150 students after all facilities are renovated.

“Additional accommodation will be needed to have more students,” he said.

The historic school reopened as Governor SC’s School of Agriculture in John de la Howe last year and underwent a transformation in its new life to provide agricultural education to boarding school students.

The school has undergone major renovations to allow it to welcome students for a new generation of learning, with more renovations on the agenda. Keown announced an allocation of $ 6.6 million by the Legislative Conference Committee to renovate Howe Hall.

“It’s a huge feather in our cap and I can’t wait to see this building return to its former glory. We really need this building to expand our program, expand our school,” Keown said.

The school started the school year last with 38 students, a lower number for several reasons.

“We had to rename the school culture and recruit students from a school where the buildings (at the time) were collapsing,” Keown wrote.

“Not even to mention a global pandemic that has caused panic among parents and potential students. So we’re excited to bring new students from all over SC to our campus this fall! With agriculture being the number one industry in our state, we know that our students will forever have a positive impact on our society upon graduation from our school.

A lot is happening this summer in anticipation of more students on campus in the fall. The maintenance team is finalizing the remaining renovations to three residential halls, Keown said, and the alumni association has raised funds and is purchasing new furniture and decorating all three buildings.

The teachers are also preparing for a new grade level, as this year there will be seniors who will form the first class of graduates of the school.

“We’re adding a science teacher to focus on STEM, a new horticulture teacher, and a new shotgun team trainer,” Keown said, adding that the school was renovating its arena for rodeo competitors. and horseback riding.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the school’s recruitment efforts and forced those efforts towards virtual recruitment, as well as social media and private visits for families.

“Previously, we spent our time making in-person presentations and attending events in the state,” Keown said Wednesday.

“We have organized several events on campus for future students and families, such as our preview days. Unfortunately, we are not able to do many of these activities this year and have not been able to visit the schools. “

The school turned to other recruitment efforts and was able to recruit 80 candidates and double the number of registrations.

The admissions process allows for a “deep student profile,” Keown said. Online application requires photo ID, essay, three referrals, high school transcript, and advisor assessment.

Friday’s board meeting ended with just two votes. One was to uphold a school’s decision on a student issue, and another would restrict the use of agency property and facilities to agency business alone. Keown said the second vote was just a clarification policy dictating that only activities approved by the agency should be allowed on campus.

Contact editor Lindsey Hodges at 864-943-5644 or on Twitter @LindseyNHodges.

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