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Think Big’; Ex-U.N. Ambassador Visits Hometown’s After-School Program

April 24, 2019
| The Times and Democrat by Bradley Harris

BAMBERG – Bamberg native and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley returned home Wednesday to visit students at Richard Carroll Elementary School.

The former governor encouraged them to think big.

“I want you to think big, and when you see those things on TV, you can do those things. When you see those things that you’re reading in a book, you can do those things,” she said.

She spoke to students who are a part of the Practice Makes Perfect Homework Center, which helps fifth and sixth-graders with their homework. The after-school program is a part of Haley’s The Original Six Foundation.

“What I really love is through all the extra homework and all the extra help that your teachers are getting you, and they have just bragged about you so much, they’re seeing a difference in your grades, they’re seeing a difference in your test scores, but more importantly they’re seeing a difference in you,” Haley said to the students.

“They see that you want to learn, they see that you want to participate, they see that you’re really getting active, and more than that I want you to see what you can be,” she stated.

The program serves 25 students on a daily basis, according to the foundation’s program director Nick Washington.

In addition to Haley’s hometown, the program also caters to students in Union County and Clarendon County, with a total of 75 students involved in the program.

Haley stated that the programs serve the specific needs of each area. The needs are determined through surveys of students, teachers and parents.

“We’re not doing a cookie cutter approach because every community’s different, and they have different needs,” she said. “It’s really based on what the community tells us they need back.”

Haley mentioned that the foundation has communicated with Bamberg County School District One officials about expanding the program to serve third and fourth-grade students.

Haley said the program has given the students more confidence because they know what they’re doing when they return to the classroom in the morning.

“These kids have a lot of potential, and they’re going to be great. And I want them to think big, and dream big, and know that growing up in a rural town is special, and the sky is the limit for them,” Haley stated.

She said it was great to visit her hometown.

“I was born and raised in Bamberg. I went to school here, I used to play on the tennis courts here. We were so excited when we finally got the Hardee’s because we didn’t have anything here,” she said.

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