After a lot of controversy over consolidating schools in Jasper County, the consolidated schools will open next week.
With a lot of new changes going on in Jasper County Schools, hundreds of teachers and staff members came together in Sun City for a celebration kickoff Friday.
Elected officials along with community members and fellow teachers thanked them for their service and challenging them to strive for excellence.
"As we embark on the journey to excellence, lets go the extra mile for our future, the students of Jasper County," said Margaret McClain, the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year.
During the kickoff, many were honored for doing just that.
"Just hearing people's ideas, strategies and ways to pump people up was a good way to start this year," said Luke Bender, Hardeeville Ridgeland Middle School teacher.
"This is it, after the big kickoff, the school year is officially ready to begin," said Frank Mervin, Ridgeland Hardeeville High School teacher.
This year's theme is Building Bridges to Excellence: Communities and Schools United.
"We need all citizens to join us regardless of whether your child is in public or private or charter, it's about the children in Jasper County," said Superintendent Dr. Vashti Washington.
Now that the high schools and middle schools are consolidated, Washington is hoping this year will be a great one.
"Regardless of what our state report card says at the moment, it's going to change," said Washington. "I'm looking forward to a spectacular year with new faces, new learning and new offerings for our children."
Students in Jasper County and Beaufort County Schools will both start on Monday.
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