Blackville, S.C. (WJBF) Kendra Bryson’s students are making up for lost time. They were focused on their bellringer lesson when we dropped by her classroom.

“We were working on missing skills during the pandemic,” Bryson says. “We were filling in those gaps, working on ELA and reading and writing.”

Reading is key in her English and Language Arts curriculum.

“I try to find what things that interest them the most. Usually it’s the boys that have a little trouble connecting with a story, so I try to pick a story that interests everybody. Girls are more likely to read so they’ll pick up a book.”

Ms. Bryson says there are two people who helped put her on the path that lead to Macedonia Elementary School, starting with her grandmother.

“She wasn’t an actual teacher but she taught a lot of valuable lessons. And she was a person that I spent a lot of time with growing up. And my other influence would be my actual 6th grade math teacher. “

And now she is the positive influence in so many young lives. Children who go on to become grown ups and keep Blackville going strong.

“Because I live in this community, I see them often,” she says. “I actually get to see as they grow up. My first set of students are now 12th graders over at the high school. So to see them grow up and see them have jobs and going after their careers and starting college, is really important because they are the future. They’re going to shape this community, this town, even this world.”