North Augusta HS students earn prestigious national award

CSRA News

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – Hard work is paying off at North Augusta High School.

“We’ve put in a lot of work so it’s nice to have a big payoff and it’s nice to have our hard work we did all year appreciated and recognized,” said Alexus Hutchinson.

North Augusta’s Student 2 Student or S2S team was awarded the National High School Team of the Year award Thursday by the Military Child Education Coalition. They competed against schools across the US and on American military installations.

“S2S is really driven to do is to welcome every new student into North Augusta and into the community of Aiken and North Augusta. So we try to just reach out and let them know they have a support system without really having a friend yet,” said Student 2 Student Sponsor Renee Merion.

Cheyenne Wiervzorek is a new North Augusta Jacket. She hails from Wyoming. She said, “I moved here earlier this year and it was kind of hard with COVID and all that. And this program really helped me make friends and just not be so awkward at a new school.”

The S2S club at North Augusta started out slow but they’re quickly gaining popularity.

“We managed from going to five members last year to I think we’re at 25 members now and we managed to add 20 people in the midst of a pandemic which I think is pretty impressive,” said Hutchinson.

The team’s work was so impressive First Lady Jill Biden gave the group an encouraging message during the award ceremony saying she couldn’t be more proud. North Augusta’s S2S squad developed a new student survey to better pair incoming students with a student leader. The team is also being saluted for embracing diversity through their coffee talks.

Merion explained, “As our English as a second language learners, our population grows, our students from S2S felt like they were often forgotten when it came to social interactions. They were still in their own language bubble so to speak. And so with our coffee talks, we actually made a taboo game and invited all of our ESL students, anyone that was actually bilingual, to come and participate. The taboo was done in English, Spanish, and Thai.”

Merion teaches English courses at NAHS. She is a military spouse and knows how that life can be. She said she’s thrilled the North Augusta S2S club is embracing not only students from military families but everyone.

Merion added, “If there’s any organization that would like some help from us, that’s one of our three points. It’s not just supporting the military and welcoming new students but it’s also coordinating any service projects with our community.”

A big congrats to all the winners as follows:

Alexus Hutchinson, Bennett Merion, Cheyenne Wieczorek, Emil Ayala, Liberty King, Emmanuel Coulibaly, Rebecca Noyce, Kaylie Lewis, Simone Bultron, Caitlyn Sykes, Luis Cruz Pabon, Hannah Waterman, Alyssa Godfrey, Emily Howard, Alex Bucao, Michael “Trey” Newton III, Talia Abdul-Rahim, Gray Crews, Laila Garnett, Louis “Gena” Reynaldo, and Jaedyn Mitchell

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