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Two Florence 1 schools tie for grand prize wellness award

Two Florence 1 schools tie for grand prize wellness award

The MUSC Boeing Center for Children's Wellness (BCCW) in partnership with Florence 1 Schools recently celebrated all the district’s schools and their wellness efforts in the 2023-2024 school year. As part of the celebration, two schools won a grand prize while a third school was named a Rising Star in the MUSC BCCW’s School-based Wellness Initiative. 

Participating schools that meet the minimum requirements receive a wellness award that can be used to help grow and sustain their wellness initiatives. In total, $28,000 was awarded to Florence 1 this school year. There was a tie for the grand prize between Lester Elementary School and Woods Road Child Development Center with both being awarded $2,000. Additionally, Savannah Grove Elementary won the Rising Star award receiving $1,500.

The Initiative works with schools to create a culture of wellness by providing direct support and motivation for K-12 schools and districts as they implement evidence-based policy, system, and environmental strategies targeting improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and enhanced social-emotional wellness for both students and staff. 

Wellness Leads Jordan Kirby (Left) and Megan Ellis (right) with Assistant Principal Amy Williams (center)

“I am beyond grateful that all of our hard work this past year has paid off and Lester Elementary was chosen as the grand prize winner, said Lester Wellness Lead Jordan Kirby. “Now, our students will benefit from a state-of-the-art school garden and sensory walking path in the near future.”

Fifth-grade teacher Megan Ellis, co-lead with Kirby, said that the wellness initiative is making a positive impact at Lester. 

"I am so grateful for our partnership with MUSC BCCW and their willingness to reward our hard work,” Ellis said. “The knowledge, resources, and guidance they've given us this year have continued to be invaluable, and their support means the world to us. I am so, so excited about the hard work that's ahead of us as we continue to turn our dream garden space into a reality for our Lester community and I look forward to witnessing the positive effect it has on our school's overall wellness culture for many years to come!"


Since 2010, the MUSC BCCW has supported schools in creating healthy learning environments through participation in the School-based Wellness Initiative. Twenty-five schools participated this year in Florence 1, including the two child development centers.  

“As a nurse, I am excited that Woods Rd CDC has been recognized for our progress in creating a culture of wellness and a healthy learning environment for our Wee Foxes,” said Nurse Debbie Demarco. “I am so proud of our staff for their efforts in implementing best practices for our students and participating in efforts to improve their own health as well!” 


Savannah Grove principal LaTonya Yates-Ford and Wellness Lead Tiffany Smith received the exciting news of their Rising Star Award.

“Savannah Grove is thrilled to have been honored with the Rising Star Award,” Smith said. “With our exceptional staff and students leading the way, these funds will be directed towards further enriching our wellness culture at 'The Grove'."

Community involvement is key to success with the school-based wellness initiative.

“With support from our community and the work of our partnering schools, we are achieving our vision of a South Carolina where all children are healthy, succeed in school, and thrive in life,” said Dr. Janice Key, MUSC BCCW Founder and Director.

For more information about MUSC Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness visit