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The Stories of OCSD: OCSD's 2023 Student-Teacher Luncheon: Building Community and Shaping Future Educators

student teachers luncheon

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – In an atmosphere infused with mentorship, purpose, and a sense of shared destiny, the Orangeburg County School District (OCSD) orchestrated a Student-Teacher Luncheon that stands as a symbol of its commitment to community and academic reinvigoration. The luncheon was not simply a gathering; it served as a crucial milestone in a journey that began at the start of the academic year. Seven dedicated student-teachers, who have been actively involved since the beginning of the school term at Marshall Elementary School, Sheridan Elementary School, William J. Clark Middle School, and Whittaker Elementary, took part in this inspirational event.

"The unique thing about this luncheon is that it's a two-way street. Our student-teachers get to learn about our District, while we get to engage with these young minds, who are the future of education," says Dr. Sharon F. Hampton, OCSD Coordinator for Retention and Recruitment. The event allowed these future educators from South Carolina State University to glimpse the cutting-edge teaching methods, community involvement, and nurturing environments that set OCSD apart.
The luncheon was a cauldron of stimulating conversations, where topics spanned from OCSD's pioneering role in implementing innovative teaching methods to the importance of teachers as community builders. "We see teaching as a calling, not just a profession. We are not merely filling vacancies; we’re building a family of educators committed to developing holistic educational environments," said Dr. Hampton.

The event was an organic extension of the collaborative ethos between OCSD and South Carolina State University, although it was distinctly an OCSD initiative. The luncheon spotlighted the seamless interface between higher educational institutions and K-12 school districts, demonstrating the mutual benefits of such collaboration. It was a testament to the culture of continuous learning, inspiration, and growth that has been a cornerstone of this educational partnership.

This event was a subtle yet crucial example of how OCSD is revolutionizing its approach to recruitment and retention. Rather than solely focusing on filling vacancies, the District is actively seeking to build lasting relationships with educators who share its mission and values. "We're not just filling roles; we're filling hearts. We are looking for educators who want to be a part of a community, not just a system. The Student-Teacher Luncheon helps us take a big step in that direction," says Dr. Sharon F. Hampton.

"This luncheon is a testament to the strong sense of community and educational excellence we strive for in OCSD. It's an honor to have these dedicated student-teachers with us, and we're thrilled to share our vision and values with the educators of tomorrow," said Dr. Shawn Foster, Superintendent of Orangeburg County School District.

To sum it up, the Student-Teacher Luncheon was not just an event but a narrative—a narrative of ongoing commitment, of a school year already rich in experiential learning, and of the future’s unlimited potential. It epitomized what OCSD stands for: a commitment to not just education, but to lifelong learning, community building, and the nurturing of relationships that will influence generations to come.

In a promising update, out of the seven student-teachers who participated in the luncheon, three have already verbally committed to their offered letters of agreement to join OCSD. Their names are Micayla Charley, who completed her student teaching at Marshall Elementary, De’Siree James at Whittaker Elementary, and Natori Murphy at Sheridan Elementary. This commitment from our student-teachers is a vivid reflection of the mutual respect and shared vision that underscores this exceptional educational partnership.

A list of all student-teachers:
•    Micayla Charley – Marshall Elementary
•    Jevon Holt – Marshall Elementary
•    Natori Murphy – Sheridan Elementary
•    Jalen Dugar – Sheridan Elementary
•    Dominique Edmudnson – Whittaker Elementary
•    De’Siree James – Whittaker Elementary
•    Laruen Garner – William J. Clark Middle
See the video as Dr. Shawn Foster discusses the awesome event: