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Superintendent’s Challenge Boosts County Census Participation

“I will personally come to your school with the BBQ grill and make lunch for the first school with 100% faculty and staff Census participation,” Orangeburg Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster stated a little over a week ago when he issued a challenge to all Orangeburg County School District (OCSD) principals.   

His message was received with raised eyebrows and peaked interest from those in the audience.  

“Our county is missing out on millions of dollars of state and federal funding because many haven’t made the effort to ensure that their family is counted,” Foster continued. “As a school district that stretches across the entire county, it’s important for us to set an example. It’s important that we take the five or ten minutes to call or log on online to It’s imperative that we share with our community the importance (and ease) of completing the Census, and that we always challenge one another to be better in an effort to ensure that our community and especially our children are counted and allocated the appropriate amount of resources.”  

Just a week later, OCSD is happy to report that 15 of its county schools are at 100% participation, with the winner of the Census challenge BBQ lunch going to two schools: Bethune-Bowman K-12 Campus and COPE Area Technology Center. These two schools reported their 100% participation so closely together that Dr. Foster decided to have a BBQ for each of them.  

“When I shared the superintendent’s message with the school, my whole staff immediately jumped on board,” Bethune-Bowman K-12 Campus Principal Lakekia Lewis said. “We were so pleased to be able to complete the challenge so quickly. Even with the BBQ lunch in mind, my staff knew that every Census that was filled out turned into more resources for our teachers and students.”  

“COPE Area Career Center once again leads the way,” Principal Col. Richard Leonard said. “Now our staff leads by example in completing the Census Challenge with timeliness and efficiency – the same way we instruct our students.  We thank Dr. Foster for providing us with a BBQ!”  

The list of schools that completed the 100% participation challenge include: Bethune-Bowman K-12 Campus, Brookdale Elementary, COPE Area Career Center, Edisto Elementary, Elloree Elementary, Holly Hill-Roberts Middle, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler Elementary, Lockett Elementary, Marshall Elementary, Mellichamp Elementary, R.E. Howard Middle, Rivelon Elementary, Sheridan Elementary, Star Center for Learning, The Technology Center. 

OCSD Principals will continue encouraging staff members to complete the Census, while also encouraging every employee who completes their Census to ask a friend or family member to do the same.   

“Not only is the Census incredibly important for our schools and community, this challenge was also a critically important exercise for our employees,” Foster explained. “I wanted our principals, teachers, and all employees to experience the tremendous results that can and will be achieved when we work together towards a common purpose.”