DCSD’s Project SEARCH graduates first students
The first students to complete the Project SEARCH program in Darlington County School District (DCSD) earned their certificates May 29 in a ceremony held at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center.
Charles Tyler Gainey and Christen Lindsey Bladel each completed the nine-month internship program, which the hospital hosted throughout the school year.
Family, friends, hospital staff and administration, as well as school district faculty and administration, filled a conference room in the hospital for the ceremony. Both students participated in the festivities. Gainey led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, while Bladel sang the national anthem. Carolina Pines CEO Bill Little gave the keynote address. After being presented with certificates, the two graduates joined everyone for hors d'oeuvres.
Lynette Jordan, DCSD’s director of Exceptional Education, said Gainey and Bladel each committed themselves to the program, along with their families. She praised their success and the work of all who made it possible.
“We are very proud of how hard these students have worked, and we look forward to seeing the impact their work has on the lives of others,” Jordan said. “Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center has been so welcoming to our students, encouraging them along the way. We are extremely fortunate to have all of the partnerships that make this exceptional program available for our students.”
The Project SEARCH training program is designed for students with disabilities whose goal after high school is to gain competitive employment. Carolina Pines dedicated office space last year specifically to host Project SEARCH for the Darlington County School District. The hospital setting provides total immersion for the Project SEARCH students, from workplace facilities to teaching and learning the necessary skills. Donna Cameron serves as DCSD’s Project SEARCH instructor alongside Exceptional Education Assistant Shannon Riley.
The program is also made possible due to valuable partnerships with Project SEARCH of Cincinnati, the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department, the S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs and The Arc of the Midlands. As a result of their hard work and success in the program, Carolina Pines hired both Gainey and Bladel as employees. Gainey will work as a Linen Assistant, while Bladel will work as a Surgical Services Support Technician. For more information about Project SEARCH, including how a DCSD student can apply for the program, please contact the DCSD Office of Communications at 843-398-2284.