Cool School: Alston Middle School

Cool School: Alston Middle School (Image 1)

Alston Middle School has a lot of history, and the talented students there are making strong academic gains. We're in Dorchester county for our Cool School of the week.

Alston Middle School in Dorchester District Two is an arts infused school with 900 students. Alston is a community school, where academics, the arts, and athletics come together. Aston earned the Palmetto Gold award for academic excellence. Before that, received silver for five straight years.

Boeing awarded Alston a 75-thousand-dollar grant to implement an engineering program this year called Gateway to Technology. A school wide system called Tiger Pride recognizes positive student behavior. Students earn rights to be able to attend special events. Alston offers several sports programs; football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, baseball, and softball.

The school is proud of it's CHEFS program, which stands for Culinary Horticultural Education for Students, and they created a special garden. Principal Thad Schmenk says, “Alston Middle School brings a total package. We've got unbelievable academics, a very refined arts program, we offer sports for our students, CHEFS initiatives. Now we're bringing the engineering aboard. We have excellent business partners who supply us with our needs and we try to give back to the community.” Eighth grade student Jorden Laird says, “We have great teachers. We have cool events, and arts.” Teacher Peter Collins says, “It's all positive. We don't like to linger so much on negative effects. We focus on the positive, and give positive referrals and attention to the students to really build them up and grow them up as individuals.” “You can just talk to all the teachers and administrators about anything, and there is no judgement. They try to respect you, if you respect them,”says eighth grade student Naomi Matyszyk.

The land for the school was donated by an African American doctor in 1953, and the school was named after him. It was known as the African American school during segregation. Alston took second place last year at the Quest competition sponsored by Trident Technical College.

Every year, Alston organizes a Race for the Cure team. Last year they won first place. The faculty donates more than five-thousand-dollars to the United Way. They also started a food pantry and clothing closest for those in need.

Coming up Wednesday on News 2 Today, we'll tell yo about Alston's stellar arts program.

We want to hear about the good things going on at your school. Send an email to Octavia at Maybe your school will be the next Cool School of the week.

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