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The folks with the TRiO program at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster never seem to disappoint when it comes to their annual OSPy awards.
This year, they created a real-life carnival on campus – and there were plenty of games, hot dogs and popcorn for everyone in attendance, not to mention the awards that highlight the event.
The 12th annual OSPy (Opportunity Scholarship Program) awards were held Wednesday in the multipurpose room at the Bradley Arts and Sciences Building.
The purpose is to recognize USCL students who have made strides and gains during their involvement with TRiO, a federally funded program geared toward first-generation college students.
The program offers guidance, mentorship and tutoring to those students to help increase their chances of success in a college atmosphere.
Thelathia Bailey, USCL’s TRiO director, said the participants need to be recognized for their hard work. And it’s good when you can mix some fun in between, said Bailey, who had on a clown costume during the carnival.
“Our students seem to have a good spirit and they continue to strive,” Bailey said. “They’re here. And for many of them, this is the bright spot in their lives.”
At the carnival, there were dart games, ring tosses, throwing games and a fortune teller. Participants were treated to hot dogs, popcorn and fresh-spun cotton candy.
USCL freshman Ryan Arant was impressed with the theme.
“They went all out with it,” Arant said while fixing a hot dog. “I like how they were all dressed up.”
After the student honors were handed out, TRiO gave three faculty and staff members special recognition.
Chemistry instructor Wade Chittam, who been at USCL since 1968, won the Professor of the Year award.
The Office of the Year award went to Blake Faulkenberry and Ross Bryson, who work with the campus’ information technology.
Bryson wasn’t in attendance, but Chittam and Faulkenberry appeared to be humbled by the honor.
Chittam said it’s a good way to end his career, as he is retiring after this semester.
“It’s just icing on the cake,” he said. “It really feels great.”
OSPY award winners
- OSP Lab Spirit Award – Veronica Mills and Jose’ Pena
- Foundation of Excellence Award – Mario Reid and LaToya McGriff
- Quiet Leader Award – Jiesha Peay and Steve Chapman
- Positive Attitude Award – Jessica Portee and Elliott Moses
- Remarkable Optimism Award – Brittani Roberts and Sabrinca Culp
- Outstanding Principles Award – Tinesha McGraw and Jasmere Perry
- It’s Never Too Late Award – Bertha Johnson and Veronica Mills
- Most Conscientious Student Award – Michael Stalls
- Perseverance Award – Kayla Lee and Ashley Jones
- Most Focused Student Award – Robert and Timothy Hand
- Outstanding Leadership Award – Jose’ Pena and Jasmine Frasier
- Best All-Around Student Award – Towanne Simpson and Matt Ryan
- Office of the Year Award – Ross Bryson, information resource coordinator; and Blake Faulkenberry, director of computer services and information technology
- Professor of the Year – Wade Chittam
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at email@example.com or at (803) 283-1152