Plus, the Gamecocks move forward in the SEC Tournament.
May 24, 2023 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


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This new, tuition-free school gives students an alternative pathway
Young woman using laptop at home
This virtual school is designed for students facing challenges or barriers in a traditional school setting. | Photo provided by Heron Virtual Academy of South Carolina
There are now more options when it comes to how high school students in our state receive an education. The Heron Virtual Academy of South Carolina (HVASC) is a new, tuition-free option for alternative, online education serving students in grades 9-12.

The school allows students to earn their high school diplomas on the pathway that is best for them. Students at HVASC receive an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP), aka a unique curriculum created specifically for each student that caters to their individual interests, academic strengths, challenges, and post-secondary planning.

“Our mission at HVASC is to be the solution for parents, students and families who have felt left behind or forgotten. We believe that all students deserve the opportunity to attend a school that believes in the possibilities of what they can achieve,” said David Crook, the school’s CEO. “Our school is passionate about the opportunity to serve those students who have had challenges reaching academic success, and show them that it is possible, no matter what past circumstances may have led them here.”

The school also:
  • Implements social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices aimed at helping students cope with issues both in and out of the classroom.
  • Teaches life skills to develop a deeper sense of community.
  • Gives students access to credit recovery courses and merit-based mastery classes that allow them to focus and recover credits at an accelerated rate.
  • Provides career pathway opportunities, so students can prepare for industry-recognized certification exams and participate in work-based learning projects with local community partners.
As an Alternative Education Campus, HVASC’s unique enrollment requirements will put a high school diploma within reach for students who may be struggling in a traditional academic setting and need a new way to meet their challenges or may not be on pace to collect enough course credits to graduate on time.

The enrollment policies and structure make it easier to serve these students and provide them with continuity. Interested in learning more? Request more information.*
    This content was created in partnership with Heron Virtual Academy of South Carolina.*
    Would virtual school be an option for your student?

    A. Yes
    B. No
    C. Maybe
    Wednesday, May 24
    • Columbia Fireflies vs. Charleston RiverDogs | Wednesday, May 24 | 12:05 p.m. | Segra Park, 1640 Freed St., Columbia | $5-$7 | White Claw Wednesday ($5 160z White Claws)*
    • Happy Hour Meet & Greet | Wednesday, May 24 | 4-6 p.m. | Indah Coffee, 2238 Sumter St., Columbia | Free | Preservation staff will provide quick 5-10 minute presentations on a variety of popular preservation topics throughout the two-hour event.
    • Live Music with Junior the Third | Wednesday, May 24 | 5-7 p.m. | Chophouse of Chapin, 105 Ellett Rd., Chapin | Free | Join this father and son duo + enjoy the soothing sounds of jazz on the patio while treating yourself to happy hour specials.
    Thursday, May 25
    • Beer & Bourbon Tasting Dinner | Thursday, May 25 | 6-9 p.m. | Steel Hands Brewing, 2350 Foreman St., Cayce | $90-$160 | Enjoy a private beer and bourbon tasting experience at Steel Hands Brewing with its Brewmaster and Columbia’s Elite Whiskey and Bourbon Clubs.
    • Vanderpump Rules REUNION Pt. 1 Watch Party | Thursday, May 25 | 7-10 p.m. | femme x Columbia, 1501 Richland St., Columbia | $10 | There will be a Power Point Presentation about the cast for those who want a quick download of who dated who, who cheated on who, and why this is all so completely bonkers.
    Friday, May 26
    • Sunset on the Shoals | Friday, May 26, Friday, Jun. 9 | 6-8 p.m. | 5605 Bush River Rd. | $47 | Enjoy an interpretive paddle tour on the Saluda River followed by a wine tasting.
    • Gimme Gimme Disco | Friday, May 26 | 9 p.m. | The Senate, 1022B Senate St., Columbia | $17 | Mamma Mia, here we go again. Get groovy on the dance floor and sing along to your favorite disco tunes.
    • Gallabrae | Fri., May. 26 - Sat., May. 27 | 6-9 p.m. | Downtown Greenville & Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Hwy., Greenville | $20.00 | Be Scottish for a day and celebrate Celtic culture with bagpipes, heavy athletic competitions, a car show, and more at one of the biggest Scottish Games in the region.*
    Saturday, May 27
    • South Carolina Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival | Saturday, May 27 | 12-5 p.m. | South Carolina State Fair, 901 George Rogers Blvd. Gate 6, Columbia | $5-$50 | This event will feature 30 of the most popular local food trucks and 50+ national craft beers.
    Click here to have your event featured.
    7 secrets comfortable retirees know about hiring a financial advisor
    Smart retirees know a thing or two — and you should, too. | Photo by SmartAsset
    Research suggests people who work with a financial advisor could end up with about 15% more money to spend in retirement.1 Read: A lot of margaritas.

    That’s because they know the seven secrets to hiring a financial advisor, like never hiring the first advisor you meet. (Rookie mistake.)

    The ultimate tip? Answer a few questions in this free, five-minute quiz to match with vetted financial advisors serving your area who can help optimize a retirement plan for you.*
    1“Journal of Retirement Study Winter” (2020)”. The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of your future results. Please follow the link to see the methodologies employed in the Journal of Retirement study.
    News Notes
    • USC baseball defeated the Georgia Bulldogs + now moves into the double-elimination portion of the bracket, guaranteeing at least two more games. Next up, the Gamecocks will play LSU (No. 3) on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Did we mention this is USC’s first-ever shutout in the SEC Tournament?
    • Spartanburg is getting a minor-league baseball team as early as 2025. The Down East Wood Ducks, which used to play in North Carolina, are relocating to a new baseball field set to be built in the downtown area. (The State)
    • The Chick-fil-A, located at 1007 Dutch Fork Rd. in Irmo, will be temporarily closing for renovations. The closure will begin on May 13 and a reopening date has not been announced. (The State)
    • Pavlov’s Bar — a former staple in the Five Points District — may be turned into a liquor store. The bar owner wants to open under the name, “Tilly’s Warehouse” and be similar to a Green’s liquor store. (The Post and Courier)
    • Listen to the latest episode of Around Town with @Cola Mayor where Mayor Rickenmann sits down with the CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Tommy Stringfellow. The two discuss Tommy’s dedication to the zoo’s transformation and his background.
    • Up for a challenge? We’re looking for tasty, local lunch spots that won’t break the bank. Let us know of a few local places you can grab lunch for $10 or less here.
    • It’s National Stroke Awareness Month — meaning there’s no better time to learn about this serious medical condition that is the fifth leading cause of death (and the leading cause of serious long-term disability) in the US. Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.*
    The Buy
    • Turn misplaced keys into a thing of the past with the Apple AirTag. The button-sized tracking device can give you step-by-step directions to your lost keys (or phone…or wallet…) and has a battery life of one year. Pro tip: Put one in your checked luggage and never worry about lost baggage again.*
    🐾 Lend a paw
    Adopt from Pawmetto Lifeline
    Adopt Bruce — a four-year-old Retriever, Labrador, Terrier, and American Staffordshire mix — from Pawmetto Lifeline. | Photo from Pawmtto Lifeline
    We’ve done some digging to highlight several local animal shelters looking for some purrfect permanent homes or foster parents. Consider lending a paw in the form of adoption, donations, time, or money.

    Animal Mission

    Animal Mission is a local nonprofit that provides free or low-cost spaying or neutering services to help prevent euthanasia in local municipal shelters. See seven local shelters you can adopt from.

    Final Victory Rescue

    Looking to adopt or foster? Read through its pre-adoption info, fill out the adoption application, or apply to become a foster family.

    Pawmetto Lifeline

    Pawmetto Lifeline offers a low-cost Wellness Clinic, a Care-a-Van mobile vaccine clinic, and a low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic. See its event lineup and get involved.


    PETSinc offers veterinary services, grooming, training, and even has a thrift store located at 1217 Sunset Blvd. in West Columbia that supports its mission. See available cats and dogs.
    The Wrap
    Samantha Robertson in a white shirt and grey vest Today’s edition by:
    From the editor
    We got my parent’s dog, Russell, 11+ years ago at PETSinc. We were able to take him outside, walk him, play with him, and see if he would be a great fit for our home. Of course, within three minutes, we were sold and we all lived happily ever after. He’s still the best dog ever, and I’m so thankful to our local animal shelters for taking such good care of these animals before they find their furever homes.
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