For months, the future of the historic John de la Howe School was the subject of conjecture. Would the school fall “under the umbrella” of one of South Carolina’s institutions of higher learning? Would it close? Numerous possibilities were discussed. Rumors abounded.
The Board of Trustees — with five new members on the eight-member board — met in May and made the decision to support the recommendations of a Feasibility Study conducted last year for the S.C. General Assembly. The study found that the campus could become a School for Agriculture that would serve high school students. Those attending the school will take courses on agriculture and its related fields of study, as well as forestry and land management. Their studies will take place in classrooms on campus and also “in the field” — with the “fields” comprising farm land, forests and pastures.
Not only is the mission a good fit with Dr. John de la Howe’s will, but also it is a great fit with agribusiness, South Carolina’s leading industry. Agribusiness has an annual economic impact on the Palmetto State of about $42 billion and represents 200,000 jobs.
Agribusiness investment in South Carolina is bright as well. Hugh Weathers, S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture, stated in the July 19 issue of the “Market Bulletin” that already in 2018 “we’ve closed 10 new agribusiness-related economic development projects which represent more than 800 new jobs and almost $500,000,000 in capital investment.”
An in-depth article in the Aug. 6 issue of The Index-Journal reports on the school’s “New Beginnings.” Reporter Aleks Gilbert talked with many people affiliated with the school and also with our officials, including Dr. Sharon Wall, interim president, and Hugh Bland, board chair.
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