Blackville school board candidates position themselves for race: Holman

Many Blackville students who are freshmen now won't see themselves as seniors in four years.

It's a trend that disturbs Brenda Holman - enough that she wants to do something about it. That is why she is running for the Blackville-Hilda school board.

Holman is the challenger vying for one of the two seats open in the April 14 election. Incumbents Inell Waring and Steve McCormack are both running for reelection.

"My main reason is I have a real concern with retention," she said.

Holman, 52, is a 1974 graduate from Blackville-Hilda High School. She is a case manager in Barnwell County for the S.C. Department of Social Services. She is also the chairperson for the Blackville Downtown Development Association, a group that helps promote the town, particularly its economy.
Holman has two grown children and is married to Blackville Mayor Jackie Holman.

Holman has done some research on retention rates at Blackville-Hilda High School.

There were 87 freshmen who were part of the Class of 2007. However, by the time graduation came, only 50 of these students remained as seniors to graduate, she said.

For the Class of 2008, in 2004-05 when these students were ninth graders, there were 110 children. But only 59 made it to their senior year, Holman said.

"My concern is where are they going?" she said.

Not all of the students that didn't make it to their senior year are repeating a grade or transferred to other districts - many of them dropped out, she said.

It's a trend that Holman would like to reverse if elected to the board, she said.

"You know your high school diploma is the first step toward success," Holman said. "I don't know what the dropout rate is now. If I'm the candidate selected, then that's going to be a big thing I will look at."

Holman said she was prompted to run after hearing this quotation at a Masonic Christmas dinner.

"You can't do anything on the outside - you need to be on the inside to be an effective and contributing party," she said.

Holman said she wants to help improve the process whereby a BHHS graduate is ready to meet the challenges the world will throw at it.

"I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say I had a part in it," she said.