Shawn Johnson pushes students to dream outside of Dillon

In January, Gov. Nikki Haley said she dreams of a day when a “daughter of Dillon” has the same opportunity as a “son of Greenville.” That vision can only be fulfilled with the help of those in the trenches putting in long hours with little recognition. Sean Johnson does just that. As principal of Dillon High School, Johnson has high hopes for the future of South Carolina education and does everything he can to give his students the opportunity to overcome poverty and the obstacles set against them. Story and graphic by Zach Newcastle. Photos by Rebecca Johnson.

A “son of Greenville” heads off to college

Alberto Cepeba is going to college. That he has an acceptance letter in hand amazes this 18-year-old Greenville teenager, who will be the first generation of his family to pursue higher education. But Alberto acknowledges he didn’t do this alone. This “son of Greenville” had the advantage of a school system with substantial financial and human resources, but there are some students in South Carolina who aren’t as fortunate as Alberto.

A walk through the halls: How Calhoun County’s schools have given poorer students a chance

Calhoun County sits adjacent to the string of poor, rural school districts that gained notoriety through the 2005 documentary “Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina’s Rural Schools.” Calhoun shares in some of that poverty but its educators have found ways to effectively school poor students. The proof is in the report cards issued by the S.C. Department of Education. Take a walk through the halls of Calhoun County High School to see how they’ve done it.

Education equity: Chasing a dream

This spring, six multimedia USC journalism students spent part of their final semester researching the state of education in South Carolina, interviewing students, educators, legislators and policy makers. Their focus: the long-standing education equity lawsuit, Abbeville County v. State of South Carolina, and the impact of continued funding disparities on today’s generation of students. Gov. Nikki Haley helped shape their coverage when…