Donation pays for new building at special school - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Donation pays for new building at special school

Posted: Updated:

The Sandhills School in southeast Columbia was started in 1970 when13 families recognized their children were smart, but they struggled.

"We play a major role in the education of children with dyslexia and ADHD," said Anne Vickers, who is the head of the school. "And these are bright youngsters who unfortunately might not be able to be successful in a traditional classroom environment."

Vickers said it's the individualized instruction that helps the students achieve.

"Last year we had a graduating class of five seniors," she said. "They're all at the college of their choice and they all came back to see us over the break and they're doing very well -- all A's and B's."

A generous $500,000 donation is helping to accommodate a growing student body with a new high school.

Seventh grader Mary Carolyn Hobbs is looking forward to the new addition. She started at Sandhills last year and has already noticed a difference in how she processes information, especially math.

"I like how teachers give you time to do stuff instead of just being like, 'hurry up and do it,'" said Hobbs. "They don't care if you do it right, just do it."

Her father said Sandhills is the best choice for his daughter.

"The curriculum that they use is really tailored for helping kids learn the way they are able to learn and every kid learns differently," said Allan Hobbs.

At the school, learning disabilities are called "differences."

The students are taught to accept their "difference," work through it and not let it define them.

"They encourage the kids to be creative and really be themselves and she's been able to do that in a way that's been phenomenal," said Hobbs about his daughter's education.

"They're all nice and they don't make you feel bad when you do something wrong," said Carolyn. "They try and help you."

And with the help of the more space and resources for its 70 students, Vickers said the school can continue to help students like Mary Carolyn get to college and beyond.

"This is a transformational gift," said Vickers. "It's going to change the lives of many high school students. Now and in the future."

The high school portion of the building is expected to be completed in April.

Copyright 2012 WIS.  All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow