Cool Schools: Diamond Hornets are winning on the court, classroom

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Debbie Stroman can usually be found on the court, whether she is teaching physical education class or coaching her girls to win.

Stroman coaches the girls Varsity basketball team at Lower Richland High School.

"To coach a team that's so rich in heritage, I think the second year I got here we won the state championship," said Stroman.

Since Stroman started coaching at Lower Richland, the girls have won seven state titles and will head to Greenville Saturday for the semi-finals against Dreher High School.

Many of her players have grown up playing basketball in the community and Stroman says she has been able to see them turn into the athletes they are today.

"These girls have come through these recreation centers and I have seen them play since they were 5, 6 years old and then at middle school," said Stroman.

However, Stroman isn't the only one who's watched students grow throughout the years.

Latasha Henry-Pugh, a biology teacher at Lower Richland, sees it every day through the S.T.E.M program, which is open to all students.

"It encourages them to step out of their box, step out of their comfort zone, to forge relationships, and have conversations that might not of normally had," said Henry-Pugh.

Classes throughout the entire school offer project-based learning, giving students the confidence to build things they never imagined they could.

Aaron Smith, a Lower Richland senior, is a member of the robotics team and says it has helped him understand engineering.

"Moving into robotics, I was able to work with actual tools, get the feel on how different systems work," said Smith.

Students are also thriving in the cosmetology program and getting a head start on their future careers in salons. By the time they leave Lower Richland, they will have more than their high school diplomas -- they'll have a license to help make people look beautiful.

"I'm going to Winthrop and already have my acceptance letter. I plan on majoring in business so I can open my own salon later on," said senior Tinisha Pendergrass.

Whether these Diamond Hornets are busy on the court or in the classroom, it's clear they make Lower Richland a Cool School in the Midlands.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

Copyright2014 WIS. All rights reserved.