Enrollment is now open for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Click here to learn more and enroll.

2017 9th – 12th Grade Winners


Syvell Isom-Brandon

Academy for Arts, Science & Technology – 12th grade
Nominated by his school counselor, Pam Bosselait

“Syvell Isom-Brandon was diagnosed with Tarsal Coalition when he was 14.  It is a condition in which two or more bones in the mid-foot and the rear of the foot fuse together.  This condition can cause extreme pain and sometimes Syvell has to crawl at the end of an arduous day.  Syvell does not let his condition affect his disposition or personality.  It is hard to tell that he is in pain constantly.  He is a good student and really enjoys his computer science major.  He plans to attend USC next year.”


Andrea Rose

Academy for Technology and Academics – 12th grade
Nominated by her school counselor, Romulus McNeill

Andrea has overcome a very unstable housing situation and has manged to stay and school and lock down enployment. Even with all of these things going on the past few years, she doesn’t let anything hinder her education. She hopes to earn scholarships to attend college. 


Caleb Jenerette

Aynor High School – 12th grade
Nominated by his coach, Jody Jenerette

“Caleb Jenerette has persevered after the death of his father, Kevin.  Obviously anytime a son loses a parent it is devastating let alone at such a young age.  Caleb has shown himself to be a leader in the school, classroom and on the athletic field.  He easily could have let this be an excuse instead he chooses to excel to honor his father’s memory.”


Dylan Blanton

Carolina Forest High School – 11th grade
Nominated by his teacher, Erica Pritts

“Dylan always has an infectious smile on his face. He was born with a tumor on his spine which left him with a spinal cord injury that has caused a need for a wheelchair and over ten surgeries.  Dylan doesn’t let this get him down. Instead, he has good sportsmanship, gets along well with others, and participates in all of his classes. He excels in his art courses and has had several pieces of his work displayed in local school art shows. Despite his physical limitations, he is very active in both his school and community. He serves as the head manager for the CFHS baseball team. He participates in Special Olympics and Miracle League. Dylan is also a faithful, diehard Coastal Carolina University fan. He is close to the coaching staff and players and even flew to College World Series to support his champion team. Dylan is truly an inspiration to all.”

Kimberly Sager

Kimberly Sager

Conway High School – 11th grade
Nominated by her teacher, Lucia Watson

“Kimberly Sager’s father was diagnosed with Hepatitis several years ago, but his health declined rapidly during the school year last year.  Kimberly helped care for him during this time until he died in August 2016.  Despite this loss, she demonstrates a very positive personality and outlook, is a very hard worker at school, carries herself with poise, and is a positive leader in the classroom.”

Harley Smith

Harley Smith

Early College High School – 12th grade
Nominated by her teacher, Lindsey Hecklinger

“Harley Starr Love Smith is an amazing young woman who has triumphed over many of life’s challenges. At seventeen Harley has experienced several traumatic and desperate events. Throughout the tragedies Harley has experienced she has found the strength to continue through the love of her grandmother and the support and understanding of her three close friends. Harley’s future is bright as she plans to attend HGTC, Coastal Carolina or The University of South Carolina and major in biology.  Harley and her grandmother have started The Benjamin Smith Purple Madness Memorial Tournament. The bowling tournament is held each October in honor of her brother, Benjamin with proceeds going to Coastal Samarian, SOS Health Care and Help for Kids.”

Douglas Cole Strickland

Cole Strickland

Green Sea Floyds High School – 9th grade
Nominated by his teacher, Mary Bishop

“Cole Strickland is a very bright and ambitious student.  He currently has an “A” average in all of his classes and is also a talented artist.  Cole was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus at the age of eighteen months.  Despite the medical demands of controlling diabetic symptoms and compliance with a sugar-free diet, Cole continues to excel academically.  He plans to become a pharmacist following in his mother’s footsteps.”  

Travon Gause

Travon Guause

Loris High School – 12th grade
Nominated by his teacher, Donna Smith

“Travon is kindness, caring, and encouragement personified. He never says an unkind word to anyone or about anyone.  Travon is always encouraging.  He is a natural born leader to his peers, who is never bossy, always positive, and always enthusiastic.  Travon is an extremely skilled wrestler and is high ranking in our county and state competitions.  But his great sportsmanship shines as he congratulates and compliments his competitors, win or lose.  Travon has to work very hard in his academics to be successful and Travon is a hard worker, working over and over until he thoroughly understands and excels.  This has been a hard year for Travon as he has lost several family members, some tragically. Travon loves his family and in spite of his grief, he has felt the need to help his adult family members through their grief.  Travon has also had some health issues this year and was especially concerned when his heart began beating too fast and irregularly. You could see the pain and worry on Travon’s face, but out of his mouth, still came words of encouragement for others around him.  He, again, did not complain but was very relieved when his heart problem subsided with proper treatment.  Travon is fine now, still working hard, still smiling, still encouraging others.”

Thomas Elliott

Thomas Elliott

Myrtle Beach High School – 12th grade
Nominated by his school counselor, Cookie Goings

“Thomas experienced a very difficult childhood and unstable home live and at age nineteen, he became an orphan AND a guardian for his twenty-three-year-old special needs sister. This young man has experienced much, yet he performs academically, made the A/B honor roll and does so while working part time (15-25 hours per week).   He has been accepted by HGTC, where he will major in Human Resources and one day open a facility for foster children.  Thomas’ trials, tribulation and tests will soon become his testimony!!  Thomas Dillon Elliott is a survivor and worthy candidate of my nomination as a REEL KID(s)!!!”

Miranda Burgess

North Myrtle Beach High School – 12th grade
Nominated by her teacher, Cathy Threatt

“Miranda has overcome the sudden death of her mother and a move to a new school during her senior year with maturity and grace.  Miranda talks often about her mother and how she misses her every day, but Miranda does not let her grief stand in the way of her future plans. She is always positive, always happy, and always ready with a funny story.  Sometimes when she is talking I just look at her and think about what a true miracle she is.  What she experienced would break most people, but here she is, a child really, overcoming adversity and proving to anyone paying attention that she is choosing to do the right things in life.  Miranda sits in class and hears the other students complaining about a curfew or about not having the latest iPhone; however, she doesn’t say a word.  She just listens.  How she does it, I don’t know.  Students know of Miranda’s story and they see her work hard, make good grades, and strive to get into a good college.  She leads by example.  Miranda is an inspiration and 100% deserves this nomination.  I honestly cannot imagine a more worthy representative of HTC REEL Kids.”  

Cinthia Zavala-Ramos

Cinthia Zavala-Ramos

Scholars Academy – 12th grade
Nominated by her program administrator, Norman McQueen

“On many days when Cinthia had every right to not smile, you would never know if she was down or stressed because she rose above situations and chose to make the most of each day. Cinthia’s family had been through many difficult situations.  When Cinthia was only a small child her parents escaped life-threatening conditions in their native Honduras to bring Cinthia and the rest of her family to America to find a better life.  Through family struggles, Cinthia pledged to do her best in education and has been dedicated to academic excellence throughout her school career.  Cinthia has chosen to take the most challenging academic curriculum currently available in Horry County Schools and currently has a 5.2 GPA and ranks at the top of her class. Cinthia is a leader in our building—not by holding office but by example.  Cinthia’s work is of the highest caliber and she is loved by her fellow students because she treats everyone as if they are special and worth her time. Cinthia wants to be involved in the law or science fields after college and I know we will be better off as a country and Honduras’ loss is our gain!!”

David Sloan

David Sloan

Socastee High School – 12th grade
Nominated by his teacher, Amy Wilson

“David lost his mother at age 8 and his father at age 15.  He has experienced foster care, homelessness, and dropping out of school for a period of time.  He has pushed himself however to get back in school and will graduate in June of this year.  David is an inspiration to those who know what he has accomplished through his perseverance.  His plans are to work upon graduation and attend the police academy when he turns 21.”

Tanya Pinette

Tanya Pinette

St. James High School – 12th grade
Nominated by her teacher, Paul Hudacko

“Tanya Pinette lost her mother last school year and continues to be a valuable member of St. James.  She is a member of the frenzies and several other school clubs and organizations (particularly chorus).  She is an amazing young lady who continues to make her mom proud long after her time on early.  She works very hard in the classroom and looking forward to continuing her education after St. James.”