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

Haleigh Jenkins

Hayleigh Jenkins

Aynor Elementary School – 5th Grade

Nominated by her teacher, Samantha Murphy

Hayleigh Jenkins has been chosen to be the 2016-2017 HTC Reel Kid for Aynor Elementary School. Hayleigh is a fifth grade student at Aynor Elementary School. At only 11 years old, she has persevered through many obstacles; including leukemia, a stroke, cardiac arrest, multiple seizures, and the loss of her father in a motorcycle accident.

Bailey Kelly

Bailey Kelly

Burgess Elementary School – 5th grade

Nominated by her teacher, Tara Valcourt

“Bailey Kelly began her life witnessing many abuses from her biological father.  She was placed into a Spanish speaking foster care home at age 3.  She lived there for two years before she became part of the Kelly family at age five.  She came to Burgess as a kindergartener with many fears and a very shy personality.  She has had to deal with learning disabilities, but has blossomed into an athletic, outgoing student who makes everyone smile.”

Jayden Schnall

Jayden Schnall

Carolina Forest Elementary School – 2nd grade

Nominated by his teacher, Kara Metner

“Jayden is a Pediatric Stroke survivor.  On October 19, 2015, Jayden, a vibrant, lovable 7-year-old boy, suffered his first of five strokes coming off the school bus.  No other child had ever survived such a massive stroke before.  Despite the devastation the stroke caused, Jayden fought hard and never complained while going through occupational, speech and physical therapy every day. After a series of subsequent stokes and setbacks, doctors finally pinpointed the cause. The surgery to correct was a success and the ongoing follow up care of high dosage medications began.  Although Jayden’s life had been forever changed, he remained positive and determined. He is truly an inspiration for all!”

Gavin Varieur

Conway Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Pamela Snyder

“Gavin is a visually impaired student in the third grade at Conway Elementary.  He has overcome huge obstacles in order to be successful in the classroom environment.  He uses large print materials and wears thick glasses daily.  He navigates throughout the school environment with little difficulty after learning strategies from his orientation and mobility instructor.  Gavin gets along well with others and loves to play video games on the computer and iPad.  Gavin is learning Braille as a secondary literacy medium in addition to reading in print.  He can write the Braille alphabet from “a” to “p” using Perkins Brailler.” 

Jireh George

Jireh George

Daisy Elementary School – 3rd grade

Nominated by her teacher, Jen Wos Glatki

“When she first came to Daisy, Jireh had behavioral issues stemming from a very difficult home life. Jireh is a remarkable young lady.  Once getting used to the class, school, and a new living situation, Jireh has made such progress.  She started and remains at school with a big smile on her face. She started becoming friends with all of her classmates.  While this situation still continues, Jireh comes to school every day with a positive attitude, excited to learn and loves to participate in extra school activities like school plays.  Jireh is learning how to overcome her struggles.  Her teachers and classmates are so proud of Jireh and the progress she has made at Daisy.” 

Liza Link

Forestbrook Elementary School, 5th grade

Nominated by her teacher, Jill Westerfield

“Liza has attended our school since kindergarten and we have seen her develop into the exceptional student and person she is today. Liza describes her life as a little different: “I know two languages, English and ASL (American Sign Language), since I am the only person in our school who has a deaf parent.“  One of her earliest memories is sitting on her front porch with her mother pointing to trees and dogs and signing these to her like another parent might teach her the correct word for what she was seeing.  Liza, her mom, and her siblings live with her grandparents so they can help her mom do things like helping with communication issues and homework.  Liza attributes her success to following all the rules and procedures since kindergarten, her teachers pushing her hard for better grades, the fact that she has never been in any trouble at school, and her family.”

Kade Brogdon

Green Sea Floyds Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by his school counselor, Hanna Smith

“Kade Brogdon really was born into a hard life. There was substance abuse by a parent and at the age of 3, Kade was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Kade does not let his diabetes stop him from doing things in life. He has played baseball, football and soccer. Kade is very active in sports and he appears to be a healthy 10 year old boy even though he faces daily struggles. Kade has dealt with a lot in his short life. He has had several struggles even on a daily basis. Kade feels like he has been given this life for a reason. Time will show him why and time has already shown him in lots of ways.”

Kintae Grant

Homewood Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Summer Hilliard

“Kintae Grant is an extraordinary student who has overcome many academic obstacles and is now meeting and exceeding his goals.  Kintae has built strong relationships with peers, as well as staff and is a true rule follower.” 

Gianna DiStefano

Gianna DiStefano

Kingston Elementary School – 5th grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Martina Moore

“Gianna has proven herself as a leader at Kingston Elementary School in the face of extenuating circumstances.  Gianna has faced many trials in her short life span. She was born with a speech impediment – Gianna’s speech was almost unintelligible until she reached kindergarten. Often times, she relied on her older brother to speak for her, so she wouldn’t be teased or so she was able to clarify her needs. At a young age, Gianna saw her parents divorce and the passing of her father, uncle and grandmother. Even though these events were devastating to her entire family, she continued to thrive. As soon as she transferred to Kingston her charismatic personality attracted many friends. She is always smiling, very polite, respectful, and enthusiastic about school.  She also excels in academics and maintains a positive attitude. Gianna is active in extracurricular activities as she is in Art Club and Kiwanis Club.”

MaKayla Vanderbush

Lakewood Elementary School – 5th gradee

Nominated by her school counselor, Wanda Cart

“MaKayla Vanderbush’s mom’s cancer has returned and she is going through chemotherapy again.  Despite this obstacle, MaKayla comes every day to school with a smile on her face and puts forth her personal best.  She is energetic, helpful, responsible, and has an excellent work ethic.”


Galilee Medina

Loris Elementary School – 1st grade

Nominated by her counselor, Willette Spann

“Galilee Medina was diagnosed with LCH, Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, in her skull and the dura of the brain.  When she had surgery, they removed the part of the skull and dura that were infected.  She has been receiving chemotherapy and through it all she has kept her spirits high, never lost her smile or her courage to keep moving forward.” 


Ella Hodge

Midland Elementary School – 1st grade

Nominated by her teacher, Tara Johnson

“Ella is an extraordinary little girl with a smile that warms any heart. Ella’s busy days of softball and dance turned in to busy days of hospital visits and treatments when she was given a much unexpected diagnosis.  On June 18, 2016, after having a stomach ache for a few days, Ella was diagnosed with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma. She has inspired us with her strong will to fight and touches our hearts with a smile that seems to appear no matter the circumstances.  Trips to Charleston, rounds of chemotherapy, tests, and more tests do not get this little sweetheart down.  In the face of the overwhelming obstacle, Ella leads us!  She shows us her joy, when we see her pain.  She shows us her hope, when there are tears.  She shows us her faith, when we ask why.  Through her fight, she is making us better.  We are honored to nominate our Ella and share the story of her journey as an HTC REEL Kid.”


Zaikeem Bellamy

Myrtle Beach Elementary – 2nd grade

Nominated by his guidance counselor, Karen McCants

“Zaikeem Bellamy has been taught with the guidance of his grandparents and parents that he can be an achiever at anything he wants to do if he believes in himself and never gives up even when things get tough.  They also taught him to be respectful of your parents, the elderly, teachers, and peers.  In addition, they have encouraged him to follow his dreams and never give up.  Most of all, they want him to show unconditional love to all mankind and to put God in everything he does and says.”


Maddy Lee-Ward

Myrtle Beach Intermediate – 5th grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Charlisa Morris

“Maddy Lee-Ward comes from a lot of adversity in her life.  Her mother and father had a battle with drugs and alcohol and doesn’t know where her mom is right now.  She has seen and been through a lot in her little life.  Dealing with life has put a thick skin on her back but she has handled it so far.”

Tyana Smith

Myrtle Beach Primary School – Kindergarten

Nominated by her teacher, Heather Ludlam

“Tyana Smith has alopecia which causes her to have no hair on her head.  Despite that significant difference from her classmates, she is very positive and has a great attitude when asked about it.  She is very courageous in a time when appearance means so much.  She accepts that she is different and that is what makes her so special.”

Brycen Daniels

Ocean Bay Elementary School – 3rd grade

Nominated by his teacher, Brittany Webster

“Brycen Daniels was diagnosed with HME – Hereditary Multiple Exostoses.  He has continued to come to school with a positive attitude and be a great student.” 


Annadora Fowler

Ocean Drive Elementary School – 5th grade

Nominated by her teacher, Brooke Campbell

“Even though Annadora has been through the death of her father, she doesn’t use it as an excuse but a motivator.  She is a leader inside and outside of the classroom.  Annadora is very active in sports and puts in 100%.  At school she stays busy with art club and technology club.  Annadora is a well-rounded kid who exudes personality.  She has never met a stranger and is truly one of a kind.  She is a daily reminder of why I enjoy my job!  Annadora’s love for learning, sports, and life is contagious to everyone around her!”

Rondarius Jones

Palmetto Bays Elementary School – 5th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Shelia Tomlin

“Great grades do not come easy for Rondarius, but his effort and desire to achieve are worth more than grades.Last year, his grades improved, but he was still shy and class participation was still low. This year Rondarius is finally finding his “voice”! He has become a leader in our school and his efforts need to be recognized. He went from a shy student who lacked self-confidence, to a PBE news camera man, a safety patrol officer, and the best classroom helper a teacher could ask for! Although this may not seem extraordinary, it should be stated that this student has endured personal challenges that make him deserving of this award.”


Wyatt Cook

Pee Dee Elementary School – 2nd grade

Nominated by his teacher, Ali Tobin

“Wyatt Cook had been a student in my classroom last year.  He came in quiet yet very respectful.  In January, Wyatt lost his mother who was very sick.  After her passing, we saw his motivation and hard work shine through in the classroom and in reading recovery.  He exceeded my expectations and I am so proud.  Wyatt also came out of his shell.  We saw his humor daily and he made sure to talk to almost all of his classmates daily.  He taught me even as an adult to stay positive and keep smiling even when things get tough.”  



Keira Lockard

River Oaks Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by her teacher, Kimberly Adams

“Keira Lockard was born with cerebral palsy.  She’s had many surgeries and refuses pain medicine and pushes her way through. She has many missed school days due to medical issues yet prevails, is always positive and is on the academic honor roll consistently.  Last year, the family pulled together to live with the grandmother when faced with financial instability.  Keira remained very upbeat and positive and remembers the year as great time with family.  She is also a member of the school robotics team.” 


Devonte Livingston

Riverside Elementary School – 3rd grade

Nominated by his school counselor, Felecia Bellamy

“Devonte is a very good student who is eager to learn despite being diagnosed as developmentally delayed. He works very hard in the classroom and is currently an A/B student even though his mother is diagnosed with cancer and is frequently in and out of the hospital. He continues to make gains on MAP. He has gone from 22% in the fall to 48% in the winter in reading MAP and from 46% in the fall to 64% in the winter in math despite his mother being hospitalized for two weeks in December. He is always willing to help other students and is a leader in the classroom.”


Braylee Bustillos

Seaside Elementary School – 2nd grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Nicole Ashton

“Braylee Bustillos was born without arms but has never let that slow her down.  She is sweet and always smiling.  She has a positive, can do attitude.  There is nothing she is not willing to try from swinging a baseball bat to the monkey bars at recess.  She is truly a role model for all the students at Seaside Elementary.”


Grace Karr

Socastee Elementary School – 3rd grade

Nominated by her teachers, Laura Smith and Michelle Palisin

“Grace is an amazing young lady, who has been through so much in her short eight years of life.  And despite what was going on around her, Grace always seemed to have a smile on her face!  Grace’s mother Jackie was diagnosed with cancer when Grace was in Kindergarten. Grace Karr never gave up on herself, her mother, or on happiness during this entire time.  She would work hard in class each day and then go home and want to take care of her mother.   Grace never let her mother’s sickness stop her from getting her homework complete, participate in school programs, or create crafts for her friends and family.  After her mother’s passing in the spring of 2016, Grace’s determined spirit never changed after her mother passed away. Through the unimaginable loss of her mother at such a young and impressionable age, Grace Karr has managed to be a beacon of kindness.  She is smart, poised, and attentive to other’s needs and just an overall great kid.  She has shown not only perseverance, but has been an inspiration to those who have had the pleasure to cross paths with her, a true testament to her mother’s legacy.”

Ernie Davis

South Conway Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by his school counselor, Bernetta Sanders

“Ernie has been through various life changes emotionally this past year with losing his father, and was truly devastating to him.  Through it all, Ernie remained strong and proved himself to be a true leader at home as well at school.  Ernie is an outstanding young boy with great character. His enthusiasm and caring personality lights up a room. This 4th grade student is willing to take on new opportunities, helpful in any situation and is devoted to being a leader. Ernie is a very outgoing student and always respectful of others. Losing a parent is never easy but Ernie has a huge heart like his dad and knows that his dad loved him with his whole heart. Ernie is an excellent choice as South Conway Elementary’s HTC REEL KID. Ernie is a true example of determination and perseverance.”

Marcus Kelly

Marcus Kelly

St. James Elementary School – 2nd grade

Nominated by his teacher, Ashley Casey

“After a traumatic start to life, Marcus Kelly entered foster care at the age of two.  Thankfully, the Kelly’s fell in love with this young boy and flew to Texas to get him and bring him home to South Carolina to be a part of the “Kelly Krew.”  He experienced many emotional difficulties due to his early experience.  Marcus worked hard to overcome his anxiety and after three years in a self-contained special education classroom, has successfully begun to successfully transition to the general education setting where his behavior and academics have been amazing.” 


Caroline Daly

Waccamaw Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Hayley Seasor

Caroline Daly was diagnosed with Leukemia in October 2010, just two days after her 4th birthday. After a young life full of treatments, hospitals and doctor visits, Caroline has remained very healthy and every year we celebrate another year cancer free. She is now an active 10 year old who loves to be outside. She plays three sports and will always be first to raise her hand to volunteer. She loves doing for others and helping with anything needed. She works very hard to find creative ways to raise money for many different charities.”


Zachary Brewer

Waterway Elementary School – 4th grade

Nominated by his school counselor, Laurie Thomas

“Through his first few years in elementary school, Zachary sometimes had difficulty connecting with his peers in friendly ways.  This school year, Zachary, has proven himself as a leader through his scholastic abilities and his social development.  He listens actively, shows respect to everyone, follows directions, makes good choices, works well with others, and adds much to the learning environment.  He also began to take his academics seriously.  He is giving his personal best, checking and rechecking his work, and never rushes through an assignment as he has done in the past. His teacher, Mrs. Hurst, is so pleased and honored to teach such a fine young man who made the personal choice of becoming a success.”

Dyamond Martin

Dyamond Martin

Academy of Hope – 8th grade

Nominated by her teacher, Jennifer Chapman

Dyamond Martin suffered through a very unstable and tramatic childhood. “After a long process, Dyamond was released from foster care and came to SC to live with her maternal Aunt. With much love and a strong support system, Dyamond slowly began blossoming again. Now she is a leader and role model for other students.  Dyamond is a kind person and has no problem offering help to others.  When she needs help, she is not afraid to ask.  Dyamond’s studies are very important to her, which is seen through her determination to learn new things. She has pushed through her shyness and stepped out of her comfort zone in many aspects. Because of Dyamond’s hard work, dedication, and determination to overcome obstacles that are in her path, Dyamond has been selected to attend Early College High School in the fall. Dyamond is a true example of a REEL kid!”

Kyleigh Dean

Kyleigh Dean

Aynor Middle School – 7th grade

Nominated by her teacher, John Morello

“Kyleigh Dean is a 7th grade student at Aynor Middle School who wrestles every day, both on and off the mat.  On the mat, she easily defeats one opponent after another, collecting more than 100 trophies.  Off the mat, her biggest challenge is a rare genetic disorder known as congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL).  This disease is so rare that it afflicts only one in every 10 million people. On top of having to get 1,500 units of insulin every day, travelling to the National Institute of Health in MD every few weeks for a week’s stay, Kaleigh not only manages to stay on top of her wrestling, she also manages to stay on our A/B honor roll every quarter.  She is a leader in her class, a role model in her sport and an inspiration to kids everywhere.”

CJ Rabon

C.J. Rabon

Black Water Middle School – 7th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Mary Wilkinson

“CJ Rabon is one of the most polite, well-mannered young men, I have ever met.  Despite tremendous loss early in life, he expresses extreme gratitude for the people who stepped in to raise him and considers himself to be lucky.  He is a great student, role model, and athlete who loves any outdoor activity.  He’s truly an amazing young man.” 

Ryan Beall

Ryan Beall

Conway Middle School – 8th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Jill Feldner

“Ryan lost his Father at the beginning of the school year to cancer, yet he never let this change is positive outlook.  Ryan who has his own learning challenges, always found ways to help others.  About midway through the school year Ryan begin to create “how to” book to help other middle schoolers adjust and succeed in middle school.  He filled his book full of tips, notes, illustrations and advice he felt would be helpful to other students.  These life lessons he wanted to share with others to help everyone enjoy and be a successful middle school student. Overall Ryan is an excellent person that always wants to help others.  He exemplifies what a REEL kid is and how despite life’s challenges, there is always someone else that you can help.

Julia Plemmons

Julia Plemmons

Forestbrook Middle School – 8th grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Amy Ayers

“When I met Julia she was struggling with regards to her outlook on life and her attitude towards the world. She said that she dwelled on the past, a past that consisted of her parent’s divorce and a family move. Julia states that she made a personal decision to not live in the past where there was hurt and disappointment. She wanted to be a positive person that people enjoyed to be around, and a person that she was proud of being. She says she still has her moments where she starts to be negative, but then she tells herself not to go there because she doesn’t want to become that person again. Her teachers sing her praises not only because of her academic success and how she pushes herself in all subject areas but also because of how she supports and peers in class. She continues to set academic goals for herself, and surpasses those goals. While maintaining an A average in all her classes, she also serves as an amazing role model to her younger two siblings and support system to them.”

Ben Hersey

Ben Hersey

Green Sea Floyds Middle School – 8th grade

Nominated by his school counselor, Kate Diana

“Ben Hersey has been a great student since coming to Green Sea Floyds Middle.  He has maintained A’s and B’s in all of his academics.  He is very thoughtful and enjoys helping others.  Ben’s ability to succeed in school and beyond has been wonderful to see.  He was originally place in life skills classes due to his emotional disability but has truly flourished in the general curriculum.” 

Marquavious Damonie McCra

Marquavious McCray

Loris Middle School – 8th grade

Nominated by his assistant principal, Dr. Tracy Bellamy

“Marquavious McCray is a very special young man.  In spite of the medical challenges that he faces, he comes to school eager and prepared to learn.  Marquavious interacts well with his peers and in academic settings.  It is a joy to watch him on the basketball court.  Marquavious is a phenomenal young man.  I am very proud and honored that he has been selected as Loris Middle School’s HTC REEL Kid.” 

Gervin Rodriquez Rodriguez

Gervin Rodriguez

Myrtle Beach Middle School – 8th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Leslie Pearre

“The circumstances that caused Gervin to leave Honduras were horrific; they include the kidnapping of his mother and ultimately the death of his father.  However, upon Gervin’s arrival in Myrtle Beach he has set his mind on becoming a leader. As an ESL student, Gervin is still learning English and participates in Honors level classes. He earns all A’s and B’s. His test scores place him in the top ranks of his class. His teachers cannot say enough about how wonderful he is in class and how he volunteers and always shares correct answers. Gervin is a natural born leader. Gervin is as thoughtful and empathetic as he is a powerful presence. No matter the circumstances, Gervin remains clear headed and mature. He can solve problems and guides students to make the best choices they can. He does not tolerate nonsense or a lack of appreciation of his teachers or the education that is being offered here in America.”

Cameryn Lewis

Cameryn Lewis

North Myrtle Beach Middle School – 8th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Melany Nussbaumer

“Cameryn has many outstanding attributes both as a student and as a community volunteer despite the fact that he is faced with a moderate to severe hearing impairment. This disability has not slowed Cameryn down as he works to achieve his goal. Cameryn is a dedicated student. When he receives an assignment he immerses himself in it and works diligently to fulfill the requirements of that particular assignment. Both in and out of class, Cameryn was a kind leader.  He did not hesitate to assist others and worked well with a variety of students in a variety of situations. He not only assisted classmates within the classroom, but also in a variety of community service activities. Cameryn has not allowed his hearing impairment to affect his ability to learn or to participate in school activities. Cameryn does not hesitate to stand up for himself if another student teases him about his hearing aids. Cameryn is kind-hearted and generous.”

Jeshua Matzdorff

Jeshua Matzdorff

Ocean Bay Middle School – 7th grade

Nominated by his teacher, Kevin Pierce

Jeshua Matzdorff might look like a cute, cuddly teddy bear on the outside, but inside him beats the heart of a lion!  Jeshua had a stroke and hemorrhage in utero.  He was born with hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, and a hole in his heart.  He was blind until 8 months old and still only has limited vision. He has had multiple seizures and surgeries.  Through all that, he has maintained a love for God, life, learning and family.  Never one to quit, he played little league for three years in Connecticut and learned to throw and catch with one hand.  He also learned to ice skate and played ice hockey.  He is a great snow skier and can ski a black diamond, the very steep and bumpy hills that are considered very difficult.  He now competes in regular bowling tournaments and wants to be a pro bowler.  Jeshua is an insatiable learner whose first question in the 7th grade was, “When do we start getting homework?”  He is a self-advocate and tenacious when it comes to getting what he wants.  Despite all of the difficulties he has had, Jeshua has kept a great sense of humor and lights up any room he enters.” 

ruby graham

Ruby Graham

St. James Middle School – 7th grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Jesse Durant

“Ruby lost her father last spring and her mother has some health issues.  Ruby has been able to maintain high grades in our honors classes.  She is always very positive in her outlook here at school.  Ruby is enrolled in our honors classes and has made our Beta for quarter one.  Her teachers are very complimentary of her work habits even under stressful situation away from school.”


Trista Hansen

Whittemore Park Middle School – 7th grade

Nominated by her school counselor, Rachel Doutt

“Trista Hansen’s father passed away when she was six from a heart attack.  She was taken away from her sisters and put into the custody of her grandparents.  She was never involved with her mother much due to personal family issues.  Trista is an A/B honor roll student who is a leader in the classroom.  She is always willing to go above and beyond to help her peers.  She is actively involved in chorus inside the school building and enjoys taking care of her dog at home.”


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.”