DARLINGTON, S.C. – The softball complex on the campus of Hartsville High School will be named Phyllis Griggs Park in recognition of Griggs’ 38 years as a teacher, coach and athletics director at Hartsville High School.
The Darlington County board of education voted 6-0 Monday to approve a request from a committee of interested Hartsville citizens and the Hartsville High School administration to name the complex in Griggs’ honor. The vote came during the board’s regular monthly meeting. Two members, Connell Delaine and Charles Govan, were away at a national education conference and were not present for the vote.
Charlie Burry, principal of Hartsville High, presented the request to the board. During her career, Griggs has taught physical education and comprehensive health, coached basketball, tennis and softball and has been the school’s athletics director for the past 13 years, Burry noted.
“Coach Griggs consistently exemplifies, day after day and year after year, the ideal of the education profession,” Burry wrote in a letter to the board. “Her most notable attribute, even in an administrative role, is the genuine interest that she has in the lives of our students and our student-athletes. She is caring and compassionate when that is what the child needs, and she is stern and demanding when that is in the best interest of the student.”
Griggs, who is retiring at the end of this school year, was not present at the meeting and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Burry pointed out that one of Griggs’ early accomplishments in her coaching career was establishing the Hartsville High School softball program at a championship level. She also accomplished major upgrades of the school’s softball field.
Burry wrote that Griggs’ skill as a teacher was evidenced in her coaching career as well. Teams that she coached consistently brought home region championships and regularly advanced well into the playoffs.
“That success was achieved while representing our school with a high degree of class and exemplary sportsmanship, and resulted in her being recognized as Coach of the Year on a number of occasions,” he wrote.
“As her role at Hartsville High School evolved into that of our athletics director in 2005, she has maintained those high expectations of our coaching staff. She works tirelessly to provide them with the administrative, organizational and financial support that they need to be successful. Her long-standing connections with the Hartsville community have revived the support from local business and industry that has also been a key to the success of our athletic program.”
He cited numerous region and state titles won by the school, sportsmanship awards, Griggs being recognized several times as Region 6-AAA and Region 6-AAAA Athletics Director of the Year, 2013 South Carolina AAA Athletics Director of the Year and her being recognized by the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award.
“The Hartsville High School athletic program is recognized as a ‘class act’ throughout South Carolina, and that is a reflection of Coach Griggs’ leadership,” Burry wrote.
“No one in the field of education has done it better, and her legacy will be one of great achievement and a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of young people,” he wrote.
The letter also was signed by other Hartsville High coaches, players, parents and supporters of the school’s athletics program.
Griggs has filed to run as a Republican candidate for the District 6 seat on Darlington County Council.
In other business, the board recognized several district students for academic and athletic accomplishments.
Hartsville High School student Archie Torain was recognized for winning the statewide National Association of Teachers of Singing competition. He has been studying private voice with James Beaumier, the Hartsville High choral teacher, this year and previously worked with Lee Ousley through the PULSE program at Coker College.
The board recognized Jonathan Jordan Jr. of Spaulding Middle School in Lamar for winning first place in the South Carolina Junior Beta Club competition in woodworking.
Members recognized Steven Turner of Darlington High School who recently won the 140-pound weight class in the South Carolina High School League’s State Strength Meet.
Hartsville High School’s Ethan Walsh was recognized for being selected to compete as a member of the 4A/3A South Team in the 2018 Best Western North-South Wrestling Competition.
And two students were recognized for being chosen by the South Carolina Coaches Association to be members of the 2018 North/South All-Star Basketball Teams. Kyron Gray of Hartsville High was selected for the boys’ team and Hope Richardson of Darlington High was chosen for the girls’ team.
The board also gave final approval to several district policy upgrades, including a policy on student protests, demonstrations and strikes.
The policy, which will replace the district’s current policy, is based on a model policy from the South Carolina School Boards Association.
The SCSBA sent the policy in response to the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and student responses there and elsewhere around the country to the incident.
The new policy acknowledges the benefits of student participation in democracy and recognizes the rights of students to dissent peacefully, but it states that the board is committed to striking a proper balance between students’ right to free speech and expression and the board’s responsibility to ensure safety and order in its schools. It makes provisions for the district’s response to student expression and encourages student expression “at an appropriate time and place, and in an appropriate manner that does not disrupt the school environment.” It also provides for consequences for student violation of district policies or code.