FLORENCE, S.C. – ScienceSouth completed its final mission with a space-themed event Saturday afternoon at its building.

Stephen Welch, ScienceSouth executive, said the organization held the last event to give one last thank you to the community for its support over the years.

“Now that we are closing and moving in different directions, and STEM education is moving in different directions, this is our final mission,” Welch said. “We just wanted to say thank you to the community, and we wanted to say thank you to the businesses that have provided support to us, as well as the state and federal entities that have done so in the past, too.”

Welch said it is hard to see ScienceSouth close, because he has enjoyed the job and the chance to give back to the community.

The last event included a digital planetarium show, a show with space concepts and Sphero robotics activities. ScienceSouth also provided free Kona Ice for families and gave out free bags, pencils and other treats.

Erin Powers, who has led summer camp programs at ScienceSouth, started at ScienceSouth before they had the main pavilion.

“It’s sad to know that we won’t have any other programs and do other science programs,” Powers said. “I’m a homeschool mom, so I do a lot of science, and I’m directing a program through that. So, I will be seeing some of the same kids, but I’m sad I won’t be able to see some of the kids that I won’t see.”

Powers will direct a seventh grade Classical Conversations group after ScienceSouth's closure.

Crystal Parker, a parent who has attended ScienceSouth events with her children, said it’s hard to see the organization close, because it has had a positive impact on her family.

“It’s very bittersweet,” Parker said. “Our kids have been coming here since the Mommy and Me class. They’ve grown up with people that have worked here. It was a safe environment. My kid was actually able to feel like he was with people who understood him for his love of science and math.”

Welch said over the years ScienceSouth has served more than 220,000 youngers, some from every school district in the Pee Dee as well as some other counties outside the PeeDee.

“It’s hard, but I feel very happy with what we’ve accomplished,” Welch said.

Welch will teach science this fall at Wilson High School after ScienceSouth’s closure

ScienceSouth announced its closure in early June, saying that the board of directors decided to end operations due to funding for STEM education becoming harder obtain and schools having more access to STEM education. June 30 was ScienceSouth's last operating day, and the Saturday event was its last.

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