Keynote speakers

This event is highlighted as it has become known as a signature event of Orangeburg County Community of Character.  

It is important to acknowledge great character; and it is crucial to instill great character at an early age. In our schools, years ago, guidance counselors (professional school counselors) introduced initiatives that highlighted the importance of integrating the teaching of character traits into the school curriculum. In 2002, a rippling affect took place in our schools. Classroom curriculum, guidance programs, school assemblies and community programs focused on character building. Counselors led the way for the implementation of these programs. Former school superintendent, Melvin Smoak, felt character building would assist in enhancing student achievement and help control school environments; therefore, he agreed to start a District-wide Outstanding Character Recognition Program for all fifth graders. This program has continued to grow and expand throughout the great County of Orangeburg.  

Orangeburg County Community of Character, working with the professional school counselors at each school, brings together fifth graders from all across Orangeburg County and recognizes those who have exemplified outstanding character.  Over 18 elementary schools and about 1500 fifth graders participate in this event.  Students, faculty, administrators, public officials and special guests share and hear messages promoting good character. The program also features special performances and a keynote motivational speaker.

2002Senator John W. Matthews, S.C. State Senate, Retired Education AdministratorMartin Luther King Auditorium, SCSU
2003The Late Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Former Chief Justice S.C. Supreme CourtMartin Luther King Auditorium, SCSU

Dr. Carl Jones, ​SCSU Executive Director for Student Success and Retention

Martin Luther King Auditorium, SCSU
2005Mrs. Gloria Kirkland, ​OCSD4 Youth Program CoordinatorSmith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center, SCSU
2006Mr. Craig Melvin, TV AnchorJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2007Reverend Henry Hennegan, CEF Volunteer LeaderJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2008Mrs. Alice Carson Tisdale, First Lady Claflin University and EducatorJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2009Mr. Michael Douglas, Harlem GlobetrotterJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2010Honorable Glenda Hatchett, JudgeJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2011Reverend Artie Knight, Former Basketball CoachJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2012Coach Mike Ayers, Head Football Coach, Wofford CollegeJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2013Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, Orangeburg County SheriffJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2014Mr. Al Duncan, Motivational SpeakerJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2015Mr. Laymon Hicks, Motivational Speaker

Jonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University

2016Dr. Stephen Peters, Ed.D., Education AdministratorJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University
2017Coach Willie Jeffries, Coach Emeritus, SCSUJonas T. Kennedy Center, Claflin University

Annual fifth grade outstanding character recognition event