The S.C. HEART Award


About The S.C. HEART Award
The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, in collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Education, is pleased to announce the creation of the Higher Education Awareness Readiness Transition (HEART) Award.  The HEART Award seeks to recognize excellence in school counseling by identifying South Carolina school counselors with proven records of accomplishment in promoting higher education awareness.

The HEART Award is open to all school counselors working in South Carolina’s schools. Applicants should demonstrate strong professional expertise and success in preparing students for postsecondary opportunities. Successful applicants should emphasize creating a college-going culture from elementary through high school to include career exploration, appropriate course selection and planning, and the college application process (financial aid, state scholarships, grants, etc.).

Additionally, applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Currently be employed as a full-time, fully certified school counselor 
  • Have a minimum of three consecutive years of counseling service at the level of nomination
  • Hold at least a master’s degree in school counseling

How to submit application for the S.C. HEART Award
To nominate a counselor for the S.C. HEART Award, please complete the

HEART Award Nomination Form.

To apply for the S.C. HEART Award, please complete the

HEART Award Application Packet.

For questions regarding the S.C. HEART Award, please contact:

Vickie Pratt
(803) 737-9651
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The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, in collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Education, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Higher Education Awareness Readiness Transition (HEART) Awards. Awards were given during a special banquet on Tuesday, May 18.

In its second year, the S.C. HEART Award recognizes excellence in school counseling and success promoting higher education awareness in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the state.

“Our school counselors are a vital link in helping students reach their educational and career goals,” said Dr. Karen Woodfaulk, CHE Director of Student Services and the banquet’s opening speaker. “Promoting higher education is only one of our school counselors’ many responsibilities, which is why it’s so important to recognize and reward those who make it a priority.”

Of 60 nominees, three recipients and three finalists were chosen by a specially-appointed selection committee. Each S.C. HEART Award recipient received a $3,500 award and a $1,500 incentive grant for his or her current school’s counseling department. Each finalist received a $1,000 incentive grant for his or her school.

The 2011 S.C. HEART Award Recipients

Tina Kelly – 2011 S.C. HEART Award Elementary School Recipient
Ambler Elementary School in Liberty, S.C. 

A school counselor for 17 years, Kelly credits her appreciation of education to her parents, who taught her and her brothers at a very young age that “learning is a priceless treasure to be treated with respect.”

She now passes on this love of lifelong learning to young students at Ambler Elementary School through a unique three-tiered approach that focuses on parents and caregivers, other school counselors and staff members, and most importantly, students.

“Student-focused programs and activities are the key components of my third tier of HEART,” said Kelly. “As a best practice, I link lessons to the real world of my students.”

Crissy Roddy – 2011 S.C. HEART Award Middle School Recipient
Carolina Springs Middle School in West Columbia, S.C.

A school counselor for eight years, Roddy has shown continuous commitment to every student and parent she encounters, ensuring future success and leaving long lasting impressions.  

 “My approach to HEART is most effective when I begin with the sincere belief that any student can continue with a postsecondary education if they are willing to work for it,” explained Roddy.

 Ms. Roddy plans a career fair each year and a student/parent breakfast with speakers from the University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College and the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation to discuss the benefits of going to college.

 Starting in sixth grade she completes an activity asking students to name the careers necessary to get a bag of chips in her hands. She then goes through these professions and the college degrees needed to obtain these careers in order to spark conversation on college from an early age.

Anna Duvall – 2011 S.C. HEART Award High School Recipient
White Knoll High School in Lexington, S.C.

A school counselor for more than a decade — and the director of White Knoll High School’s large counseling department for the past three years — Duvall remains driven by the motto she first learned as an active member of her childhood 4-H club: “Make the Best Better!”

“My commitment to promoting HEART begins with my commitment to my students,” she explained. “This commitment encompasses lifelong learning as a continuous goal for me — and transfers to my students.” Duvall continuously seeks out classes, experiences and conferences that keep herself and her department abreast of the ever-changing requirements for postsecondary education.

The 2010 S.C. HEART Award Recipients

Zan Tracy Pender – 2010 S.C. HEART Award Elementary School Recipient
Lemira Elementary School in Sumter, S.C.

A school counselor for the past eight years, Pender was the first in his family to graduate from college — who understands firsthand the importance of helping young students understand what it takes to achieve career goals.

As part of his school counseling program, Pender makes college preparation a key focus. With college pennants displayed throughout the hallways and a televised morning show featuring a different college or university each week, he is creating a college-going culture. Just ask his students “Who are you?” and you’ll see the proof with their response: “We are Lemira students, and we ARE college bound.”

Crystal Lynn Halley – 2010 S.C. HEART Award Middle School Recipient
Alston Middle School in Summerville, S.C.

A school counselor for four years, Halley put herself through college to pursue her dream of becoming a school counselor.

Constantly looking for avenues to incorporate career awareness and college preparation for her students, Halley personally ensures her students are informed of the opportunities and necessary steps it takes to go to college. By creating the Alston Leadership Program for Students (ALPS), she offers her students the tools needed to be successful in life.

Susan B. Hilton – 2010 S.C. HEART Award High School Recipient
York Comprehensive High School in York, S.C.

A school counselor for 31 years with more than 35 years of experience in public education, Hilton believes that a school counselor can be the key to helping each child be successful — which is her goal every day for every child.

Starting early, Hilton makes sure students understand the needed steps toward higher education. She says it’s rewarding to see her students’ eyes light up when she helps them search for a college and apply for scholarships. Her favorite part? When students realize that they can go to college.

“We commend all of our recipients and finalists for their commitment to creating a college-going culture in South Carolina,” said Woodfaulk. “So many students and their families look to school counselors as the primary source for higher education information and guidance, and with counselors like those we’ve recognized tonight, more and more students will succeed in making college a reality.” 

In addition to the award recipients, the 2010 S.C. HEART Award finalists include Dana Partin from Larne Elementary School in Clover, S.C.; Carolyn B. Aarons from Daniel Island School in Charleston, S.C.; and Linda Jewell Strojan from Aiken High School in Aiken, S.C.

The S.C. HEART Award is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Education and the College Access Challenge Grant.

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