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Small School Makes Big Impact On Community

I wrote this story recently for The Post and Courier, the daily newspaper in Charleston, S.C., where I work, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Lincoln High School is a small school about an hour north of Charleston in rural McClellanville. It enrolls about 160 students in 7th through 12th grades, and 95 percent of its students live in poverty. It's rated "average" by the state.

Resources are limited in schools and communities such as this one, but Lincoln High has found a way to leverage what it has for the benefit of students and nearby residents. The school has opened a student-run nail salon to the public. It's giving students a chance to learn new, practical skills in a supervised environment, and it's giving locals a close-by place to go for their personal hygiene needs.

Such an arrangement is not unique, but in this rural community, it's making a huge difference. Lincoln High Principal Yvonne Commodore had the vision for this new program. She saw it as a way students could gain valuable experiences while giving back to those who offer the school so much.

Rural schools across the country likely could tell similar stories about the critical importance of the community to their school and vice versa. To that end, the Rural School and Community Trust, one of the most vocal advocates for rural education, is dedicated to helping bolster those relationships.

Community support doesn't negate all the challenges confronting rural schools, but it certainly helps overcome them.

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