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Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 will be upgrading athletic equipment at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and Bethune-Bowman High School.

OCSD5 trustees voted Tuesday to increase the general fund budget for the current fiscal year by $161,000 to cover the cost of athletic equipment repair, athletic supplies and repairs to the weight room at O-W and Bethune-Bowman.

The board's vote was unanimous.

The money will specifically be spent on helmet repairs, mouth guard repairs, pads, shirts, jerseys and uniforms.

The funds will also be used to upgrade the floors in both O-W's and Bethune-Bowman's weight rooms and purchase new weight machines.

The $161,000 will come from the district's reserve funds.

"This has no impact on taxes," OCSD 5 spokesman Bill Clark said. "The transfer has the effect of increasing the amount of a particular line item in one area of the budget while simultaneously decreasing the amount of a line item in another area of the budget by an identical amount."

In other matters, trustees recognized 18 senior scholars for being in the top 10 percent of the district. The seniors are graduating from Bethune-Bowman High School, North High School and the High School for Health Professions.

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An additional 22 seniors will be recognized from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School at the board's next meeting May 14.

"Our students are winners," said Dr. Wanda McMichael, executive director of testing, accountability and research.

The district has a total of 436 graduating seniors.

In recognition of their achievement, the students will receive an iPad, a matching keyboard, an Apple pencil, an iPad page and an honor cord to be worn at graduation.

The scholars have earned about $4 million in scholarships. Each of the board members and the superintendent personally congratulated the graduates at the meeting.

The mayors of Orangeburg, North and Bowman created a proclamation in honor of the seniors.

Board Chairman Vernon Stephens said, “We know that you will soar to heights higher than normal.'

Trustee the Rev. Nate McMillan noted the students are not only doing well academically but also perform community service.

He said some of the students also served as the color guard for a recent prayer breakfast hosted by the Regional Medical Center.

District Superintendent Jesse Washington also recognized all the teachers of the district in honor of National Teacher Day.

"I have never seen our educators in our community mobilize and come together like they did last week at the state capitol," Washington said.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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