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L. Zimmerman Keitt opened a new site for her tutorial service Project Life: Positeen at St. Matthews K8 Thursday.

“We are a native of Calhoun County so it is really a blessing to be here,” said Keitt, who is Orangeburg mayor pro tem and an Orangeburg City Council member.

Project Life: Positeen is a tutorial program founded by Keitt in 1992. It is aimed at providing a structured, disciplined environment for at-risk students to help increase students' success rate.

“When the students come in, we do a lot of training,” Keitt said, adding that the program does not focus solely on books but teaches life lessons as well. One thing it teaches students is how to enter a room and introduce themselves to others.

“These are the kinds of things that we do within this program so that our children will know that it’s not all about just the books but spiritually, academically, as well as community-wise,” she said.

Project Life also provides scholarship money through the Kiwanis Club for students who go on to attend Claflin or South Carolina State universities.

The St. Matthews location is Project Life’s sixth site. The organization currently operates out of four sites in Orangeburg and one in Bowman.

The site in St. Matthews will begin with 15 students from St. Matthews K8 and 15 from Sandy Run K8.

The classes will take place after school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m.

St. Matthews Mayor Helen Carson-Peterson thanked Keitt, saying, “We strive here in Calhoun County to make this a better place for our children to work, live and to play.”

“I was just so very excited to hear that she was going to come and try to do what she could to help our school base as much as she probably could,” Peterson added. “You have really stepped into a realm which is very, very important, and I want to thank you for that.”

Calhoun County School District Deputy Superintendent Ferlondo Tullock said, “Thank you to Ms. Keitt and her organization for coming into Calhoun County to provide such a welcomed service to our young people.”

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said Keitt has been by his side throughout his time as mayor, noting that he is happy to see her open a new site for her organization.

“Let’s see this program through because I really believe it’s going to be great and it’s very much needed,” Butler said.

Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg was also on hand to congratulate Keitt. He said programs like Project Life: Positeen are needed across South Carolina.

“There are some exciting things that are in the process of happening and are going to happening in the state of South Carolina,” Govan said. “I can tell you from the vantage point that I sit, it is absolutely critical.”

He said reaching at-risk youth is important to the quality of education in the area and “is really a critical part of the puzzle in trying to make the education improvements that are important in our state.”

Contact the writer: jmack@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516.

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Government Reporter

John Mack is a 2016 graduate of Claflin University. He is an Orangeburg native.

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