Sumter’s BD forms partnership with Ebenezer Middle School

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One of Sumter’s top industrial employers connected with a middle school in two big ways recently with a hope to turn the page to community building.

Ken Lee, plant manager at BD, and two associates surprised a social studies teacher at Ebenezer Middle School with boxes of books for her classroom. The effort was part of an employee giving campaign that raised money for the Sumter Education Foundation’s 500 for 500K campaign, which is a goal to raise $500,000 to purchase sets of 500 books for each classroom library and other resources to support literacy in Sumter School District classrooms as required in the state’s Read to Succeed Act.

“We have a responsibility to educate this community,” Lee said.

The students of today will be the employees of tomorrow who replace Baby Boomers in plant jobs and elsewhere, he said.

The education foundation is the nonprofit philanthropic arm of the school district. Shirl Goodman, BD human resources site director and member of the foundation’s board of directors, said the group supports teachers by giving them one less thing they will end up paying for out of their pocket.


Lee and Ebenezer Principal Marlene Dewit also talked during the surprise book donation about their newly formed partnership through the district’s Adopt a School Initiative.

The Partners in Education program is a joint venture between the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and Sumter’s public and private schools. Businesses and organizations are invited to provide support through financial contributions, in-kind donations, sponsorship of events and awards, attendance and academic initiatives, internships, volunteering and mentoring.

By adopting Ebenezer, BD employees will help promote the school and provide various means of support.

“They have a representative on our school improvement council and a representative on our STEM committee to help us work toward becoming nationally accredited with STEM,” Dewit said.

Other initiatives will include promoting teacher morale and teaching students and parents about potential jobs in the area and what a company looks for in a potential employee.

“Meeting with Ken has really given me a really great feeling because Ken is really trying to be a part of our school and wanting to come to our school and put the company out there,” she said. “Not advertise the company but put it out there so people can see they want to be a part of the community and help out the schools.”

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