The Herff Jones Company Named a Champion for Public Education
Dr. Tom Dobbins, Anderson School District Four Board Chair and South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) Region 16 Director, along with Greenville School Board Chairman Dr. Crystal Ball O'Connor, presented the Champion for Public Education Award to The Herff Jones Company representatives Harold Waters, Andy Waters, and Jeremy Simmons.
The GCS Board of Trustees nominated The Herff Jones Company and Harold and Andy Waters for the award, which is presented to community residents, organizations or local businesses/industries whose support of and contributions to public education have significantly benefited the school district or public schools statewide.
The Herff Jones Company is a leader in high school and college achievement products such as graduation gowns and class rings. The Herff Jones Company in Greenville works with the principal at Carolina High and Academy to provide a unique experience for graduating students. Just five years ago the school had a graduation rate that was less than 50 percent. Now, each year The Herff Jones Company, led by Harold and Andy Waters, partners with the school’s principal Michael Delaney to develop specialized gowns, with a theme tailored to the graduating class and reveals them each year at a fashion show-type event. This event culminates with seniors signing Mr. Delaney’s gown as a pledge to do whatever it takes to graduate.
Carolina High School and Academy’s graduation rate in the most recently released data stands at 75.8%, and Mr. Delaney believes Herff Jones’ contribution has been key to changing the culture of the school by providing the students with caps and gowns that are unlike any across the nation and that help reflect the unique experiences and culture of Carolina High School and Academy. The Herff Jones Company donates the caps and gowns to every Carolina High student who fulfills his or her commitment to graduate.
Herff Jones also donates gifts each year to the Greenville County Schools Teacher of the Year and the top 10 finalists, ensuring recognition and appreciation for outstanding teachers in the district.
“The Herff Jones Company’s partnership with Greenville County Schools and their unwavering support for public schools and students is why the South Carolina School Boards Association is proud to recognize and honor them with our Champions for Public Education award,” said SCSBA Executive Director Scott Price.
To receive the award, recipients must meet the following criteria:
- show leadership in support of ongoing or special programs authorized by the school board
- demonstrate, through actions, pride for the school district and effectively work for the betterment of the schools in the district as a whole, or for public schools statewide
- understand public education’s importance to a democratic society and actively inspire
- support for quality public schools within the community or state
- make a difference for the entire school district or schools statewide