S.C. Olympian presents $10K to local schools

Paralympic runner and native South Carolinian Jerome Singleton presented a $10,000 donation to the Charleston County public school system during a “BP Olympic Experience” event Oct. 6.

The fastest amputee on the planet was in town earlier this month to present $10,000 to Charleston County schools on behalf of BP’s Fueling Communities program.

Jerome Singleton of Greenwood was crowned the fastest amputee when he won the gold medal in the men’s 100m during the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships.

He was born without a fibula in his right calf and had his leg amputated below the knee when he was 18 months old.

He is one of nine BP Olympic Ambassadors sponsored by the company.

Singleton said he has roots in the Charleston area and lived here until he was 5. He said he still has family here.

“It’s a blessing to be in my home state. I became the person I am today because of my community,” he said.

The check was presented at the BP Olympic Experience at Burns Elementary School, where students and community members enjoyed performances, food and Olympic-themed games that gave them a sense of what it’s like to be a paralympian.

Jeanne Hagood, lead teacher at Burns Elementary, said the event “brought together a meaningful sense of community that we strive to keep here at Burns, our neighborhood and among our sister schools.”

Hagood said they will use their portion of the donation to purchase items for their celebration room, a place where students can play games and do other activities as a reward for good behavior.

Singleton said he wants youths to “look at my life as a story. If they were to read it, they would have an example that you can come from South Carolina and be successful.”

Burke High, Burns Elementary, Drayton Hall Elementary, Ellington Elementary, Mount Zion Elementary, North Charleston Elementary, Stono Park Elementary, Sullivan’s Island Elementary, Wando High and West Ashley High School are receiving $1,000 each.

“This event is a celebration of the hard work and creativity of students right here in Charleston. We are proud to help these schools expand their programs and create new opportunities for students,” Dennis Kirk, region sales director at Kangaroo Express, said in a press release.

This is the second year in a row that BP and Kangaroo Express have made a $10,000 donation to Charleston County schools. Grant recipients are nominated by local BP business owners.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or jmcduffie@ postandcourier.com.