“It Kids” visit State House

Kelly Payne for State Superintendent of Education
Press Release
For Immediate Release Contact: Kelly Payne
May 12, 2010 803.767.0875

Kelly Payne and the “It Kids” recognized by the SC State House

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Today the South Carolina House of Representatives recognized Kelly Payne and a number of her students for their commitment to civic involvement and their desire to gain a greater understanding of how our state government operates.

Kelly Payne is a history teacher at Dutch Fork High School and recently founded a student group called the “It Kids.” Students in this unique group are motivated and committed to community service and civic action. Through their involvement, students have become active in the political process. They have received lectures from the Governor, Speaker of the House , Attorney General , Legislators on both sides of the political aisle, and other community leaders .

SC State Representative Nathan Ballentine spoke on the House floor and was joined by a number of state leaders in their recognition of the “It Kids” including: House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham , House Minority Leader Harry Ott , Representative Nikki Haley , Representative Bakari Sellers , Representative Richard Chalk , House Speaker Bobby Harrell, House Minority Leader Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Representative James Smith , Representative Chip Huggins and Representative Anton Gunn.

Rep. Ballentine mentioned “I am here today with representatives from all over the state and from both sides of the aisle to welcome the “It Kids” from Dutch Fork High School. These students are taking their efforts from the classroom to the State House. I, along with many others standing up here with me, visited the “It Kids” and participated in their classroom discussions. We were not asked softball questions because these students wanted to ask the tough questions regarding taxes, transparency, and education. Their enthusiasm and dedication to learning about civic involvement and the political process is something we are very proud to recognize here today.”

Following Rep. Ballentine’s remarks the “It Kids” received a standing ovation from the Legislature. Sarah Shealy, an 11th grade student at Dutch Fork High School and an active member of the “It Kids” described her experience by saying “It is what Miss Payne said it would be. It gave me a better understanding of what the Legislators do. This was a very good experience and I would like to do it again.”

When asked about her students’ accomplishments Kelly Payne said, “I am so very proud of my students for their hard work and willingness to get involved in the political process. By extending the classroom and creating learning without boundaries, my students are learning how to think and not what to think. By giving them first-hand, real life experiences, they are better prepared to make more informed decisions that can lead to greater civic involvement.”

The “It Kids” completed their time at the State House with a tour of the Governor’s Office.