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EPL in the News

News stories about Emerging Public Leaders (EPL) participants are grouped together by the year in which they
participated in the EPL program. If you click on the year, the link will take you to that year's homepage. 


Emerging Public Leaders 2019-20 winners and awards announced. Furman News


Bayan Abunijem, a senior at Greenville Tech Charter High School in Greenville, has organized a self-defense workshop to help lower domestic violence rates in South Carolina. Read more

Blanton Newman, a senior at J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, has organized a “Festival of Friendship” to bring together the “abled” and “differently abled” in our community. Read more

Winners and awards of the 2018-19 EPL class are announced. Read more


Duncan Winburn, a senior at Westwood High School in Columbia, has founded “Star Day,” a program that celebrates special education students and the arts. Winburn, a fine arts student with cerebral palsy, led Star Day Friday, December 1 at Westwood High School. For the article in its entirety, Columbia Star

Erica Daly, a senior at Fort Mill High School, is working toward closing the gender gap in public office positions. For the article in its entirely, Furman University Press Release


Jessica Cole, Chapin High School, Chapin, SC, is trying to get kids to read again. She passed out 1,000 books to third graders at Newberry's Gallman Elementary School. Her goal is to encourage kids to read both at school and at home. Read more (pdf format) and a link to the video.

Read about Dipali Patel, Colleton County High School, Walterboro, SC, and her Emerging Public Leaders project.

For Thanksgiving 2016, Jeremiah Drummond (2015-16 participant) is continuing his project and wanted to give people eating at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen a Thanksgiving they would remember. He plans to return to the Soup Kitchen again at Christmas 2016. Read more about his story: WSPA.comWYFF 4


Jeremiah Drummond, a student at Paul Dorman High School in Spartanburg, combined his passion for photography with his passion to give back to society. He spent two days using a corner of the dining room at the Spartanburg soup kitchen as a temporary studio and taking pictures for people who otherwise might not be able to buy a photo for the holidays. His story appeared in the following: Savannah Morning News, Aiken Standard, Bluffton Today, SCNow, Washington Times, Deseret News, News 13, Daily Reporter, The Republic, Daily JournalGreenville News

Mauldin High senior, Celine Crum, paints a mural at Mauldin Cultural Center for her Emerging Public Leaders' service project. Greenville NewsGreenville News


Brittany Joyce, a senior in Hartsville High School’s International Baccalaureate program, has developed Project PERK, or Police Encouraging Responsibility and Kindness, a program offering gift certificate rewards to students when law enforcement and school resource officers find them making commendable decisions and actions. Read more . . .

Scott’s Branch New Tech Student and EPL participant, Natrone Davis, and Scott’s Branch High School place in the H&R Block Budget Challenge. Manninglive

Johnsonville student throws unique senior prom. Read more about Lucas Paquette's project, or click here for the CarolinaLive article with video. 


Wilson High School IB student Aryana Derakhshan collected more than 7,000 pounds of food by organizing the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank. Read more about her community project in the Pee Dee News

Christ Church Episcopal School Nina Contis created "Teens for Tomorrow," a nonprofit organization for which she has raised $4,000 for Greenville County Schools.  Read more in the Greenville JournalGreenville County Schools


Kenan Sakarcan was featured on, Columbia, SC for launching a new program, "Got Warmth?".  His goal was to provide 150 sleeping bags to the homeless in Columbia.  To read more about his project, click here.

Young leader, Joni Ware, unveils ‘Worth the Wait?'  Broome senior spearheads teen abstinence program. To read more about her project, click here.
Sarah Katherine DeVenny was the recipient of the 2011 South Carolina Annual Literacy Leader (ALL) award on September 13, 2011 in Columbia, SC. She was recognized for her EPL project that promoted community collaboration and sustainable reading support in the family literacy arena. ALL was established in 2007 as a part of the University of South Carolina's effort to improve literacy across South Carolina.  Sarah Katherine is the youngest to receive this award. To view her award letter, click here; for more information about the award, click here and here.  
Pinewood Preparatory School student, Hannah Keefer, places in service project competition The Summerville Journal Scene


Tori James founded a mentoring program for middle school students, Girls Helping Girls Club. For an article about her project that appeared in the Gaston Gazetteclick here.
For an article about Ben Saul's project that appeared in The Index-Journalclick here.  Ben also was asked to speak at a political rally in Greenwood, SC and he expressed how the EPL program had impacted his life. For his entire speech, click here.


Brooke Culclasure, Project Director, and Cathy Stevens, Assistant Project Director, penned an article for The Greenville News on the 2005-06 winning projects; for a description of all the students' projects,  click here.

Ellen Corman was featured in the Atmore Advance, Atmore, ALfor securing a $75,000 grant to replace trees destroyed by hurricanes; to view the article, click here
Jonathan Cote was featured in the Fort Mill Times, Fort Mill, SC for creating a student liaison board; to view the article, click here.
Shun Griffin was featured in the Index Journal, Greenwood, SC for launching a new program, OperationImpact, that is designed to help middle school students become successful leaders in high school and beyond; to view the article, click here.
Will Lankford was featured in the Rock Hill Herald, Rock Hill, SC for developing a project that will create volunteer opportunities for students at the York Place Episcopal Church Home for Children; to view the article, click here.
Elizabeth Powell was featured in the Georgetown Times, Georgetown, SC for establishing a Diabetes Awareness Month and organizing events for its kickoff; to view the article, click here.
Patrick Sellars was featured in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SCfor creating a children's book that focuses on conservation; to view the article, click here.


Abby Elsener's and Will Alsfelder's projects were featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, OH

Jeremy Welch's project was featured in the Index-Journal, Greenwood, SC