Dutch Fork High School in Lexington-Richland School District Five was recognized by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) May 26 as the 2020 Palmetto’s Finest award winner in the high school division during an announcement on SCETV.

“For School District Five to have Dutch Fork High School win Palmetto’s Finest is a celebration for our entire district,” said Dr. Christina Melton, School District Five superintendent.  “They represented our district so well and for Dutch Fork to be named the winner is a testament of the commitment and hard work the faculty, staff, students and community put forth every day.”

Dutch Fork High school’s 100-acre campus was originally built in 1992, with new additions added in 1999 and 2014. Since the school’s inception, it has grown into a comprehensive 5A high school, serving grades 9-12.

The student body has about 1679 students. Together, parents, teachers, business partners, and students are called to embody the school’s motto: “Enter to Learn. Go Forth to Serve.” The nationally ranked STEM program includes more than 200 students and was recently ranked #25 in the nation by Newsweek magazine. 

“There are no words to describe the absolute pride that I have for our Fox Family,” Principal Dr. Gerald Gary said.  “After spending ten weeks apart as a result of the emergency COVID-19 closure, the Palmetto’s Finest designation is just what we needed to close out our year for our students, parents, and teachers.  We are thankful for the wonderful support of our community, and we look forward to coming back together when it is safe next year to celebrate in a big way.”

SCASA is the professional organization for school leaders in South Carolina, with a membership of more than 4,400. From professional development opportunities and research, to publications and legislative advocacy, SCASA’s focus is to support school leaders in providing the best possible education for South Carolina’s young people. As a state affiliate of three national associations for school leaders, SCASA also works on the national level.

“The Palmetto’s Finest award winners are models of innovation throughout our state,” said Beth Phibbs, South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) executive director. “They set the standard of excellence by creating an outstanding school culture which includes setting high expectations and providing opportunities for personalized learning.”

This is the second time Dutch Fork High School has received the Palmetto’s Finest award. They also received it in the 2001-2002 school year.