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      Berkeley County students awarded for turnaround achievements

      By Ava Wilhite

      awilhite@abcnews4.com

      Charleston, S.C. (WCIV)

      It was no ordinary luncheon held this afternoon at the Berkeley County Country Club. 26 Berkeley County schools students were awarded Turnaround Achievement Awards.

      "Students come into our buildings with all types of challenges, sometimes theses challenges are very difficult to overcome," said Rodney Thompson, Superintendent of Berkeley County Schools.

      He said these students exemplify what the Turnaround achievement awards are all about.

      "After last year my grandmother died and when I came back, I got expelled because I couldn't deal without her," said Bianca Baker, 14, of Westview Middle School. Baker turned her grades and attendance all the way around to where she is now a proud all A-B honor roll student.

      "Instead of going outside I stayed in and I got all my work done," said Baker. {}

      These students are not only turning around their grades, but their attitudes.

      "In school, I stopped being bad, I stopped hanging out with the bad kids." Said 12 year-old Paul Mitchell, who attends Hanahan Middle school.{}

      "The grades, that was hard to pull up, you know? I had to study hard, you know? I did it for my family," said Mitchell.

      Mitchell was one of the award students who's ready to share the award with his family, but others at this luncheon are not as fortunate.

      "My mother leaving me, my father leaving me, being in foster care and group homes stuff like that made it harder for me," said Patrick Peterson, 19, who goes to Berkeley Middle College. He said his award is more of a personal accolade.

      "My whole life its been a struggle but at the same time to turn around like this is one of the best opportunities, I've been given," said Peterson. Peterson said he plans to attend the Citadel and become and engineer.

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