Dressing for success – Kenneth Gardner Elementary School students show off their belts that were donated by local law firm Jenkinson, Jarrett & Kellahan, P.A. Pictured from front left: Nigel Levine, Dezmann Burgess, Zymir Harmon, London Bradley and Brandon McCrea. Back row: Tom Thompson, Latonya Scott, Principal Colleen Kelty, Williamsburg County School District Superintendent Dr. Rose Wilder, and Evan Reynolds.  

Photo by Michaele Duke

Kenneth Gardner Elementary School Principal Colleen Kelty is proud of her students for embracing the concept of uniforms. When she saw the kids in uniforms, she realized that a lot of them had the shirts and pants but they didn’t have the belt. “We felt like we wanted to push the gentlemanly behavior of our students.”

Kelty talked to the administration and they decided to reach out to law firm, Jenkinson, Jarrett & Kellahan P.A. for help. On September 17, members of the law firm presented nearly 50 belts in appropriate sizes to the boys who wanted them. Paralegal Latonya Scott fashioned clear bags to hold the belts and cards that read, “Keep calm and dress for success.” Attorney Evan Reynolds added that the importance of proper dress is, “You can have a bad day but at least you can walk out the door looking good.”

Reading Coach Blakely Hemingway was given the task of coming up with a name for the project, and B.E.L.T., which stands for Building Empowered Leaders of Tomorrow, was created.

“Now that we have uniforms, all the boys just look nicer now that they’re put together.” This year students were given the option to wear uniforms. Kenneth Gardner, Hemingway Elementary, and Greeleyville Elementary have seen a high rate of success.

Williamsburg County School District Superintendent Dr. Rose Wilder believes the b.e.l.t. project is a great idea. “Once young men realize that your physical appearance speaks volumes about you, they will be more conscious of how they look,” said Wilder. The boys also like the B.E.L.T. project. “If your pants fall you have to keep picking them up and you can’t do that. That’s why you need a belt,” said fourth grader, London Bradley. However, he added it’s more than wearing something that serves a function. “It makes us look handsome.”