Creative Arts teacher Jireh Funnie presents Ray and Queen Funnye with a gift.

The Village Group’s Plantersville Summer Academy and Summer Bridge programs hosted their annual Parents’ Observance Day July 23.

The two programs, operated out of Plantersville Elementary School, serve children from across Georgetown County with a goal of preventing the “summer slide,” according to Director Ray Funnye.

Funnye said he continues to be blessed by the program every year.

“I am so proud of this program,” said Funnye. “We are able to bring these young people here in a safe environment while we teach them, and also give them experiences in a community aspect. “

The day gave volunteers, teachers and students to showcase what they have learned during the past seven weeks.

According to Funnye, the academy started a reading program this year and brought in reading specialist, Norine Fraiser, a professor at Coastal Carolina University.

“She is very gifted and was able to share with the kids the importance of reading,” he said. “That allows them to learn and enjoy it.”

He highlighted the importance of their robotics and engineering program which they hope to expand next year under Dr. A. Sheffield.

“You can certainly become a plumber or electrician,” he said. “Thinking about becoming an engineer or scientist is equally as important.”

Johnathan Grier, who attends Carvers Bay Middle School, said the program was very beneficial to him this year.

“I grew in my math and reading skills this summer,” Grier said. “Reading was hard for me in school, but I understand it perfectly now.”

The keynote speaker was Suncera Johnson, CEO of amass digital, who reminded the audience how important the “dash” is in an obituary.

“The dash represents your entire life,” she said. “There are things about people that go in that dash and there are things that people don’t know you that go in that dash. Each of you, no matter how young you are, is starting to fill that dash. Every day you are making an impression on people.”

Johnson reminded the audience about the power of social media and gave an example of not hiring a publisher of one of her books by some of their social media posts.

“Be careful what you post,” she said. “It says more about you than you think it says about you. Your social media is your interaction with each other. Be kind of each other. Be respectful of one another. “

She left a few parting words of wisdom to the students.

“Always strive to do more,” she said. “Always strive to do better. Do not hesitate to reach out to the people in this room.”

A video highlight of the summer entitled “Summer Highlights,” presented by Vanessa Dease, drew smiles and laughter throughout the audience.

Toward the end of the event, Angela Hawkins presented awards to the students with the highest GPAs in math and language arts in their respective grade levels.