Return to Headlines

School District Five students graduate from Project SEARCH Program

For Immediate Release – June 22, 2020



School District Five students graduate from Project SEARCH Program

IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five celebrated its fifth year of the student-initiative Project SEARCH, graduating students from the program at Prisma Health Baptist Parkridge.


The four students graduating in the class of 2020 include: Karim Brazile (Dutch Fork High), Emmanuel Dreher (Spring Hill High), Kelli Grooms (Irmo High), and Anthony “TeeJay” Mack (Irmo High).


School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, Prisma Health and SC Vocational Rehabilitation have collaborated since 2015 to bring Project SEARCH to teens in the Midlands with special needs. Project SEARCH is a business-led school-to-work transition model with demonstrated success in developing internships for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are in their last year of high school.


"Each year we observe student growth and progress, but this year in particular stands out in just how much these students have matured in their professionalism and motivation,” said Project SEARCH Instructor Elizabeth Magee.  “These are some of the most conscientious individuals who can be trusted to complete their assigned tasks consistently and accurately. They are true assets to their current and future employers and continue to make Project SEARCH proud!"


Interns completed a total of two eleven-week internship rotations in a variety of departments throughout the hospital, as school closures prevented completion of a third rotation. Placement options included positions in the Imaging Unit, the Medical/Surgical Floor, Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition Services, and Supply and Distribution. Students engaged in an inclusive work environment and learned department specific skills from their teams. They were included in department trainings, meetings, and celebrations to experience every aspect of being an employee. Each intern was responsible for presenting to the hospital leadership team at least once, and also planned and executed multiple personal Employment Planning Meetings throughout the year to guide their support team in decisions related to their future job interests.


School District Five serves nearly 2,500 students with disabilities annually, providing a variety of programs for K-12 students. The Project SEARCH initiative is just one of the programs the district has implemented to ensure special needs students and families have access to services.


“We know that students with disabilities need opportunities in the community to practice work skills,” said School District Five Director of Special Services Dr. Angie Slatton. “This intensive internship is really the ideal setting for them.  They work through three rotations at the hospital and get to work side by side with other professionals.  The students are treated as professionals and they are ready to compete competitively when they finish this program.”