Lamar High gets OK to be biomedicine magnet school
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
Lamar High School got a fast answer to its proposal to become a magnet school for biomedicine, and the answer is yes. The Darlington County school board at its March 8 meeting quickly approved the school’s plan, first presented to the board two weeks earlier at a Feb. 22 work session. It’s slated to begin next school year. Education Superintendent Tim Newman said that in the program’s first year, it’s expected to cost about $21,000, which includes training a teacher. On Feb. 22, Lamar High Principal Marlon Thomas explained Lamar’s plan to become a magnet school for “biomedical innovation,” which he described as teaching “the science behind medicine.” The program, he explained to board members, would “give our kids exposure to medical professionals” through partnerships with area hospitals and health-care agencies. “We want our students to be able to investigate, document and analyze and solve real-world problems,” Thomas said. “We want our students to be critical thinkers.” Some board members Feb. 22 said they were unsure whether the program belonged at the Darlington County Institute of Technology (DCIT) or Lamar High. Thomas said that at DCIT’s health science program, “Students will learn about blood pressure, and they’ll learn how to use machines to give a reading on blood pressure. … Biomed students will give you the science behind why your blood pressure is elevated, and what’s happening to your body.” At the March 8 board meeting, board member Jamie Morphis again mentioned DCIT as perhaps a better fit, but he cautioned that the district should make students understand that if they enroll in Lamar’s biomedicine program, they are effectively enrolling in Lamar High – if they play sports, for instance, it will be for Lamar.