Beamer foundation partners with Richland County educators in back-to-school alliance

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The last time Shane Beamer and Robert Carswell shared a field was a 1999 meeting between Virginia Tech and Clemson.

Beamer’s Hokies downed the Tigers 31-11 on that Thursday evening in Blacksburg, Virginia thanks to the play of quarterback Michael Vick, but Carswell left Lane Stadium with a pair of interceptions.

“Matter of fact, I’ve still got a video on (my phone) of me getting an interception in that game,” Carswell told The State.

Carswell — now an assistant principal at Joseph Keels Elementary School — joined Beamer and a handful of other Richland 2 administrators Tuesday at the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Practice Facility for the presentation of a $4,000 check and various school supplies to four elementary schools in the district through the Beamer Family Foundation.

The event marked the inaugural partnership for the foundation started by Beamer and his wife, Emily, and is designed to help make an impact on young students in the local school system.

Those Richland 2 schools included in Tuesday’s program were Joseph Keels Elementary School, Jackson Creek Elementary, L.W. Conder Elementary and Forest Lake Elementary.

“If I had known he was a Clemson Tiger, we might’ve found a different partnership,” Beamer quipped. “We’ll blame (USC football administrator Derrick Moore) for not doing more investigative work before agreeing to partner with a Tiger.”

Each school within the program will receive a package that includes 100 backpacks for homeless students (25 per school), gift card for resource officers, a teacher supply tub and USC student volunteers throughout the year.

Keels Elementary will be the primary school of focus, per a news release announcing the partnership. That includes following additional resources on top of those previously listed:

  • Teacher back to school luncheon

  • Back to school video from South Carolina football players

  • USC student nolunteers through African American Studies and Athletics departments

  • The school news show will receive support from local anchors and reporters

  • 130 tickets to the South Carolina vs S.C. State football game

  • Book drive

  • Innovative arts education initiative

  • Other support as needed

“It’s just an honor to have the type of resources — and not just the resources — but the fact that they care,” Carswell said. “They’re not just coming over and dropping off resources and leaving. They really, genuinely care about our kids and care about their futures. It’s really going to have a tremendous impact on not only our school, but our community and, ultimately, our state.”

Beamer noted in his remarks that he spent a handful months as a substitute teacher in the Blacksburg area between his graduation from Virginia Tech and starting as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech.

South Carolina’s second-year head coach joked that was ample time to discover teaching might not have been for him.

“Those five months were enough for me to to realize that y’all have my respect,” Beamer said. “I knew after five months of substitute teaching how important you ar.e ... What you do each and every day certainly earned my respect.”

Gamecocks wide receiver Ahmarean Brown, who worked with the Beamer family on this project, also spoke to those in attendance on Tuesday.

“I just want to leave every kid a message who’s watching and who’s here right now, that you can be who you want to be,” Brown said. “Never let anyone tell you that you can’t be something. Whatever you put your mind to, continue to strive and be that person each and every day.”

The four schools included in the program are classified as Title 1 schools by the S.C. Department of Education. Title 1 is a law designed to “enable schools to provide opportunities for children served to acquire the knowledge and skills contained in the challenging state content standards and to meet the challenging state performance standards developed for all children,” according to the SCDOE.

The Beamer Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization that “Supports education, law enforcement, and other great causes, with emphasis in the greater Columbia area,” per a news release.

Beamer is entering his second season as the head football coach at South Carolina following a 7-6 debut season that included a win over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. USC begins its 2022 campaign on Sept. 3 against Georgia State.