As the 2021-2022 academic year draws to a close, Reason & Republic is thrilled to highlight the outstanding achievements of students and faculty at Belton Preparatory Academy, Summit Classical School, and The South Carolina Preparatory Academy. Our focus today is on Makenzie Godfrey, a fifth grader at Summit who was named the 2021-2022 Charter Institute at Erskine Elementary School Student of the Year. Makenzie, who is also the Summit Classical School Student of the Year, was nominated by her teachers and principal for her persistence, positive attitude, and contributions to the school community. Selected from an impressive group of nominees from across South Carolina, Makenzie’s academic achievements and leadership within the school make her an excellent choice to serve as Erskine’s Student of the Year.

The Godfreys have been a part of the Summit Classical School family since the very beginning. “We went to the meetings way before they even started the school, and we’ve continued to be involved and have been there since day one,” said Makenzie’s mom, Benita Grant. Makenzie started at Summit first and was joined two years later by her little brother, Brycin, when he was in K5. From the small class sizes to the individual time and focus invested in the students to the amazing community, there is a lot to love about Summit Classical School. “It is personal, and I think it is like a close-knit family,” said Benita. “The teachers are nice, everybody is nice, it is a good environment. I wish more people knew about the school because it is a great opportunity.”

For Makenzie, Summit Classical has been a fantastic fit. “My favorite part about being at Summit is that you get to meet new people, and everybody is so nice and kind,” she explained. Makenzie is very enthusiastic about academics, and particularly loves math because it gives her “a challenge.” She is eager to share her love of learning with other students, and regularly provides academic assistance. “A little girl walked up to me and said she needed help with her homework, so I decided to help her,” Makenzie said. “Then students started asking me to help them with their homework, so I started helping more people.” In addition to helping with homework, Makenzie arrives early every morning to serve as Safety Patrol Captain, ensuring that all of the Safety Patrol posts are covered and encouraging younger students to behave. “She loves to lead,” said Benita. “She is someone who people look to as a leader, who they trust to be a leader.”

Makenzie’s desire to help others and her kindness to everyone in the school is definitely noticed and appreciated by those around her. “I find Makenzie to be caring of the other students in this school,” said Nurse Joyce Adair, a sentiment echoed by teachers Kate Cheeks and Adrienne Graham. “One of the things I love most about Makenzie is that she can celebrate other kids,” said Kate. Adrienne agreed, adding that “she is respectful, she is always kind to everybody, students and faculty alike.” According to Principal Mary Greene Thomasson, “Makenzie exemplifies the characteristics of a Summit BEAR, striving to Be Excellent, Accepting, Respectful, and Safe. She is an excellent student, a leader in the classroom, and the other students all look up to her.”

Makenzie’s family knew she had been nominated as The Charter Institute at Erskine’s Elementary School Student of the Year, but hearing her name announced at the Awards Banquet was a wonderful surprise which continued as she was presented the award by Senator Danny Verdin of Laurens. “I was so excited,” said Makenzie, a sentiment echoed by Benita. “I knew she had won the Student of the Year for the school, but for the district? I was so excited!” Makenzie’s advice to younger students who wish to follow the great example she has set? “Just go for it and start helping out,” said Makenzie. “If someone needs help with something, ask if you can help. That is pretty much what I do.”

Reason & Republic is dedicated to developing high quality charter schools that provide an excellent education to underserved populations across the southeast. We currently manage Belton Preparatory Academy, Summit Classical School, and the South Carolina Preparatory Academy. Our award-winning charter schools are content rich classical academies that provide students the tools needed to learn how to think critically and purposefully. Learn more at https://reasonandrepublic.com.