Education Along the Grand Strand Includes Green Flag Racing


Former SC Lt. Governor Andre Bauer with the PALM Racing Team at Myrtle Beach Speedway

Former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor André Bauer has always been known for his creative approaches to issues — whether it was helping seniors or seeing a need to help students looking for something different out of the public school system.

Recently, Bauer stepped into the driver’s seat for the PALM racing team.

What is PALM?  It is the Palmetto Academy for Learning Motorsports; a charter high school in Myrtle Beach that is changing the face of education in South Carolina.

“Given the fact that we are working with below average equipment and a team that is learning, including myself as the driver, speaks volumes,” Bauer says.  “It’s a real team effort. We are overcoming insurmountable odds, and everyone is excited each week.  In the last eight races, our team (PALM) has had five top-5 finishes and two 3rd place finishes.”

Bauer believes that PALM offers an amazing opportunity for students to connect to something they love, like motorsports, during high school while they learn a skill that will prepare them to be gainfully employed immediately after graduation.

“South Carolina is going to have to get more creative in its approach to education to combat an embarrassing dropout rate.” When he was a member of the SC Senate, Bauer spent 4 years rotating through the schools in Lexington, Union, Saluda, and Newberry counties as a substitute teacher in an effort to better understand the state’s education issues. “There are many facets to education today,” Bauer said. “Teachers have to be disciplinarians, moderators, parents, mediators, and politicians in addition to teaching the classroom material. We have a lot of obstacles to overcome, but if the young adults are excited about coming to school, it makes teachers’ jobs easier.”

Bauer outlines three key factors to improving education in South Carolina: 1) creative ways to educate our children, 2) motivating our students to want to come to school, and 3) not throwing money at the problem. Bauer points out that PALM operates with a much smaller budget than traditional high schools and does so successfully.

Students at PALM must have good attendance, complete assignments, and do well academically to be selected for the racing crew. They learn critical thinking in a fast-paced environment at the track. The skills they learn are not just bodywork and painting, but focus heavily on science and math such as geometry and physics.

Two of the crewmembers, Blaise Bryant and Jack Deese, have been racing since they were about 5 years old. They started with go-carts and have moved up through the ranks. Bryant has racing in his blood with both his father and grandfather participating in the sport. His grandfather insisted he learn everything about the cars and how they worked before allowing him to race.  “He didn’t want to spoil me by just putting me behind the wheel,” Bryant, who is currently the PALM crew chief, says.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lee Rivers/Right Move Photography



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