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Secretary of Education Dick Riley and State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum were the highlights of the Meet in the Middle launch ceremony on January 11. More than 150 Meet in the Middle school coordinators, volunteers and students turned out on the crisp and beautiful January day in front of the College of Education to celebrate the official beginning of a partnership that involves 81 middle schools in 31 South Carolina counties.

The launch ceremony began with a special performance by the Crayton Middle School Jazz Band, directed by Kelly Tucker. President Palms and Dean Sternberg welcomed the enthusiastic crowd, followed by remarks by Sally T. McKay, Executive Director of the USC Bicentennial, Kappy Hubbard, Chair of the Bicentennial Educational Outreach Committee and Cheryl Washington, Chief Administrative Officer of Richland School District Two.

State Superintendent Tenenbaum brought greetings from the State Department of Education and introduced Secretary Riley for his keynote address. Everyone gathered for a reception in the Museum of Education after the ceremony.

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