​Guest column: SCTCCCA establishes scholarship in Sharonda Coleman-Singleton’s name

By Dave Lee, SCTCCCA president

This past summer, we lost one of our own. Coach Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was killed in the shooting at Emanuel AME church in downtown Charleston. Coach Singleton was one of the Track & Field coaches at Goose Creek High School and was a cherished member of her community, a minister at Emanuel AME, and a devoted mother. She left behind three sons, Caleb, Camryn, and Chris.

As the President of our Coaches Association (SCTCCCA), I began to search for appropriate ways to reach out and make a donation in honor of Sharonda. That is when I received an email from Coach Debbie Croxton of Westside High School.

Debbie had decided that making a donation wasn't good enough, especially given the fact that three young men were left behind, without their mother. She believed that we needed to reach out to our fallen sister's children with a showing of love and support, BUT, she also understood that our coaches association is not "made of money" and that we had/have to be careful with the funding that we DO have. So, she came up with an idea:

T-shirts! Debbie contacted a company that agreed to create the "Palmetto Dove" T-shirts for us and to charge us minimal costs for the shirts. Then, at our annual summer coaches' clinic, the shirts were sold to coaches of all sports! As a result, $1000 will be donated directly to the children of Coach Singleton!

In addition, the SCTCCCA unanimously voted to begin an annual scholarship for one deserving XC/Track athlete each year! The scholarship will be in honor/memory of ALL coaches that we have lost, but it will bear Coach Singleton's name. The scholarship will be based on the athlete's overall character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship) and is open to all cross country and track seniors in South Carolina. At the end of each school year one scholarship of $500 will be awarded (pending NCAA rules/regulations). Coaches may nominate athletes through a link on the Coaches Association website (www.carolinaxc.com). The link is not up and running, but will be in 2016.

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Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Singleton, Sharonda's oldest child. Chris plays baseball for Charleston Southern University, so our SCTCCCA officers wanted to be careful with our donation, so as to not get Chris into issues with the NCAA.

Chris was deeply moved when he heard of the funding that was raised through the sales of the "Palmetto Dove" T-shirts. But, he was tremendously touched when he heard of the scholarship. Knowing that, in the wake of such a horrible tragedy, some good will come to one athlete each year, and it will be done in his mother's name, was something that he had not expected when we first began to talk. Chris made a point to ask me to "Please tell everyone, 'Thank you for me! What they did is so amazing!'

If you would like to donate directly to the family of Coach Singleton, you may contact Wells Fargo and reference the "Sharonda A. Coleman-Singleton Memorial Fund."