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CCES is Just the Beginning

Every year, CCES graduates attend an exciting array of colleges and universities; many are recipients of prestigious merit scholarships. Starting in ninth grade, our experienced and knowledgeable college counselors are available to parents and students to guide, support, answer questions, and, most importantly, encourage your child to truly discover his or her own uniqueness.  

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What I love most about CCES is the fact that they don't only prepare you to succeed academically but they prepare you to succeed in life.chip waldropCCES Class of 2023

CCES class of 2023

Meet our graduates

Community Driven
CCES Alumni Open Bitty and Beau's Coffee Shop

CCES graduates understand that they have a responsibility to take care of themselves, others, and the world around them.

Lifelong Learners
CCES Alumna Dorothy Shain

CCES graduates embrace an ongoing journey of personal and intellectual growth, continually seeking to explore, question, and understand themselves and the world  around them.
 

Leaders & Team Players
CCES Alumna God-is Rivera

CCES graduates often take on leadership roles in their communities, but also understand the importance of teamwork and collaboration.  

Spiritually Rooted
CCES Alumnus Rev. Alex Sherrill

CCES students graduate with an abiding sense that a loving God is present in their lives and calls them to live in community through faithfulness, generosity, service, and kindness. 
 

Clemson University

alumni stories

Finding Success Through Collaboration: Dorothy Shain's Message of Kindness and Connection
Ellie Dalkin, Director of Young Alumni Relations and Communications

Dorothy Shain ’08 embodies the saying, “practice what you preach.” During her visit to the Upper School on Monday, she delivered a message on the importance of being kind to everyone you meet and valuing relationships above making a dollar. It just takes one conversation with Dorothy to experience these values in practice firsthand. 

As Founder and Creative Director of Dorothy Shain Fine Art & Design, she has learned how to balance the demands of being both an entrepreneur and an artist. Funding future projects requires a sustainable revenue stream, which is where her creativity shines. She has discovered her niche in collaborative ventures, showcasing her artwork in diverse spaces, from the shelves full of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits in local grocery stores to the stylish confines of Anthropologie with her bathing suit collections. 

These collaborations would not be possible without the relationships that she has built along the way. In fact her “first big start” came from a conversation about her work with a stranger at a cheap Mexican restaurant in California. The stranger ended up being the assistant to famous actress and screenwriter, Mindy Kaling (best known in her role as Kelly Kapoor on The Office). In a decision showcasing her business prowess, Dorothy traded her artwork for publicity on Kelly’s Instagram page, resulting in thousands of visitors to her website overnight. Without curiosity and kindness, this life-changing moment would not have been possible. 

She shared lessons like this to the students in Sarah Teal’s Innovative Design Class, where students have the opportunity to brainstorm and create their own projects. Sitting around a table, students asked Dorothy questions ranging from “Do you have any pets?” to “How did you build your business?” She went through her website and expounded on some of her favorite projects. 

After class, she spoke at the beginning of the Upper School assembly. Reminiscing on her years at CCES, she shared a story on how this school community comforted her during a difficult time in her life. On the first day of senior year, Dorothy received a phone call from the police department. Her dad, who had embarked on a 1-hour short hike in the woods outside Lake Kiawah, was lost and his cell phone was about to die. As one day turned into three, her family anxiously awaited the return of her father in the parking lot outside of the trailhead. Looking around, Dorothy vividly remembers seeing multiple faculty, staff, and students waiting alongside her. She says, “This community supported me in one of my worst moments and has continued to support me throughout my life.” 

She also gave a shoutout to Suzanne Abrams, a beloved retired art teacher at CCES, who encouraged Dorothy to pursue an art major in college despite her self-described stubbornness. These relationships changed her life and showed her the importance of treating others with kindness and compassion. 

Following assembly, a line of students waited for the chance to shake her hand and ask her a question. She met each student with a warm smile and a generous spirit. Dorothy exemplifies the profound impact of nurturing relationships, embracing opportunities, and embodying the values one preaches, and we are so grateful to her for giving her time and talents back to the CCES community.

Read More about Finding Success Through Collaboration: Dorothy Shain's Message of Kindness and Connection
CCES Alumna, Kelly Gavron Scoggins '99, Posing with Her Husband and Three Children
Ellie Dalkin, Director of Young Alumni Relations & Communications

In June of 2017, Kelly Gavron Scoggins ’99 was scrolling through Instagram when she came across a friend’s comment on Bitty and Beau’s Coffee. Bitty and Beau’s Coffee first opened in Wilmington, NC in 2016 after founders Amy and Ben Wright saw a need for “people with disabilities to become more valued, accepted and included in every community.” According to their website, over 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities remain unemployed worldwide. Bitty and Beau’s Coffee employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to close this gap and more importantly create experiences for the average person to come in off the street, grab a cup of coffee, and interact with a person with a disability. After an amazing customer service experience, customers will then see what individuals with disabilities are capable of and potentially re-consider hiring practices within their own lines of work. Ultimately, Bitty and Beau’s hopes to create a ripple effect of change.

The social media post caught Kelly’s eye as she had recently found herself immersed in the world of disabilities. Kelly and her husband, Drew, had the surprise of their lives when they found out they were having twin girls as first-time parents. The surprises didn’t end there though. During her pregnancy, Kelly found out one of her girls, Kit, would be born with a myriad of health challenges including Down syndrome. When she researched the mission of Bitty and Beau’s, she was blown away – “the concept was so simple, yet so powerful.” Kelly and Drew poured time, money, and resources into Kit to help achieve her maximum potential; but they were faced with the honest question: “For what? What good would all the education and early intervention do if there are limited or no employment opportunities available to her as an adult?” Bitty and Beau’s Coffee provided a hopeful answer. 

Fast-forward six years and the Scoggins family opened the doors to their very own Bitty and Beau’s Coffee in Houston, Texas in January of last year. Opening a coffee shop had always been an interest of theirs after they spent several years in West Africa, where Drew worked in economic development. Kelly – a full-time investment advisor at Goldman Sachs – and Drew – founder of an energy company – never felt like the timing was quite right until discovering Bitty and Beau’s, whose mission connected with them on a deeper level. As a for-profit business, the coffee shop would utilize both Drew and Kelly’s gifts and past experiences. It was the right opportunity for the right people at the right time.

Prior to having Kit, Kelly and Drew had never met a person with Down syndrome. While  many people’s lives and families are touched by disability, equally as many are less familiar with this population. Kelly believes that Bitty and Beau’s Coffee reminds its customers that “we are often more similar than we are different.” Inside the shop, the coffee counter is open to encourage social interaction, and the coffee equipment is placed on the back counter rather than the front to provide a window for customers to watch the employees make their coffee. They hope people will come in for a cup of coffee and leave changed for the better. For new parents of children with disabilities, it serves as a beacon of hope. For those who may not interact with individuals with disabilities on a regular basis, the shop provides a comfortable, approachable environment for doing so. Upon reflecting on her own journey as a parent, Kelly said, “raising a child with a differing ability is hard – there are moments of extreme joy and there are challenges; but I firmly believe that Kit is an intentional gift from God.” For the Scoggins family, Bitty and Beau’s is a reminder of the broader purpose and goodness that comes through the challenges. 

The days leading up to opening day provided a beautiful glimpse into the “radically inclusive” community. Cheers abounded as Drew and Kelly announced every employee by name and handed out aprons to the new members of the team. The grins stretching from ear to ear on every new employee shed light on the restorative power of inclusivity. For many, this was their first job. Standing with her sister and brother, Kit watched as people like her regained their sense of purpose through meaningful work. On opening day, two-hour lines wrapped around the block all day. Fast forward and Bitty and Beau’s Houston just celebrated their one-year anniversary, and is proud that all 26 employees with disabilities originally hired are still with the shop today – a remarkable achievement. When Kit was first born, Kelly held onto a bit of wisdom from a friend – “Most of the world will look at Kit and see everything that she is not. But there will come a time when you look at her and only see everything that she is.” Kelly and Drew hope Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Houston is showing what Kit and people like her can offer the world, one customer at a time.

Have any recommendations for who we should spotlight from your class? Email the alumni office at alumni@cces.org. We would love to hear from you! 

Read More about REUNION SPOTLIGHT: KELLY (GAVRON) SCOGGINS ‘99 PROVIDES A CUP OF HOPE
CCES Alumni, Alison Bressler '09, Chelsea Moehlenbrock '09, and Melanie Stempel '09, Pose at Alison's Wedding
Ellie Dalkin, Director of Young Alumni Relations & Communications

“Man makes plans, and God laughs,” Alison Bressler ’09 quipped. Though her plans for the future might be ambiguous, her goals are clear – Alison wants to help the environment, challenge herself, and continually learn every day. Thus far, she is well on her way to achieving those goals. 

Alison’s interests in sustainability and environmental studies began at an early age. She credits the Roper Mountain Science Center’s summer camps for sparking her initial interest, and her teachers at CCES for fanning the flame. An IB student and an arts enthusiast, she believes this combination allowed her to think about what is important in life and what she wanted to do with her time. Helping the environment quickly became her answer. 

Her IB project was a particularly formative experience. She studied the impact of corn ethanol on the environment, and during her senior year, she helped build a rain garden, an environmentally friendly solution for managing storm water, to the left of the Upper School entrance. This experience cultivated her interest in sustainability, and Furman University presented a natural next step in furthering her education. 

The University partnered closely with the Greenville community at the time, particularly in the field of environmental sciences, and Alison quickly got involved. In researching the intersection between farming and agriculture, and its impact on water quality, she realized there was still quite a lot of work to be done in the field. Fast forward to the present day, and Alison now has a Master’s in Water and Wetland Resource Studies and more recently a PhD in Ecology from the University of Michigan. And yet, she still considers her job unfinished. 

Now, however, her work involves people more than petri dishes. She currently works at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute where policy and science come together to “bring world-class research to real-world sustainability challenges.” The state of Michigan, like all states, must meet national standards for its water quality, specifically the water quality of Lake Erie. Nutrient pollution has caused algae blooms in the lake, which harm the environment as well as the fishing and tourism industries in the area. It’s a multifaceted problem that requires buy-in from a wide variety of stakeholders to overcome. 

Enter Alison. As a Collaborative Research Specialist, she meets with the various parties (community groups, researchers, grassroots organizations, farmers, etc.) to educate, collaborate, and hopefully create long-lasting policy solutions to this problem. A job that requires not only strong people skills but credibility in the scientific community as well. “Environmental issues involve people 100% of the time,” she reflects. It also helps to have a PhD, so people trust that you know what you’re talking about, which is important when working with a room full of scientists. 

The University of Michigan uniquely offers an interdisciplinary PhD program, which drew Alison to the program and the area in the first place. Eight years later, Ann Arbor has become home. When she’s not cleaning up Lake Erie, Alison and her husband, Jake, enjoy the local standup comedy scene in the city. Though she’s no longer involved in theater due to her many commitments, she still is an avid fan of the arts, and Ann Arbor provides countless opportunities to be immersed in a vibrant cultural scene. 

One of her favorite places to go to watch shows is the local high school. Not only do they have high quality productions, but it brings back fond memories from her time in theater at CCES. She reminisced about one particular production she served as the stage manager for – Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco. “We were high schoolers doing this really cool thing by taking on a very serious and difficult show. It was very different from your typical high school play and we loved it.” 

Facing challenges head on is nothing new for Alison, and she welcomes the opportunity to choose the harder path over the easier one. When looking to the future, it seems likely that will never change. Her ultimate goal is to become a director of a sustainability research center, but she admits, “the path there is a little difficult.” For now, she is content in her current work and finds it challenging enough. “Working with people keeps you on your toes and doesn’t let you get complacent. I’m always asking for feedback and the field is constantly changing.” 

With Alison’s growth mindset and commitment to making the world a better place, her story serves as an inspiring testament to the transformative power of dedication, interdisciplinary learning, and a relentless pursuit of meaningful impact.

Have any recommendations for who we should spotlight from your class? Email the alumni office at alumni@cces.org. We would love to hear from you! 

Read More about REUNION SPOTLIGHT: ALISON BRESSLER, CLASS OF 2009
CCES Alumna, Caroline Vaughan Gross '14, Posing with CCES Alumna, Alexis Hinton Furman '10
Ellie Dalkin, Director of Young Alumni Relations & Communications

Mark your calendars for this year’s Reunion Weekend on April 6th, 2024! As we countdown to the celebration, we will be highlighting reunion celebrants from the classes of 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014. First off, we sat down with Caroline Vaughan Gross from the Class of 2014 to see what she has been up to!

Tell me a little bit about your work at CCES? What do you do here and how long have you been doing it?

I'm an occupational therapist at the Lower School. I work with kids primer through fourth grade, and I mainly focus on helping kids through daily activities during their school day - handwriting, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and sensory processing skills (tools to help students focus). I really try to meet the specific needs of the student by working closely with the teachers. I started at CCES last year, when the school started a contract at the company that I work for, and I was immediately interested given my background as an alum here.

What’s your favorite part about it? 

Everything coming full circle. I was a 13-year vet and still have teachers that were here when I was a student here. Being back at the school also brings back so many memories, and I love getting to give back to the school that gave so much to me. 

You also have another job with another CCES alumna, tell me about that? 

Yes! This past spring, I started working in real estate after looking for something new to get outside of my comfort zone. I reached out to Alexis Hinton Furman ’10 who has worked in real estate for the past 7 years to see if she would ever need help or need an assistant. She immediately thought it was a great idea, so I got my real estate license and have been doing that part-time. It’s just the two of us, and we have a lot of fun together. 

Alexis was my cheerleading coach during my junior year and senior year of high school. I was also very good friends with her younger brother, so we’ve known each other for a long time. I think that’s why she jumped on board so quickly – she knew my work ethic and trusted me. We also knew our personalities wouldn’t clash. She’s been a mentor to me for a long time. 

You just joined the Alumni Association Board this year. What has it been like? Why did you choose to be on it? 

It’s been great - I have really enjoyed getting more involved. When I started working here, it helped me get involved with faculty and staff, but it’s been fun getting involved with other alumni and connecting with alumni of different ages. And also reconnect with old friends! For example, Kaytina Taylor Mills ’17 was also on the cheerleading squad and now we’re both on the board. 

Do you have fun memories specific to your class - the class of 2014? 

Hmmm there’s really so many. One that I haven’t thought about in a while is “Tootsie Time.” It was this random thing our class did with a Tootsie Roll outfit. Every Friday one of the guys would put it on and go around to the classrooms, interrupting class. Our class was so close - many of us were 13 year vets, so we grew up together. Even when we went to college, we stayed close and made a point to see each other. 

After college, everyone was living in separate places, but during COVID, everyone ended up back in Greenville. I think that’s a testament to the relationships that Christ Church builds that they have lasted this long. It’s also cool to see how people are still involved. My husband and a bunch of the guys who played football at CCES still go to the games, and some of them have talked to the current football team during their season. 

Any other fun updates?

I recently got married to Will Gross ’14! We’re about to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. I started dating Will in high school during our junior year. We started out as best friends, and it was pretty classic that I was a cheerleader and he was a football player. When I started writing his number on my cheek at football games, that was the first sign that we were more than friends. Do kids still do that? We went to prom together both years and a funny memory is that we both got the “Best Looking” superlative.  

After CCES, we did long distance in college – Will was at UNC-Chapel Hill and I was at Clemson. We also did long-distance in grad school. After that, we both lived in Charlotte and then moved back to Greenville during the pandemic. 

Are you excited about your 10-year high school reunion in the spring?

I’m very excited for the reunion! I hope a lot of people will come. I’m excited that as a member of the alumni board, hopefully more people will get involved and come out to the events. 

Have any recommendations for who we should spotlight from your class? Email the alumni office at alumni@cces.org. We would love to hear from you! 

Read More about REUNION SPOTLIGHT: CAROLINE VAUGHAN GROSS, CLASS OF 2014
Former Teacher Barbara Carter Poses with Alumni President, Craig Ragsdale '99, after Receiving 2023 Mary B. Roper Distinguished Teacher Award
Ellie Dalkin, Director of Young Alumni Relations & Communications

During the Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the current president of the CCES Alumni Association, Craig Ragsdale ’99, presented the annual alumni awards – the Mary B. Roper Distinguished Teacher Award and the Marguerite Ramage Wyche Alumni Service Award – to Barbara Carter and Katie Shaw Howell ’92 respectively. Below is an excerpt from his speech:

Mary B. Roper was a much beloved teacher who taught at CCES for three decades spanning from 1963 to 1987. The award honors a current or former faculty member who actively impacts the alumni community and exemplifies a sincere love for and devotion to the school. 

For the 2023 school year the Mary B. Roper Distinguished Teacher Award honors Barbara Carter. Having retired last May after 52 years at CCES, Barbara really needs no introduction. Whether you were here in the 70s or the early 2020s, Barbara was most likely a part of your time at CCES. If she was not teaching you literature or hammering home the definitions of countless SAT vocabulary words, she might have crossed your path along a different kind of journey.

Barbara will be the first to tell you that everything she did was because she loved her students. And that love didn’t stop once we left CCES. Barbara has always been that teacher who supports alumni and alumni events. She has always been one of the teachers traveling from reunion house to reunion house either in the school van or sometimes on her own. Most recently Barbara has championed “the Cavalier Alumni Bash,” not only with her attendance, but by encouraging both alumni and other former and current teachers to attend. 

As she is embracing her retirement, she has jumped into attending Golden Cavaliers, a group of former or retired CCES teachers who meet for lunch once a month at the Poinsett Club.  She is reaching out to other teachers to encourage them to come to keep this close knit group together.

In the spring issue of Highlights, after pages of memories shared by generations of Cavalier alumni, Barbara shared what was most rewarding about being a teacher. She said: “When students come back and you see them grow up and become real people and you’ve had a part in that.”

Well, here we are, Barbara, a room full of grownups, and we would like to present you with this award.  

Let’s all congratulate and share our great gratitude for Barbara!  

Now I would like to present the Marguerite Ramage Wyche Alumni Service Award. Marguerite Ramage and her siblings all attended CCES. She was the class of ’65, her brother Ray, the Class of ’68, and Martha Louise, who graduated in 1981. It was that same year that Marguerite created the CCES Alumni Association. 

In honor of Marguerite’s passion for CCES and its alumni, the Marguerite Ramage Wyche Alumni Service Award is given to an alumna or alumnus who embodies the CCES value of service to the school or in his or her community.

Tonight, I am very proud to present the 2022-2023 Marguerite Ramage Wyche Alumni Service Award to Katie Shaw Howell. As a graduate of the Class of 1992, Katie embodied her “Best All Around” Senior Superlative.  She served as the Senior Editor of the Delphian, on the Hellenian Staff, the Cavalier Express Staff as well as on Altar Guild.  And of course her talents extended into athletics playing both Varsity Basketball and Varsity Softball.  She dove into student council as Vice President and represented her fellow classmates as Chair of the Honor Council during her senior year. 

She and her husband Rob have three Cavaliers – Mills, Class of 23; Robert, Class of 26, and Tee, Class of 29. And, as you might imagine, Katie has been just as involved here at CCES.

As Cary Weekes shared in her nomination of Katie:

Katie is a selfless giver of her time and energies to CCES. She served on the Parents Panel for many years, chairing at least a division, if not the entire Parents’ Org. She also served on community matters, as well as many other roles within the Parents Panel. She is a tireless devotee of the arts at CCES, giving countless hours of her time around the musicals and plays. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for the past 6 years where she has served as Chair of the Advancement Committee and Secretary of the board as well as other committee placements. She is currently co-chairing the Build for the Future Campaign that will transform the campus with the additions of needed projects and infrastructure.

Katie’s involvement at CCES over the past 10+ years is demonstrative of the values of Community, Character, Excellence, and Service she learned as a 13 year vet.

Congratulations Katie on this well-deserved honor!

Read More about MARY B. ROPER DISTINGUISHED TEACHER AWARD & MARGUERITE RAMAGE WYCHE ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD GIVEN TO BARBARA CARTER AND KATIE SHAW HOWELL '92
College-Signing-Day_2024_BSJ02386.jpg
class of 2024 at college signing day