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Human and Civil Rights Awards Description and Guidelines
Awards photo


The SCEA Friend of Education Award was established to honor a person who has made a significant contribution to the betterment of American Education specifically here in South Carolina. The Friend of Education Award may be bestowed upon any person who through leadership, acts, and support has proven to be a true friend of education, educators and students.

Any affiliate or individual member of The South Carolina Education Association may recommend a nominee by completing the nomination form. 


The Al Nickels Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in public education advocacy in the state of South Carolina or service to the membership of the SCEA.



The SCEA Human and Civil Rights Committee established the Richard W. Riley Award in 1997. Governor Riley was instrumental in leading South Carolina in initiatives to enhance the education of students by enlisting community support, providing a solid financial base, and supporting innovative programs for the schools. His ideas influenced the education agendas in states throughout the nation. During his term as Secretary of the Department of Education, he skillfully and thoughtfully affected positive change in public education; ultimately preparing both educational and national communities entering the 21st century.

Placing the interest of students at the forefront of his agenda, Richard W. Riley was cognizant that the future of our nation would depend on a quality education for all students. He was also aware that when given an opportunity all students are capable of appreciating diverse populations, while motivating their peers to work for peace. The Richard W. Riley Student award was established with this in mind. 


The SCEA Richard W. Riley Award will be given to a K-12 student whose achievements in the school and/or community has helped enhance the sense of worth and dignity of others. To be eligible for this award, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Promote through leadership in specific activities and actions, an appreciation for diversity and the elimination of bigotry and prejudice.
  • Demonstrate leadership in improving the conditions and self-esteem of minorities or the disadvantaged.

All nominations must be submitted on the official nomination form. Nominations must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation related to the criteria listed for the award. Appropriate documentation must include samples from three (3) or more of the following: 

  • legible photocopies of newspaper clippings, newsletters, programs, certificates, letters, and/or citations.
  • Photocopies of trophies and/or plaques may be used as evidence. 

 All materials used to document activities must be arranged in an orderly and sequential portfolio. All materials submitted will be returned after being displayed at the HCR Luncheon.



The SCEA Walker E. Solomon Award will be given in the following categories:


 To be eligible for the individual award, the nominee must have met the following criteria:

  • Worked for the eradication of racial inequities in the education profession, school, and community.
  • Worked to bring about improved intergroup relations and understanding in the school and community.
  • Honored by the school and community for these activities.

 The nominee will be judged using these criteria:

Improving Institutions

School Involvement.

Initiating and promoting programs in the community for better relationships in the school community (between students-teachers, teacher-parents, administrators-teachers, administrator-teacher-student, and/or racial groups); an improved environment for cooperation in solving community problem and/or enhancing equal opportunities in the community.

Community Involvement.

Initialing and promoting programs in the community for better understanding in the relationships between school, community, and racial groups; improving the environment of cooperation in solving community problems, and/or enhancing equal opportunities in the community.

Improving Interpersonal Relationships

School. Involvement in the School to help staff, students, and parents to have good self-concepts, positive attitudes, better understanding of themselves and others, and to achieve personal worth.

Community. Involvement in the community to create good self-concepts, positive attitudes, and better understanding of themselves and others as they relate to their daily lives in the community.

Local Association, School, Community

To be eligible for the local association, school, or awards, the group must show it has improved its human and civil rights program as follows:

  • Reviewing a human and civil rights program that has been inoperative in the past.
  • Expanding an existing human and civil rights program.
  • Establishing an effective human and civil rights program in a community where one was previously nonexistent.

The human and civil rights program of the nominated organization must have accomplished two or more of the following:

  • Promoted the inclusion of interpersonal skills training for teachers in in-service and pre-service programs.
  • Established programs that provide for community involvement and create a feeling of investment and responsibility for the operation of the community’s schools.
  • Educated the community concerning interpersonal relationships.


1.    Nominees may be (a) UEP member; (b) a local association; or (c) a school or community working to improve human and civil rights. Individual nominees must be UEP members. Up to two awards may be given in this category.

2.     Only persons or organization whose human and civil rights activities have had school or community-wide impact are eligible for the award.

3.    Nomination must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation related to the criteria listed for the award. Appropriate documentation should include:

  • legible photocopies of newspaper clippings, newsletters, programs, certificates, letters, citations, etc.
  • Photographs of trophies and/or plaques may be used as evidence.

All materials used to document activities must be arranged in an orderly and sequential manner.


The SCEA recognizes the contributions made by members of the mass media (radio, television, newspapers, billboards) in the public awareness and advancement of quality public education. To express appreciation, the Association presents the School Bell Award to South Carolina media that have made outstanding contributions to telling the story of the positive roles in public education of the Association (state and/or local) and its members. Newspapers or broadcast stations that cover counties or the entire state may be nominated by any one local education association in the region served, or jointly by several local associations in each award category.

A one-page letter of endorsement by the local education association must be submitted with the entry form. The letter should briefly give reasons why the nominee is being submitted for competition.


Newspaper entries are either daily or non-daily.  Daily papers are published at least five times/ week; non-dailies are published less than five times. There are two entry categories: 1. Sustained coverage and 2. Other features (feature, editorial, analysis).


Except for sustained coverage, newspapers entries should consist of a clipping or copy of the article.  A newspaper may have several entries.

Sustained Coverage

Sustained coverage refers to how consistently and thoughtfully a newspaper has covered the Association and its members’ positive roles in public education throughout the year including news and feature stories, editorials, in-depth articles and photos. The format for each sustained coverage entry is left to the discretion of each local education association. Orderly presentation is helpful; however, judgment is made on content.

Other Features

This refers to a variety of newspaper features to include: editorials, news articles, news analysis, feature articles, etc. The type of special feature nominated will be based on the understanding and knowledge of the Association and its members’ positive roles in education issues and the service to public education and the community that is provided by publication for the feature.

Hint: Articles selected should have obvious significance. An article about a teacher that has exceptional rapport with students or an editorial taking a significant position for or against an Association or member issue impacting on education would have greater award potential than an article about an Arbor Day celebration.


Broadcast entries are divided into two categories as well, each for radio and television: 1. Sustained Coverage and, 2. Special programs or Features.


Sustained Coverage

Sustained coverage refers to how well a radio or television station has covered school activities throughout the year, excluding athletic (unless related to a broader education issue). Included in this category can be virtually every type of broadcasting, from news programs to talk shows and special programs. The basic criterion in selecting entries should be quality of such coverage above and beyond routine coverage.

Entries should consist of copies of news, scripts, special scripts, talk show summaries, and other written documentation. Audio or video in the category are acceptable and recommended (but not required).

Special Programs

This refers to specially prepared broadcast highlighting significant events or situations about the Association or members’ positive roles in an education issue. Entries should consist of audio tapes for radio programs and video tapes for television programs. Judging criteria will include the amount of coverage provided, and the service to the Association, public education and the community that is provided in the presentation of such a special program. A station may have several entries. Local Education Associations are encouraged to work with members of the media in selecting and preparing nominations.



Your Voice. Our Power. Their Future.

The SCEA is an affiliate of the largest professional association of educators in the country. As the leading advocate for the schools South Carolina students deserve, The SCEA works to promote quality public education and to support public school employees.