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 An abandoned school desk sits in a classroom inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for the minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.    South Carolina's rural, impoverished school districts along I-95 are collectively known as the "Corridor of Shame," because of how poorly the dilapidated schools perform in the region.  Thirty-six of South Carolina's poorest school districts sued the state in what is now the longest running court case in the state's history--Abbeville County School District vs. The State of South Carolina.  Although the case has yet to come to a decision, there are individuals throughout the Corridor who are finding their own ways of improving the education system for the students affected.     This story was shot for   Al Jazeera America  .

An abandoned school desk sits in a classroom inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for the minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.  

South Carolina's rural, impoverished school districts along I-95 are collectively known as the "Corridor of Shame," because of how poorly the dilapidated schools perform in the region.  Thirty-six of South Carolina's poorest school districts sued the state in what is now the longest running court case in the state's history--Abbeville County School District vs. The State of South Carolina.  Although the case has yet to come to a decision, there are individuals throughout the Corridor who are finding their own ways of improving the education system for the students affected.  

This story was shot for Al Jazeera America.

 Trying to escape the heat, Qa'Montae Brown, 7, stands in the shade of a tree near his home in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014.  Dillon sits at the north end of the Corridor with an 88 percent minority population.  Many residents of the mainly poor, rural area say that there is a racial disparity in access to quality education.  

Trying to escape the heat, Qa'Montae Brown, 7, stands in the shade of a tree near his home in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014.  Dillon sits at the north end of the Corridor with an 88 percent minority population.  Many residents of the mainly poor, rural area say that there is a racial disparity in access to quality education.  

 Despite the school being 118 years old, classes were held inside J.V. Martin Junior High until two years ago.  The school building, which is considered "an edifice to the persistent inequality in South Carolina public schools," still houses Dillon County School District 4 offices.     Reporter Kimberly Johnson wrote more on this school in the  first part of her story for Al Jazeera America .  

Despite the school being 118 years old, classes were held inside J.V. Martin Junior High until two years ago.  The school building, which is considered "an edifice to the persistent inequality in South Carolina public schools," still houses Dillon County School District 4 offices.

 

Reporter Kimberly Johnson wrote more on this school in the first part of her story for Al Jazeera America.  

 Farrah McLellan stands for a portrait behind the counter of Lil' Bill's convenience store where she works in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  "When I was in school, they told us we ain't going nowhere and they were right.  Look at me now."  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  She is taking classes online trying to work towards a college degree, but also has the responsibility of raising her sons and working full-time.  

Farrah McLellan stands for a portrait behind the counter of Lil' Bill's convenience store where she works in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  "When I was in school, they told us we ain't going nowhere and they were right.  Look at me now."  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  She is taking classes online trying to work towards a college degree, but also has the responsibility of raising her sons and working full-time.  

 Blaine Lotz stands for a portrait outside of the Jasper County School District offices in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Lotz is a member of the Hilton Head Presbyterian Church.  Many members of the church's congregation, including Lotz, work with Jasper County schools tutoring fifth graders in reading and writing, raising money and holding book drives.  

Blaine Lotz stands for a portrait outside of the Jasper County School District offices in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Lotz is a member of the Hilton Head Presbyterian Church.  Many members of the church's congregation, including Lotz, work with Jasper County schools tutoring fifth graders in reading and writing, raising money and holding book drives.  

 Jasper County Superintendent Vashti Washington stands for a portrait inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.  "Culturally it is difficult to get the community to change and to get a quality system in place," Washington said.  "I have met so much opposition that it has dampened my spirit."  

Jasper County Superintendent Vashti Washington stands for a portrait inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.  "Culturally it is difficult to get the community to change and to get a quality system in place," Washington said.  "I have met so much opposition that it has dampened my spirit."  

 Melissa Thompson, the teacher at Vision Education Center, a non-profit summer learning and feeding program, poses for a portrait in her classroom in Dillon, S.C. on Monday July 28, 2014.  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  Thompson said that her fifth grade teacher at J.V. Martin, Mrs. Harlee, was the one who inspired her to teach and give back to her community through education. 

Melissa Thompson, the teacher at Vision Education Center, a non-profit summer learning and feeding program, poses for a portrait in her classroom in Dillon, S.C. on Monday July 28, 2014.  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  Thompson said that her fifth grade teacher at J.V. Martin, Mrs. Harlee, was the one who inspired her to teach and give back to her community through education. 

 Students write an essay about what they enjoy and what they would change about the summer program at Vision Education Center in Dillon S.C. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014.    "People in this community want change in their children's educations and opportunities, but they do not know how to embrace change when it becomes a reality," Nez Wynn, the founder and president of the center, said.

Students write an essay about what they enjoy and what they would change about the summer program at Vision Education Center in Dillon S.C. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014.    "People in this community want change in their children's educations and opportunities, but they do not know how to embrace change when it becomes a reality," Nez Wynn, the founder and president of the center, said.

 Dillon High School student Kory Warren, 15, stands for a portrait in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014. 

Dillon High School student Kory Warren, 15, stands for a portrait in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014. 

 Roosevelt Brown, 23, stands for a portrait in front of the old West Hardeeville School building in Hardeeville, SC on Saturday, July 19, 2014.  He graduated from the school in 2005, when the building was still being used.  His mother is a teacher in the charter school, called Royal Live Oaks Academy, on the same plot of land, which consists of a group of clean new trailers.  The charter school is renting the land and old building from the school district.  The building was closed when Superintendent Washington moved the elementary and middle schools to nearby Ridgeland and kept the high school in Hardeeville.  Many parents were upset about this change, because it meant that they had to travel across the miles of swampland between the two towns. 

Roosevelt Brown, 23, stands for a portrait in front of the old West Hardeeville School building in Hardeeville, SC on Saturday, July 19, 2014.  He graduated from the school in 2005, when the building was still being used.  His mother is a teacher in the charter school, called Royal Live Oaks Academy, on the same plot of land, which consists of a group of clean new trailers.  The charter school is renting the land and old building from the school district.  The building was closed when Superintendent Washington moved the elementary and middle schools to nearby Ridgeland and kept the high school in Hardeeville.  Many parents were upset about this change, because it meant that they had to travel across the miles of swampland between the two towns. 

 De'Juanna Bethea, 15, sits for a portrait outside of Lil Bill's convenience store in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  She is originally from Dillon, but now goes to Lumberton High School, which is just north of the state line into North Carolina where she says the education is much better.

De'Juanna Bethea, 15, sits for a portrait outside of Lil Bill's convenience store in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  She is originally from Dillon, but now goes to Lumberton High School, which is just north of the state line into North Carolina where she says the education is much better.

 Children in the YMCA Summer Camp play in the spray of a fire hose outside of Ridgeland Elementary School on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  The Ridgeland Fire Department came to the school to teach the children about fire safety.  This was the children's reward for getting all of the questions correct on the verbal fire safety quiz.  This new school building houses the elementary and middle schools and contains many resources for students and teachers that the old buildings could not.

Children in the YMCA Summer Camp play in the spray of a fire hose outside of Ridgeland Elementary School on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  The Ridgeland Fire Department came to the school to teach the children about fire safety.  This was the children's reward for getting all of the questions correct on the verbal fire safety quiz.  This new school building houses the elementary and middle schools and contains many resources for students and teachers that the old buildings could not.

An abandoned school desk sits in a classroom inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for the minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.  

South Carolina's rural, impoverished school districts along I-95 are collectively known as the "Corridor of Shame," because of how poorly the dilapidated schools perform in the region.  Thirty-six of South Carolina's poorest school districts sued the state in what is now the longest running court case in the state's history--Abbeville County School District vs. The State of South Carolina.  Although the case has yet to come to a decision, there are individuals throughout the Corridor who are finding their own ways of improving the education system for the students affected.  

This story was shot for Al Jazeera America.

Trying to escape the heat, Qa'Montae Brown, 7, stands in the shade of a tree near his home in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014.  Dillon sits at the north end of the Corridor with an 88 percent minority population.  Many residents of the mainly poor, rural area say that there is a racial disparity in access to quality education.  

Despite the school being 118 years old, classes were held inside J.V. Martin Junior High until two years ago.  The school building, which is considered "an edifice to the persistent inequality in South Carolina public schools," still houses Dillon County School District 4 offices.

 

Reporter Kimberly Johnson wrote more on this school in the first part of her story for Al Jazeera America.  

Farrah McLellan stands for a portrait behind the counter of Lil' Bill's convenience store where she works in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  "When I was in school, they told us we ain't going nowhere and they were right.  Look at me now."  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  She is taking classes online trying to work towards a college degree, but also has the responsibility of raising her sons and working full-time.  

Blaine Lotz stands for a portrait outside of the Jasper County School District offices in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Lotz is a member of the Hilton Head Presbyterian Church.  Many members of the church's congregation, including Lotz, work with Jasper County schools tutoring fifth graders in reading and writing, raising money and holding book drives.  

Jasper County Superintendent Vashti Washington stands for a portrait inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.  "Culturally it is difficult to get the community to change and to get a quality system in place," Washington said.  "I have met so much opposition that it has dampened my spirit."  

Melissa Thompson, the teacher at Vision Education Center, a non-profit summer learning and feeding program, poses for a portrait in her classroom in Dillon, S.C. on Monday July 28, 2014.  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  Thompson said that her fifth grade teacher at J.V. Martin, Mrs. Harlee, was the one who inspired her to teach and give back to her community through education. 

Students write an essay about what they enjoy and what they would change about the summer program at Vision Education Center in Dillon S.C. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014.    "People in this community want change in their children's educations and opportunities, but they do not know how to embrace change when it becomes a reality," Nez Wynn, the founder and president of the center, said.

Dillon High School student Kory Warren, 15, stands for a portrait in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014. 

Roosevelt Brown, 23, stands for a portrait in front of the old West Hardeeville School building in Hardeeville, SC on Saturday, July 19, 2014.  He graduated from the school in 2005, when the building was still being used.  His mother is a teacher in the charter school, called Royal Live Oaks Academy, on the same plot of land, which consists of a group of clean new trailers.  The charter school is renting the land and old building from the school district.  The building was closed when Superintendent Washington moved the elementary and middle schools to nearby Ridgeland and kept the high school in Hardeeville.  Many parents were upset about this change, because it meant that they had to travel across the miles of swampland between the two towns. 

De'Juanna Bethea, 15, sits for a portrait outside of Lil Bill's convenience store in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  She is originally from Dillon, but now goes to Lumberton High School, which is just north of the state line into North Carolina where she says the education is much better.

Children in the YMCA Summer Camp play in the spray of a fire hose outside of Ridgeland Elementary School on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  The Ridgeland Fire Department came to the school to teach the children about fire safety.  This was the children's reward for getting all of the questions correct on the verbal fire safety quiz.  This new school building houses the elementary and middle schools and contains many resources for students and teachers that the old buildings could not.

 An abandoned school desk sits in a classroom inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for the minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.    South Carolina's rural, impoverished school districts along I-95 are collectively known as the "Corridor of Shame," because of how poorly the dilapidated schools perform in the region.  Thirty-six of South Carolina's poorest school districts sued the state in what is now the longest running court case in the state's history--Abbeville County School District vs. The State of South Carolina.  Although the case has yet to come to a decision, there are individuals throughout the Corridor who are finding their own ways of improving the education system for the students affected.     This story was shot for   Al Jazeera America  .
 Trying to escape the heat, Qa'Montae Brown, 7, stands in the shade of a tree near his home in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014.  Dillon sits at the north end of the Corridor with an 88 percent minority population.  Many residents of the mainly poor, rural area say that there is a racial disparity in access to quality education.  
 Despite the school being 118 years old, classes were held inside J.V. Martin Junior High until two years ago.  The school building, which is considered "an edifice to the persistent inequality in South Carolina public schools," still houses Dillon County School District 4 offices.     Reporter Kimberly Johnson wrote more on this school in the  first part of her story for Al Jazeera America .  
 Farrah McLellan stands for a portrait behind the counter of Lil' Bill's convenience store where she works in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  "When I was in school, they told us we ain't going nowhere and they were right.  Look at me now."  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  She is taking classes online trying to work towards a college degree, but also has the responsibility of raising her sons and working full-time.  
 Blaine Lotz stands for a portrait outside of the Jasper County School District offices in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Lotz is a member of the Hilton Head Presbyterian Church.  Many members of the church's congregation, including Lotz, work with Jasper County schools tutoring fifth graders in reading and writing, raising money and holding book drives.  
 Jasper County Superintendent Vashti Washington stands for a portrait inside the old Ridgeland Middle School building in Ridgeland, S.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  Up until the desegregation of schools, the building only housed classes for minority students in the county.  Now the district is planning on restoring the building to use for office space and community programs.  "Culturally it is difficult to get the community to change and to get a quality system in place," Washington said.  "I have met so much opposition that it has dampened my spirit."  
 Melissa Thompson, the teacher at Vision Education Center, a non-profit summer learning and feeding program, poses for a portrait in her classroom in Dillon, S.C. on Monday July 28, 2014.  She attended J.V. Martin and Dillon High School.  Thompson said that her fifth grade teacher at J.V. Martin, Mrs. Harlee, was the one who inspired her to teach and give back to her community through education. 
 Students write an essay about what they enjoy and what they would change about the summer program at Vision Education Center in Dillon S.C. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014.    "People in this community want change in their children's educations and opportunities, but they do not know how to embrace change when it becomes a reality," Nez Wynn, the founder and president of the center, said.
 Dillon High School student Kory Warren, 15, stands for a portrait in Dillon, S.C. on Saturday July 12, 2014. 
 Roosevelt Brown, 23, stands for a portrait in front of the old West Hardeeville School building in Hardeeville, SC on Saturday, July 19, 2014.  He graduated from the school in 2005, when the building was still being used.  His mother is a teacher in the charter school, called Royal Live Oaks Academy, on the same plot of land, which consists of a group of clean new trailers.  The charter school is renting the land and old building from the school district.  The building was closed when Superintendent Washington moved the elementary and middle schools to nearby Ridgeland and kept the high school in Hardeeville.  Many parents were upset about this change, because it meant that they had to travel across the miles of swampland between the two towns. 
 De'Juanna Bethea, 15, sits for a portrait outside of Lil Bill's convenience store in Dillon, S.C. on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  She is originally from Dillon, but now goes to Lumberton High School, which is just north of the state line into North Carolina where she says the education is much better.
 Children in the YMCA Summer Camp play in the spray of a fire hose outside of Ridgeland Elementary School on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  The Ridgeland Fire Department came to the school to teach the children about fire safety.  This was the children's reward for getting all of the questions correct on the verbal fire safety quiz.  This new school building houses the elementary and middle schools and contains many resources for students and teachers that the old buildings could not.