Wings
   
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This Leader Gave Her Nest WINGS


Trinice Bowens long ago left Charleston to pursue a teaching career, first in Atlanta and now in Greenville.

But she never truly left WINGS, nor the nest she helped build more than a decade ago as a WINGSLeader at Memminger Elementary!

Later this month, she'll return to the Lowcountry to cheer on six members of that original nest (she was their leader in grades 1-3) as they graduate from Burke and St. Johns high schools.

The individual accomplishments of the WINGS kids - Shamaine Gentile, Breanna Minus, Kayla Minus, Janee Simmons, Jamar Green-Simmons and Soleah Wright - are precisely the point of WINGS, which has always held high school graduation as one of its primary program outcomes.

And Trinice's own accomplishments mirror the promise WINGS makes to leaders. As a freshman at the College of Charleston, she was originally just looking for a part-time job and planning a career in communications. "I always loved kids, but also always said I didn't want to teach. But these kids changed that; they inspired me."

These years later, that inspiration remains a powerful force. Once named Teacher of the Year at her former Atlanta school, Trinice is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in literacy at Clemson University and teaching 6th grade math in Greenville.

"Wings was probably the best job I ever had," she says. "I looked forward to going in every day." And her nest was proof of her skills: for example, shy Shamaine arrived in first grade too timid to say much of anything. By the third grade, her self confidence had soared and she was volunteering to proudly share news on the WINGS microphone.

So strong were the bonds with her nest, that Trinice never changed her phone number, "in case somebody needed to get in touch with me. " Over the years, there have been times the kids needed her help, and she was there. But this time, the outreach was for celebratory reasons - to invite the WINGSLeader they loved in first through third grade to come back for graduation. "I'm just so proud of them," Trinice enthuses. "They've participated on sports teams, in pageants, in homecoming. They've turned into really great people."

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Trinice tutors one of the kids in her nest, 2002.

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.

— Oprah Winfrey



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