WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- Three people with ties to Airport High School were honored this month at the 2023 Educator Hall of Fame & Distinguished Alumni Gala.
This year’s event was held April 25 at the Lexington Two Innovation Center, with a social hour and silent auction before the formal program and dinner.
This year’s educator inductee is Sylvia Corley-Drennan, who worked at Airport from 1988-2011. After attending Columbia Bible College and then receiving an associate degree from Midlands Technical College, Sylvia became a substitute teacher in Lexington Two, as well as a practical nurse, a registered cosmetologist, a Brownie leader, chief executive officer of a bridal consulting company, and a doctor’s office manager. She also worked with Helping Hands and hosted exchange students. In 1988, Sylvia became the secretary for Airport’s guidance department. She also was a JROTC mom and served as an assistant event planner with Student Government. Since retiring in 2011, Sylvia has become an events coordinator for South Congaree, founder of Congaree Cares, vice president of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 90, and organizer of the annual SOAHR (AHS retirees) luncheon.
This year’s alumni inductees are Andrew “Bear” Richbourg and Debbie Lin Muller Walker. Richbourg, chief of the Springdale Police Department and an adjunct professor at Midlands Technical College, graduated from Airport in 1998, where he served as student body president and was a member of the yearbook staff and various sports teams. He went on to receive an associate degree in criminal justice from Midlands Technical College, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Columbia College. He has worked at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department as a corrections officer, Gist Inc. as a supervisor, and the Columbia Police Department as a major crimes investigator. Richbourg serves as a deacon at White Knoll Church of Christ and has been a volunteer coach in Lexington Two, most recently as Airport’s assistant wrestling coach. Walker, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at Midlands Technical College, graduated in 1977 from Airport, where she played volleyball, participated in gymnastics and track and field, and served on the yearbook staff. After graduation, Debbie received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a master’s in business administration from Southern Wesleyan University. She is also a graduate of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers’ College at the University of Kentucky and Kaleidoscope Institute Leadership Program, and she received certification from the University of South Carolina as a Certified Government Finance Officer. She is also an instructor for the Community College Business Officers Leadership Academy and the chief financial officer at New Faith Community Church.
The annual gala is presented by the Airport HIgh School Educational Foundation to fund scholarships and grants for the Lexington Two high school. To date, more than $475,000 has been awarded.
“We are grateful to have the support and participation of the many local volunteers and
businesses in this event as it provides scholarships for deserving students and grants
for teachers working to improve their skills,” foundation president Donny Burkett said.