By PAUL A. BARRA
CHARLESTON — If you ever made the mistake of asking Bridgit L. Hinson about Ireland, you’d hear a lot more than the usual blarney about St. Patrick and leprechauns. You might hear more than you ever wanted to know about the Emerald Isle. This young woman has done her research.
Although a mere freshman at the Charleston County Academic Magnet School, Hinson won the high school award in the senior division of the state History Day competition. Her winning entry was a journal based on the migration of her great aunt from Ireland to the new world aboard the RMS Celtic. The article is titled “A Moving Story.”
She and her mother Maureen, both active members of Church of the Nativity on James Island, will be making a journey of their own shortly, traveling to the University of Maryland on June 14-18. There Bridgit will compete with the winners from the other states in the National History Day contest. Two aunts, her grandfather and other relatives are planning to journey to the DC area for the national fete. It’s a big event, but Bridgit Hinson is already used to working hard and performing well in competition.
Last year, she won the Optimist International Youth Appreciation Award, the U.S. Achievement Academy Award, the National Junior Beta Club Award and the 3-M Art Competition Award; she was a Peer Mediator and at the top of the school district’s SAIL (honors) program, and was the valedictorian for Fort Johnson Middle School. As one might expect from someone with so many early accomplishments, young Hinson is well-spoken.
When asked about her high school selection, for instance, she explained that she did not easily arrive at her ultimate choice.
“I felt pressure from teachers and family to go to the Magnet, even though I know the honors program at James Island High is good with great teachers,” she said. “The hardest part was leaving my friends. But I decided that for scholarships and getting into the right college, the Academic Magnet was for the best for me.”
Now she knows she made the right decision, Hinson said. She said that even though students come from all over the far-flung county – Charleston County runs from the Georgetown line to Edisto Beach – the school engenders “a sense of family.”
“It’s a special school.”
The same could be said of Bridgit L. Hinson, 14, historian and scholar.