Hanahan High School receives elite Award of Excellence
Hanahan High School recently received an elite Award of Excellence from the South Carolina High School League, and the plaque is on display in the school’s front office.
But first-year principal Tom Gallus insists the award isn’t about the high school. He says it is a reflection of the community
“It’s unbelievable,” said Gallus, who started his career as an educator and coach at Hanahan in 2003 and returned “home” as principal last July after serving as an assistant principal at Berkeley High for three years. “The plaque isn’t just about the high school. The community earned it. We have great teachers and staff, and the middle schools and elementary schools do a great job of preparing the students. But we live in a great community. The students are on the path to success when they arrive here because the parents have instilled the correct values and morals in their children. It begins at home, and this type of award is a reflection of that.”
The SC High School League recognized only nine high schools in its 250-school organization with the Award of Excellence, and Hanahan was one of nine schools to gain recognition. The honor is based on exemplary display of sportsmanship, ethics and integrity.
Gallus is keen on all three of the requisites. He’s a native of Hamtramck, Michigan and played prep baseball at Notre Dame High in Harper Woods, Michigan.
He earned a scholarship to play baseball at Eastern Michigan and took his first job at Hanahan as a teacher and assistant baseball coach for Brian Mitchell’s Hawks team. Of course, he wanted his teams to win. But he knew most players would hang up their gloves and spikes after high school graduation.
“We made sure that the kids knew that anytime they put on the jersey they knew they were not just representing the school, they were representing their families and their community,” he said. “If you have ever coached high school sports, you know there a lot of life’s lessons for students to learn along the way. We wanted to help them to continue to develop as young adults.”
The award will probably be the highlight of his first year at Hanahan. Gallus and his wife A.J. have four children -- Tripp, Mary Scott, Makenna and Elliott. They are fixtures in the community.
“It’s home,” Gallus said. “It’s where we live, shop, play and go to church. We do everything in Hanahan.”
Gallus said he was intrigued by taking the next step to become an administrator. He received his master’s degree from The Citadel.
“I always felt I could be a leader,” Gallus said. “I felt I had the vision and with a lot of hard work, I could reach my goals.”
Gallus had praise for the school’s first-year athletic director, Kimberly Joseph.
“She is non-stop,” Gallus said. “She doesn’t slow down. She’s done a great job. We often work side-by-side and she’s at every event. She’s a great organizer and leader. She’s doing an awesome job.”