South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster presented the Order of the Palmetto to North Charleston High School Principal Henry Darby late Monday morning as part of a short ceremony on the school’s campus.
Darby picked up an extra job at Walmart, in addition to his service as a Charleston County Councilman, and used all of the money earned as a night-time associate there to support students and families. The Post and Courier originally reported on Darby’s work.
Some of the funds have also gone toward helping students pay their college tuition. Others have gone to helping purchase things to boost teacher morale.
Darby’s story has garnered national attention, including an appearance on NBC’s TODAY show late last month when Walmart presented him with $50,000 to use toward his efforts. To date, two Gofundme campaigns have raised nearly $200,000 more.
But the extra eyeballs have also prompted questions about why Darby’s work is needed. Last week, City Paper editor Sam Spence called it “proof we’ve failed.” Over the weekend, Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts said Darby’s story “should make you angry.”
The Order of the Palmetto, a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, is the state’s highest civilian honor awarded to South Carolina citizens for extraordinary lifetime service of national or statewide significance.