Distinguished Citizen Alumni Awards

Each year Hilton Head Preparatory School honors an alum who has made a significant contributions to Prep and the
greater society while attending Prep and continuing post-graduation.

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  • Catherine Scarminach Lewallen '95

    Catherine is an “HHP Lifer” and a 1995 graduate of Hilton Head Prep.  She is an attorney with Novit & Scarminach, P.A., with a primary focus on estate planning and probate and residential real estate.  Catherine is also a current member of the Board of Trustees of Hilton Head Prep. She has previously served on the board of Hospice Care of the Low Country and Hilton Head Dance Theater, and as a member of the Development and Donor Services Committee for the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. 
    Catherine received a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.  She lives in Bluffton with her husband, Jon, and two children, Bill (’32) and Sam (’35).

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  • Margaret Crenshaw '85 - 2023 Alumni Award

    Margaret Crenshaw is a 48 year Hilton Head Island resident and 1985 graduate of Sea Pines Academy (now Hilton Head Prep). She is an 18 year member and past president of the Hilton Head Prep Alumni Board. Currently, she sits as Vice President of the Board and oversees the Class Representatives.  She is a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors, Women in Philanthropy, The Art League and is an avid supporter of The Art Center of Coastal Carolina where she has worked on and off stage. Margaret’s daughter, Ellery Newcomer, also graduated from Hilton Head Prep, as a legacy in 2015. Margaret has a BFA in Theatre from Auburn University and worked as an actor extensively prior to her 15 year career in Catering Sales and Events. She is currently a realtor at Charter One Realty where she is  member of the  Kiser Jetton Group.  Besides volunteering, Margaret loves to write and cook, and is also enjoying learning to paint.

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  • Sam Bauer '84 - 2022 Alumni Award

    Sam Bauer, Sea Pines Academy class of 1984, was born in Mobile, Alabama. While a student at SPA, Sam lead the Winthrop Challenge Quiz Bowl Team, participated in the Princeton Model Congress, Model United Nations, and SPA's state champion varsity soccer team, earned gold medals for SPA at
    the Beaufort County Academic Olympics, and during the 1984 year competed for the arsity track team, setting SPA's pole vault record. During his graduation remarks from SPA in 1984, Sam is
    quoted as saying, "I knew when I came to Sea Pines Academy, i had found my second home." Sam graduated from Spring Hill College (BS 1988) and obtained his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1991 before returning to Beaufort County to serve as public defender.

    Throughout his education and long into his legal practice, Sam was "entrusted with the safekeeping"of the Sea Pins Academy bell. There was a long tradition of stealing the bell that hung
    in the bell tower on campus during the school year and returning it at graduation, but the class of 1984 never returned it. Although the bell changed hands many times, Sam was instrumental in
    returning the bell to Hilton Head Prep at the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2005.

    As an attorney, Sam takes pride in his service to the legal community. He is death penalty certified by the courts of South Carolina. He has served as President of the Beaufort County Bar Association and of the South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He has been a full member of the National College of DUI Defense Lawyers and a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Jurisprudence section. He is a regular instructor for the South Carolina Summary Court
    Judges School, and numerous legal associations statewide, lecturing on topics including Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, Evidential Alcohol Analysis, and Forensic Sciences. For the past
    three years, Sam has been recognized by South Carolina Super Lawyers for his contributions to the legal field.

    Sam and his wife, Mackenzie, have two beautiful daughters, Izzy (Hilton Head Prep Class of 2025) and Sylvie (6 months and a future Dolphin) and four step-children, Colin, Quinn, Rymer, and Penny. When not in a courtroom, you will find Sam enthusiastically cheerying on Izzy and the Dolphins at every soccer, volleyball, and basketball game.

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  • Thomas P. Cornelia, '77 - 2021 Alumni Award

    Tom was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1959.  His parents Bill, Lois, and three siblings vacationed on Hilton Head Island from 1966 through 1971, at which time the family moved permanently to Sea Pines.   As the youngest child, Tom enrolled in the 7th grade at Sea Pines Academy.  The school offered K-8 before expanding into the building in use today.  
    Tom met Debbie Eakin in the 10th grade.  Following graduation, Debbie earned a degree in Economics at Hollins College.  Married in 1987, they have three children; Spencer, Hannah and Griffin.
    Golf became his primary sport and he enjoyed a competitive environment fueled by SPA Coach Brig. General John Dobson and his great teammates.  The team won back-to-back SC Independent School State Championships.  Along with teammates Drew Butler and John Spelman, Tom is a member of the Hilton Head Prep Athletic Hall of Fame.   Tom, Drew, and John all earned athletic scholarships to the University of Texas, South Florida, and North Carolina respectively.
    Tom lettered four years at University of Texas and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance.  Upon graduation, Tom was a golf professional on HHI earning the status of Class A-1 in the PGA of America.  As an amateur, he was the 1979 Carolinas Amateur Champion.
    In 1986, Tom moved to Atlanta and began a career in the financial service industry as a representative for Cigna Financial Services.  In 1994, Tom transferred to Trust Company Bank as an investment officer.  In 2006, Tom and Debbie moved to Lake Oconee where Tom joined a satellite office of Morgan Stanley where he remains today as a Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager.  Tom is a Certified Financial Planner.  
    Tom is a 15 year Rotarian, a past President and two-time Club Rotarian of the Year and a member of the Lake Oconee Community Church.

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  • Dr. Brett J. Cargill, '87 - 2020 Alumni Award

    Dr. Brett Cargill, Hilton Head Prep Class of 1987, was born in Winchester, Indiana in 1968 and moved to Hilton Head Island in 1981. Brett is a member of Hilton Head Prep’s second graduating class after the merger of May River and Sea Pines Academies. Brett attended all three schools at one time or another over his secondary school career. Brett played six sports while a student – football, basketball, golf, baseball, track and soccer – always pitching in when the school needed him. He was a member of the National Honor Society, the weight-lifting club, student council and the lifetime sports club. He was also the student body president during his senior year. After Prep, Dr. Cargill received his BS in Biology from the University of South Carolina and then attended the University of South Carolina School of Medicine where he received his medical degree. Dr. Cargill completed his residency in emergency medicine at Palmetto Richland Hospital and is currently a Board Certified Emergency Physician and served as Chief of Staff at Hilton Head Hospital from 2017 to 2018. Brett is married to Monica Davis and has three children, Michael, Hanna and Davis who is in the 6th grade at Hilton Head Prep.

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  • Nicole Bensch Seitz, '90 - 2019 Arts Award

    Nicole Seitz ‘90 is the author of seven celebrated novels -- The Cage-makerBeyond Molasses CreekThe Inheritance of BeautySaving CicadasA Hundred Years of Happiness, Trouble the Water, and The Spirit of Sweetgrass. She is the co-editor of Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy with Pat Conroy Literary Center Executive Director, Jonathan Haupt. A visual artist as well, Nicole recently exhibited her 68 sketches of authors in Our Prince of Scribes at the PCLC in Beaufort. Nicole also edited a flood relief anthology, When You Pass Through Waters: Words of Hope and Healing from Your Favorite Authors that included writings from Hilton Head Prep teacher Dr. Michael Bassett ‘92 and his father, former Prep teacher, Dr. Fred Bassett.

    Nicole moved to Hilton Head Island in 1975 and graduated as salutatorian from Hilton Head Prep in 1990. Entering Sea Pines Academy in the sixth grade, Nicole remembers voting for the colors and mascot of the new school created by a merger with May River Academy, Hilton Head Prep. She, of course, voted for the Dolphins! Nicole describes her time at Prep as a safe place to dream and excel supported by talented and dedicated faculty. Some memorable highlights were: listening to the B-52s in AP Art with the queen of cool, Mrs. Kathryn Ramseur; visiting the beaches and tagging fruit flies in biology with the legendary Mrs. Sue West; learning to "focus, Nicole, focus" while reading Shakespeare with Dr. Fred Bassett; participating in Model UN and math competitions; serving as student body vice-president and captain of the volleyball team; and relaxing with her friends in the senior "lounge."

    Nicole holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.F.A. in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Nicole got her start in writing and illustration as a freelancer for The Island Packet and The Bluffton Packet and since then has published numerous non-fiction essays and articles for newspapers and magazines. As well, she's illustrated the covers and interiors of several of her books. As a speaker since 2008, she has presented to a multitude of groups, clubs, and festivals, gave the baccalaureate speech for the College of Charleston and recently delivered the commencement speech at Hilton Head Prep's graduation. Nicole lives with her husband Brian and two teen aged children in Mount Pleasant, SC, where she works in communications and teaches visual art.

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  • Niles Murphy, '06 - 2019 Athletic Awards

    Niles is the youngest and best looking Murphy sibling and a lifer graduate of the class of 2006. While at Prep, Niles played four years of varsity basketball and football and three years of varsity baseball. Niles was also a member of a number of clubs and student council. Niles was All-State and All-Region in Football in 2004 and 2005 and holds school records in longest kickoff return, best average kickoff return and most defensive touchdowns. He was inducted into the Hilton Head Prep Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2018. He strongly contests his older brother Nick’s claims regarding scoring more points and touchdowns. Niles received a football scholarship to Dartmouth College where he was also a member of the indoor track team. Additionally, Niles served as social chair of his fraternity and joined a number of clubs. He currently lives in Washington DC and is an account director at Leading Authorities, a talent and creative agency. In this role he helps clients address marketing, communications and PR challenges.

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  • Jaunell Murphy, '00 - 2019 Athletics Award

    Jaunell was a member of the class of 2000 at Hilton Head Prep and graduated as a lifer spending 12 years at Prep. She played soccer, basketball and volleyball throughout her career. Her basketball career started in local rec leagues, but she graced the courts of HHP from 6th-12th grade, starting varsity minutes as an 8th grader. She lettered in varsity basketball for 4 years where she was a double threat in scoring and rebounds. Under the expert guidance of Dr. Sulek, combining her junior and senior year stats, she scored 454 points, 404 rebounds, 31 blocks, and 54 steals and was a contributing member of the 1999-2000 State Championship team.

    Jaunell’s love of volleyball started in 6th grade and continues, even though her playing years ended her sophomore year of college. She lettered in varsity volleyball for four years at Prep being named all-tournament player in 1998 and making the all-tournament team in 1999. She also received the outstanding team contribution award her senior year under Coach Stern. She hung up her knee pads after lettering at Loyola University in New Orleans from where she graduated in 2004.

    While a student at HHP, Jaunell’s interests were not limited to the courts and fields, she also was involved in many clubs including Chorus, Literary Club/Newspaper, Zonta, and FCA. She was the recipient of the English award her junior year, she was the 1999-2000 SCISA Literary Meet Extemporaneous Speaking 1st place winner, and a recipient of 2000 Zonta scholarship.

    From 2008-2011, Jaunell worked in the Development Office at Hilton Head Prep and coached the girls JV volleyball and basketball teams. She left Prep to go to Law School in Charlotte and then finished at Loyola College of Law in 2013.

    She currently lives in Reno, NV overseeing all BHHC’s Nevada indemnity claims as a Claims Professional 3. She is a member of The Second Baptist Church of Reno, where she has already become part of the leadership team from her work with launching and facilitating the bi-weekly C.R.E.W., Christians, Ready, Equipped, and Willing, a young adults group focused on 18-39 years-old ministry. She recently became a first-time homeowner and a mother to a six-week-old puppy, M’Baku.

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  • Nicholas "Nick" Murphy, '98 - 2019 Athletics Award

    Nicholas “Nick” Murphy is currently an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. There, he represents the United States in criminal matters involving gangs, violent crime and firearms trafficking. Prior to that, Nick joined the Department of Justice via the Honor’s Program where he served as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division for almost 8 years in the Criminal and Educational Opportunities Sections. Nick began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Petrese B. Tucker in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

    At Penn Law, Nick held senior and associate editor positions with Law Review and the Journal of Law & Social Change. Nick was also president of the Black Law Students Association and was active in several student pro bono projects focused on human rights. Prior to law school, Nick attended Dartmouth College where he earned his undergraduate degree in Government. Nick also played on Dartmouth’s basketball team as a freshman and sophomore and Dartmouth’s football team as a sophomore, junior and senior.

    Nick grew up at Hilton Head Prep as a lifer (grades 1-12) and was active in a variety of activities, including football, basketball and soccer where he definitely scored more points, touchdowns and goals than his younger siblings combined. Nick is a proud member of Prep’s first post-May River academy state championship football team. Nick also enjoyed serving on student council and participating in a number of clubs. Nick is a member of the Hilton Head Prep Athletic Hall of Fame.

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  • Dr. Michael W. Bassett, '92 - 2019 Alumni Award

    During his four years as a student at Hilton Head Prep, Michael Bassett ‘92 was editor of the literary journal and president of the Literature Club. He won the Door Knocker Award for leadership and seizing opportunities. He was a member of the varsity football and varsity tennis teams. He served as president of the weightlifting and fitness club and was co-founder of the Lift America events that raised thousands of dollars for the Special Olympics. He went on to earn a B.A. in Philosophy from Wofford College, an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College, and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Southern Mississippi.

    Dr. Bassett has been teaching Upper School English at Hilton Head Prep since 2012 where he directs Prep’s Capstone Program. Dr. Bassett is the author of four poetry books and a children's book. He is the winner of the Joan Johnson Poetry Prize and his writing has been nominated for a Pushcart and an American Poetry Award. He was recognized by the Rotary Club as Upper School Teacher of the Year in 2016. He is a three-time consecutive winner of the Georgia Troup County Start Teacher of the Year (2002-2003) and recipient of the Florida Soaring Eagle Award for teaching and community service excellence in 2009. He does fundraising and volunteer work for St. Baldrick's Foundation and A Spring of Hope.

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  • Mr. Charles Fraser, '77 (Posthumously) and Mrs. Linda S. Fraser, '77 - 2018 Alumni Award

    Charlie and Linda both graduated from Sea Pines Academy in 1977. They went on to graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Business and moved back to Hilton Head Island and married after graduation. Charlie worked in real estate while Linda had several successful retail stores in Charleston and Hilton

    Head Island. After the birth of their two children, Charles Elliott ‘05 and Carolyn Carson ‘08, Linda sold her store and joined her father in the investment business. She is currently a Vice President, Investment Advisor with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. Both Charlie and Linda were members of the Alumni Association Board where Linda remains a member today. Both Elliott and Carson are lifers at Hilton Head Prep where Linda and Charlie were active volunteers and supporters when their children were students. Linda was a room mother and helped run the Heritage booth and both worked on the planning committee for the Jim Ferree Golf Outing for many years. As members of the successful “Tradition of Excellence” capital campaign committee that raised money for the Joseph B. Fraser, Jr. Field House (named for Charlie’s father) they were able to leave their mark on the future of Hilton Head Prep. Sadly Charlie passed away in March of 2016. The bell tower in the breezeway of Hilton Head Prep is named in Charlie’s honor. Linda continues to be an advocate and supporter for Prep alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

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  • Franklin P. Hodge III, '87 - 2018 Athletic Award

    Perry started his journey through Hilton Head Prep in kindergarten at May River Academy and was part of the second graduating class from Hilton Head Prep in 1987. While at Prep, Perry excelled in three sports. He was an All-State Medalist in golf, an All-State Punter and Quarterback in Football and All-State in Basketball. During Perry’s senior year, he was captain of the basketball and football teams, winner of the Golden Helmet Award and President of his class. Perry was selected to play for South Carolina in the South Carolina v. Georgia games in both football and basketball. He is a member of Hilton Head Prep’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Perry attended Villanova University on a full athletic scholarship and played four years of football before graduating in 1991. Later, Perry received his MBA from Columbia University. Perry spent 18 years as an institutional sales trader on Wall Street but recently transitioned to a career in textiles, leading business development for the Aviation division at Ultrafabrics. He also is the former Warden at Church of the Epiphany in NYC and on the Board of Trustees for the Church of the Epiphany Day School. Perry spends his time away from work enjoying life on Lake Mahopac with his wife Janna and his two children, PJ and Ryan.

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  • Meredith C. Inglesby, '93 - 2018 Arts Award

    Meredith entered Sea Pines Academy in 1st grade and graduated from Hilton Head Prep in 1993. A vivacious, active child, Meredith began to settle down and thrive at Hilton Head Prep, after much patient guidance from teachers and her parents, Bill and Ellery Inglesby. She was very active in philanthropic clubs, like ZONTA and athletics. She joined the Varsity volleyball team in 8th grade and became Captain her Junior year. She was also Captain of the softball team and had a short stint as a cheerleader.

    Through high school, her artistic nature began to take precedence over athletics and she was persuaded to perform in school musicals. She played roles in Grease, Guys and Dolls, and Fame, among others. She began to balance academics, athletics, and performing in local Hilton Head productions, such as, Fiddler on the Roof. Prep faculty, including fellow honoree, Kathryn Ramseur-Riley and the late Sue West, encouraged her to pursue performing arts at the university level. She attended Rollins College, graduating with a BFA in Art History, and a Minor in Theatre. After moving to New York City in 1998, and much “dues paid” pursuing acting, she found success on Broadway. Meredith has performed in a total of four Disney Theatrical productions, both on Broadway, and in National Tours. She was a member of the original Broadway cast of The Little Mermaid, and made her Broadway debut as the French Maid, turned feather duster, Babette, in Beauty and the Beast. Prior to Broadway, she toured with Disney’s On the Record, which was a rousing revue of some of Disney’s greatest songs ever written, and can be heard on the original soundtrack. She has toured America and Canada with Melissa Gilbert in Little House on the Prairie the Musical, and in Newsies, with her husband, Steve Blanchard and daughter, Wren. On film and TV, Meredith appeared in Newsies: The Broadway Musical, and Law and Order. She is currently playing Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Off Broadway. Meredith looks forward to supporting and guiding the next generation of artists. She continues to grow as an artist and is deeply grateful for how Hilton Head Prep molded and supported her talents and pursuits.

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  • Cooper Puntereri Collier, '02 - 2017 Athletic Award

    Cooper was the recipient of many accolades as a student athlete at Hilton Head Prep. She received the Charles A. Scarminach Award, the school’s highest award, was the chairman of the honor council, student council president, a member of the women’s a cappella chorus, a Wendy’s High School Heisman State Finalist, and captain of the girls varsity tennis, basketball, and soccer teams. During her tenure at Hilton Head Prep, she led her teams to a total of seven state championships and three runners-up. After Prep, Cooper went to the University of Virginia, where she coached a youth soccer team, and was a featured soloist with “The Virginia Belles,” an a cappella singing group. Upon graduation in 2006, she remained in Charlottesville working as Merchandising and Marketing Coordinator for Caspari, Inc., before moving to San Francisco in 2009 to work for the Pottery Barn Product Development Division of Williams-Sonoma. After taking Graphic Design at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked with the Harland Clarke Company to help develop a new paper goods division. Cooper moved to Charleston, SC, in 2014, and started the eponymous Collier Rose Ink company, a producer of luxury fabric, wallpaper and home accessories, as well as continuing to play competitive tennis. She and her husband Nate, Culinary Brand Manager at the French cookware company, Le Creuset, have two daughters, Lilly and Eloise. Cooper is a member of Prep’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

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  • Hadley Puntereri Miller, '00 - 2017 Athletic Award

    Hadley was a stellar student and athlete during her years as Prep. She won multiple academic awards including the Charles A. Scarminach award, the school’s highest award. She was student council president, on the honor council, co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, a Wendy’s High School Heisman State Finalist, and captain of the varsity girls tennis, basketball, and soccer teams. She was all-state and all-conference in soccer and basketball and was region “Player of the Year” her junior and senior year in soccer where she led the soccer team to three state championships and two runners-up in the six years she played soccer. Her basketball team also won three state championships during her tenure. After graduating from the University of Virginia, where she coached a girls youth soccer team, Hadley moved to Atlanta to work with Turner Entertainment as the Digital Media Project Manager for the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. She played competitive tennis with ALTA, and received certification as a Pilates instructor. She moved to New York in 2012, working at MTV as Operations Manager of their Digital Platforms group, as well as teaching Pilates at Equinox. In 2013, she began at Christie’s, Inc., the international art auction firm, and is currently Vice President, Head of Digital Product Development. She lives in Scarsdale, NY, with her husband Doug and son, Mac. Hadley is a member of Prep’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

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  • Bailey M. Puntereri, '97 - 2017 Athletic Award

    The winner of the Headmaster’s Award during his senior year at Hilton Head Prep, Bailey excelled in the classroom and on the athletic field. He was the student council president, on the honor council, president of four different clubs, and captain of the boys varsity football, basketball, and soccer teams. He was named SCISA All State for football and soccer as well as both sports “Player of the Year” his senior year. After Prep, Bailey graduated from the University of Virginia, where he walked on to the football team as tailback his first year. He then started in real estate at The Greenbrier Sporting Club in West Virginia, moving to New York with Colliers International. In 2007, he was recruited by the private equity firm Blackstone, moving him and his wife, Maria, to London, UK, where they lived for seven years, and where their children, Rosie and Ford, were born. While in London, Bailey picked-up the sport of cricket, and, by happenstance, played in the prestigious Eaton vs. Harrow “First XIs” alumni all-star Cricket Match, where he was honored with the “Man of the Match” award. He and his family returned to New York in 2015, where Bailey became a Director with the Park Hill Group of PJT Partners, the investment advisory group that was spun out of Blackstone. He currently lives in Greenwich, CT, where his wife teaches at, and children attend, Greenwich Country Day School. Bailey is a member of Prep’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

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  • Eric Reid, '06 - 2017 Alumni Award

    Eric joined the Hilton Head Prep family in 2002 as a freshman when his family moved to the island from the Detroit area. He played on the varsity football and golf teams, and in addition to playing the violin with Ms. Klimoff’s music ensembles, played in the extracurricular Hilton Head Island Youth Orchestra.

    After graduating from Prep in 2006 he attended Auburn University where he majored in history, a subject that had always interested him, but one he had developed an even greater love for through his Prep education. After pursuing musical interests in college which included touring the southeast with the Weston Burt Band, Eric returned to the Island permanently in the summer of 2011 and began playing his violin at acoustic dinner shows with singer and guitarist John Cranford. By September of that year, Cranford Hollow had become a full-time project. Now, five years later, the band has played over a thousand shows in 25 states all across the country. Eric and his follow band members have donated a free concert to Prep’s Jubilee six times, played at the Back to School Bash and alongside students at Prep strings concerts. Eric and Cranford Hollow have supported many island community events, most recently playing concerts to raise money for Hurricane Matthew disaster relief.

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  • Andrew Hazel, '06 - 2017 Alumni Award

    A lifer at Hilton Head Prep, Andrew credits much of his success to his foundation provided during those 12 years. The lessons he learned in the classroom and as a four-year letterman on the Tennis and Cross Country teams not only instilled a love of Prep in his life, but taught him the importance of giving back to the community. Andrew is a co-owner of Cranford & Sons LLC and Swampfire LLC and is the manager of the national touring act, Cranford Hollow. When he moved back to Hilton Head Island after studying engineering at Maryville College, Andrew began giving back to Hilton Head Prep. He was a member of the Hilton Head Prep Alumni Association Board, became involved in many Prep activities, and wears a Prep logo on his shirt proudly around the Island. He and the members of Cranford Hollow have donated a free concert to the Jubilee auction six times, played at the Back to School Bash, and played along with students at the Prep Strings Concert. He is involved in many non-profit organizations on the Island including NAMI, Friends of Caroline Hospice, Hilton Head Humane Association, and The Island Rec Center. Most recently, he helped raise money for Hurricane Matthew disaster relief.