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Strom Thurmond High School English Teacher Jacqueline Ballard Remembered for Tremendous Kindness and Compassion Shared with Others

Johnston, SC – Jacqueline Ballard will be remembered for many things. Foremost among them are the tremendous examples of kindness and compassion she shared with everyone she knew.

Jacqueline, known most affectionately as “Jackie” by her friends and colleagues at Strom Thurmond High School, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, September 20, 2023. She had served faithfully as a dedicated English teacher for 16 years and was in her third year of teaching at Strom Thurmond High School, where her teaching career began.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Evening Light Church of God, located at 358 Chalk Bed Road, in Graniteville, SC. Arrangements are with Jackson-Brooks Funeral Home (  

Dr. Denise Campbell-Gartrell and Jackie became fast friends 13 years ago when they both taught in nearby Saluda County. Their friendship grew over the years and by the time they reconnected as colleagues and classroom neighbors at Strom Thurmond High School during the 2020-2021 school year, it was no longer a friendship, but a sisterhood.

“She was like my little sister,” said Campbell-Gartrell, who serves as the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Coach at Strom Thurmond High School. “We treated each other as sisters and if there was something going on in her family I knew about it, and if something was going on in my family, she knew about it as well. Her friendship was genuine and sincere. Her love for her friends was always evident by her actions.”

Campbell-Gartrell says the love and editing support Jackie provided during work on her doctoral dissertation was indispensable to her success.

“Jackie said she was going to call Liberty University and tell them to put her name on that degree after all the headaches and aggravation I caused her,” said Campbell-Gartrell with a laugh. “Honestly, if it hadn’t been for her knowledge and willingness to help guide me through the dissertation process, I may not have completed it. Jackie was also working on her own doctorate at the time. She not only inspired me to work on mine, but she came alongside me as well.”

Strom Thurmond High School Multilingual Learner Program Specialist, Kendra Price, says though her relationship with Jackie was not built on a great deal of time spent with one another, they connected, intellectually, and shared a special bond she will always treasure. 

“Our connection as coworkers may have been small, but it was authentic and it meant so much to me,” said Price. “I truly loved working with Jackie and bouncing so many ideas off of her intelligent mind.”

Price will always remember and appreciate how Jackie would thoughtfully recommend books she felt would resonate with her multilingual students. Taking her own time to enrich the lives of another teacher’s students was just who Jackie Ballard was, Price says.

“She was always thinking of others and doing everything she could to help them,” Price added.

Outside of her classroom, Jackie Ballard was also a talented creator who ran a small business, Jackball Creations, through which she expressed her creativity by making T-shirts, cups, key chains, coasters and many other items.

Price has an insulated cup Jackie made for her sitting on her desk.

During a faculty meeting held last Wednesday on the morning of Jackie’s passing, her colleagues shared their memories. German teacher, Art Lader, recounted passionately how Jackie had made a custom cup for all of his visiting exchange students, none of whom she knew.

“I didn’t even know she had done that, but that’s who she was,” said Price. 

The willingness to share herself, her time, knowledge and talent with others is something Dr. Denise Campbell-Gartrell will always remember about her “little sister”, Jackie Ballard.

“Jackie was always learning, exploring and trying new things,” said Campbell-Gartrell. “She wasn’t afraid to share her knowledge with others. Jackie once said that’s the problem with society today, so many people know so many things that could benefit others, but they are too afraid to share it. Jackie wasn’t that way. She wasn’t jealous or envious of others. She wanted to see others achieve greatness.”

The thoughts and prayers of the Edgefield County School District and Strom Thurmond high School families remain with the Ballard Family.

ECSD Public Information Office