With over 53 million Hispanics, 17% of its population (or 1 of 6 persons), the U.S. is now the 2nd largest most-populated country of Hispanics in the world: second only to Mexico (112 million). The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, the number of U.S. Hispanics will nearly triple with an approximate 30% share (almost 1 of 3 persons) of the nation’s population.
South Carolina has seen its own Hispanic population grow remarkably since 1990 when Hispanics comprised under 1% of the state’s population (30,551 Hispanics of 3.486 million South Carolinians). In the decade of 1990-2000, the Hispanic population tripled: from 30,551 to 95,076, thereby constituting 2.3% of the S.C. population. From 2000-2010, the it more than doubled (grew 148%, the highest of any state) to 235,682 or 5.1% of S.C.’s population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau. The University of South Carolina’s Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies estimates that upwards of 500,000 Hispanics may reside in S.C., or approximately 11.11% of the Palmetto State’s 4.6 million people. In addition, 76% of S.C. Hispanics speak Spanish at home.
In August 2005 a University of South Carolina study observed Hispanics in S.C. with an approximate annual purchasing potential of more than $2 billion, 80% of which is spent within the State. South Carolina is currently the 6th fastest growing state in the nation for Hispanic buying power, and 41% of S.C. Hispanics are homeowners.
These factors have greatly impacted state businesses, the health care and legal systems, and the society in general. Consequently, Spanish language instruction in South Carolina’s schools has become an urgent priority, and to promote and recognize outstanding teaching of the Hispanic language and culture in the Palmetto State’s public and private K-12 schools, the College of Charleston’s and The Citadel’s chapters of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, present their annual South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year Award, the only recognition exclusively for exceptional Spanish teachers in the State.
Each summer, the contest’s Board will select three finalists who will be notified in August and invited to an awards ceremony to be held in November in Charleston and alternating between the College of Charleston and The Citadel campuses. The South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year will be announced at this event. The College of Charleston’s and The Citadel’s chapters of Sigma Delta Pi will provide each finalist with an award plaque; other sponsors may provide cash, services and/or merchandise as appropriate for the distinctions.
Dr. Mark P. Del Mastro
Sigma Delta Pi’s South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year