HELEN RYAN IS A POWERHOUSE FOR LOCAL STUDENTS

Well known locally for her tenure as principal of Hilton Head Island High School and her role in developing John Paul II Catholic School, Dr. Helen Ryan has been many things: wife, mother, nurse, educator, faith leader. One constant in all aspects of her life, though, was serving others. 

CYNTHIA AND GEORGE GORSKI-POPIEL HELP KEEP HILTON HEAD ISLAND IN TUNE

When Cynthia and George Gorski-Popiel moved to Hilton Head Island a little more than 20 years ago from the Washington, D.C. area, they knew they would find golf courses and tennis courts, but they weren’t sure what kind of cultural life would be available. 

LOWCOUNTRY WOMEN WORK TO SAVE THE WORLD, ONE KID AT A TIME

Sheila Rivera grew up with nine older siblings. After their mother died and their father left, her brothers and sisters became her parents. 

“I’m the youngest of all 10,” Rivera said. “And they gave me all the love and attention I needed.” 

SPONGEBOB’S SCREENWRITER EMBRACES LIFE IN BLUFFTON

What happens when one of the writers of the hit children’s cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants” moves to Bluffton to teach at SCAD and announces in a local Facebook group that he’s here and wants to get to know locals? Hundreds of people respond enthusiastically. Luckily, Eric Scot Shaw is excited to meet them. 

SONESTA RESORT NAMES NEW DIRECTOR OF FINANCE 

Peter Conboy has been named the new director of finance at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island. In his new role, Conboy is responsible for overseeing the accounting staff, negotiating contracts and preparing financial statements and analyses of hotel operations. Previously, he served as director of finance at Wild Dunes Resort near Charleston. 

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE LOWCOUNTRY ADDS THREE 

Julie Jones, Jennifer Phillips and Mary Wright have joined the team at Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. 

Jones will serve as a donor services associate, providing relationship management services for donors and fund groups. Previously, she served as the assistant executive director for Bluffton Self Help for eight years. 

HIGH SCHOOL ARTIST BONDS WITH REFUGEE THROUGH PORTRAIT

If I could only capture his smile, Olivia Waters thought, I could capture the essence of Yousup — a 12-year-old Rohingya refugee confined in a camp in Bangladesh. 

“I couldn’t help but think that despite everything he had been through, despite all the things that must have been thrown at him this past year, he still looked full of joy,” said Olivia, 17, a senior at Hilton Head Island High School.

NATIVE ISLANDER HONORS TIES TO THE PAST BY MAINTAINING TINY CEMETERY

Finding time to tend to Braddock’s Point Cemetery is a no-brainer for Richard “Skeet” Williams. The grandmother who raised him, Ella Williams, lies there, as do other relatives.

“It is all about family,” he said during a tour of the tiny cemetery. “Everybody here is family. Somebody has got to keep things going because we are family.”

“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” – John F. Kennedy 

LENA SELLS
The Real Estate Specialist

Lena Sells may be the chief operating officer of The PIP Group, a real estate investment firm, but a while back she moved out of her top-floor office and into an open desk near the firm’s entrance. From there, she can easily spot the sign that is a reminder of her mantra: “Work like a captain and play like a pirate.”