Hurricane Florence Update as of 9/12/18

September 12, 2018, 8:19 A.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Dear IJGA Students and Parents:

Whether you are near or far to us, may this find you well. Again, I write with critical update about Hurricane Florence and her potential impact to our area. The past 24 hours have given way to shifts in Florence’s path. Now the storm seems to be pushing further and further south. Forecasters are still unsure of her path but all agree this storm, more than others, is extremely unpredictable and volatile. That said, though no formal watches or warnings have yet been issued for our area and though no evacuations have been ordered, we acknowledge the mounting stress of this developing situation. We recognize the uneasiness the storm’s path is causing students, staff and families. We take this and the storm’s potential threat seriously and maintain our commitment to safety thoroughly. As such, given the updates from the past 24 hours, we feel it is best that we take leave from the area – taking no chances with what could happen and wanting to also provide peace of mind to all.

That said, we are putting our evacuation plans back into effect. We will proceed today with students training today with the golf coaches, use the balance of tonight to pack and depart very early tomorrow morning, around 6 am, for our Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida. We will determine the exact time of departure once we confirm latest updates from Weather Center and Local Officials. A full itinerary will be sent later today. For now, I wanted to share this important update.

The IJGT tournament at Falcon’s Fire will proceed as planned and per Olena Barnhill’s email earlier this week, we extend invitation to all students to join the field this weekend at the rates mentioned by her.

Shortly, Heritage Academy will announce they are suspending classes through this rest of this week. We await word from Hilton Head Prep, but will work with them to advise of IJGA’s plans to evacuate and students’ absences, in turn.

I will be meeting with all students at 12 pm, over lunch, to review our plans for tomorrow’s evacuation. Again, I wish to express my profound appreciation to all for their support throughout this. Whatever happens by way of Florence’s path, we believe this decision to leave is best for safety of all.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns,

Dean of Students

September 11, 2018, 1:15 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Dear IJGA Students and Parents:

I hope this finds you well. As promised, I write with a critical update about our plans for Hurricane Florence as they have changed. This morning, just as we were preparing to depart Old Carolina at 11:30 according to plan, we received update from the Governor of South Carolina lifting/removing the mandatory evacuation for our county (Beaufort County). Upon hearing this, we reviewed the additional updates from Governor McMaster and local weather officials and confirmed the storm’s track continues to push well north of us. As I write this there are no tropical storm watches or warnings for us or the southern most portion of South Carolina. The collective information available to us suggested Florence’s threat to us has been greatly reduced and evacuation is no longer necessary. As such, we made the determination to stay at our IJGA home. We are not evacuating at this time. Students are now settling back into their homes and Student Life is offering a host of activities through afternoon and evening including golf, open gym, paintball, shopping and movies.

Heritage Academy will resume class Thursday. We await word of Hilton Head Prep’s plan to return to school. In any case, there will be structured offerings tomorrow for all students, including golf and activity. Study time will commence at usual time Wednesday evening in anticipation of Heritage classes Thursday. Falcon’s Fire tournament will continue as scheduled this weekend, with students departing Friday morning for practice round Friday and competition Saturday-Sunday.

In advising of all this, we remain mindful that the outer reaches of Hurricane Florence could bring us a day of heavy rains and winds – for which we are prepared. We also reiterate that the threat is not significant enough to cause need to leave at this time. This storm remains powerful and we remain vigilant to it, its path and its potential effects. As we do so, we keep all those in Florence’s path in our thoughts and prayers. As relieved as we are to stay home, we know those in her path are more so riddled with anxiety right now.

We are grateful to all the students and staff who worked so very well together to help prepare us for evacuation. And we are even more grateful that at this time we are able to remain in our academy home and quickly return to our business of developing in school, golf and life. Finally, to each of you – thank you for your trust and support throughout this matter. We know this must not be easy to watch from afar and we express our sincere appreciation for the outreach of support all have offered.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me for any matter. I apologize for the delay in getting this note to you – my computer was packed away in anticipation of our departure and I only just now got to it to send this important update.



September 10, 2018, 4:23 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Dear IJGA Students and Families:

May this find you well. Over the past few days we have sent updates to you of the potential for Hurricane Florence to affect our area. We have monitored the situation closely throughout the day and write to confirm that just this afternoon the South Carolina Governor, Governor McMaster, declared mandatory evacuation for all people living in our area beginning at 12 pm tomorrow. As such, we plan to leave our area at 11:30 am tomorrow morning. We will depart Old Carolina and head to our sister academy, Bishops Gate Golf Academy – located in Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida. Our plan tomorrow will be as follows:

Tuesday, September 11th
10:30 AM Depart Village for Old Carolina
10:45 AM Breakfast in FUEL
11:15 AM Load Up Bus/Vehicles with all Luggage (students may bring one carry on, one suitcase and their golf clubs)
11:30 AM Depart Old Carolina for Bishops Gate Golf Academy

While the exact path of the storm still remains uncertain, there continues to be potential significant threat to our area – as such it is rightful for us to evacuate. All residential students will travel with IJGA to Florida. While in Florida, students will have access to IJGA Bishops Gate golf training and meal facilities. We can also plan for trips to local Orlando attractions.

At this time, Heritage and Hilton Head Prep Academies are closed tomorrow and will remain closed until further notice. Strength and Conditioning and College Placement meetings scheduled for tonight are canceled so students may focus on packing and preparing for tomorrow’s departure. As we join our fellow North and South Carolinians evacuating this storm, we note the potential for heavy traffic and added time to our travels. We have full tanks of gas and will proceed with caution – updating you as regularly as we are able. Once we reach IJGA Bishops Gate and have settled in, we will send update confirming our arrival.

Please note: We will do everything we can to minimize the expenses of this necessary evacuation; however, each student will be responsible for shared cost of the evacuation. IJGA will pay for the cost of accommodations and food throughout our time away from the academy and then will determine the student evacuation fee after we have returned safely home. This fee will be for cost of transportation, accommodation, food and supervision.

While we may not yet know the exact path of the storm, we are confident the decision to leave tomorrow morning will help us ensure the continued safety of all students. Tonight, we need to ask all students to maintain calm and follow all IJGA staff directives.

Should there be significant change in this situation or need of update, we will utilize emails like this to provide timely updates to students and parents. As well, we will post these written updates to our IJGA website – you may check there for the most updated account of our movements.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those in the path of Hurricane Florence. In all we do, we will proceed with caution and watchful eye on the weather – always maintaining the highest regard for safety.


Erin Elliott
Dean of Students

September 9, 2018, 6:18 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Dear IJGA Families:

Yesterday, I wrote to each of you to advise that IJGA was tracking the developments of Tropical Storm Florence. I advised we are carefully monitoring the storm and making plans in the event that will directly impact our academy home. Today, I am writing to advise that we continue to monitor the storm’s anticipated path and prepare accordingly. I just watched the latest live update from the Governor of South Carolina, which included details from appointed officials and weather forecasters. As a result, I can confirm that while the storm is now a Category 1 Hurricane, it’s path remains uncertain. The storm has slowed down a bit and so officials believe it may be another 24-48 hours more before we know it’s potential effect to us in South Carolina.

As we closely monitor all developments we are mindful to the need to remain prepared to follow instructions of local authorities. At this time, we will proceed tomorrow with normal program operations, including school, golf, strength and conditioning and college placement sessions. While students tend to their daily responsibilities, know that a team of committed IJGA team members will continue to watch all forecasts and tend to all update from local officials. If we should need to evacuate the area, we are prepared to do so – taking all measures necessary to ensure safety of all.

We know this time must be stressful for all as we wait to see the anticipated path and destination of Hurricane Florence. Please know we are prepared with plans for a number of eventualities. No matter the plan, safety of all is our number one priority.

Please reach out to me with any questions.


Erin Elliott
Dean of Students

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