Northport eighth graders host JROTC cadets

Northport eighth graders host JROTC cadets

Northport K-8 eighth grade students received special guests in classrooms recently as two cadets from the Port St. Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion under the direction of Major U.S. (Retired) Richard Thompson, visited and imparted great information about available JROTC programs. Cadets Auger and Ryun talked about building leadership skills and the camaraderie that is attained when joining a JROTC Unit. Cadets spoke about after school teams including, drill, orienteering, raiders training and marksmanship teams and told the students that the after school and weekend activities are the best part of the program. The cadets encouraged the eighth graders to find out more information about available JROTC programs at the high schools and to consider becoming a part of one of the district’s JROTC programs available. Students were thrilled to see and listen to high school students who appeared to professional, courteous and knowledgeable and were very impressed with the programs. Pictured are Cadets Ryun, left, and Auger, who attended Northport K-8 School from fourth to eighth grade.

Mentoring program at Gaines Academy  helps students develop leadership and life skills

Mentoring program at Gaines Academy helps students develop leadership and life skills

The students and staff at Samuel S. Gaines Academy are very appreciative to the mentors from the Calvary Compassion Church, who act as mentors for students in the Butterfly Tea mentoring group. Mentors assist student mentees with leadership strengths, and build on improving challenges, and expose mentees to best-practice in leadership and life skills. Pictured are members of the group with mentors.

Southern Oaks students walk like Egyptians

Southern Oaks students walk like Egyptians

Students Carlie Frizzle, left, and Elizabeth Stone in Todd Hibbard’s Advanced World History Class at Southern Oaks Middle School, sang the lyrics to the song “Walk Like an Egyptian” during a unit on Egyptian culture. The students found that the lyrics from the song use several of the key terms and phrases from their unit of study. The song allowed the students to infuse Social Studies with the musical arts, as well as language arts. Though not required to have a costume, these students “walked like an Egyptian,” going the extra mile to make the presentation even more special!

School district employees show support for heart disease research

School district employees show support for heart disease research

The American Heart Association proclaimed February as National Heart Month. And Friday, February 7, was celebrated as National Wear Red Day. For the last decade, the American Heart Association has promoted Women Going Red for heart disease, which kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Pictured are 26 of the many school district offices employees — including one gentleman seated in the middle, Eddie Reed — all of whom wore red for the day to show support for research on women’s heart health issues. The event was sponsored by Wellness Department Director Carlye Fabrikant, seated first row, second from right, with support from School Health Services Coordinator Kim Pennington, seated first row, second from left.

Northport K8 students delve into Egyptian studies

Northport K8 students delve into Egyptian studies

Northport K-8 sixth grade students in Georgia Stone’s World History classes took learning about Egyptian studies to the next level recently as students learned how the Nile River shaped Egypt. Students marveled at the fact that the ancient Egyptians valued the afterlife so highly and that every aspect of their lives on Earth was a road map for their afterlife. Students learned that burial tombs were placed on the west side of the Nile River, which was called the “Land of the Dead.” Following in-depth studies and intensive research about Egyptian culture, students created a burial chamber or tomb of what each considered an authentic Egyptian with an Egyptian name. The tomb had to include at least six items that would be buried with the dead, and three important facts about their lives. Also, included in the tomb was the Book of the Dead, which was the instruction booklet to survival in the afterlife. After collaborative assessment and judging, three students were chosen as having the most authentic burial chambers. Pictured are the winners of that judging, from left, Kiara Badalo, Edo Cabrera and Cole Rigsby. Each student received a certificate for showcasing in depth critical thinking and a cash award.

Northport K8 teachers, students collaborate on presentations

Northport K8 teachers, students collaborate on presentations

Northport K-8 seventh grade students are busily preparing their Project Citizen presentations. After a semester of research, phone calls, letters and policy studies, students in Mary Ellsworth, Christopher Prusa and Angel Bracero’s civics classes are fine tuning and refining their presentations. Students selected topics of interest to help raise awareness about hot button issues and learned how to become change agents to help make what seems to be impossible become the possible. Some of the topics selected by students are sidewalks in Port St. Lucie, school dress code, school budgets and textbooks, animal shelters and the issue of stray animals, dirty bathrooms and bullying. Students in Christopher Prusa and Mary Ellsworth’s classes met in the school media center to work with media specialist Lynne Gruszka to fine tune presentation skills and to learn how to present to a group. Pictured are students from Mary Ellsworth’s civics classes presenting their Project Citizen project. From left are Mackenzie Hunsicker, Michael Gorbach, Gabriel Pedraza and Melissa Royo. District wide Project Citizen presentations will be displayed and judged on Saturday, February 15, at Samuel Gaines K-8 School beginning at 9:30 AM. One display, per teacher, per school will be presented.

Jaguars place second in marksmanship match

Jaguars place second in marksmanship match

The Port St. Lucie High School Jaguar Battalion hosted this year’s Treasure Coast Air Rifle Match sponsored by American Legion Post 318. This competition was made possible by the continuous support of the American Legion Post 318, which provided the competition’s trophies and medals.

Competing against four other schools in St. Lucie County, Port St. Lucie placed second overall. This was a standard shoulder-to-shoulder match, shooting the three standard shooting positions: standing, kneeling and prone.

Cadet Captain Michael Hutchinson was the “Top Shot” from Port Saint Lucie scoring 222 points. Each cadet preformed to the best of his or her ability. The Jaguar Battalion gives a special thanks to The American Legion Post 318 for their continued support. Photo by Clay Lesniak.

Local principal Wright honored by state education commissioner

Local principal Wright honored by state education commissioner

Frances K. Sweet Elementary School principal Juanita Wright was honored at the Florida Department of Education Commissioner’s Leadership Award Luncheon recently held at Disney World. Pictured is Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart congratulating Mrs. Wright as St. Lucie County’s 2014 Principal of the Year and nominee for the state award.

Assistant principal Sanabria recognized by education commissioner

Assistant principal Sanabria recognized by education commissioner

Treasure Coast High School Assistant Principal Henry Sanabria was recognized at the Florida Department of Education Commissioner’s Leadership Award luncheon recently as St. Lucie County’s nominee for 2014 Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year. Pictured are Sanabria, left, and Commissioner Pam Stewart. Congratulations for this outstanding achievement.

F. K. Sweet kindergartners sort shapes

F. K. Sweet kindergartners sort shapes

Frances K. Sweet Elementary School students Ruben Medina, left, and Olivia Gomez, pictured, in Michelle O’Keefe’s kindergarten class enjoy sorting two-dimensional flat shapes and three-dimensional solid shapes. After sorting, students ate their shapes! Ruben enjoyed the cheeseball sphere and Olivia enjoyed eating the Hershe’s Kiss cone.

C. A. Moore kindergartners count and celebrate 100 days

C. A. Moore kindergartners count and celebrate 100 days

Kindergartners at C.A. Moore Elementary School in Fort Pierce recently celebrated 100 days of school with a myriad of activities. Students had fun counting to 100 as they popped 100 balloons, in “I am 100 Days Smarter,” students colored a graph as they counted each shape to match the number of shapes, and during word work, the students wrote 100 words that they use in the classroom. Students counted out 10 groups of 10 snacks to equal 100, during writing, students responded to, “If I had 100 dollars, I would buy…” and used their creativity to see what they could build with 100 Dixie cups. By the end of the day, the students were 100 days smarter! Pictured, kindergarten teacher Sabrina Faniel and her students parade in the hall.

Fairlawn Elementary’s Helton VFW’s national Citizenship Teacher of the Year

Fairlawn Elementary’s Helton VFW’s national Citizenship Teacher of the Year

Fairlawn Elementary School fifth grade teacher Shirley Helton learned February 4, 2014, she has been named the 2014 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national Citizenship Teacher of the Year. Helton was awarded the state honor in January at the organization’s state conference in Orlando. Helton expects formal recognition from the organization later in February.

Students inspired to become entrepreneurs

Students inspired to become entrepreneurs

Fort Pierce Central High School student council co-presidents and future business owners Terrence McQueen, left, and Tatiana Peterkin, right, are shown with former and long term St. Lucie County School Board chairman and local business leader Dr. Samuel S. Gaines during the recent All About Black Businesses of the Treasure Coast event. Participants displayed their spirit for the Black History Month celebrated in February. The students were treated to breakfast, heard advice from some of the top local businesses owners, and enjoyed a book signing by former 104.7 WFLM morning show host and ESPN analyst Vera Jones.

Northport kindergartners celebrate being 100 days smarter

Northport kindergartners celebrate being 100 days smarter

Northport K-8 School kindergartners in Shana Cicio, Kara McNair, Nancy Yost, Melody Nieves and Tiffany Tredor’s classes celebrated being 100 days smarter recently by giving a big “Hip Hip Hooray!” to a “One Hundred Days” celebration. Students and teachers collaborated by reading the book “100 Day Worries” by Margery Cuyler. Students also made “100 Day trail mix” with 100 ingredients, counting by tens. Students practiced counting to one hundred and reading and writing one hundred words. Kindergarten teacher Tiffany Tredor thrilled the students by dressing up as a 100-year-old woman. By the end of the day, every kindergartner was absolutely sure that they understand the number 100! Pictured are kindergartners from Melody Nieves class enjoying the day!

Employees honored as inaugural STAR recognition program recipients

Employees honored as inaugural STAR recognition program recipients

Fort Pierce Central High School (FPCHS) culinary arts teacher Margaret (Peggy) Ash and school plant manager Barbara Hisey were honored at the January 28, 2014, St. Lucie School Board meeting for the inaugural presentation of the S.T.A.R. (Special Thanks and Recognition) employee recognition program. The two long-time school district employees were honored for doing “whatever it takes” to get the job done, as evidenced in their vital contribution to the success of the district’s Early Childhood Discoveries conference held on January 11, 2014 at the school. Ms. Hisey and her team stayed late and their responsiveness to the needs of the event the Friday night before, and all day Saturday were outstanding. Ms. Ash and her culinary arts program students provided 250 lunches to those in attendance and her personal touch made all the difference. Pictured, from left, are Assistant Principal Megan Guyer, school board chairman Debbie Hawley, site maintenance workers Eddie Bussey and William Durr, FPCHS principal Todd Smith, site maintenance worker Frankie Jackson, St. Lucie Schools Superintendent Genelle Yost, Barbara Hisey, FPCHS plant manager Eva Wortham, site maintenance worker Donald Jordan, and FPCHS assistant principals Kristi Pacocha and Mary Hoffman.

Northport media center promotes American initiative

Northport media center promotes American initiative

Northport K-8 Media Center is busy promoting books, programs and initiatives, but the one most special to media specialist Lynne Gruszka and principal Glenn Rustay is the “Building American Pride, One Flag At A Time” program. The program was kick started immediately following the Northport annual 9/11 Remembrance program in September. Guest speaker, retired New York City Detective and 9/11 First Responder Albert Hickey, spoke to the students about his experiences and noted that few homes had American flags waving on his drive to the school. Many students expressed that they would like an American flag flying from their homes and want to know where to purchase flags. Ms. Gruszka began a campaign of community involvement and education about the program and continues to receive many donations from community clubs and citizens who care about the students, the school, the programs offered and the country and wanted to help the school fulfill the need. Students will receive their American flag kits right along with their diplomas in June at the formal eighth grade graduation. The Sons of the American Revolution will hand out the flags and many veterans as well as Detective Hickey will be present. The flags will be dedicated to the extremely difficult work that Detective Hickey did to assist the country and the victims of September 11, 2001. Special thanks to Robin Booth Cafarelli, Vic and Cheryl Rowe, Dorothy Vanderhoff, Karen Sweeney, Dr. Michael Salerno, Linda Walker, retired Northport principal Jane Summa, Nancy Wernicki, Grace Therapies, LCC, Bill and Mary Arnold, Detective Albert Hickey, Jack Ivy Detachment, Women’s Aux. Mirta Cepeda, Dr. Judi Miller, Korean War Veterans Association chapter 106 and Retired USAF Sgt. Roy Brewer. The educational initiative will continue until April when the flags will be purchased. If interested, please contact lynne.gruszka@stlucieschools.org. Pictured is Ms. Gruszka accepting a donation from Sgt. Brewer.

Mariposa Elementary students study geometry

Mariposa Elementary students study geometry

At Mariposa Elementary, Cynthia Deal in Maria Nunez’s fourth grade class was engaged in finding 12 different types of angles. The activity included having a great deal of fun during the learning process. Cynthia used mini-marshmallows and wooden toothpicks to create these various angles.

Northport abuzz with super spellers

Northport abuzz with super spellers

Northport K-8 School has been buzzing with super spellers recently as 35 students in grades four through eight practiced using flashcards, spelling buddies and parent support to help make the annual Northport Spelling Bee a phenomenal success. Parents, fellow students and staff cheered as the school based winner was announced on the afternoon announcements. The spelling bee went eight intense, very professional rounds. The winner of the bee is Ashley Quijada, a seventh grade Northstar student. Ashley will participate in the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee held at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 9:00 am. Ashley’s winning word was “shiatsu.” The Northport alternate and second place winner was Tristan Kormony. Honored judges were the Big Brothers, Big Sisters, AmeriCorps tutors who serve Northport students every day, Miss Renee and Ms. Jackie and pronouncer was AmeriCorps tutor, Ms. Alex. The Master of the Bee was media specialist Lynne Gruszka. Pictured are several parents in attendance, the AmeriCorps tutors and the spelling bee participants.

Palm Pointe families enjoy linguini and literacy

Palm Pointe families enjoy linguini and literacy

Students and staff at Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition celebrated literacy recently by participating in a Literacy and Linguini evening event.  Families were invited to come and enjoy a free spaghetti dinner and watch students and staff members act out skits from books. Over 600 people came out for the event. Students all received a free book and bookmark and adults were also able to participate in a free book exchange. Several staff members dressed up as storybook characters and took pictures with students. Pictured, from left, are staff members Matthew Kovach, Summer Kuba, Emily Bokhart, Debbie Iseman, Dana Schang, Tina Ruybulid, Andrea Tang and Debborah Estrada performing a skit from the book “The Seven Chinese Sisters.”  Everyone enjoyed this event!

Savanna Ridge Elementary celebrates Literacy Week with special events

Savanna Ridge Elementary celebrates Literacy Week with special events

Savanna Ridge Elementary had an exciting week of activities for this year’s Literacy Week. Students participated in buddy reading, where they were paired up with other students and read together. They also had engaging conversations about books while enjoying a snack during “chew and chat.” Families were invited to the school for “Books and Baked Ziti Night,” where parents participated in literacy stations where they learned how to incorporate reading at home, valuable online resources, and how to utilize our print rich environment. Parents enjoyed baked ziti, a book exchange, and were even able to sign up for a public library card. The highlight of the week was the many guest readers from the community and school district to share their favorite book with the students. The students were so excited to have police officers, business owners, school board members, university students, and district leaders here to read to them. The students were able to hear and see the love of reading that we learn as children and carry with us throughout our lives. Thank you to everyone who participated in Literacy Week at Savanna Ridge, it was a huge success! Pictured are Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Kerry Padrick, left, Dr. Mary Huffstetter and her dog Charlie celebrating the week by sharing a story with kindergarten students.