At the May 28, 2013, St. Lucie County School Board meeting, the American Cancer Society (ACS)and the organizers of the St. Lucie West Relay For Life recognized the contributions of the staff, parents and students at 12 local schools who participated in the April, 2013 event, and thanked them for their hard work, volunteer service, and dedication. Many of the 14 teams that participated this year have done so for several years. Eric Finkel, Lori Finkel, and Robyn Young representing ACS presented a “You Make a Difference” Certificate of Appreciation to team leaders from St. Lucie West Centennial High School, Frances K. Sweet Elementary, Northport K-8 School, Palm Pointe Educational Research School at Tradition, Parkway Elementary School, Renaissance Charter School, Rivers Edge Elementary School, St. Lucie Elementary School, Bayshore Elementary School, Weatherbee Elementary School, College Preparatory Academy of the Treasure Coast, and Treasure Coast High School. Pictured are the recipients with School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, back left, and Superintendent Michael Lannon, back right.
The winners of the fifth annual Dr. Samuel S. Gaines essay contest were recognized at the May 28, 2013, St. Lucie County School Board meeting. The contest, sponsored since its inception by The Morganti Group which provides cash prizes for the winning entries, is part of the district’s recognition and celebration of African American history month. Local students in grades three to 12 may write an essay describing an African American person in St. Lucie County who has made a difference in the student’s life, explaining what the person did to make such an impact. The contest is named for Dr. Gaines, who served on the St. Lucie County School Board for 34 years, five times as chairman. At Dr. Gaines’ retirement in 2006, Superintendent Michael Lannon instituted the essay contest to honor Gaines’ legacy. Pictured, front row, from left, Sara Aube from Manatee Academy K-8, first place in middle school division; Maxwell Martzolf, from Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts, first place in elementary school division; Randall Peterson, from Dan McCarty School, third place in elementary school division; and Animesh Saha, from F. K. Sweet Elementary, first place in elementary school division. Back row, from left, Shelby Young, from Manatee Academy K8, third place in middle school division; School Board chairman Debbie Hawley; Vanessa Crawford, from Fort Pierce Central High School, first place in high school division; Michael Buckland from The Morganti Group; Christian Excorcia, from St. Lucie West Centennial High School, second place in the high school division; Dr. Gaines; Anthony Scott, from Fort Pierce Central High School, third place in the high school division, and Superintendent Michael Lannon. Not pictured is middle school division second place winner Shaketia Sneed from Forest Grove Middle School.
The St. Lucie County Education Foundation, through its Teacher of Excellence Utilizing Technology Grant, presented laptop computers from corporate sponsor Dell, to honor teachers who are currently utilizing technology to both enhance the curriculum in an innovative manner and to motivate engaged student learning in the classroom. Northport K-8 principal Glenn Rustay made the presentations at the St. Lucie County School Board meeting May 28, 2013, to Weatherbee Elementary teacher Jennifer Lehmann, Northport K-8 teacher Jennifer Carey, and Lincoln Park Academy teacher Josephine Cappelletti. In addition, 2014 St. Lucie County Teacher of the Year Harry B. Williams also was presented a Dell laptop, and tablets were presented to St. Lucie’s 2013 Assistant Principal of the Year Susan Seal at Fort Pierce Central High School, and St. Lucie’s 2013 Principal of the Year Ucola Barrett-Baxter from Parkway Elementary School. Pictured, front row from left, are Susan Seal, Jennifer Lehmann, Jennifer Carey, Josephine Cappelletti, Harry B. Williams, Ucola Barrett-Baxter, and Education Foundation Executive Director James McKenzie. Back row, from left, are School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, Superintendent Michael Lannon, Cynthia Zeller and Andy Sakalian from Dell, Education Foundation president Michael Waninger, and Glenn Rustay.
Through heart-warming stories and eye-opening pictures, students from Zambia were able to share their stories with Samuel Gaines Academy students. Students learned that at a particular school in Zambia, due to lack of funds, teachers have little resources to utilize. With an eagerness to serve, members of the school’s chapter of the National Elementary and Junior Honor Societies, along with students from Katie Ludwig’s seventh grade Critical Thinking class, worked relentlessly and passionately for weeks to create educational books and posters for the students in Zambia. Thanks to faculty member Chelsea Hartz, NEHS sponsor, students were also able to send a video of the project process along with the projects. When asked about his experience, student Shemar Moore declares said the best part about this service project was that their work traveled all the way to Zambia and the Zambian students learned from them. Student Yanet Guzman echoed the sentiment, saying she loves to learn, and helping teach peers who want to learn also is an honor. Pictured holding the book she created is fifth grade Junior Honor Society student Audrianna Rubio.
Students from Glenna Sigmon’s first grade class at Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition spent a sunny day seining with the Manatee Center at Jaycee Park in Fort Pierce. This enriching opportunity provided a hands-on learning experience to deepen students’ understanding of local habitats and ecosystems. These concepts of science were embedded across all content areas for the unit to facilitate the district’s STEM initiative in which science is an integral part of English, language arts, and mathematics. Pictured, from left, are student Shelby Kay Sigmon, a volunteer from the Manatee Center helping the students, and student Cailey Landreville.
Students at Floresta Elementary School recently participated in a 45 minute character education assembly. The NED show, a motivational program, promotes building a positive attitude and encourages students to support others and to never give up as they strive to always do their best. The show was presented in an engaging storytelling format where the guest speaker used a variety of skills and tricks with the yo-yo as a storytelling prop. Students and teachers enjoyed the presentation and students were able to purchase their own yo-yo from a variety of yo-yos for sale after the show. Pictured, left, is student Yerel Alejo participating in the program with the NED presenter.
Windmill Point Elementary celebrated its first school-wide Kids at Hope Day recently. The day centered on mental time traveling, which involved exploring students’ future life in the following four destinations: career and education, home and family, hobbies and recreation, and community service. Many thanks go to St. Lucie County School Board member Carol Hilson, pictured, who spoke to fourth grade students, not only about her career choices, but also about believing in oneself and setting goals to reach one’s dreams, and to all of the guest parent and community speakers. Windmill Point Elementary students, staff, and parents believe the Kids at Hope vision, that all children are capable of success, no exceptions!
The two 2013 Business Partners of the Year for St. Lucie Public Schools were recognized at the May 28, 2013, St. Lucie County School Board meeting. The 26th Annual Commissioner’s Business Partner recognition reception, sponsored by the Florida Department of Education, will be held June 13, 2013, in Tampa where the state winner will be named. School districts throughout the state may nominate one, two or three businesses, depending on student population, for the state honor. St. Lucie Public Schools selected the school district’s Facilities and Maintenance Department (with FLDOE approval) for its annual summer student internship and scholarship program, which since 2007 has awarded $30,000 to St. Lucie students. Pictured with the recognition plaque is department bookkeeper Cindy Hill, who has been the driving force behind the project, along with the late Regina Chesser. With Ms. Hill, from left, are School Board chairman Debbie Hawley, Hill, Delores Austell from the Career and Technical Education department, which nominated the internship program, and Superintendent Michael Lannon. The other Business Partner of the Year is Martin Health Systems – St. Lucie West and site manager Debbie Markey. This company provides internships for medical academy students from St. Lucie West Centennial. Teachers Elizabeth Durkee and Mary Higgins nominated Martin Health Systems for their unwavering commitment to providing the requisite clinical experiences for medical academy students to earn certification.
Students in one of two Christopher Tolliver’s seventh grade classes at Dan McCarty School bested eight other school groups in this year’s Vaccine Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) Academic Challenge. Nine classes from six schools competed in this year’s challenge posed by VGTI scientists in an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school and real world problems facing society. In a video presentation to the students, scientists had seventh grade students identify a naturally occurring ecosystem with limited resources where one organism has established dominance over all others in consumption of these resources. Students determined a natural predator(s) and selected the most likely organism to be enhanced through selective breeding and genetic engineering to exert a population check on the dominant consumer. Students collaborated as a class to create PowerPoint presentations, backboards and videos to present their solution to the problem. Dr. John Schatzle , Director of Scientific Operations at VGTI, announced the best project in the scientists’ determination was from Toliver’s class entitled “The Lionfish Problem.” “This project had the most scientifically sound solution to the invasive species problem and utilized an indigenous species and introduced traits that wouldn’t affect the natural ecosystem or other organisms besides the invasive consumer,” Schatzle remarked. Tolliver also had another classroom present “The Rhesus Monkey Problem.” Other teachers who advanced STEM education in the classroom by participating in the challenge were Andrea Anicito from Forest Grove Middle School with “The Tegu” and The Cane Toad,” Thomas Balcer from Lincoln Park Academy with “ Deadly Little Lionfish,” Claudy Bois from Palm Pointe Educational Research School with “Attack of the Red Fire Ants” and “Everglades: A struggling Ecosystem,” Eric Johnson from Southport Middle School with “Control of the Burmese Python,” and Sean Lynch from WestGate K-8 with “The Lionfish Invasion.” Pictured, back row from left, are Michelande Eliassaint, Roberto Barrera, Louis Lopez, Janicia Larcher, Laurel Peterson, A’lexeairia Johnson, Rentavius Brice and Joana Magana. Front row, from left, are Jason Harless, Anastiastia Hillary, Marissa Perkins, Dwight Lazarro, and Yasmin Martinez. Team members not pictured include Davonte Hanna, Jaquelyn Macias, Jaslym Varela, and Quytaeja Frazier.
Students at Samuel Gaines Academy decorated and setup their pods with cultural information, artistic design, musical, and cuisine, for the annual Multicultural Day. This event was very successful with enthusiastic participation from teachers, parents and students alike. Students at each grade level researched a specific country to display in their pod. Pictured are sixth grade teachers Missy Lyshon, Robert Plowden, and Elisabeth Kraft with their students displaying their culminative research on Italian culture.
Students in Caryol-Lynn Hallahan’s second grade class at Windmill Point Elementary participated in the National Society DAR Junior American Citizens contest. This year’s theme was “Invest in America’s Future.” The students were able to create a poster or write a short story depicting the theme. The local Cora Stockney Harper Chapter submitted two entries for judging by the state organization, and Efrain Pellot’s entry received a second place award for his short story from the Florida State Society and Anthony Phillip’s entry received a third place award for his poster category from the state. Pictured are Efrain, left, and Anthony.
Fifth grade students at Windmill Point Elementary School recently enjoyed competing in the events at Field Day. Spirits were high along with the competition. Students remarked that they have a “blast” at Field Day, which shows students how much fun physical activities can be working together. Pictured are Joey Cerbone, left, and Peyton Mertz demonstrating teamwork is the key to success!!
During the month of April and culminating with FCAT week, students at Lincoln Park Academy raised over $5,700 in which all proceeds went to the American Heart Association. The monies raised far exceeded the school’s original goal of $2,000 and proved LPA is a school that cares about health and community! Pictured, from left, are Adrian Ortiz, Kristina Novotny, Jennifer Ketcham, Kaylee Colley and rope turner Tache Vidal during one of the jumping rope events.
Northport K-8 School Northstar team students in six, seventh and eighth grades visited St. Augustine recently for a day long learning excursion. Northstar instructors Mala Woessner and Mehgan Drost planned and organized the “Step Back Into History” program as a scaffold to information gleaned in the classroom about Spanish Colonial Florida and an examination of Florida History. Students perused artifacts and heard stories of the native Americans and Colonial settlers. Students drank heartily from the Fountain of Youth and learned why Ponce de Leon named Florida when he claimed the land for Spain. The oldest fort and the oldest school house were toured and students ended the learning initiative to St. Augustine by listening to the stories of ghosts of Old St. Augustine. The trip was an excellent opportunity for students to connect information learned in the classroom to real time experiences.
Seven Northport K-8 students and their families participated in the St. Lucie County Reading Council Young Authors program held recently at Fort Pierce Central High School. All students at Northport K-8 School participate in the Young Author’s program as evidentiary data for the school’s Parent Involvement goals for the School Improvement Plan. Student, family and teacher involvement in the authentic writing program is nearly 100%. Each year, at the beginning of the school year, teachers prepare their students for the “whole community- project based” program. Writing workshops are held in conjunction with the 21st Century after school program and classroom teachers prepare their students to be able to demonstrate mastery of the writing process, which includes planning, organizing, writing, editing, style, revision, adding illustrations and achieving the final product. The books are then displayed in the school Media Center for optimal display of community work and parent visits. This year’s school wide selections for best writing by Northport students are Zachary Roy, Breanna Guillame, Alexander Hernandez, Alayna
Jaworski, Cali Romano, Alexa DeMatthews and Jill Quant. Pictured is Zachary Roy and his proud mother, Marie Roy.
Two Lincoln Park Academy students won four-year scholarships at the recent Intel ISEF International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona, for their projects. The students were able to attend the International Fair with support from the St. Lucie County Education Foundation’s Fund A Project, and were able to solicit and raise the funding needed to participate. Junior Neha Kambam Reddy presented her project, “Sustaining Ecological Biodiversity with Highly Specific RNA Interference (RNAi),” and won a four year scholarship to the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, valued at $60,000.00. Robert Bacchus, also a junior, presented his project, “CancAARS: A Novel Therapeutic Target for Melanoma Tumorigenesis,” and also won a four year scholarship to the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, valued at $60,000.00. Robert also placed fourth in the grand awards for Biochemistry, and was presented a check for $500.00. University of the Sciences awards five $15,000 scholarships to students whose research and academic interests align with the USciences mission. Scholarships become effective upon enrollment in the incoming class of Fall 2014. Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12. Each year more than 1,500 high school students from more than 70 countries, regions, and territories display their independent research and compete for more than $4 million in awards.
Two Lincoln Park Academy students won four-year scholarships at the recent Intel ISEF International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona, for their projects. The students were able to attend the International Fair with support from the St. Lucie County Education Foundation’s Fund A Project, and were able to solicit and raise the funding needed to participate. Junior Robert Bacchus presented his project, “CancAARS: A Novel Therapeutic Target for Melanoma Tumorigenesis,” and won a special award, a four year scholarship to the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, valued at $60,000.00. Robert also placed fourth in the grand awards for Biochemistry, and was presented a check for $500.00. Neha Kambam Reddy, also a junior, presented her project, “Sustaining Ecological Biodiversity with Highly Specific RNA Interference (RNAi),” and Neha also won a four year scholarship to the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, valued at $60,000.00. University of the Sciences awards five $15,000 scholarships to students whose research and academic interests align with the USciences mission. Scholarships become effective upon enrollment in the incoming class of Fall 2014. Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12. Each year more than 1,500 high school students from more than 70 countries, regions, and territories display their independent research and compete for more than $4 million in awards.
During Multicultural Week, St. Lucie Elementary School teacher Susan Barber organized special events and guest speakers. Each day community members, teachers, and parents volunteered to speak to students about their cultural backgrounds. Students learned about Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. Each grade group did a special presentaion of all that they learned on their country to the entire school. Pictured are students in traditional Mexican dress.
Students at St. Lucie West Centennial High School recently held the second annual “Sleep in a Box” overnight fundraiser for Invisible Children, a program designed to help combat the abduction of children from Uganda and Sudan who are then forced to become assassins. Eighty five students participated this year, all sleeping outside in the courtyard, in their boxes. They raised over $800 for the organization to help update radio communications in the area and build schools for displaced children. Pictued are Leedy Boyle, left, and Dustin Snyder.
Thanks to the Partnership in Education between Weatherbee Elementary and the United States Coast Guard Station in Fort Pierce, first, third, and fifth grade students at Weatherbee learned about water safety during a visit to the school by staff from the Coast Guard station who delivered an informative presentation, teaching the students how to stay safe in, on, and around the water. After the presentation, members of the Auxiliary presented a “Let’s Talk Trash” game for the students to learn the importance of keeping waterways clean and also to learn how to put on a personal floatation device correctly. The students especially loved the surprise visit from Coastie, the remote control boat, pictured.