To allow students expand their horizons and express their creativity by experiencing an important holiday to Spanish speaking cultures, students from Isabel Denski’s AP Spanish class at Westwood High School created an altar in celebration of Día de los muertos (Day of the Dead) observed November 1 and 2. Ms. Denski explained the activity, that in Spanish culture, altars are built to honor the dead. Día de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. With this activity, students learned the purpose behind it, how it is celebrated, and what it means to the culture.
Ms. Denski’s along with Ms. Gaudreau’s Spanish and French classes had the opportunity to visit Vizcaya in Miami on March 21, 2014. The extraordinary estate was built by James Deering. The European- inspired estate includes a house filled with rare art and furnishings, ten acres of gardens on Biscayne Bay, and a historic village that is currently being restored for public enjoyment. With its phenomenal man-made and natural resources, Vizcaya introduces visitors to America’s Gilded Age. The foreign language students were able to experience first hand the historical sights where one of America’s wealthiest industrialist lived in breath-taking opulence inspired by European palaces.
Students from Fort Pierce Westwood High School’s ESE/Gifted programs have begun a school enterprise at the district offices. Several mornings a week, students run Panther Place in the employee lounge featuring breakfast items at very reasonable prices. Pictured, right, is John Earnhardt, ESE/Gifted program specialist with senior Sabrina Bajking.
Nine JROTC Cadets from Ft Pierce Westwood High School join 76 Cadets from 8 area high schools in Southern Florida in earning the JROTC RECONDO Award.
Only 150 Cadets have ever earned this award since its inception. Cadets traveled to Scout Key Florida and over a 4 day training period completed the following training:
Rappelling; High COPES Obstacle Course; Swim Test; Snorkeling; Drownproofing; SCUBA; 5 Mile Open Water Kayak Course; 6 Mile Road March; Water Leadership Reaction Course.
To Date, this is the only training event of this type held nationally within the JROTC Program.
See the link for more information and pictures.
Panther Battalion RECONDOs!
Front row L to R – Jennifer Arriola, Madison Taylor, Brandon Green, Christopher Clapp
Back row L to R – LTC Rodriguez (Camp Commander), CSM Dottin, Stephen Wauters, Sean Neff, Bruce Isenhour, Alex Rediker, Dakota Russell, LTC Caldwell
The Fort Pierce Westwood JROTC Panther Battalion Honor Guard provides a Saber Arch for the Homecoming Court on the 25th of September during halftime activities of the Westwood vs Treasure Coast football game. C/CSM Alex Rediker Commanded the Honor Guard which included Cadets Trystan Crisp, Jordan Bamford, Shannon Bradley, Raul Velasco, Sally Dupre, Alejandro Garcia, Cristobal Gonzalez, Michelande Elliasaint and Tyrin Edinfield.
The Fort Pierce Westwood High School JROTC recently competed in the Academic JLAB competition.
JLAB (Junior Leadership and Academic Bowl) is a program within JROTC sponsored by the College Options Foundation. Cadets have the opportunity to improve their ACT/SAT scores, increase interest in college admission, gain leadership skills, and advance hands-on learning. During the JLab competition, the team completed an academic test composed of three sections: verbal, math, and science. The team consisted of Cadets Andrews, Loschin, Soto, Flores, and the alternative Cadet Rigsby. The team worked together on the clock. In the end, the team received a score of 75% in the first level of the JLab academic competition.
Ft. Pierce Westwood Army JROTC Panther Battalion led their school in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the annual MLK parade in Ft Pierce. The 74 Cadets of the battalion were led by Cadet Battalion Commander Maynali Gamez and were accompanied by the color guard, company guidon bearers and an Army High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) from the 1218th Transportation Company of the Florida National Guard. The Panthers also featured a seven-cadet step team led by Cadet Tamiya McClain who pumped up the crowd throughout the march with their unique step routine. Cadet Keundra Durham kept the Panthers in step and highly motivated during the march with Army cadence calls or “Jody” calls as they used to be called during WWII. It was a great day for Westwood High School and the Panther Battalion and a fitting way to remember the courage, vision and personal sacrifice of Dr. King.
The Panther Battalion Color Guard was invited to present the colors at the “Lights on After School Event.”
The purpose of the event was to inform parents and students about various after school activities in the area.
C/SGT Barnhill, C/SGT Scanlan, C/PFC Flores, C/PVT Warner, and C/PVT Clayton all attended the event.
Various other organizations were at the event, such as Boy Scouts of America, U.S. National Guard, and Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County.
The goal of the program is to get students engaged in after school activities.
Ft Pierce Westwood Panther Battalion places third in the physical training (PT) test during in the recent Area III Raiders Competition at Southfork High School. It was a grueling comeptiton consisting of an academic exam, a first aid exam, a physical training test (measuring endurance and physical fitness), a three mile run, and a 1 1/2 run with a litter weighing 80 pounds. The cadets were up for the challenge, they trained hard daily and gave their all, while having an amazing time.
On Monday, January 16, Fort Pierce Westwood JROTC Battalion participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Fort Pierce, Florida. The Panther Color Guard also presented the national colors as they marched down Martin Luther King Blvd. A mass formation of cadets followed behind the Color Guard. They marched and shouted cadences exciting the crowd around them. Many Fort Pierce Westwood alumni and children shouted positive comments while the cadets marched. The Battalion endured many miles marching all while maintaining their military bearing. Parents, teachers, officials, and children were all impressed with the improvement the program has experienced over recent years.
On October 29th, Fort Pierce Westwood hosted its Annual Raider Meet. This was the second competition of the year for Westwood’s Raider Team. Eight teams competed, each having sub-teams for a total of fifteen teams. These teams represented area high schools ranging from Okeechobee to Santaluces. There were three categories, each one stacked with heavy competition.
Westwood itself was in the mixed category, also the largest. The Westwood Raider team pushed themselves to compete with other schools. Westwood was able to secure two second place spots and showed great improvement over recent years. The Raider Team consisted of Thomas Lovell, Carina Ocampo, Omar Zunigar, Ryan Hartley, Timothy Reese, Vanessa Cruz, Karina Maldonado, Braden Rigsby, Jamerick Morrel and Marie Jean. The team captains were Brandon Payen and Nathen Andrews.
Students at Fort Pierce Westwood’s Marine and Oceanographic Academy are making a difference in the local community! The Leadership class at M.O.A. organized the food drive encouraging the campus to bring in food donations. The student body overwhelmingly responded with a grand total of 1,669 food items collected — all of which are being donated to the Treasure Coast Food Bank.
Awesome job, Panthers, on the successful food drive!
Fort Pierce Westwood High School’s Criminal Justice students toured the St. Lucie County Emergency Operations Center. This tour was hosted by St. Lucie County officials and the St. Lucie County Human Resources Department. Students gained insightful information on potential careers and how to utilize their industry certification starting this summer! Students are excited and looking forward to the many opportunities right here in St. Lucie County.
Students from Fort Pierce Westwood Marine and Oceanographic Academy had a holiday celebration before Winter Break where they shared various food and activities from all over the world. As part of the festivities, money was collected to aide the Hibiscus Children’s Center of the Treasure Coast. Westwood MOA students raised a total of $580, all of which was donated.
It has been said that every cloud has a silver lining.
If a cloud can produce a silver lining, just think what a hurricane like Irma can do. New friendships are formed, care for others is demonstrated, a chance to calm the nerves of those who are frightened is taken, food is provided, help is given, laughter becomes common language among those who come to seek shelter, and finally, sometimes even romance blossoms!
As the winds blew and the rain poured outside the Lakewood Park Elementary Shelter, the flood water began rising. Inside, a flood of a different kind was sweeping the campus — a flood of caring as residents and staff sought ways to help one another. Mrs. White, retired and ready to volunteer in any way, entertained the children during the day and walked the floor with a tiny baby in the early morning so the mother could sleep. Hallway neighbors began to look out for those who were not always able to care for themselves, seeking out the help of staff when their newfound friends were in need. So many stories, so much laughter, and compliments about the amazing efforts of the staff sent reassurances to them that what they do in times of crisis does indeed make a difference in the lives of others.
The Lakewood Park team also learned of a special couple whose relationship began when they met at the shelter during Hurricane Matthew just one year earlier. The two walked and talked their way through one blustery night and when the shelter doors opened at Lakewood Park Elementary one year later to once again host shelter residents from Hurricane Irma, the two returned. This time, they returned celebrating their one year anniversary as a married couple.
In 2016, both were fairly new to St. Lucie County. Doris was from Kentucky and Rick was from Pennsylvania. Now, they both call St. Lucie their home, and for them, Hurricane Irma offered a bit of a nostalgic spirit to celebrate.
April is Autism Awareness Month which provides outstanding opportunities to increase our knowledge, understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of Autism as well as all levels of disabilities, and thus continue our efforts to promote inclusionary environments for Students with Disabilities.
SLPS staff and students are wearing blue each Friday in April.
What is Autism? (AutismSociety.Org)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.)
@ccess Now is a fundamental shift in teaching and learning to support the mission of St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS): to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools, equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. Students will have access to a digital learning device and personalized, blended, interactive curriculum to support their acquisition of personal learning goals. Teachers to more effectively facilitate instruction, manage curriculum, collaborate with their peers, and engage today’s digitally wired students. This initiative is not about a device per se; it is about providing 24/7 access to content. This is about learning innovation.
Students from Nardi Routten’s fourth grade class at F.K. Sweet Elementary recently enjoyed an unique learning experience at Blind Creek Park. Students rotated through four different activities: seining, beach clean-up, water testing, and mangrove planting/measuring. Jennifer Fleschner, a parent volunteer helped Jason Moore and Annamarie Brosnihan test the river water for oxygen levels. The students concluded that the deeper the water level, the higher the oxygen levels.
Watch an all new episode of #BuildAFuture Career and Technical Education, hosted by LeiNitia Robinson, on YouTube. Also, you can watch an all new Eye on St. Lucie hosted by Kerry Padrick on YouTube and television. While you’re there subscribe to our channel, then head over to Facebook and like/follow our page – WLX-TV.