DUNEDIN - With a background in promotion and marketing, it’s no surprise Gary Kiefer has quickly increased the awareness surrounding Dunedin High’s softball program.
Thanks to a pregame routine that features raucous, smoke-filled player introductions, a larger presence on social media, and reestablished connections to Falcons teams of the past, Kiefer, in his second year at the helm, has given the program a much-needed boost of energy.
The result has been record crowds for home games at Highlander Park and a reemergence of community pride in the team.
CLEARWATER - On March 7, Clearwater Central Catholic High School recognized class of 1964 alumnus Edward Liddy as the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Inspiring Excellence.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was created to ensure that the history and tradition of the school, as well as the contributions of individuals, are celebrated. Its purpose is to honor, pay tribute to and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who have made outstanding contributions pertaining to the school’s four core values: Living Faith, Embodying Respect, Valuing Service and Inspiring Excellence.
ST. PETERSBURG - Sophia Wisniewska, USF St. Petersburg regional chancellor, recently appointed Deborah Read as regional vice chancellor for advancement.
In providing leadership for the areas of philanthropy and alumni relations, Read will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic agenda to advance USFSP’s mission and Vision 20/20 goals around sustainable funding.
TAMPA - Six cybersecurity researchers from the University of South Florida will each receive $50,000 grants from the Florida Center for Cybersecurity.
The awards are part of FC2’s 2016-17 Collaborative Seed Award Program - an initiative that provides funding to cybersecurity research teams from across the State University System of Florida. A total of $600,000 will fund 12 projects from nine state universities. USF researchers are involved in half of the projects receiving grant funds.
GULFPORT - Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport recently was designated an Advancement Via Individual Determination National Demonstration School.
Demonstration Schools undergo a rigorous validation process and are required to be revalidated every few years to ensure high levels of implementation, with quality and fidelity to AVID strategies schoolwide.
More than 600 students from around the county in grades 6-12 recently competed in Pinellas County’s National History Day competition.
National History Day is a global event that encourages middle and high school students to take their learning beyond the textbook. The project-based contest provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their historical research skills through one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance and website.
PINELLAS PARK - The National University of Health Sciences will host Student for a Day for its Doctor of Chiropractic (Florida) program on Friday, March 17, noon to 4:30 p.m., at the NUHS Florida site, 6630 78th Ave. N., Pinellas Park.
The Student for a Day event for the Doctor of Chiropractic (Florida) program provides an opportunity to understand student life at National University. Attendees will experience an extended visit in which they will be able to:
TAMPA - The University of South Florida recently was recognized as a top performing university - No. 1 in the state of Florida and sixth in the nation - for eliminating the completion gap between black and white students, according to a report by the Education Trust.
The report, titled “A Look at Black Student Success: Identifying Top - and Bottom - Performing Institutions,” examines the graduation rates and completion gap data between black and white full-time, bachelor’s degree-seeking students at 676 public and private non-profit colleges and universities. Noting that while black student enrollment at four-year colleges and universities is up 37 percent over the last 10 years (compared to 28 percent growth for all undergraduates), graduation rates for black students are 22 percent points below the graduation rates of white students.
CLEARWATER - On Feb. 28, at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater campus, the Pinellas Education Foundation presented its first Take Stock in Children signing event of the 2016-17 school year.
At the event, 125 sixth through 10th grade students were given the opportunity to receive a Take Stock in Children Scholarship once they graduate high school. Students who attended this event signed a scholarship contract stating they will earn a C or better in each class they take, attend school regularly, have good behavior in and outside of school, meet with a TSIC mentor and remain crime and drug free among other items. The total value of these scholarships is just over $1.75 million.
ST. PETE BEACH - The Pinellas Education Foundation hosted its Career Education Luncheon, a key component of the Ford Next Generation Learning Winter Conference, at the TradeWinds Resort on Feb. 22, where more than 400 community, business and educational leaders came together to raise awareness for career education programs and initiatives in Pinellas County Schools.
Keynote Speaker Brian Auld, president of the Tampa Bay Rays, spoke about the important role educators have in our communities, and underscored the significant partnership between the Tampa Bay Rays and the programs of the Pinellas Education Foundation that are aimed to enhance educational opportunities for students in Pinellas County Schools. In addition, the event recognized business, educator, and school leaders in several career education categories.
DUNEDIN - There’s a common misconception about junior ROTC programs, according to Capt. James Facinelli, a retired 30-year navy veteran and superintendent of Dunedin High School’s Navy Junior ROTC program.
“It’s a fallacy that all junior ROTC students go into the military,” Facinelli, a former fighter pilot, said recently from the program’s dedicated classroom at DHS. “In reality, roughly 10 percent do, although the numbers are different for college. What these students are looking for is discipline and camaraderie, and we teach them responsibility and discipline, citizenship and patriotism. It’s all about doing things the right way in here.”
LARGO - Largo High’s boys basketball team lost just eight games this season by a total of 22 points. The final two of those points, however, were the hardest to swallow.
After a run that included a district championship, Largo’s season came to an end Feb. 24 after Lehigh High School hit a shot with just four seconds remaining to score a 61-59 victory in the Class 7A region final.
ST. PETERSBURG - Pinellas Technical College hosted its inaugural National Letter of Intent Signing Day on Feb. 16 on the St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses.
More than 100 Pinellas County high school seniors participated in the nationwide event and signed a letter of intent to enroll in a career technical training program at Pinellas Technical College. The unique event and celebration gave high school seniors a chance to reserve a program spot and to connect with future employers.
ST PETERSBURG - The USF St. Petersburg Coed Sailing Team continues a strong year of competition with a recent win at the Southern Collegiate Offshore Regatta in Charleston, S.C. The students competed in a series of seven races against eight universities from across the U.S., including the Californian Maritime Academy, Vanderbilt University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Auburn University, and the College of Charleston.
“It’s exciting to not only get USFSP’s name out there, but also to be able to use this as a recruitment tool,” said Alan Capellin in a press release. Capellin is the coed sailing coach.
LARGO - The Florida Department of Education has identified 323 high impact teachers in Pinellas County Schools.
The designation recognizes teachers who have an impact on student learning that is among the most positive in the entire state according to an analysis of student performance on statewide standardized assessments.
High impact teachers will receive a letter and certificate recognizing their accomplishment and be invited to learn more about what makes their teaching so impactful.
LARGO - More than 600 students in grades 6-12 will compete in Pinellas County's National History Day competition. The event will take place Friday, Feb. 24, 5 to 9 p.m., at Largo High School; and Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at USF St. Petersburg.
National History Day is a global event that encourages middle and high school students to take their learning beyond the textbook.
The project-based contest provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their historical research skills through one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance and website.
TARPON SPRINGS - Students from East Lake High School’s award-winning robotics team are designing and testing a new robot for the 2017 competition season.
Students spend six weeks designing and constructing their robot.
The team is run like a business with 58 student team members who work on various aspects of the project, from engineering to marketing. Honeywell, GE and other local corporations serve as mentors to participating students.