East Lake High School makes Newsweek’s list of top STEM high schools

East Lake High School was ranked among America’s best STEM high schools, according to Newsweek magazine. Newsweek magazine partnered with STEM.org to rank America’s best STEM high schools in a special section published recently on National STEM Day. The rankings highlight schools that offer skilled teachers who keep up with developments in STEM fields and create dynamic learning environments to engage students. East Lake High was listed in the Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in the nation.

Explore Pinellas County Schools special programs at Choice Fairs

The application period for magnet, fundamental and career programs for next school year is Jan. 8-17, 2020. Pinellas County Schools has nearly 80 programs focused on students’ interests, talents and learning styles. Families will have opportunities to visit schools and explore programs in more detail at Discovery Nights, which are being held until Dec. 20. Additional information is available at www.pcsb.org/choice. If you have questions, call the Student Assignment Office at 727-588-6210. Parents can also contact a school and schedule a tour.

School counseling supervisor receives statewide recognition for leadership

K-12 School Counseling Specialist Jonathan Blair was selected for the Florida School Counselor Association School Counselor Advocate: District Leader Award. The statewide award recognizes administrators whose leadership has made an outstanding impact in the school counseling field.

PCS is hiring bus drivers

Pinellas County Schools is seeking to hire bus drivers for the 2019-20 school year. Full and part-time positions are available. To learn more about the application process, qualifications and benefits visit www.pcsb.org/busdrivers or call 727-547-7294.

Dunedin Kiwanis Club recognizes ‘TERRIFIC Kids’

Members of the Dunedin Kiwanis Club recently recognized several students for being TERRIFIC Kids.

TERRIFIC is an acronym for thoughtful, enthusiastic, respectful, responsible, inclusive, friendly, inquisitive and capable. Students are selected by teachers at their schools.

Students receiving awards at Garrison-Jones Elementary were Jacqueline Pusateri, Brya Swift, Kolton Reeves-Evener, Catherine Krampert, Lillian Schachter and Nicole Tortolero. Kiwanis President Paula Roman presented the awards.

Kiwanis member Ele Fox presented awards to Curtis Fundamental students. Those students were Emma Baltic, Amelia Baker, Matthew Lange, Sebastian Garcia, Joshua Stewart, Solyana Tassel, Mason Hablin, Cammaryn Winter and Madison Lombardi.

SPC to examine transportation barriers for students

Approximately 69% of St. Petersburg College’s diverse student population of more than 47,000, ranging from 16-95 years old, has low to moderate income. Low-income students often face barriers to success, including transportation.

The Kresge Foundation awarded SPC a $50,000 planning grant for Advancing Student Transportation Solutions to understand student transportation challenges and how those barriers affect their ability to continue their education.

This grant will allow SPC to address the need for equity and access in local transit through support of the St. Pete Campus Connect Partnership. This task force of community partners includes the city of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Tampa Bay College Access Network, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and Forward Pinellas.

“The average college student is met with many challenges before entering the classroom, which often includes transportation,” said SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams. “Through the generous support of The Kresge Foundation and the opportunity to collaborate with SPCCP, we’re looking forward to examining how we can strengthen our communities through improved access to higher education.”

The task force will work together to evaluate transit access for SPC students and residents, with specific emphasis on the four learning sites/campuses located in the city of St. Petersburg. Utilizing shared resources and engaging current, past and potential students, the project funding will support a consultant to evaluate current and past initiatives, conduct surveys and focus groups and develop recommendations for solutions. This collaborative effort will help inform and develop a plan for alternative transportation solutions based on the voice of the community.

SPC Winter Session starts Dec. 16

St. Petersburg College’s Winter Session is from Dec. 16-Jan. 10, 2020. Students can take online accelerated courses in four weeks. These classes count towards spring term goals and can be paid for with financial aid. To view course offerings, visit spcollege.edu.

Palm Harbor University to present It's a Wonderful Life

CLEARWATER — West Coast Players will host Palm Harbor University High School Troupe 5590 for a special presentation of It's a Wonderful Life, adapted by James W. Rodgers and based on the movie by Frank Capra.

Performances are scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m.

Palm Harbor University High School’s Theater Department is an award winning program and is commonly regarded as one of the premier High School Theater Arts Departments in the state.

Seating is limited. Tickets are $21, $15 for students and $19 for groups on 10 or more.

For more information, call 727-437-2363 or visit wcplayers.com to purchase tickets.

St. Cecelia School presents Elf the Musical Jr.

CLEARWATER — Guests will embrace their inner “elf” when St. Cecelia Catholic School Crusader Theater presents their production of Elf the Musical JR. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, 7 p.m., at Clearwater Central Catholic High School in the James B. White Performing Arts Center , 2750 Haines Bayshore Road, Clearwater.

“Elf The Musical JR. is an uplifting musical about one boy’s quest to find his true identity. The story encourages each of us to approach each day with goodwill, wonder and cheer,” said Drew Cohen, President of Music Theatre International. “From the first rehearsal the students have worked together as a team to create this wonderful experience for your community to enjoy. We think they deserve a standing ovation for all their work,” he adds.

Tickets are available at www.showtix4u.com. For more information, call 727-461-1200.

Elf The Musical JR. is based on the 2003 New Line Cinema hit and features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) and Chad Beguelin (Disney's Aladdin On Broadway, The Wedding Singer), a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone).

The musical tells the story of a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is given the name Buddy and raised by elves in the North Pole.

Buddy lives happily unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list, and his brother doesn't even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of the holidays.

Local students make honor society, dean’s list

Pinellas County students were recently inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and three others made the Dean’s list for the spring semester.

Adam Jakubski of Belleair Bluffs and Kenneth Oaster of Seminole were inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Jacksonville University.

They are among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership.

Christian Frost and Carey Parish both of Largo, and Christa Mullholand of Clearwater made the dean’s list at Mississippi College in Clinton Mississippi. To be eligible for the Dean's List, a student must maintain a 3.5 grade point average, based on a 4.0 system. The student must take a full course load of at least 12 semester hours of undergraduate credit with all academic courses impacting their grade point average.