Student Spotlights – March ’23

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Every month we compile a list of students and schools doing great things across our community.  We have so many talented students in our area.  Greater Pensacola Parents joins with these families and schools to celebrate their achievements!

Pensacola High Students Nominated to U.S. Service Academies

Two young men in the IB Program at Pensacola High School recently received nominations to U.S. Service Academies. William Creedon received 2 nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy, one from Senator Rick Scott and one from Congressman Matt Gaetz. William also received a nomination to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy from Congressman Matt Gaetz. Hayden Anderson received a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy from Congressman Matt Gaetz. Additionally, West Flordia High School’s Jackson Beyl received Gaetz’s Air Force Academy nomination.

Ribbon Cutting at ECPS Hall Center

The Escambia County Public Schools Foundation celebrated a ribbon cutting on its new office space at the Hall Center. Attendees included district staff, community and business partners, and Escambia County Public Schools Foundation Board members. Guests enjoyed a ribbon cutting, tours of the office, and a wide array of refreshments.

Get Out and Run with Montessori School of Pensacola

For over 30 years, students at Montessori School of Pensacola have taken part in a Mini-thon run fundraiser. Each classroom hosts a run, where students, run laps. Family and friends pledge based on the amount of laps the student runs or choose to donate a lump sum. All classes participate in this event that raises funds for each classroom. The toddler students run a small lap on their playground, while the older students in Elementary and Middle School run around multiple tennis courts. The run tradition also includes a commemorative tie-dyed shirt for each student. Thanks to sponsors, the shirts are provided free to each student and staff member. The run concludes with a fun feast that is social gathering and meal for the families.

Ben Carson Reading Room Opens at Ensley Elementary

Students, school and district staff, community partners, and special guests celebrated the opening of the Ben Carson Reading Room at Ensley Elementary School. In an emotional ceremony, students performed, and dignitaries delivered inspirational remarks to a packed house. Comments were delivered via video by Dr. Ben Carson himself, and guests heard messages from Dr. Carson’s wife, Mrs. Candy Carson, who made the trip to Pensacola to attend. Escambia County Public Schools would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Carsons, and to Dr. Bill and Mrs. Pam Fleming, whose generosity made this dream a reality. It truly does take all of us, in this together, to achieve success.

Sherwood Elementary Recognized as a Common Sense School

Common Sense, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology, has recognized Sherwood Elementary School as a Common Sense School. Sherwood Elementary School has demonstrated its commitment to taking a whole-community approach to preparing its students to think critically and use technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate, while preparing them for the perils that exist in the online realm, such as plagiarism, loss of privacy, and cyberbullying. With the right support, kids can take ownership of their digital lives, engage with real issues, and change their communities for the better. The recognition acknowledges Sherwood Elementary’s school’s commitment to creating a culture of digital citizenship.
“We applaud the faculty and staff of Sherwood Elementary School for embracing digital citizenship as an important part of their students’ education,” said Kelly Mendoza, vice president of education programs at Common Sense Education. “Sherwood Elementary School deserves high praise for giving its students the foundational skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st-century workplace and participate ethically in society at large.”
Sherwood Elementary School has been using Common Sense Education’s innovative and research-based digital citizenship resources, which were created in collaboration with researchers from Project Zero, led by Howard Gardner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and are grounded in the real issues students and teachers face. The resources teach students, educators, and parents tangible skills related to internet safety, protecting online reputations and personal privacy, media balance, managing online relationships, and media literacy. The free K–12 curriculum is used in classrooms across all 50 states, and in more than 80,000 schools by more than 1,00,000 educators.

West Florida High School Criminal Justice Academy to Induct First NTHS Class

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West Florida High School inducted 101 students into the National Technical Honor Society on Friday, February 3, 2023. The National Technical Honor Society is an educational non-profit that exists to honor, recognize, and empower students and teachers in Career & Technical Education. As the honor society for Career & Technical Education, NTHS serves over 100,000 active members annually in both secondary and postsecondary chapters across the country. “Workforce Education is the heart of West Florida High School,” remarked WFHS Principal Esi Shannon. “It is an honor for us to join this prestigious organization and celebrate our students who excel in the Career and Technical field.” Since its founding in 1984, nearly 1 million students have become NTHS alumni. NTHS honors the achievements of top CTE students, provides close to $300,000 in scholarships annually, and strives to help connect education and industry to build a highly skilled workforce.

Washington High Student Receives Quest Bridge Scholarship

Teddy Robinson, an amazing young man from Washington High School received a Quest Bridge Scholarship to the University of Chicago. He is a Take Stock in Children scholar, is the SGA President, and a track star.
He is one of a handful that got his top choice of schools. His 5.07 GPA, along with his other accolades, earned him this full ride including tuition, room & board, transportation to and from and books. The scholarship is valued at $300,000! University of Chicago has a 6% acceptance rate.
Just another amazing story that highlights one of the many, many good things going on in Escambia County Public Schools!

Pensacola Catholic High Students March

Two Junior students, Nate Flores and Nicole Peterson, represented Pensacola Catholic High School during their participation in the National March for Life event that takes place annually in Washington D.C. Beginning in 1974 on the one-year anniversary of the Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, the March began as a peaceful way to lobby Congressional leadership to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court’s decision. Even though the Supreme Court returned jurisdiction of abortion legalization to the state’s level in 2022, organizers of the national event made the decision to hold the event in an effort to continue the work to build a culture of life in the United States. This year’s march marked its 50th Anniversary and took place on Friday, January 20, – the first time for Nate and Nicole to participate. They traveled with a larger contingent from St. Mary’s Parish in Pensacola that included members of the Youth Group and some of their family members. Four members of the group, including Nate, traveled by air but the remaining thirteen, including Nicole, travel by train which added another new experience to their trip. As part of the official activities leading up to the March, on Thursday the group attended Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and then on Friday morning they participated in the Life Fest Rally that was held in front of the National History Museum in the National Mall and included speakers and musicians, all promoting the choice of LIFE! The March began at 1:00 PM beginning from the site of the rally with a route that took them around the U.S. Capital and ended in front of the United States Supreme Court. Nate and Nicole walked peacefully with the other participants, estimated to be around 50,000, in an effort to show their support for the choice of LIFE. Nate recalls that he was “awestruck at the number of participants that all had the same goal of speaking out to save the lives for those who could not yet speak for themselves, the unborn babies, and I’m so honored to have taken part.” During their trip, the group split up and did some site seeing around the area. Nicole shared that the March itself was a very positive experience, but she also visited the National Holocaust Museum and she had the sad realization that “abortion is really very similar to the holocaust in the killing of innocent life.” Both students were very humbled to have taken part in this year’s event and will continue to pray for the dignity of all life as they do along with all of the Catholic High School community. Thank you, Nate and Nicole, for representing CHS in Washington!

Global Learning Academy Fifth Grader Sells Her Own Artwork

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Harmoni Rogers, an aspiring artist and 5th grader at Global Learning Academy, recently sold her first piece of art. A student in Ms. Kovacs’s art class, Harmoni is talented in painting, drawing, and many other media.

On the Job Training at Montessori School of Pensacola

8th grade students at Montessori School of Pensacola got first-hand, real-life, job experience through the internship program at MSP. Each year the 7th grade students spend a week interning in a classroom at MSP, shadowing a teacher by working their hours and seeing what their work responsibilities are. 8th graders take on these working internships at businesses in the community. This year, the students interned at places such as a chiropractor, a neurology clinic, a bakery, the Little Theatre, the circuit court, a criminal defense law office, and PSC. Here is a photo of the student interning at the National Weather Service in Mobile. Students reflect on their experiences afterward, writing about what they learned. The feedback is that it really gives them a better idea of what it’s like in the job force and helps prepare them for their future professions.

The Day in the Life of a CHS Crusader

On January 24, thirteen students from Brazil visited the Pensacola Catholic High School campus to experience first-hand what it is like to be a high school student in the United States, and in this case – a Catholic High Crusader. The event was part of a U.S. Department of State Youth Exchange program that was hosted by the Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council and coordinated by Jena Melancon. Gulf Coast Diplomacy is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that strives to facilitate and strengthen the connection, collaboration, and fellowship between the people of the Gulf Coast and the global community. Students came to the CHS Student Life Center where they were welcomed and then paired with one of the Catholic High Student Ambassadors. Students from both sides became fast friends during their initial introductions and then they attended classes with their CHS counterparts. Students actively participated in class discussions and also answered questions about their life and school in Brazil. Students also ate lunch at Catholic High School during their Ambassador’s lunch break where they were also introduced to additional students in a more social atmosphere. Many hugs and phone numbers were exchanged when the students left campus shortly after lunch to move on to their next activity. It was a great experience for everyone involved! Pictured below are the students from Brazil and their paired Ambassadors right before reporting to their first class.

ECPS Announces 2024 Teacher of the Year

Escambia County Public Schools has announced its 2024 ECPS Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Angela McFarland. Mrs. McFarland has been an employee of the district since 1996, when she served as a Business teacher at Pine Forest High School. After spending four years in the same position at Booker T. Washington High School, Mrs. McFarland was hired as a Business and Multimedia teacher at West Florida High School, where she’s been since 2009. Additionally, Mrs. McFarland has been a teacher with Escambia Virtual Academy since 2020. Mrs. McFarland’s Business students have consistently been among ECPS’s most prolific earners of Industry Certifications, garnering valuable real-world skills. Mrs. McFarland has also been a valuable asset at West Florida High School as a mentor, FOCUS Gradebook instructor, Faculty Leader, Webmaster, and so much more. District-wide, Mrs. McFarland routinely coaches new Business teachers and presents at various Career and Technical Education teacher training sessions. “We are so proud to announce Mrs. Angela McFarland has been selected as our Teacher of the Year,” stated Superintendent Tim Smith. “Mrs. McFarland’s contributions to Escambia County Public Schools epitomize the dedication, flexibility and innovation so necessary to prepare our students for a successful and meaningful future. She is truly an invaluable asset to her students, her school and this community as a whole.” In addition to Mrs. McFarland’s recognition, Teacher of the Year candidates from each school within the district will be honored during a special event later this year. Mrs. Angela McFarland will now move on to represent Escambia County Public Schools in the state Teacher of the Year competition.

East Hill Christian School Students Attend Student Leadership University

Thirty of East Hill’s eighth through twelfth grade leadership students had the opportunity to attend Student Leadership University in Orlando, Florida. Throughout the weekend, students were instructed on the components of leadership, time and goal management, personality profiling, and how to strive for excellence in all things. The group enjoyed hearing from numerous leaders and innovators with Sea World as their backdrop. This is a trip our Student Leadership students look forward to every year and this year was no different.

Catholic School Heritage Celebrated at Pensacola Catholic High School

Pensacola Catholic High School joined the rest of the Catholic Schools from across the United States in celebrating ‘Catholic Schools Week’ during the week of January 29 – February 4. Every year beginning on the last Sunday of January, the week is dedicated to celebrating and giving thanks for all aspects of a Catholic Education and the theme is Faith, Excellence, Service. Each day focuses on a different aspect of the theme with special prayers, lessons, and celebrations.
Principal Sister Kierstin Martin, Campus Minister, Rebecca Carter, and the Religion Department collaborate to create the agenda of the week’s activities using guidance from the National Catholic Educational Association. This year’s themes/celebrations for each day included: Monday – Catholic Schools in the United States, Tuesday – Our Students, Wednesday – Catholic Schools in our Diocese, Thursday – Our Teachers/Vocations, and Friday – Our Parents. Every day a Saint associated with the daily theme was highlighted during Religion classes. Students participated in an Essay Writing Contest on their favorite service activity as well as a Poster Decorating Contest that focused on Service, especially the Corporal works of Mercy that include: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to travelers, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. Fun activities were also sprinkled throughout the week including cake at lunch on student day, trivia games and special dress-down days. On Wednesday, Bishop William Wack, presided over Mass held in the school gymnasium. CHS students as well as representatives from the other area Catholic Schools including Elementary Schools St. John’s School, Little Flower School, St. Paul’s School, Sacred Heart Cathedral School, and the Mother Clelia Morning Star High School participated in this celebration during which we gave thanks to God for our schools! On Friday, we were also very happy to hold Swap Day, during which parents attended school in place of their students. It has been since 2020 that we have been able to host this event and our parents had a good time coming “back to high school.” Pictured are Bishop Wack and fellow Priests celebrating Mass, and the students who were selected by the School Administrators as the winners of the contests held throughout the week — Back row Essay Winners by Class: Nick Whitner, Senior; Avery Hale, Sophomore; Islay Benoit, Junior; Reed Rhodes, Freshman. Front row Art Winners by Place: Ellie Nissim and McKenna Hindman, First; Jaylin Charlery and Olivia Carlson, Second; Rose Navarette, Third. It was such a fabulous week learning and celebrating our heritage of being a Catholic School!

Scholastic Book Fair at Creative Learning Academy

CLA’s Scholastic Book Fair was an incredible event for students, parents, and teachers. This year’s Scholastic Book Fair was bigger, better and more successful than ever! Our lower school and middle school students had a blast exploring a new world of books, learning about their favorite authors, and discovering new titles to add to their reading lists. The Book Fair is not only a fun-filled event but also a great opportunity for our school to raise funds to help teachers purchase new and used books for their classroom libraries. CLA’s Scholastic Book Fair is a true celebration of reading and learning, filled with exciting games that bring books to life and community building activities such as the Chili Cook Off and Pastries with Parents.
The highlight of the Book Fair for students was browsing the aisles filled with books of all genres and interests, from classic tales to the latest graphic novels. Our amazing Student Council, with their current focus on service learning throughout the Book Fair, set up collection bins for community members to donate gently used books to support our local chapter of Valerie’s House, an outreach center that provides open-ended peer support groups and activities for children to heal after a significant loss in their life. CLA’s Scholastic Book Fair had something for everyone. Every book purchased helped support our students’ love of reading and contributed to the growth of our teacher’s classroom libraries.

Montessori School of Pensacola Students Attempt to Build Like Ancient Egyptians

Montessori School of Pensacola Upper Elementary students recently had a hands-on, problem-solving lesson on the pyramids of Egypt. They constructed a block for the classroom that was approximately the size of a block from the Great Pyramid.
They used a full-size pickup truck to represent the weight of one block – 5000 lbs. The students attempted to move the truck by pushing and using ropes to pull the truck. The attempt was unsuccessful. They then used plywood, PVC, and bricks to demonstrate how the Egyptians put the blocks on rollers. When they attempted to move the truck the second time (now in neutral to simulate rollers) the students were able to pull and push the truck across the parking lot (where it sat for the remainder of the afternoon).
Additionally, the class walked up the block from the school, so they could see the length of the sides of the Great Pyramid (230 meters) – there were teachers posted down both sides of the street 230 meters away.
Lastly, all the students piled into the one block teachers had constructed (and all fit) once again attempting to demonstrate its massiveness. This amazing experience tried to recreate Ancient Egyptian building, though they were able to use modern technology.

Author: Staff

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Student Spotlights – March ’23

by Staff time to read: 19 min