Student Spotlights-Dec 2021

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!

Trinitas Holds Annual Day of Community Service

On November 5, almost 300 members of the Trinitas Christian School community joined together for our third annual day of community service, which we call LoveThyNeighbor. Students and teachers took a day away from their studies and were joined by their parents, family members and friends who took the day off work to serve our community at large. We served eleven local not-for-profits including From the Ground Up Community Garden, Bright Bridge Ministries, Council on Aging, Feeding the Gulf Coast and The First Tee, performing activities such as cooking and serving meals, painting, cleaning, doing yard work, packing bags for children in foster care, and sorting food for the homeless.

“Our LoveThyNeighbor event is about living our values as Christians,” says event co-chair Stephanie Striepeck. “We are called to follow Christ’s example to love and serve, including those in need. This day of community service shows our community that we care for them while teaching our children that serving others is a way to love.”

While the primary purpose of the event is to serve, this event also serves as a fundraiser for the school. Various businesses provide corporate sponsorships and families solicit individual donations for their day of service. Funds raised benefit the Trinitas Annual Fund which primarily provides need-based tuition assistance for families in our area.

“Our hope is to make an impact through service that will bear fruit for years to come, in both our neighborhoods and in the lives of our students,” concludes Trinitas Headmaster James Cowart. “LoveThyNeighbor 2021 was a great day spent serving our community, and I am excited to see it grow in the future.”

ECSD Superintendent Flies with Blue Angels

On November 3, Escambia County School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith was given the opportunity to take flight with the Blue Angels.

As the result of a nomination by Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Commander Captain Tim Kinsella, Smith was selected from a group of nominees to take a one-hour flight aboard Blue Angel #7, skillfully piloted by Lieutenant Commander Julius Bratton.

Following his comprehensive safety briefing, Smith enjoyed a flight over the Gulf of Mexico and area beaches. Under perfect blue skies, Lt.Cmdr. Bratton skillfully piloted the new F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, allowing Superintendent Smith to experience aileron rolls, zero-gravity flight, numerous loops, inverted flight, and a simulated aircraft carrier landing approach.

“I am so thankful to Captain Kinsella for this once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Smith. “Flying with Lieutenant Com-mander Bratton was an incredible honor and an awesome experience. Our continued partnership with the best military in the world offers incredible opportunities for students to learn. This is exemplified in the new Starbase Program, where district students will learn science, technology, engineering and math concepts. We are excited to begin Starbase in 2022 and look forward to years of continuing partnerships with NAS Pensacola and the National Naval Aviation Museum. Many, many thanks to the United States Navy!”

The Annual Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show was held at Pensacola Beach on November 5 and 6.

L.E.A.D Academy Kindergartners Learn Fire Safety

October was a busy month at L.E.A.D. Academy’s Berryhill Campus, including a visit  from Hiller, a fire protection company. Fire safety was taught to the kindergartners and they learned to check their smoke alarms each month. Mr. Caraway demonstrated how fire alarms work and sound. He also showed how to operate a fire extinguisher. The children all received a fireman’s hat and some special treats to take home.

East Hill Volleyball Team Wins Second Place in Regional Tournament

East Hill Christian School’s Lady Eagles varsity volleyball team took home the second-place trophy in the East Regional Volleyball Tournament in Dothan, Ala. The girls were also the East Division Runners-Up in the PCC Final Four. They finished the year strong with an 11-game winning streak and an overall record of 15-4. Thank you to Coach Amanda Jones for investing in our young ladies!

Gulf Breeze Will Do Awards 2021 Grants

Gulf Breeze Will Do, a women’s philanthropic group, awarded more than $35,000 in grants at its annual meeting November 14. Gulf Breeze Will Do (GBWD) was born out of a group of Gulf Breeze women who formed an organization that could serve as a funding tool to help other nonprofit organizations and individuals who are trying to make a difference in the Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach communities.

Grant funding at GBWD is provided by collective annual membership dues, of which 100 percent is distributed back to the community. Every member has a vote on which organizations receive grant funding.

This year’s grant recipients include a $10,000 grant for Gulf Breeze Community Preschool (a division of Santa Rosa County Schools) to purchase playground equipment, including shipping; and an $8,566 grant for Gulf Breeze Elementary School to be used towards the purchase and installation of a 24’ x 24’ paver area and landscaping plants.

Other grant recipients include: Magdalene’s, Inc.; Gulf Breeze Senior Center; and Midway Fire Department.

The 2022 Membership Drive is currently underway. Annual dues are $250 per person and membership is open to women 18 years of age or older. To join, visit

STEM @ Redeemer

Middle school students at Redeemer Lutheran put their mad scientist skills to the test for a day of science fun. Dry ice bubbles and slime were only a couple of the amazing discoveries made as our students slimed their way into science.

LEAD Students Visit Holland Farms

L.E.A.D. Academy kindergartners took a field trip to Holland Farms October 27. The kids had a fantastic time jumping in the corn bin, flying down the zip line, and racing down the gigantic slide. Then it was off to the train ride where they chugged around the tracks through the fields of sunflowers. Finally, they all went on a tractor-pulled hay ride to the pumpkin patch where they each picked out their own pumpkins!

Montessori Students Show Gratitude

At Montessori School of Pensacola (MSP), Lower Elementary students created a nature mandala to celebrate the cool weather and give gratitude to the earth. They engaged in discussion about things for which they are grateful. The students work in the school garden and are able to see firsthand how many things we get from the earth.

Beulah Students Encourage Classmate

Beulah Elementary School first-grade teacher Mrs. Ciccone and her students wanted to offer encouragement to one of their classmates who has been very sick and going through many medical tests to find out the issue. When Ava missed almost two weeks of school, Ciccone reached out daily to check on her.

“It’s good to see that a teacher cares as much as she does,” said Ava’s father, Donnie Wright. “It puts my mind at ease knowing my daughter is happy and looking forward to school. Thank you, Mrs. Ciccone. On behalf of my family and AmVets Riders Chapter 12, we totally appreciate and respect what you’ve done.”

Catholic Quiz-Saders Compete for First Time

The “Quiz-Saders,” seven students representing Pensacola Catholic High School, competed in their first Academic Quiz Bowl tournament the weekend of October 30-31 in Niceville, finishing in the top eight. Thirty teams faced off in a head-to-head, timed competition with questions taken from all academic disciplines, current events and popular culture. The Quiz-Saders had a rough start in the preliminary rounds and were seeded 29th, but after shaking off their nerves they rallied to beat the #4 seeded team and then finished in the top eight.

This is the first Academic Quiz team that Catholic High School has fielded in many years.  Under the direction of their moderator, beloved history teacher Leo Bowersox, the students have been practicing since August and are looking forward to picking up additional tournaments in the spring.

From left are Ava Dejong, Harper Hubbert, George Golobev, Tyler Ruble, Maggie Johnson, Thomas Cook and John Bowersox.

Redeemer Holds Charity Walk

Every year, Redeemer Lutheran School organizes a walk to benefit a specially selected charity. This year, the chosen charity was Operation Christmas Child, an organization that collects and sends shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and other necessities to children in need around the world. Our students raised more than $900 for this amazing organization!

MSP Students Celebrate Diwali

Montessori School of Pensacola’s primary class students learned about Diwali and made artwork in honor of the holiday. Students were read books about the holiday and got to design and decorate their own Rangoli (ornate ancient Indian folk art). The word “rangoli” is derived from the Sanskrit word “rangavalli” and roughly translates to “rows of colors,” a fitting image for Diwali’s message of light conquering darkness.

National Geographic explains, “Diwali, or Dipawali, is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.”

Little Flower Raises Money for Cancer Awareness

Little Flower Catholic School’s Cardinals Go Pink Day had a wonderful turnout! More than $300 was raised to benefit cancer awareness and research. All raised funds were donated to the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, who help those with incurable cancer. The Rosary Hill Home is run by Catholic nuns who care for these patients without accepting any payments. Thank you to our parents and students for their support!

CHS Senior Receives Award

Every fall, the Florida Region of the United States Tennis Association recognizes a local high school student for achievement. This year, Pensacola Catholic High School senior Patrick Ling was honored with the 2021 USTA Florida Region Exceptional Tennis Player Award! Ling was recognized with this award for his excellence in play on the court as well as his sportsmanship. He has played tennis competitively for the past seven years and has played on the Catholic High School Tennis Team under Coach Geoff Watts since his freshman year. He has steadily improved his game and his ranking in the recruiting polls. Ling is a scholar-athlete and also involved in the Crusader National Honor Society.

East Hill Student Meets Ben Carson

The 4th-graders at East Hill Christian School have been reading about the life of Dr. Ben Carson. He is known for many things, but he encourages students with his charge to “THINK BIG.” The class wrote a letter to him to thank him for his story and encouraging words. EHCS student Karis Thompson had the opportunity to meet him recently and give him our letter.

Pensacola Catholic Band Members are Recognized

Pensacola Catholic High School senior Lauren Gaubert was recently selected as October’s Band Member of the Month for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties by the Stevenson Klotz Youth Music Project. Gaubert has been a member of the Crusader Band for four years and is currently serving as drum major. During her freshman year there were only four members in the band program but it has steadily grown during her time at CHS. Band Director Sarah Thomas says that Gaubert works tirelessly to recruit and help retain members for the band. She also plays alto and tenor saxophone and is learning to play guitar.

The Stevenson Klotz Youth Music Project is the philanthropic initiative supported by the Stevenson Klotz Law Firm. One of its focuses is recognizing high school band members for their accomplishments. CHS senior band member Nila Samala was also named as a top five Band Member for the month of September. When Samala joined the Crusader band her freshman year, she played the clarinet but now plays tenor and snare drums, after having learned and improved her percussion skills in the Crusader Band.

CLA’s Fall Movie On The Lawn Returns

Creative Learning Academy recently held its annual “Movie on the Lawn” event, the first one since 2019. Everyone had a great time. Many of CLA’s students, parents, faculty and friends came together for fellowship and fun and enjoyed watching Transylvania 3, just after the sun went down. Waffle Boutique was on campus for moviegoers to grab sweet and savory waffle creations throughout the evening. These deep fried snacks hit the spot in the crisp autumn air as the sun set and the movie began. In addition, our basketball court, playground and field were full of kids scrambling around playing tag and hide and seek. Parents were in groups visiting, laughing and reconnecting after a long absence from being on campus.

East Hill Artists Pay Homage to Norwegian Artist

The East Hill Christian School elementary art classrooms traveled to Norway to meet artist Edvard Munch. This artist struggled with feeling sad and very anxious, just like we can feel sometimes. As a result, he made many paintings that expressed deep emotions, like his famous painting called “The Scream.” Our little artists made their own version of the scream and also looked at Philippians 4:6-7 to see what God wants us to do when we feel anxious and worried. The next stop for EHCS elementary artists is France.  Thank you to Elsa Wilson for your leadership and creativity in our fine arts department!

Aletheia Christian Holds Grandparents’ Day Event

On October 29, Aletheia Christian Academy welcomed hundreds of family and guests on campus for the annual Grandparents’ Day event. This was a fun-filled event which gave grandparents the opportunity to make many memories with their grandchildren. Family members participated in many activities in the morning which included a photo booth, making picture frames and playing board games while also enjoying the playground.

Along with Grandparents’ Day activities, the Aletheia senior class held its Family Grill fundraiser for lunch. The Family Grill brought many parents to the school where multiple generations of family enjoyed a delicious burger or hot dog donated from The Butcher Shoppe and finished lunch with ice cream from TASTEbuds: Sweet Treats and Ice Cream. We were glad to have so many family members with us to celebrate two great events!

St. Paul Art Students Take Trip to Coldwater Creek

St. Paul Catholic School’s 2D and 3D Middle School World Art elective students had the unique opportunity to take a field trip to tour Coldwater Gardens. The theme for the day was appreciating the natural world around us and learning how to create a more sustainable way of living. Students learned about hydrophobic, aqua phonics gardening and were given a private lesson on proper hand building techniques using locally sourced clay from the Coldwater Creek. Students were taught how to use natural materials such as bark, ferns and rocks as tools. They learned that horse hair, banana peels, egg shells and ash can make a creative aesthetic finish.The day ended with lunch on the lawn and a tour of the pit where our clay projects were fired. A special thanks to the team at Coldwater for an awesome day!

Montessori School of Pensacola Carves and Decorates Pumpkins

Montessori School of Pensacola classes had classroom pumpkins that students were able to help design and scoop out, so that a teacher could carve. Additionally, students were able to use dry erase markers to design faces on other pumpkins available in the class. Students love this annual fall tradition. Holiday songs and books are shared throughout the month of October. Students also get to participate in the tradition of wearing pajamas to school.

Bellview Students Thank Gulf Power Crew Members

Ms. Waldrop’s second-grade class at Bellview Elementary School made thank-you cards for the Gulf Power crew who recently restored power to their classroom. When crew members visited Waldrop’s class to pick up those cards, they answered questions about electricity and handed out Gulf Power goody bags to the students.

Thank you, Mr. Elledge, Bellview Elementary technology coordinator, for facilitating this visit. And thank you to the folks from Gulf Power for all you do!

LEAD Students Participate In Pumpkin Day

L.E.A.D. Academy students enjoyed Pumpkin Day, where they got to dress up as farmers for the day. Each class had a large pumpkin opened up to see what the inside looked like and the kids enjoyed tasting many treats made with pumpkin. They also each decorated their own pumpkin to bring home. Parents helped to make the day a wonderful success.

St. Paul Students Enjoy Annual Pumpkin Patch

A time-honored tradition at St. Paul Catholic School is the annual Pumpkin Patch for our K3-2nd grade students. Parent volunteers organize an hour of crafts, storytime, a special snack and decorating pumpkins. Principal Hodge gives her morning to read to the kids in costume. The kids love getting ready for Halloween with this fun day!

St. Paul Holds Annual Halloween Carnival

The Friday before Halloween is an exciting day at St. Paul Catholic School. The day begins with a schoolwide costume parade and contest and ends with a carnival. This year we held the Halloween Carnival in our new courtyard for the first time. Parent volunteers set up and run booths for a fun, free event for our Spartan families.

Police Lieutenant Visits LEAD Academy Campus

On October 29, L.E.A.D. Academy had a visit from the Pace Police Department. Lt. Criazzo sent a deputy to the campus in a police car. He spoke to the students about what police do and how they help our community to be a safe place to live. The children were able to look inside the police car and see all of the tools he uses. It was a great way for the kids to learn how police help us and the important role they have in our lives.

Pensacola High School Students Earn National Merit/College Board Recognition

The following Pensacola High School students received recognition earlier this year based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT.

Josie Cloutier, Claire Han, Wassim Khabou,Vy Le, Davyn Pan and Joseph “Cole” Stevenson are current IB seniors who were recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars.

Colin Gold, James Hu and Anna Kennedy are current IB seniors who were recognized as National Merit Semi-Finalists. Pensacola High School was the only school in the county to have any students recognized as Semi-Finalists. National Merit Finalists will be announced in February 2022.

Ania Amos, Tatiana Sidener and Donovan Johnson are all current seniors who have been recognized as College Board National Recognition Program African American Scholars.

Karina Garcia Leal, Mariana Garcia-Leal, Lucie Grace Lovato and Nicholas Porter are current students who have been recognized as College Board National Recognition Program Hispanic Scholars.

These students have earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them meaningfully connect to colleges and stand out during the admissions process.

“We are very proud of our students and their recognition as National Merit Scholars,” said PHS Principal Saraya Miller.  “Our students work hard and their hard work has paid off. This is a high honor and our students are to be commended for the work they have done.  They have excelled in their coursework and shown that great Tiger spirit of being ‘A Step Above The Rest.’”

Bailey Middle School Teacher Wins Prizes from Mental Health Organization

Erica Malloy, a teacher at Jim C. Bailey Middle School, was recently awarded a $1,000 gift card from Big Lots and $1,500 in mental health supplies and resources for her school from mental health organization On Our Sleeves. Her picture was also featured on a special Times Square display the week of October 3.

On Our Sleeves is a national movement that was created to break stigmas around children’s mental health. This organization supports access to mental health services by connecting families to trusted local resources. On Our Sleeves believes that because children don’t wear their thoughts on their sleeves, the only way to break stigmas and educate families is for educators and advocates to offer resources to promote children’s mental health.

“We are so proud and grateful,” said Bailey Middle School Principal Janet Penrose. “We all know the only way to deal with youth mental issues is by working together. Ms. Malloy’s efforts will help us in reaching our students who may be struggling.”

Malloy received her awards in a special surprise Zoom call on September 23, and was one of only 11 award winners throughout the United States. Chris Sullivan, an actor from This Is Us, was on the Zoom call with Malloy and her administration, and assisted in presenting the awards. More information about On Our Sleeves can be found at


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