Student Spotlights January 2022

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!

CLA Project Draykon Defense

At the end of every semester, middle school students at Creative Learning Academy are frantically preparing for their Project Draykon Defense. Project Draykon is a cross-curricular approach to a culminating, semester-long project in which our students focus on an area of their own interest that encompasses history, literature, art and music. Project Draykon takes careful planning, but allows our students to enhance their own independent learning and enables them to think beyond the confines of the CLA curriculum. Project re-quirements include a 6-8 page research paper, creative English writing and a handmade artifact. All elements must be centered on the topic selected by the student.

The Project Draykon Defense is a scholarly forum that allows students to present their project’s contents and defend their research before a panel of instructors. The student is then required to answer all questions asked by their instructors throughout their defense. The main purpose of the Draykon Defense is to provide students a forum to test their research and ideas. Questions typically tie historical events to modern problems or ideas and forces students to think critically about how the past informs the future. Project Draykon is essential to the learning process here at Creative Learning Academy. Our faculty firmly believes that this type of independent learning and instruction is an incredibly effective way to teach students transferable problem solving skills, give real-world meaning to school assignments, and increase student engagement and rigor.

LEAD Academy Donuts with Dad

Kindergartners at the L.E.A.D. Academy Genesis campus enjoyed “Donuts with Dad” November 5. The students were able to show their fathers around their classroom and talk about all their schoolroom activities. Then they all sat down and had a donut together.

East Hill 6th-Grade Science Machines

Sixth-graders at East Hill Christian School have been learning about simple and compound machines and building with Legos! Retired Air Force Master Sergeant Van Lewis demonstrated tools and safety. He encouraged the students by sharing his testimony about working on aircrafts for our country for more than 23 years.

Santa Rosa Online K-3 Classes Visit Planetarium

Santa Rosa Online K-3 students recently had a meet-up day at the park as well as a field trip to the PSC Planetarium. They learned about stars, planets and currently visible constellations.

Pensacola Catholic High School Holds Christmas Assembly

On December 3, the students at Pensacola Catholic High School were thrilled to hold their Annual Christmas Assembly. The students and administrators alike were excited to be able to host the event this year after having to cancel last year’s show due to Covid concerns. Students, administrators and music directors from Oakcrest Elementary and Global Learning Academy (GLA) come to sing for the CHS student body and the CHS band and chorus also perform. There is even a brief visit by Santa and some of his elves as they take a break from their activities in the North Pole to stop by to wish the assembly a “merry Christmas!”

Pensacola Catholic High School has a special bond with Oakcrest and GLA as they are both ‘partner-in-education’ schools. Catholic High works together with both elementary schools throughout the school year on mutually enjoyable and helpful projects and activities. Some activities in the past have included CHS assisting with running Halloween carnivals, reading to classrooms, conducting Operation St. Nicholas to provide Christmas stockings to students at both schools, and completing special projects during the annual Make a Difference Day coordinated by Catholic High.

The partnership with Oakcrest Elementary began in 1994, and the partnership with GLA began first as a partnership with Hallmark and Allie Yniestra Elementary schools in 2005. These two schools merged in 2011 to become GLA and the partnership with them is now in its 16th year. CHS also has another special connection to these schools in that both principals are Catholic High Alumni, Linda Bonifay ’78 at Oakcrest and Judy Garcia LaBounty ’79 at GLA.

East Hill Christian Participates in Operation Christmas Child

Every year, the East Hill Christian School elementary classes cheerfully take part in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. We have been so proud of the generosity of our students in their participation in the past and are extremely proud of their generosity this year as well. We had an amazing amount of items turned in—so much that we are able to also donate to foster families for Christmas. We are so thankful for our students and families and for their compassionate hearts!

Sheriff’s Office Visits Little Flower

Little Flower Catholic School had a wonderful on-campus field trip with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office! Two K-9 units and four mounted police visited our school and put on a show for pre-K through 1st grade. The students thoroughly enjoyed seeing the show and petting the animals. Our teachers and students were able to learn several facts about the K-9 and mounted units. Thank you to the ECSO for coming out to visit us at Little Flower!

CA Weis Celebrates New Walking Track

On December 1, C.A. Weis Elementary hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the grand opening of a new outdoor walking track, benches and signage. Core partners and community leaders celebrated alongside the student step team, drumline, track team and special guests. Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area provided funding for the walking track.

C.A. Weis is a collaborative partnership among Children’s Home Society of Florida, Community Health of Northwest Florida, Escambia County School District and the University of West Florida. Together, partners focus on removing tough barriers to learning by bringing together high-quality academics, health care, counseling, support and more— right on-site at the school. Since implementing the innovative Community Partnership Schools Model, C.A. Weis has increased access to healthcare, family education and after-school activities.

The Community Partnership Schools model, core partners – in collaboration with local nonprofits, businesses, the faith community and more – work within the school to address the spectrum of socio-economic barriers affecting students’ educational advancement.

Pensacola Catholic High Conducts Operation St. Nicholas

Every year during the first week of December, the campus ministry at Pensacola Catholic High School, spearheaded by Campus Minister Rebecca Carter, conducts its annual Operation St. Nicholas. Students are asked to bring in at least one stocking, filled with items like small puzzles, baby dolls, cars, action figures, Barbies, coloring books, crayons, bouncing balls, small stuffed animals, toothbrushes and toothpaste, etc. Stockings are collected in Religion classes and then during the Annual Christmas Mass, the students process to the altar to deposit the stockings during the Offertory, the time during the Mass when our gifts are brought to the Lord to be blessed.

This year’s stockings were donated first to Catholic High’s ‘partners-in-education’ schools, Oakcrest Elementary and Global Learning Academy, to ensure every child had a stocking. The remaining stockings went to other local agencies to ensure they were given to children in need. In the past, Favor House, Ronald McDonald House, Catholic Chari-ties, The Village Hands, Gulf Coast Kids’ House, and the Children’s Home Society have all been recipients of stockings from Catholic High School. A BIG “thank you” goes out to all the students, parents, faculty and staff at Catholic High School who made this year’s collection another great one to ensure the beauty and love of Christmas is shared with children across our community!

East Hill Participates In History Fair

This year’s National History Day theme was Debate and Diplomacy in History: Success, Failure and Consequences. East Hill Christian middle and high school students presented outstanding History Fair projects that displayed their hard work and enthusiasm for their chosen topic. Winners will represent EHCS at the Escambia County District History Fair in early 2022.

Junior Individual Exhibit winners were: first place: Emma Gleason; second place: Joshua Lawson and third place: Austin Metheny. Junior Group Exhibit winners were: first place: Emma Osborn and Abby Hudspeth; second place: Brooke Stubblefield and Emmy DeLaMare. Junior Individual Website first place winner was Jack Treick.

Senior Individual Exhibit winners were: first place: Gracie Hamilton; second place: Lindsay Thomas; and third place: Gwyneth Keene.

Senior Group Exhibit winners were: first place: Sophia Bondurant and Bailey Hansler; second place: Abigail Hrabar, Reiss Goldman and Carsyn Clanton; third place: Brianna Creel, Abbey Grace Kughn and Sadie Schrimsher.

Senior Individual Website winners were: first place: Christopher Hatsfelt; second place: Mychaela Lingo; and third place: Kharis Young. Senior Group Website winners were: first place: Andy Bosarge, Kessler Ferry and Daniel Lysenko; second place: Drew Blevins, Caleb Waters and Schyler Witter; and third place: Nathan Liechty, Kaleb Roberts and Isaiah Logsdon. Senior Individual Documentary first place winner was Jonathan Lin.

Stuttering Awareness

St. Paul Catholic School is incredibly proud of this Spartan! She showed great fortitude and spoke to every class and gave them all pencils to bring awareness to stuttering for International Stuttering Awareness Day. Bravo!

Local Firefighters Visit St. Paul

Students at St. Paul Catholic School had a wonderful visit from several of the firefighters from Station #1. They learned about fire safety and got to check out an engine and equipment up close.

Pensacola Catholic’s Annual Fall Food Drive is Back on Track!

The annual food drive usually conducted in the fall each year at Catholic High School was delayed in 2020 because of COVID-19 and was pushed to spring 2021. The students were excited to get “back on track” with this year’s drive! Students, parents, faculty and staff donated more than 41,000 non-perishable food items November 1-18. The Student Council, moderated by English teacher Julie Remke, helped to spearhead the drive working closely with all faculty. Items collected were given to the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry, St. Joseph Food Pantry, and the Alfred-Washburn Center.

This project conducted every year, regardless of the time of year it is carried out, is in line with all of Catholic High’s core values, and these donations will no doubt make a big difference in the lives of families in our community!

Santa Rosa Online Students Display Artwork

Santa Rosa Online students were able to show their amazing talents at the Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival. Middle school winners were Anna U., first place; Zoe P., second place;

Lily M., third place; and Addisen W., honorable mention. High school winner was Connor S., photography honorable mention.

Controlled Open Enrollment Begins January 31

Escambia County School District’s elementary schools controlled open enrollment begins January 31 for the 2022-2023 school year. During this open enrollment period you may select three different schools to apply for. You are not able to submit applications for overcapacity schools. Open enrollment closes March 4.

For more info on open enrollment, eligibility, application process, and answers to other frequently asked questions, visit

LEAD Students Pack Christmas Shoeboxes

LEAD Academy students participated in Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. Each student packed a box to donate and included a personal note. The students were so excited to give their gifts, knowing that each box will be received by a child their age along with the gospel message.

LEAD Families Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast

LEAD Academy parents were invited to share a Thanksgiving Feast with their children on November 19. The kids learned about the first Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims shared and enjoyed some of the same foods as well. There was plenty to eat and a fun time was had by all.

Santa Rosa Online Accepting 2022-23 Applications

Santa Rosa Online/Blended Academy is accepting applications for grades K -12 for the 2022-2023 school year. Santa Rosa Online is an exciting opportunity for the students of the Santa Rosa County School District to move beyond the traditional school setting into the world of online learning. Serving Santa Rosa students in home education, public education and private education, Santa Rosa Online offers online courses free of charge to Santa Rosa students through: Santa Rosa Online, a franchise of Florida Virtual School; Fuel Education (formerly known as K12); and Connections Learning—all fully accredited and established leaders in providing online learning opportunities throughout the world. Santa Rosa Online is located on the campus of Locklin Technical College, a Santa Rosa County school which provides technical and supplemental training and academic education to students. To register or for more info, visit or call (850) 981-7860.

St. Paul Holds Accelerated Reader Party

Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade Spartans who met their Accelerated Reader goals at St. Paul Catholic School enjoyed Sky’s pizza pies and mini bundt cakes at a special party to end the first quarter.

Santa Rosa Online Goes Mad with Math

Santa Rosa Online held a Mad Scientist Lab and Math Day. Students participated in hands-on experiments and collaborative math projects. Special thanks to Pace High Bio-Tech classes for their collaboration with SRO students!

O.J. Semmes Hosts Family Night Event

O.J. Semmes Elementary School hosted a “Fam Jam” Family Night event December 3. School staff welcomed Semmes families between the hours of 4 and 6  p.m. There were games, crafts and books for students and their families to take home. A spaghetti dinner was provided for all participants.

Parents and guardians had the opportunity to meet teachers, and representatives from George Stone Technical College, Children’s Home Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Parent University, Pensacola Public Library, and several area youth sports associations were in attendance to provide information about services and activities available to Semmes families.

Additionally, transportation to and from the event was provided from Pensacola Village Apartments.


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