Student Spotlights January 2023

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!

Alethia Christian Academy – Pensacola Youth Council

Alethia Christian Academy is proud to recognize Vivian McGee who was selected to participate in the Pensacola Youth Council.

The 47th Annual Sandy Sansing Spelling Bee

The 47th Annual Sandy Sansing Spelling Bee was held on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 and the winners are as follows:

1st Place Evan Henderson, Ransom Middle School, Teacher: Lori Johnson
2nd Place Ian Ramos, Beulah Middle School, Teacher: Brandee Burke
3rd Place Brennan Keenan Bratt Elementary School, Teacher: Mandi Carter

The word that distinguished first and second places in the final round was “egocentricity”. The word “mortgage” was the last word of the bee to secure the winner’s position in first place.Thanks to Mr. Sansing’s generosity, prizes were as follows:
1st Place $300, 2nd Place $200, and 3rd Place $150. Tracie Carollo, English Language Arts, organized the Spelling Bee. Mr. Sansing and Dr. Smith addressed students and families. Dr. Nicole Everette was Emcee. Volunteers from the Escambia Retired Educator Association assisted at the registration and judging tables.

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Nicole Everette, English Language Arts Specialist; Evan Henderson, Ransom Middle School; Ian Ramos, Beulah Middle School; Brennan Keenan, Bratt Elementary; Jacquie Gray, Director of Sandy Sansing Human Resources; Dr. Tim Smith, Superintendent of Escambia County Public Schools.

ECPS Announces Top 10 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Escambia County Public Schools has released its top 10 finalists for 2024 Teacher of the Year. In alphabetical order, the top 10 finalists for Teacher of the Year are as follows:

Audrey Brown – Brentwood Elementary
Nikki Gill – J.M. Tate High School
Anna Harageones – A. K. Suter Elementary
Gary Horne – Booker T. Washington High School
Melanie Johnson – Kingsfield Elementary
Angela McFarland – West Florida High School
Christopher Norris – Ransom Middle School
Linda Patti – Escambia Virtual Academy
Allison Roberts – Success Academy
Sara Smith – Beulah Elementary School

“These outstanding educators reflect the skill, knowledge and compassion that our students benefit from each and every day. They represent ten of the finest examples of instructors who make sacrifices each day in order for our students to accomplish their educational goals,” stated ECPS Superintendent Timothy Smith. “We look forward to celebrating these top ten finalists, as well as all of our outstanding Teacher of the Year nominees, and our hard-working teachers throughout the district.”

The ECPS Teacher of the Year top 10 finalists will ultimately be pared down to five finalists, who will be announced December 12, 2022. The 2024 Teacher of the Year for Escambia County Public Schools will be announced in late January, and honored, along with all district teachers of the year, at a special event in the spring.

Ernest Ward Middle School

On November 16th, 2022, one of the resident goats of the Ernest Ward Middle School FFA program got to serve as an honorary member of the Navy and promote the upcoming watch party for the Navy – Army football game. Captain Terrence Shashasty, Commanding Officer, Pensacola NAS, was accompanied by “Bettie” (the Ernest Ward Middle School goat) and Billy (the Navy football mascot) as they toured the base and encouraged sailors to come to the MWR watch party to be held on December 10th. Mr. Steven Harrell, Director of Workforce Education for Escambia County Public Schools, said, “Several sailors told me that seeing Ernest Ward’s goat made them feel like they were back home. Everyone had a great time as we came together as a community and cheered on our Navy home team!” Bettie loved the attention she received, and she helped cheer, “Go Navy….Beat Army!”

Tate High School FFA – Forestry Team

The Tate FFA Forestry is cruising; that is timber; once again. Forestry members traveled with FFA advisors Melissa Gibbs (Coach) and Chip Coleman to Ponce de Leon to compete at the District 1 Forestry Contest. Team “A” members were Synoma Perea, Isabella Owens, Ryan Grace, and Lawson Theisen. Team “B” members Reagan McGallagher, Lily McArthur, Christian Hollingsworth and Jordan Pitman. Forestry Team Assistant was Ellen Rigby. The Purpose of The National FFA Forestry Career Development Event is designed to stimulate student interest and to promote the forestry industry as a career choice. It also provides recognition for those who have demonstrated skills and competencies resulting from forestry instruction in the agricultural education classroom. Students will be able to •Understand and use forestry terms. •Promote an understanding of the economic impact of the forest environment and the forest industry to the American economy. •Recognize sustainability (multiple use) opportunities in the forests. •Recognize environmental and social factors affecting the management of forests. •Identify major species of trees of economic importance to the United States and internationally. •Identify and properly use hand tools and equipment in forestry management. •Recognize and understand approved silvicultural practices in the United States. •Identify forest disorders. •Take a forest inventory. •Utilize marketing management strategies. •Recognize safety practices in forest management.

FFA members competed in 6 different practicums required at the event. Tate placed “Blue” in all areas of the competition.
Winners were as follows:

General knowledge: Isabella Owens
Equipment Identification: Isabella Owens
Tree Identification (Dendrology): Synoma Perea
Tree/Forest Disorders: Synoma Perea
Compass and Pacing: Synoma Perea
Timber Cruising (Tree Measurement): Lily McArthur

Alethia Christian Academy Spirit Week

Alethia Christian Academy student body participated in Spirit Week, a full week of events and dress up days leading up to our basketball season opener. Spirit Week ended with a Glow-Fight-Win school-wide pep rally. This exciting week was planned and carried out by our student leaders in the Student Government Association. Our third graders learned how to square dance and ate chili after the culmination of their wild west unit in history. Our sixth graders went back in time after studying Ancient Greece to participate in their very own Greek Olympics. Finally, our Seniors re-enacted The Canterbury Tales with costumes and a delicious feast. No matter what is happening around the halls of Aletheia one thing is for sure, the students are leading, serving, and loving others for the glory of Jesus.

Sadie Hawkins at East Hill

The Student Government Association hosted their annual Sadie Hawkins Dance for our high school students. This year’s event was a western theme and included a night full of dancing, games, Mr. Roper’s famous Eagleccinos, and a fall bonfire. Thank you to all our students, faculty, and parents who made this night possible!

PCHS Christmas Assembly with Partners-in-Education

Pensacola Catholic High School once again shared their annual Christmas Assembly with both of their Partner-in-Education Schools, Global Learning Academy and Oakcrest Elementary. Students and Administrators from all three schools look forward to this special event every year! On December 2 CHS students were delighted to assemble in the school Gym to welcome their visitors. Students, Administrators, and Music Directors from Oakcrest Elementary and Global Learning Academy (GLA) came to sing for the CHS student body and the CHS Band also performed. There was even a brief visit by Santa and some of his elves as they took a break from their activities in the North Pole to stop by to wish the students 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, 28 years ago, 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 17th year.

East Hill Fifth Graders Visit the USS Alabama

Fifth graders had the chance to go to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park for a day full of exploring, learning, and fun! After just finishing up their unit in history of the World Wars, this was the perfect way for them to see the history first hand.

Shop Local at MSP

Montessori School of Pensacola was so excited to bring back their annual Holiday Bazaar. This event is also known as the Student Shopping Days. It is a time when students, parents, and friends get to shop for gifts. The joy and delight the children show when they are able to secretly shop for their loved ones is wonderful to see. The vendors are local artists, parents/grandparents, staff, and even students.

The mission of this sale is to set up a shopping experience for children by providing hand-made, locally-made, “crafty” type items for their holiday shopping. Also, in an effort to provide items at a reasonable cost, vendors provide items in a range of prices.

Annual Food Drive at Pensacola Catholic High School

The Catholic High School Family has once again made the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive a tremendous success! Over 26,000 non-perishable food items and $1,800 in donations were collected from November 1-17 by students, with the assistance of their parents, faculty, and staff. The Student Council, moderated by English Teacher Julie Remke, spearheaded the Food Drive working closely with all faculty members. Students were reminded that ‘Feeding the Hungry’ is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy and another way that we can extend ourselves as being ‘The Body of Christ.’ Items collected were given to the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry, Holy Spirit Catholic Church Food Pantry, St. Ann Parish Food Pantry, St. Joseph Food Pantry, and the Alfred-Washburn Center. This project is also 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 all across our community!

Alethia Christian Academy - Bella Shields Recognized as a Commended Scholar

Congratulations to Alethia Christian Academy student Bella Shields who was recognized for her outstanding performance on the PSAT test and the National Merit Scholar organization.

ECPS Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

Congratulations to Navy Point Elementary School Principal Dr. Monica Ford-Harris and Ernest Ward Middle School Assistant Principal Tyvanna Boulanger for being named ECPS Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year. Your schools, your district, and your community are so proud of you.

World-renowned Montessori Educator Visited MSP

Tim Seldin, from the Montessori Foundation visited Montessori School of Pensacola. Tim has more than forty years of experience in Montessori education and is the President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council. He is a co-founder of the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and Co-Director of its Montessori School Leadership Certification Program. He presented a free talk for the community on “How Montessori Builds a Better Brain”. His visit also included meetings with parents, staff, and visits to the MSP classrooms.

Pensacola Catholic High School Poetry Winners

Pensacola Catholic High School started a tradition of sending Birthday cards to all alumni for whom a mailing address was available. The first cards were mailed out approximately 5 years ago. Recently, CHS switched to custom-created postcards to convey this message. This year, in preparation for printing the postcards for 2023, Advancement Director, Mrs. Rita Lay, collaborated with the CHS English Department to involve students in writing the postcard sentiments. Teachers were asked to involve students in the creation of the “Birthday Card Greeting.” Student entries were written, submitted and then reviewed and judged independently by a panel. Two poems were selected worthy for inclusion as the birthday sentiment, both from Mrs. Coral Anderson’s English II College Prep Class. Judas Salazar’s poem will be featured on the 2023 postcard and Ramon Hearn’s poem will be included in 2024. Congratulations to both Lucas & Ramon on their winning poem submissions! Pictured: Ramon Hearn ’25, Mrs. Coral Anderson, and Judas Salazar ’25.

Escambia County Public Schools Podcast Among Top 125 Podcasts in the Country

Voices United in Education was launched by Escambia County Public Schools (ECPS) in September and is the 121st ranked “education how-to” podcast in the country on Apple Podcast. “We are driven to set the standard for community-centered education by building an education system of the future: inclusive, equitable, innovative, and extraordinarily imaginative,” explains Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith. “This is a wonderful example of that commitment and why by sharing our voices and the stories, not just in our classroom but beyond, is uniting us as a community.” The promise of public education in Escambia County is to move our community forward by empowering and enabling children of all ages and backgrounds to realize their innate talents and achieve not only their dreams, but their fullest potential. “As a community, we must work together toward this singular goal. These podcast episodes share the ways we’re all in.” The Voices United in Education podcast can be found on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and Amazon Music. Hosted by local podcaster Meredith Edwards, each episode focuses on positive and uplifting stories in education. Every week, listeners get to hear from teachers, parents, students, staff, mentors, administrators and others about what is happening in Escambia County Public Schools and the community to help every student succeed. It’s a forum for the entire community, especially parents and teachers who want the absolute best for our children. Listeners are encouraged to submit podcast topics and recommend guests for future episodes. For more information and access to all the recorded podcasts, visit

History Fair at East Hill

At East Hill, we are committed to creating a learning environment that is loving, supportive and reflects the highest standards of scholarship. We saw this displayed this month through this year’s National History Day Fair. This year’s theme was Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. Our middle and high school students presented outstanding History Fair projects that displayed their hard work and enthusiasm for their chosen topic. Congratulations to this year’s winners, who will represent EHCS at the Escambia County District History Fair in early 2023.

Veterans Appreciation Mass

St. Paul Catholic School staff, faculty & students are grateful for our veterans’ service to our country. Thank you! On the Wednesday before Veterans’ Day, following school Mass, SPCS Student Council presented a special program for our veterans. We were honored to have Lt. Col. Steven Broussard, father of one of our students, speak about his service to our country.

Food Fun for a Good Cause

Throughout the school year, Montessori School of Pensacola has themed Fun Days. Students and staff are invited to dress up in a fun/funny way. In conjunction with the theme, a different charitable giving project is planned. In November, students dressed as food and there was a collection of food for Manna Food Pantries. Outfits included vegetables, fruits, snacks, and more!

Grade 6 History Fair at CLA!

Creative Learning Academy’s History Fair took place this past December as it was an awesome display of academia! All of our 6th grade students participated in the fair by contributing as a group or with individual projects. The theme this year is “Frontiers in History”. Students’ research showed evidence of a frontier in history that they have an interest in. The students chose to present their research in exhibit form, with a total of 8 exhibits being entered into the contest. The top three group and individual exhibits will be invited to participate in the Escambia County History Fair in February of 2023. If CLA students place at the county history fair, they will be eligible to participate in Florida’s History Day in Tallahassee in May of 2023, and perhaps even move on to the National History Day for 2023. The vast scope of the projects showed that CLA students are truly young historians!

Little Flower Catholic School/EDS Jaguars Win Championship

Little Flower Catholic School/EDS Jaguars Football Team won the championship game on Saturday, December 10th. Congratulations to our football team! We are so proud of our Jaguars!

West Florida Baptist Academy Annual Kindergarten Carnival

In October, WFBA held its annual Kindergarten Carnival for students in K3 through Kindergarten. Boys and girls enjoyed interacting with local first responders and observing a helicopter landing from the UF ShandsCair Critical Care Transport unit. With the help of family volunteers, they also experienced bounce houses, face painting, and delicious ice cream from Taste Buds.