August 2023 Student Spotlights

Student & School Spotlights - Aug23 GPP
Every month we compile a list of students doing great things across the River Region.  We have so many talented students in our area.  River Region Parents joins with their families and schools to celebrate their achievements!

Making Music at Montessori School of Pensacola

“There should be music in the child’s environment, just as there does exist in the child’s environment spoken speech. In the social environment the child should be considered, and music should be provided.”
–Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, Italian’s first female physician, and creator of the Montessori method of education said the above quote. Montessori School of Pensacola (MSP) supports the inclusion of and exposure to music. During this week, Felipe Munoz (MSP parent and owner of Empathic Practice) brought in many different instruments, allowing campers to not only hear the different sounds of the instruments, but to also get to try for themselves.

Lending a Hand at Montessori School of Pensacola

A humanitarian is defined as someone who has concern for or helps to improve the welfare and happiness of people. Montessori School of Pensacola’s (MSP’s) recent summer camp focused on humanitarian acts and how to lend a hand. Campers were able to learn about and then execute small acts of kindness that made big differences. They painted rocks and hid them in a neighborhood walk around 12th Avenue where the MSP Early Childhood is located. Campers also worked together to wash the car of one of their camp instructors. They blindfolded the teacher and surprised her with a clean and fresh car. Additionally, Manna Food Pantry came to talk to the campers about hunger in Pensacola. In conjunction with the week’s focus on how to give back to the community, camp conducted a food drive for Manna.

Pro Deo et Patria – For God and Country – Pensacola Catholic High Commencement

Pensacola Catholic High School held their Commencement Exercises on May 20 during which they bestowed a very special award on a member of the Pensacola Catholic High School graduating class. For the past 40 years, this award, named the Pro Deo et Patria Award, recognizes a graduate who dynamically and consistently exemplifies the spirit and ideals of Catholic High School. The ideals are summarized very succinctly in the school motto, “Pro Deo et Patria”, translated from Latin to mean ”For God and Country.” Each year, the faculty and senior class members, by means of a vote of each individual, select a member of the graduating class to receive this honor.
Among the many awards given to graduates each year, this is perhaps the most meaningful and cherished because it recognizes someone who has chosen to live by the ideals and Core Values of Catholic High School — Selfless Love, Commitment to Excellence, Personal Integrity, and Commitment to Service –to do all For God and Country. Congratulations to the 2023 recipient of the Pro Deo et Patria Award – Juliet Messerly! Juliet is presented the Pro Deo et Patria Award by Principal, Sister Kierstin Martin.

Voices United in Education Podcast

This podcast is a platform for teachers, parents, staff, students, graduates, community mentors and residents. Step up and share your positive stories and different viewpoints so we can teach and learn from one another. The education and success of each student In Escambia County Public Schools depends on all of us. Together, we can be united in education. We are committed to changing K-12 education. Working with parents and community members, we encourage independent and critical thinking by introducing our students to infinite paths, intricacies of problem solving, and the beauty of different viewpoints and diversity of thought. Please visit for more information.

Oh, the Fun Kids Have at Creative Learning Academy’s Summer Camp!

Summer days in Pensacola have taken on a new level of excitement and adventure thanks to Camp CLA at Creative Learning Academy. With its innovative approach and focus on fostering friendships, Camp CLA has developed a dynamic and engaging experience for all campers. According to Jennifer Russell, Camp CLA’s dedicated director, the kids are not only having a blast but are also benefiting from a carefully curated blend of structured activities and spontaneous play. Camp CLA breaks free from the traditional summer camp structure, providing a relaxed atmosphere that encourages kids to explore their interests. From art and enrichments to sports and world exploration, Jennifer states, “We wanted to create an environment where children can be themselves, enjoy their summer days, and make lifelong memories. Camp CLA provides an atmosphere where all children can thrive, be active, and have a great time while feeling safe and secure.”
In addition to sports such as basketball, pickleball, and volleyball, Camp CLA offers a wide range of activities that engage young minds. Children delve into the mysteries of outer space, learn about fascinating places around the world, and uncover their artistic talents in themed classes. The camp also provides opportunities for hands-on learning in STEAM projects, allowing campers to unleash their inner “scientist” and develop critical thinking skills. With a dedicated staff trained in child care and an environment designed for engagement, many campers’ parents have noticed that their children are not only having fun but also staying safe. As the days unfold, these young campers are making friends, exploring their passions, and creating lasting memories. Throughout summer season 2023, Camp CLA is definitely providing the ideal summer experience, offering a nurturing environment where kids can be happy, active, engaged; all the while having so much fun!

Gallery Night Wonder Years – Youth Entrepreneurs

On Friday, August 18th, Gallery Night’s “Wonder Years” event will featuring a Youth Entrepreneur Zone. We will have approximately 20 youth entrepreneurs to share in Gallery Night’s entrepreneurial successes! Join us for this amazing night.

Pensacola Catholic High Conducts New Crusader Workshops

During the months of June & July, Pensacola Catholic High School offered incoming registered Freshman the opportunity to participate in a workshop to help new Crusaders become more comfortable with CHS prior to the school year beginning. The optional workshop is a great way for students to meet other classmates and learn about the school schedule, CHS expectations, and differences between middle and high school. The workshops were conducted by Freshman/Sophomore Advisor, Mrs. Peyton Finelli. She was assisted by members of the CHS Student Council and Student Ambassador groups. The day’s events included a tour of the campus, interactive discussions on strategies to help students be successful with their transition into high school, and games that introduced them to the history of Catholic High and the faculty. Mrs. Finelli said about the day, “We want to help students feel more comfortable and confident so their first few weeks of school can feel less anxious. We want them to become leaders among their peers so that they can help other new Crusaders as well.” Pictured – Mrs. Lipscomb, School Receptionist, explains student protocols for checking in and out when the groups stopped in the School Office during their campus tours.

Pensacola Catholic High Honors Former Student-Athlete with Annual Award

Every year during the Graduation ceremony for Pensacola Catholic High School, the school recognizes a student athlete in memory of an exemplary previous Crusader, Chris Gallman, a member of the Class of 1999. Chris was a very talented member of both the Basketball and Track Teams and in May of 1998, just days after he won the District high jump gold medal at the end of his Junior year, and shortly before he was to leave for the State Track Meet, he died very suddenly and tragically of an undiagnosed heart condition. His death left the Catholic High community stunned and heartbroken. Chris was a very special person – a very talented athlete, a friend to all, rarely seen without a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone – truly the epitome of kindness and good sportsmanship. Shortly after his tragic and untimely death, there was a groundswell of desire from all parts of the CHS family – students, teachers, administrators, parents…all, recognizing the unique goodness of Chris Gallman, asked that we establish an award in his honor… to memorialize the goodness he contributed and stood for in his life at Catholic High, his sportsmanship, selflessness, and compassion. These qualities became the focus and criteria for the bestowal of this award that is given each year at the Commencement Exercises. With the input of athletes in each of the 21 CHS Varsity athletic teams, the entire CHS faculty, and the CHS coaching staff, the selection of the recipient for the Chris Gallman Sportsmanship Award is conducted each year. It has not happened often, but this year two athletes tied for this special honor. This year’s recipients of the Chris Gallman Award were Zack DeJesus and Caroline Stuck. Zack played football and baseball at CHS for all four years. His Football Coach says that “this young man always put the team before his personal ambitions.” His Baseball Coach describes him by saying, “He is the consummate team player. He put his team first always, over personal accomplishments.” Caroline played Volleyball, Soccer, and Tennis at CHS. Her Volleyball Coach says “She is a great team player who played multiple positions without complaining, for the betterment of the team.” Both her Soccer Coach and her Tennis Coach said she was a selfless player whose demeanor and determination made others on her team better players and people by following her example. Congratulations, Zack and Caroline! Athletic Director, Coach Richard LaBounty, presented the Chris Gallman Sportsmanship Award to Zack DeJesus and Caroline Struck.

Summer Camp Scientists at Montessori School of Pensacola

Montessori School of Pensacola summer camp themes change week to week. One of this summer’s themes was Science. During this week, students conducted science experiments and read books about famous scientists. Along with making lemon volcanoes, campers also created balloon hovercrafts with balloons and CDs.

East Hill Christian Welcomes New Head of School

As the new school year is upon us, East Hill is excited to welcome Dr. Hadley as our new Head of School. She comes to us from Mount Dora Christian Academy where she has had an exceptional twenty-year career. She is an educator at heart, having served eleven years as an elementary teacher, five years as principal and most recently, four years as their Head of School.
During her time at Mount Dora, Dr. Hadley has led the academic, spiritual and enrollment growth of the school. She has introduced instructional programs that increased academic performance across all grade levels and she is passionate about helping teachers to highlight the Biblical truths and relevance found within the core content. As a result of her leadership, she was awarded the 2018 National Educator of the Year award by the National Christian School Association and her school was designated a National Blue Ribbon School. We are excited for her to join the East Hill family and are looking forward to the great year ahead!

Leadership Pensacola helps low-income students at CA Weis Elementary School

There’s a new addition at CA Weis Elementary School in Pensacola to help students.
The “Leadership Pensacola Class of 2023” partnered with “Closets by Design of the Emerald Coast” to create a “care closet” at the school. The care closet provides clothes, food, and personal care items for low-income students.

Escambia County Schools to give parents choice on book restrictions

Escambia County Public Schools are giving parents more power when it comes to what books their child can check out. Starting May 1, the district is moving to a more streamlined, online form. They can either log onto the student info system online or scan a QR code that’ll be on posters outside many schools. The new online K-12 form is called “Library Access.”

New Worlds Reading Initiative Sends Free Books to Florida Children's Homes

The “New Worlds Reading Initiative” sends children in kindergarten through fifth grade a free book every month. It’s open to children who are not reading at grade level and are enrolled in a Florida public or district-sponsored charter school. Each book comes with ideas for supplementary activities. The goal is to get children excited about reading, so they’re eager to improve their skills.

Greater Pensacola Parents
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