December 2023 Student Spotlights

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!

WFHS Academy Students are back training in Hospitals

WFHS Academy Students are back training in all three local hospitals, post-pandemic. Seniors from one of the four health academies at West Florida High School were selected for internships, which were created in partnership with local business organizations and the Advanced Career Experience or ACE program. The reopening of these internship positions during the grand opening of the new Baptist campus has made this even more historic for our students. Our ACE program provides valuable hands-on training for the Academy students in all our schools.

Planting Thanksgiving Dinner For 1,000 Needy Families

During Farm City Week, a couple of hundred or so student volunteers from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties work for a day in the fields near Jay to harvest collards and turnips, bag sweet potatoes, and more to be distributed with hams or turkeys to feed 1,000 needy families at Thanksgiving.
Tate High School FFA students worked tirelessly recently to transplant and water 2,600 collard plants at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research & Education Center.
“The Farm to City food distribution allows us to feed these families and teach people in our community about the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of agriculture,” said Robin Vickers from the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center.

ECPS United Way's Day of Caring

Escambia County Public Schools would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our generous community partners who came out for United Way’s annual Day of Caring. These selfless volunteers showed up early at schools across the district and undertook tasks to help beautify and organize our campuses. The outpouring of support from our partners is truly humbling, and very much appreciated. It’s gestures like these that show us our community is ALL IN. United, we will move forward for the betterment of our students, their families, and this community.

Aletheia Christian Academy High School Field Day

Aletheia Christian Academy High School students enjoyed a day of fun and sun during the annual High School Field Day. Planned by the SGA, students competed in a series of games, such as tug-o-war, 4-legged race, gaga ball, an obstacle course, and more. They enjoyed snow cones, cotton candy, and popcorn in between competitions. It was a great day of bonding and friendly competition.

Creative Learning Academ Family Association hosts Fall Festival

Creative Learning Academy’s Fall Festival turned heads and brought smiles to families from all across Greater Pensacola. Hosted by the CLA’s Family Association, this year’s Fall Fest was a spectacular celebration of the season. With an array of activities and delectable treats, it’s safe to say that everyone had a blast!
The festival showcased a Musical Cakes contest, where bakers vied for the titles of scariest, cutest, and most creative hand-made cakes. The cakes were a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. In addition to the culinary delights, attendees enjoyed inflatable slides and obstacle courses, face painting, and a live animal petting experience titled “Animal Tales” that enabled both kids and parents to tap into their love for unique animals. And, if that wasn’t enough, the eighth-grade dunk tank brought lots of failed dunking attempts, laughter and splashes throughout the afternoon – everyone ended up getting wet.
As the afternoon faded into early evening, a spooky stage experience transported everyone into the Halloween spirit. The event would not have been complete without a variety of delicious food trucks offering culinary delights for every taste bud. From sweet and savory waffle creations at Waffle Boutique to mouthwatering BBQ at Arlene’s, exotic flavors from Something Asian, and refreshing Hawaiian shaved ice from Local Boyz, there was something to satisfy every craving. This year’s Fall Festival was a testament to the warm community spirit and support for the CLA Family Association, reminding us of the incredible moments that make local events like these so memorable.

ECPS Social Studies Teachers Awarded and Honored

Four Escambia County Public Schools social studies teachers were recently honored at the Florida Council for the Social Studies (FCSS) conference in Orlando.
The 2023 Outstanding Teachers of the Year Award for Escambia County Public Schools are as follows:
Mark Goolsby of Ferry Pass Elementary
Angie Caroline of Escambia High
Dominic Lumbrazo of Beulah Middle School was awarded the Dr. Theron Trimble Florida Teacher of the Year Award. This award recognizes exceptional social studies teachers for grades K-6, 5-8, and 9-12. Mr. Lumbrazo received the distinction of Middle School Social Studies Teacher of the Year.
Lauren Samoszenko of Ransom Middle School was awarded the B.J. Allen Social Science Professional Award. This award honors outstanding FCSS educators who have served the professional organization in a comprehensive way. The award honors service to FCSS and to social studies during the year or years immediately past. This award is named in honor of Dr. B.J. Allen, Florida State University Professor, and President of FCSS.

Montessori School of Pensacola Fall Festival Fun

Montessori School of Pensacola hosts an annual Fall Festival each school year in October. The fundraiser event is put on by the Parent-Teacher Organization and raises funds for enrichment items such as field trips, in-school presentations, computers, playgrounds, and more. Parent volunteers work different activity booths, which include nail painting, pumpkin painting, rubber ducky pull, and sand art. Additionally, attendees can take horse rides, bounce on inflatables, and have up-close encounters with animals. This fun family event is help at the MSP Montessori Drive campus off Scenic Highway. Middle School students make and sell smoothies to raise money for their yearly class trip. Another much-loved part of the festival is the toy and book exchange. The PTO collects gently used toys and books that are then displayed for “shopping” by festival attendees who make purchases with tickets.

East Hill Christian Eagle Ambassadors

Are you interested in visiting East Hill? If so, you will be welcomed by our Eagle Ambassadors! Eagle Ambassadors are our student hosts who were selected through a rigorous application and interview process. These juniors and seniors represent the spirit of EHCS and serve as liaisons for the Admissions office. Eagle Ambassadors provide campus tours for prospective families, host weekly chapel speakers, and meet and greet for special events throughout the year. We are so grateful for this amazing group this year and are already seeing how the Lord is working through this ministry at East Hill.

Aletheia Christian Academy Tallahassee Field Trip

Aletheia Christian Academy 4th graders had a fabulous field trip to Tallahassee! The students visited the Florida Supreme Court, the Capitol, the Old Capitol, and the Tallahassee Museum. While at the Florida Supreme Court, students had the opportunity to participate in a mock oral argument. The case was about whether the School Board’s policy of requiring school uniforms violated a student’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression. The justices heard arguments from the attorneys. After deliberation, the justices voted in favor of the School Board. It was a wonderful and memorable day!

Montessori School Pensacola Day of Service

Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival (GGCAF) has a children’s area that is open on Friday each year for special needs students of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. This day is called Very Special Arts Day (VSAD). Students get to take part in hands-on projects, hang out in Bartram Park, and view the Student Art Show. Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis and Overholtz (AWKO) Law Firm sponsors the transporation of the students, since there were funding issues. Students get to come spend the day having fun and making art! Montessori School of Pensacola (MSP) Middle School students spend the day volunteering for the VSAD. They help the students with crafts at the different art stations. It is a rewarding way to give back to the community.
Helping others and trying to give back is a big part of Montessori education. North American Montessori Center says this about Montessori and community service: “Montessori teachers know that by performing community service, we are helping develop and educate the whole child. Students learn the joy of giving of themselves, and develop compassion because of these real, practical life volunteer experiences.”

ECPS Works to Address the Skilled Labor Shortage in Construction

Four high schools have construction-related academies or programs. All four programs are offering students the Home Building Institute (HBI) sequence of certifications. The HBI Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) curriculum provides students with hands-on training that takes them from freshmen with little-to-no building experience to seniors who are ready to enter the workforce.
The certification sequence starts with the Core which consists of safety, construction math, employability, and tools and materials. The HBI carpentry exam covers safety, measurement, tools & equipment, products & materials, rough carpentry and framing, and interior & exterior finishing. Additional HBI certifications include Basic Electrical, Core Green and Building Construction Technology.
The Home Builders Association of West Florida (HBA) Green Construction Trades Academy at Pine Forest High School has been successfully operating for a number of years. However, the two programs that have made a significant impact this past school year have been the Skilled Trades program at Northview High School and the Energy Academy at West Florida High School.
Chad Cherry, the Skilled Trades instructor at Northview holds a BA degree and has more then twenty-eight years of experience in the construction industry, including concrete finishing, framing, drywall hanging and finishing, plumbing as well as building management. His years of experience provide a wealth of knowledge for his students. As a first year teacher during the 22-23 school year, Mr. Cherry’s students earned 164 certifications.
The second program that is recently having a major impact on providing workforce-ready students is Drew Dittmar’s Energy Academy at West Florida High School. Mr. Dittmar has more than 15 years of direct experience in the construction field. Additionally, Mr. Dittmar holds an MS degree, has all five of the HBI certifications, has two years of experience in the solar industry, has been a construction project manager, and is currently serving on the City of Pensacola Zoning Board of Adjustments. Mr. Dittmar’s students earned an impressive 181 HBI certifications for the 2022-23 school year.

St. Paul Catholic School Orchestra Halloween Concert

The St. Paul Catholic School Orchestra and SPCS Singers gave a spooky fun performance to their classmates and families on Halloween! Performers wore their costumes and ended the concert with the theme song from Ghostbusters, garnering lots of singing along from the crowd!

Aletheia Christian Academy Students Pack Care Packages for Those in Need

Students at Aletheia Christian Academy participate in weekly chapel services. Students heard a message from Pensacola Dream Center, a Christ-centered organization united in purpose to reach the needy, at-risk, and underserved in our community. Students packed 540 bags with basic necessities for the homeless in our community and included personal notes and scripture for encouragement. What a blessing it is to see students serve others!

Montessori School of Pensacola Manta Ray Volleyball Makes Play-offs

Congratulations to Montessori School of Pensacola Manta Ray volleyball who made the Catholic Youth Sports League (CYSL) play-offs!

St. Paul Catholic School Welcomes Firetruck Visit

Firefighters from Station No. 1 came to visit students at St. Paul Catholic School. Students were impressed by the firetruck and all of the special equipment used to put out fires! Firefighters donned their protective equipment to show kids that even in their tough and fearsome outfits worn in emergencies, they are there to help and keep us all safe!

ECPS High School Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

Congratulations to ECPS High School Principal of the Year, West Florida High School’s Esi Shannon, and to ECPS High School Assistant Principal of the Year, Booker T. Washington High School’s Amy Gordon.

St. Paul Catholic School Flag Retirement Ceremony

The St. Paul Catholic School Student Council invited all Veterans in our school community to a special flag retirement ceremony for Veterans Day. Student Council members led the ceremony to properly retire worn, tattered, or damaged flags. SPCS honors all who have served or continue to serve our country.


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