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In the Limelight

Career and Adult Education would like to feature your success stories! Share the good news about your state officers, state and nationally winning teams, teacher accomplishments, etc. For more information or to submit your success stories, please contact Angelena McCorvey at .

Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year Teaches Adults a Recipe for Success

Miami Herald
By David Smiley
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

At Myrna Betancourt's Café Du Jour, chefs serve up the finest international cuisine - from paella to pesto pasta.

While they're at it, they discover a recipe for a new life.

Betancourt's kitchen is in the Chapman Partnership homeless center in Homestead and her chefs are students ages 16 to 50, often disadvantaged, sometimes homeless, and always seeking a second chance.

And while the students probably already know it, their teacher is the best in all of Miami-Dade County.

On Wednesday, in front of hundreds of her peers, Betancourt, a former Chicago social worker-turned chef-turned teacher, won the 2015 Francisco R. Walker Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year award.

Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year Teaches Adults a Recipe for Success full article

SF EMS Students Take First and Second Place in Life Support Competition

(Left to Right) - Dr. Peter Springer - Nicole Roberts - Jon Friend - Jillian King - Chief Russell Rafferty

Today@Santa Fe
Published on Monday, January 27, 2014

Students from Santa Fe College's Emergency Medical Services Program took First Place in the 2014 invitational National Advanced Life Support / Basic Life Support (ALS/BLS) Team Competition in the Student ALS division. SF's EMS team B took second place in the ALS division.

SF EMS Students Take First and Second Place in Life Support Competition full article

Merritt Island High School Students Get First-hand Look at Space Launch

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (September 18, 2013) - Nine students from Merritt Island High School in Merritt Island, Fla., witnessed history Wednesday at the launch of a major U.S. military satellite, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) 3.

The students are part of their high school's Project Lead The Way (PLTW) engineering program. PLTW is the nation's leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs for middle and high schools. The hands-on, project-based engineering and biomedical sciences courses give students an opportunity to study topics like robotics, digital electronics, and aerospace engineering, while strengthening their critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.

The nine students took part in a three-day event sponsored by Lockheed Martin. It began with a school assembly for approximately 70 of their fellow classmates and ended with the group witnessing the history of the AEHF-3 launch. Today's launch gave the students, all enrolled in the Aerospace Engineering course, the chance to put their classroom-based learning into real-life context.

"This was, to say the least, an extraordinary opportunity for the students at Merritt Island High School," said Dr. Vince Bertram, PLTW President and CEO. "Not only did they witness history today, but more importantly, they experienced how their studies in science, technology, engineering, and math come together in the 'real world' of aerospace engineering. This was not, however, a 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity for these students; because, I am convinced, at least one of these students will be part of a future team of critical thinkers and problem solvers who launch the next wave of important technology into the world.

"PLTW is grateful to have such an incredible partner in Lockheed Martin, for sharing this event with our students and making an indelible imprint on their outlook for the future."

During the assembly, students and teachers heard from AEHF program leaders, as well as a panel of engineers who discussed the history and background of the mission. The nine students were then announced and given an AEHF-3 launch coin. On the second day of the launch event, the students and other VIP guests, including Bertram, attended a pre-launch briefing and photo op at the launch pad.

"At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to support Project Lead The Way as it looks to inspire and educate the next generation of young scientists and engineers," said Emily Simone, Lockheed Martin director, Community Relations. "This project is extremely special to us as it combines not only our passion for STEM education, but also one of our programs, the AEHF satellite. It's a great opportunity to show kids exciting, real world technology in action."

The AEHF 3 satellite is the third in a series of six satellites that Lockheed Martin is delivering for the U.S. Air Force. The system provides vastly improved, highly secure, protected communications for the executive branch of government and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Media Contact: Jennifer Cahill, PLTW Director of Communications at (317) 669-0871 or .

Integrated STEM Instructional Systems (ISIS)
STEM Integration Award Selections

Middle and High School STEM Teams Shine in Florida

Havana, FL, March 18, 2013: The 2013 Florida Technology Student Association (FL-TSA) State Conference held in Orlando this past weekend featured the awarding of the inaugural ISIS STEM Integration Award to two shining models of what can be accomplished when students are inspired by dedicated and inspired teachers. This honor is awarded based on projects submitted for the middle school Inventions & Innovations and the high school Engineering Design events that illustrate a high level of integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the design of their solutions. "Though this is the first year for the ISIS STEM Integration Awards," said ISIS Senior Partner, Duane Hume, "the outlook is very promising for the coming years to bring highly competitive and creative design work from our Florida youth."

The eighth-grade team from Nolan Middle School in Bradenton (Manatee County) took the ISIS award for their project entitled "Baby Bells Safety System," an innovative design for alerting a driver that a child has been left in a child seat. Using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in combination with a pressure switch mounted in the child seat, their design can be tied into the vehicle's ignition and alert system so that the driver has only a short period to retrieve the child before the alarm sounds. The goal of their design is to prevent the tragic death of an infant accidently left unattended in a vehicle. Under the watchful eye of their TSA Chapter Advisor, Justin Devine, the Nolan team was made up of Tim Ackaway, Travis Earp, Alex Long, and Rachel Towe.

The high school honors for Engineering Design went to the team from Braden River High School, also from Manatee County. Their winning design was entitled "Control Flex," a biomedical exercise apparatus for assisting people suffering from neuromuscular disorders to maintain muscular tone, flexibility, and range. This original device is lightweight and uses a number of small pulleys to take advantage of the person's own weight to provide the resistance. Their teacher and TSA Chapter Advisor, Gil Burlew, provided oversight of the team members Paul Wagner, Blake Humbert, Mario Palmer, Justin Proshka, and Abigail Holmes.

The ISIS STEM Integration Award is unique in that while student efforts are the primary focus, the award also acknowledges the teacher's effort in inspiring their students to excellence. "In spite of their generally humble nature," Hume said, "there is no mistaking the impact of a dedicated and inspiring teacher."

The Florida Technology Student Association is a Career and Technical Student Association (CTSO) approved by the Florida Department of Education and fosters problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking and leadership skills in member students as they study design, communications, power, energy, transportation, engineering, manufacturing, construction, and biotechnology technologies.

Left to Right: High School: Gil Burlew, Paul Wagner, Blake Humbert, Justin Proshka, Mario Palmer, Abigail Holmes; Duane Hume (ISIS); Middle School: Tim Ackaway, Alex Long, Travis Earp, Rachel Towe, and Justin Devine)

Glamour, Fashion, and Flair!

Lake Technical Center's Cosmetology Program Holds Inaugural Red Carpet Fundraising Event

Lake Technical Center's Cosmetology program's held the first annual Red Carpet and 80's Inspiration Fundraising Events. The excitement began at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at Lake Tech. Tammi Powell, Cosmetology student and future wedding planner, coordinated the decorations of the fountain lobby. Mr. Ed Rizzo, Marketing Director of the Daily Commercial, served as emcee. Five teams of students created a red carpet look for their selected model. Models experienced the thrill of walking the red carpet with an escort and then returned with the other members of their team.

The models were judged on their hair, makeup, and nails. The judges were: Ms. DeAnna Thomas, Adult Education Program Coordinator/Cosmetologist; Mr. Robert Tolvo, Owner of Robert Tolvo Hair Design; Ms. Toni Hawes, Cosmetologist; and Ms. Cheryl Gamble, Owner/Cosmetologist at Hair Strand. The winning team was the "Dixie Darlings" with students Ashley Baker, model, Hannah Maule, Yesenia Suarez, Haley Smith, Lourdes Morales, and Kelsey White.

The fun continued as the evening Cosmetology students held the first annual 80's Inspiration Event. Four teams of students styled the hair, nails, and make-up with the themes of Richy Rich, Workout, Rapper, and Rocker. The program instructors were the models, and Mr. Ed Rizzo emceed the event. Lake Tech Administrators Dr. Diane Culpepper, Director, Mrs. Melissa Stephan, Assistant Director, and Mr. Jack Miller, Assistant Director, and Ms. Deanna Thomas, Adult Education Program Coordinator/ Cosmetologist, served as judges. The winning team was the Rockers with Ms. Tonia Whalen, Instructor/ Model, Holly Morgan, Jennifer Atkinson, Wendi Conrad, Samantha Jo Pickett, Ashley Martin, and Jessica Folgore.


According to Ms. Tonyia Dawson, Cosmetology Department Chairperson, "These projects have brought the new and advanced students together. Students mingled and worked as an awesome, creative team."

The events were held as fundraisers for the SkillsUSA Florida State Championships, which will be held in Pensacola, Florida, April 28-30. Lake Tech will be sending 10 dual enrolled high school and adult students who will be competing in cosmetology; nails specialty; culinary - baking and hot foods; and advertising design. Donations to help fund the students' trip to the SkillsUSA Florida State Championships are welcome.

Lake Technical Center is a public postsecondary institution that offers high quality affordable training. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify and doesn't have to be repaid. Eligible veterans may be certified for VA benefits through the Financial Aid Office. The main campus is located at 2001 Kurt St., Eustis; the south campus address is 513 Albrook St., Mascotte; and the Institute of Public Safety's address is 1565 Lane Park Cutoff, Tavares, (352) 742-6463. Questions may be answered by visiting or calling (352) 589-2250. Like us at Follow us on Twitter at!/LakeTechCenter

Industry Certifications Get You Hired!

Web Design, Digital Design and IIT students at Zephyrhills High School (ZHS) are getting certified in Adobe and Microsoft Office. One student, James Kelly, used his industry certifications to obtain a job as a certified technician at Staples.

Last year, in the website design classes at ZHS, James acquired certifications in Adobe Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, and Photoshop earning him the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) credential. He also became a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) by passing the exams for various software components through the Introduction to Information Technology course at ZHS. His managers at Staples were impressed when he told them about his certifications and were a main factor in their hiring decision.

James's certifications and his experiences in the business program at ZHS influenced his decision on the selection of a career path. He will be attending the University of South Florida in the fall and will be majoring in Management Information Systems at the College of Business.

High School Students Get Hands-on Training With Police and Fire Rescue

By Carlos E. Medina

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

Andrew Tran, a senior at Pinellas Park High School, remembers seeing helicopters plucking people off their roofs as a child living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

That's what drew him to explore a career as a first responder and brought him to Ocala this week for the 23rd annual Florida Public Service Association State Conference, a competition that includes simulated tasks related to criminal justice and firefighting.

More than 350 high school students from across the state are descending on the Ocala Hilton this week. The hotel grounds will serve as home base for the competition, which includes task such as writing police reports and responding to mock 911 calls for assistance.

High School Students Get Hands-on Training With Police and Fire Rescue - The full article

Sunlake High School Seahawks Compete in Financial Football Challenge-Win First Place!

:On Saturday, February 23, four students from the Academy of Finance at Sunlake High School in Pasco County, competed in the 2nd Annual Financial Football Challenge sponsored by the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. The area-wide competition among thirteen schools took place at the Tampa location on Hillsborough Avenue in a double elimination format.

The Seahawks performed flawlessly in each game without missing a single question. The final two teams, Sunlake and Southeast, ended the competition in a playoff match of twenty-eight rounds of overtime play.

Each Sunlake team member received a cash prize of $500 and a Dell computer. Team members were: Senior and Team Captain Jeremy Devlin, Juniors Gabriella Rivera, Justin Chang, and Walter Ingram.

The students spent many hours of intense study with their Finance instructor, Sherry Beth Virgadamo, to prepare for the event. When the Sunlake team received a very difficult question, supporters drew their breath, not knowing the answer themselves. Ms. Virgadamo, however, remained calm as her team captain told her before each round, "Ms. V, we've got this"- and, they did.

All students in the Financial Operations class studied and discussed over 600 questions hoping to be selected for the team. The Academy of Finance students and Ms. Virgadamo are very grateful for all the support they receive from their Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union sponsors and their credit union coaches, Jenny Torres and Marylou Bartlett.

Senior and Team Captain Jeremy Devlin, Juniors Justin Chang, Walter Ingram and Gabriella Rivera with their trophy and checks

Career Academies @ Work

Car Preparing students for college, career and life

Student Internships Paying Off

Two River Ridge High School students were recently selected for a coveted internship/scholarship program (II -VI Scholarship) at VLOC. VLOC is a leading supplier of optical components for the industrial, medical, scientific, instrumentation, military, and telecommunication markets.

Out of 167 applicants, Andrew Saparito and Amar Patel were selected to fill the only two positions available. The students worked fulltime as interns for VLOC this past summer and are working part-time currently. The scholarship provides each student with $10,000 per year to be applied toward college expenses. If they continue to work at VLOC during their summers they will be guaranteed $40,000 for their college education.

More good news from the Academy of Engineering


  • 197 students enrolled in the Academy and 22 are on school choice
  • 13 students earned college credit last year from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
  • 12 Students received a paid internship with engineering companies over the summer
  • 4 students are continuing to work for the engineering companies after school
  • 5 students have completed portions of the MSSC (Manufacturing Skills Standards Council) certification
  • 22 students inducted into National Technical Honor Society

Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology Earn NCAC Honors

The National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) process in earning the top honor of "Model" academy, as well as the honor of "Certified" academy is truly a lengthy process. The lead teacher spends countless hours ensuring proper data reporting, securing effective internships for their students by maintaining a strong advisory board, and preparing their students for industry certification exams. In addition, they must also prepare and teach their curriculum.

For one Duval County high school, all of this hard work paid off. The academy teachers and students at Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology earned "Model" status for their Cosmetology Academy and Early Childhood Academy and earned the status of "Certified" for their Culinary Academy.

These teachers and students display a strong work ethic and passion for Career and Technical Education. Students completing these programs are able to take their industry certifications into the workforce immediately after high school.

The NCAC provides the only national certification for career academies and is the recognized leader for support, sustainability and credentialing of career academies.


Home at Last: New MTI Campus Opens to Students

The Manatee County Adult, Career and Technical Education Department announces that Manatee Technical Institute just opened its brand new main campus in East Manatee, entering an exciting new season of equipping the local workforce with the finest in career and technical education in the nation. After ten years of preparation, this new $44 million investment and its 210,000 square foot facility replaces much of the original West Bradenton campus built in 1962. With open spaces, accessible classrooms, efficient space planning, and beautiful interior design, the campus is a trophy in the heart of Manatee County.

With advanced equipment and ultra-modern facilities, students can now learn in an environment that matches their 21st century skills. Advanced career education programs include-among others-digital animation, television production, information technology, web design, business administration, hospitality, culinary arts, drafting, manufacturing technology, welding, electrical, HVAC, carpentry, cosmetology, automotive technology, marine technology, and much more. MTI also serves up skills in adult education, while serving the community through personal enrichment classes.

Visitors can experience a tour and sample culinary students' expertise at the Café Mirabilis and the facility's new fine dining establishment.

John Ziemnicki, Chairman of the MTI Board of Governors and the board's drafting advisory committee representative for 30 years, has been keenly involved with this project from the beginning. "These are exciting times," he said recently. "It's been 15 years since we first started thinking about this, working through the funding and acquiring the property. Along with a new, state-of-the-art building, these students now have access to the most current technology. We're looking forward to the best of times in this new building."

The new MTI campus is located on State Road 70 adjacent to the campus of Braden River High School, and opened to students for the first time on January 8, 2013.

New Middle School Career Academy: Science Meets Culinary

The Manatee County Adult, Career and Technical Education Department announces that Sugg Middle School will become the first middle school in Florida with a culinary academy when it opens to students during the 2013-2014 school year. Sugg's Culinary Academy of Kitchen Epicure Systems (CAKES), under the direction of Family and Consumer Science (FACS) culinary teacher Valerie Montgomery and Principal Sharon Scarbrough, will provide students with the opportunity to survey food through taste, research, demonstrations, science-based experimentation, and cooperative cooking teams. This academy integrates academic-based learning with real life skills as students attain industry certifications that transition them to existing CAPE Academies at the high schools.

Culinary students will learn nutrition by cooking through the food plate and traveling the world through international recipes. Visiting chefs will teach knife skills and offer practical knowledge about culinary careers and restaurant management. At the end of this school year, eighth graders will test to receive industry certification in safety and food handling. Next year they will also have the opportunity to enroll in a high school course, Culinary I, for high school credit. Greenhouse management will be added to help students understand the importance of bringing the garden to the table. As Sugg Middle School plans for an academy program, the future looks bright.

Academy Students Top Selected as Sunshine State Scholars

Three of the five finalists for the Florida Sunshine State Scholars Recognition Program are Career Academy students!

Congratulations to Marissa Rice for being selected as the 2012-13 St. Johns County School District's Sunshine State Scholar. Marissa is a junior in the Academy of Biotechnology and Medical Research at Ponte Vedra High School. Congratulations to Maxwell Kline, a junior in the St. Johns County Aerospace Academy at St. Augustine High School for being the alternate selected for this program.

The Florida Sunshine State Scholars Recognition Program was established in 1997 to recognize high school students who excel in math and science and to expose them to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career and college opportunities in our state. In addition to participating in the February 21-22, 2013 program in Orlando with her parents and academy teacher, Dr. Kathryn Kehoe, Marissa received the Elaine Crutchfield Math and Science Scholarship for $100 from our school district. Maxwell received a $75 scholarship. Congratulations as well to Nicholas Pinelli, a junior in the Academy of Emerging Technology at Creekside High School who received a $50 scholarship.

Miami Central Senior Receives $100,000 Federal Grant

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Press Release

Miami Central Senior High School was awarded a one-year $100,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration under the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program. The primary goal of this project, "Building Leadership Across Science and Technology (BLAST)" is to improve the preparation of students, particularly women and minorities, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by introducing the development of mobile applications technology related to the transportation industry. The grant is named after Garrett A. Morgan, an African-American inventor and entrepreneur.

Students will be provided with opportunities from career readiness and hands-on experience to college preparatory-level classes, labs, and creative exercises. The project is a partnership between the Miami Dade College School of Engineering and Technology, the Miami NAF STEM Advisory Board, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

The coursework includes specific technology skills related to the FDOT Roadway Design Project planned to improve safety and operational conditions in order to reduce the number of crashes occurring at these un-signalized intersections in NW Miami. Students will participate in extended classroom experiences and meet and observe project engineers throughout the roadway design process throughout the year and be exposed to the FDOT and Miami-Dade Expressway Authority's community awareness campaign.

The Academies of Engineering and Information Technology are magnet programs at Miami Central. Interested students who reside outside the school's attendance boundary can still apply by contacting each respective lead teacher at 305-696-4161.

For additional information regarding the project, please contact the School Choice & Parental Options Office at 305-995-1922.

Baker County FFA Team Takes 2012 State Food Science & Technology Champion Title

The 2012-13 Florida FFA State Food Science and Technology Career Development Event (CDE) was recently held at the University of Florida. Twenty-seven high schools competed for the state championship title to be awarded at the annual Florida FFA State Convention in June 2013. Represented by four freshman FFA members, Hunter Burnsed, Jesse Lambright, Bethany Richardson and Garrett Stavely, along with FFA Advisor and Agriscience teacher, Cacee Ford, the Baker County High School Senior FFA Chapter earned the prestigious first place award and the 2013 State Champion title.

A goal of the Food Science and Technology CDE is to test the skills of students in the areas of new food product development and marketing, food sensory, and food safety and quality. To prepare for the contest, the BCHS team held practices twice a week to the necessary master skills. In partnership with Ms. Ford, Richard Yaracs, Biology teacher at Baker County High School, assisted the team in preparing for the exam, a major component of this year's Food Science and Technology competition.

BCHS Food Science students agree that the Product Development part of the competition is what they enjoyed most. In this round, students were challenged to invent a food product, create a management plan for facilitating the product's ingredient processes, analyze and label the nutritional values, design product packaging, and develop a marketing plan. When asked what impact Food Science has on everyday living, State Champion and High Points Individual, Bethany Richardson notably replied, "The entire agricultural industry and all consumers rely on it. Without Food Science individuals would have a difficult time developing and sustaining their own safe and wholesome food supply."

This year's event had a record number of competitors making the state win an extra special event for the Baker County Senior FFA Chapter. The State winning team will represent the Florida FFA Association at the National FFA contest in the fall of 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Baker County High School Agriscience program is designated by the Florida Department of Education as a STEM program---one that integrates Science and Math and uses Technology and Engineering processes to solve real world problems.

Baker County FFA Team photo (PDF, 235KB)

Manatee County's International Engineers

Manatee County engineering technology students Mario Palmer (Braden River High School junior), Jeremy Petty (Braden River High School alumni), and Aly Cote (Lakewood Ranch High School freshman) have just returned from the F1 in Schools World Finals racing competition in Abu Dhabi, UAE. F1 in Schools is a multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams of students deploy CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyze, manufacture, test, and then race miniature gas powered balsa wood F1 cars. The challenge inspires students to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills, and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.

The students were part of Velox F1, a collaboration team of six students-three from Manatee County and three from Canada-who spent five months and approximately 500 hours virtually preparing for the event using Skype, social media networking, and WebEx. The six did not meet in person until they arrived in the UAE for the competition.

The team finished 13th after fierce competition. A total of 33 teams from 22 countries competed in the event with more than 350 students competing for top awards. The competition was held inside the world's largest indoor theme park, Ferrari World on Yas Island overlooking the prestigious Yas Marina Formula One Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

"This was a truly amazing learning experience," said Mario, the team's graphic designer. "We have met students from all over the world and witnessed how each team interpreted the engineering rules to compete in this global competition."

Among others, chaperons included Janet Kerley, Haile Middle School Principal, and Margi Nanney, Manatee County School District Supervisor of Communications and Public Information.

VELOX F1 in School Team photo (PDF, 209KB)

Atlantic Technical Center and Technical High School, Coconut Creek, Florida

Ruben Montes, a Cisco Networking student at Atlantic Technical Center and Technical High School qualified for Round 2 of the Academy Netriders competition where participants get hands-on experience in a competitive environment. Uniting students from around the world, the competitions are interactive. They provide career opportunities and internships through increased visibility. Ruben is one of only 6 students in Florida who qualified to advance to the next round, which was given the 3rd week of November and we are awaiting the results. If successful during Round 2, he will be able to advance to the final round held November 30th. Congratulations go to Ruben, and to his instructor, Ellen Williams, for this wonderful accomplishment.

Photo (PDF, 101KB)

Orlando Colonial FFA Member Declared National Winner

Jacob Weinreich-Frick of the Orlando-Colonial FFA Chapter in Florida won the award for Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance - Placement. Growing up in Sweden, Jacob became fascinated with machines and how they worked. He would draw-up plans to build go-carts, cars and anything with a motor. Upon coming to the United States and joining FFA, he indicated his passion to chapter leaders and gained employment with a local tractor outlet, becoming their service technician. In his time there, he has worked on numerous pieces of equipment and established his own base of 78 clients. He is supported by his parents Sarah Weinreich and Lennart Frick and his FFA advisor Tim App.

The winners of the National FFA Organization's Agricultural Proficiency Awards were announced October 26, 2012, on-stage during the Sixth General Session of the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Each winner was one of four national finalists in each proficiency award category and competed for the national honors during judging earlier in the week.

The National FFA Organization's Agricultural Proficiency Awards program recognizes outstanding student achievement in agribusiness gained through establishment of a new business, working for an existing company, performing agriscience research or otherwise gaining hands-on career experience. It serves as the award structure for an FFA member's supervised agricultural experience (mandatory for all FFA members) and is designed to develop specialized skills in 49 categories that they can apply toward their future careers. Awards are available at the local, state and national levels and a description of each 2012 award category can be found on

The national winners and finalists for each of the award areas became eligible for national consideration after taking top honors in their home states. Each winner takes home a total of $1,000 for their efforts, and each finalist earned a $500 award thanks to sponsorship provided by a long list of corporate FFA supporters. More information can be found online about the Agricultural Proficiency Awards (, the Supervised Agricultural Experience and the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo on the National FFA Organization's web site.

Florida Student Named to 2012-13 National FFA Officer Team as National President

National FFA Organization - Press Release

Indianapolis (Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012/National FFA Organization) - From an early age, Florida student Clay Sapp knew he was a good communicator and teacher.

But it wasn't until he took some agricultural education classes and joined FFA that he discovered how he wanted to channel those two skills. He learned about the country's need for great teachers who could teach agriculture. He determined that his passion lies in school administration.

"I want to teach high school agricultural education and then obtain a master's degree in educational leadership," he said. "My goal is to become a school administrator so I can encourage classroom innovation and motivate students to become better scholars and young people."

Today, to conclude the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Sapp was elected National FFA president for 2012-13.

Joining him on the 2012-13 National FFA Officer team are Kalie Hall of Georgia as national secretary, Joenelle Futrell of Kentucky as Eastern Region vice president, Lindsey Anderson of California as Western Region vice president, Brennan Costello of Nebraska as Central Region vice president and Wiley Bailey as Southern Region vice president.

For the next year, the group will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country to engage top leaders in business, government and education. The national officers will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

A seven-year member of the Madison County High School FFA chapter in Madison, Fla., Sapp served as a Florida national FFA delegate from 2008-2010 and won his state's prepared public speaking competition in 2010. He was student body president his senior year in high school, salutatorian of his graduating class and a varsity baseball and tennis player.

"As a national FFA officer, it will be my mission to activate change and growth in the National FFA Organization," he said. "I plan to develop strong relationships, be a champion of FFA and agricultural education and seek new ways to strengthen student experiences within FFA."

Dual enrollment hours he accomplished in high school enabled Sapp to graduate from North Florida Community College with an associate of arts degree in just one full college semester after high school. Today, he is a University of Florida at Gainesville student pursuing a major in agricultural education and communication.

"I intend to serve and give of myself as a leader and role model," he said. "I realize that not all of my hopes and dreams for our organization may be feasible but in a year from now I want to know that I planted seeds to advance the National FFA Organization's mission for the future of agriculture."

Sapp is the son of Ed and Gina Sapp; his father was his FFA advisor in high school.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 557,318 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,498 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

South Florida to Compete at the 2012 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

Two South Florida High School Students to compete for cash to jump-start their businesses, further their education on October 6 in New York City

South Miami, FL- October 5, 2012 -Jhasir Bermudez (Miami Southridge Senior High School and Mariem Marquetti (John A. Ferguson Senior High School) are among the finalists competing in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, presented by MasterCard Worldwide, in association with Kathryn W. Davis, in New York City on Thursday, October 11th. This event will kick off NFTE's 25th Anniversary program year.

The finalists represent 34 businesses, all of whom participated in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)'s program that engages and inspires young people to pursue educational opportunities and start their own businesses, were first and second place winners of their Regional Business Plan Competitions, and have moved on to the finals to compete for seed capital and prizes.

"This year's competitors are an impressive group of young people with an array of interesting business ideas," said Steve Mariotti, NFTE Founder. "They exemplify outstanding drive, dedication and commitment as they work to get their plans in shape and even to bring products and services to market in preparation for the competition. And thanks to the support of sponsors like MasterCard Worldwide, Kathryn W. Davis, and E*TRADE, we are excited to have the opportunity to recognize so many amazing young entrepreneurs from around the country."

Finalists were required to develop and present original business plans as part of their entrepreneurial studies at school. As part of their coursework, NFTE students receive hands-on training in launching a business and learn the real-world relevance of math, reading and writing to their businesses. The NFTE curriculum reinforces students' critical thinking skills and provides them with tools to help them take control of their futures and think entrepreneurially.

The 2012 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge grand-prize winner will take home a total of $25,000 in venture capital and prizes, including a $2,500 technology suite from Microsoft, $2,500 of business travel, and a $5,000 Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship, sponsored by GlobalHue. Two runners-up will each win $5,000 and two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines.

Finalists will also film an elevator pitch video as part of the NFTE Online Elevator Pitch Challenge, presented by E*TRADE Bank. The winner of the pitch challenge will receive $2,500 on the evening of the National Challenge with two runners-up receiving $500 each.

Additionally, in honor of NFTE's 25th Anniversary, the event will also feature the inaugural Mariotti Venture Award Pitch Challenge, at which up to ten NFTE graduates with fully operating businesses will compete for an additional $25,000 in venture capital. The winner of this new challenge will be chosen by a panel of judges in combination with a live action vote by the audience.

South Florida's first place winner, a senior at Miami's Southridge Senior High School, Jhasir Bermudez, responding to the market for chemical-free children's clothing, developed Princesa by Jhasir, a business manufacturing organic cotton dresses for young girls. Jhasir works 30 hours a week to help support his family while staying in the top 1% of his class. Jhasir has always been inspired by his mother, who is an expert seamstress and taught Jhasir how to sew. When Jhasir enrolled in the NFTE class, he immediately saw an opportunity to develop his talent for sewing and design into a full-fledged business.

Mariem Marquetti is a sophomore at Ferguson Senior High School. She won second place with her business Purely Natural Crochet, a collection of hand-crocheted scarves. Since then, her business has evolved to include one-of-a-kind crocheted purses. Mariem is a dynamic presenter and excited about her upcoming trip to New York.

Both students will go on to represent South Florida at the national competition in New York City. "We seek to address the needs of under-served segments of our young students, offering support and opportunity where there would otherwise be none," said NFTE Executive Director, Alice Horn.

Contact: Alice Horn, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, 5901 SW 74th Street, Suite 210, Miami, FL 33143, 888-896-7776 x 5000 for more information.

Erwin Technical Center Shares Medical Assisting Program's Good News

On September 20, 2012, 10 students graduated from the Medical Assisting Program at Erwin Technical Center in Hillsborough County. Of the 15 students in the program, 13 applied for and received permission to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) certification, and 60% of those students have taken and passed the exam (prior to graduation). The remaining students are scheduled to take the exam in the next few months.

Instructor Tandy Fritcher is very proud of her students and states that "each student has grown personally and professionally this year and it gives me great pleasure to now be able to call them my colleagues, people that I would be honored to work side by side with".

Ms. Fritcher may have the chance very soon, as 40% of this class was offered employment opportunities during their clinical externships, and the rest are looking for and applying for medical assisting positions in the area.

The Beacon Council Speaks at Public Schools Summer Workshop for Teachers

Jaap Donath, Ph.D., Vice President of Research & Strategic Planning, and Will Corbin, Manager of Research & Strategic Planning, both of The Beacon Council, spoke Tuesday, August 7th, at Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) School of Choice/National Academy Foundation summer workshop. Donath and Corbin delivered a presentation to 60 teachers from MDCPS Career Academies on The Beacon Council, the state of the local economy, and One Community One Goal as it relates to education and workforce development.

MDCPS and its Career Academies partner with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to help prepare students for college and career success. The NAF educational model includes industry-focused curricula, work-based learning experiences, and business partner expertise within four areas: Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, and Engineering. Employees of various local companies volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, engage NAF students in paid internships, and serve on local Advisory Boards.

Florida Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Wins 80 Awards at the National Leadership Conference

Florida is ONCE AGAIN the state that led the nation with national awards at the 2012 National Leadership Conference! With 80 awards in total, Florida was the state to look at with the best competitors and also the best dressed members. The state is very proud of the 183 members that attended the conference. As district conferences and the State Fall Leadership Conference is coming up soon we are excited to see you all in just a couple of months! Let's keep this momentum going as it will lead us to 81+ awards in Anaheim, California!

The list of winners.

Middleton Students Take 1st Place in Bridge Design

Congratulations to Middleton High School Engineering Magnet students: Marcelino Mederos, Junior, and Taeyun Hwang, Sophomore, who took 1st place in the 2012 Hillsborough County West Point Bridge Design Contest, sponsored by the local American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE ) West Coast Branch.

Their winning team, 'Team Genius', won a $500 cash award; the team is now headed to Orlando in July where they will compete at the annual Florida West Point Bridge Competition, competing against teams from all over Florida! The 1st Place cash award for this competition is $1,000.

Photo of winners (PDF).

Chancellor Rod Duckworth Delivered Keynote Address to Graduates at Lake Technical Center

Lake Technical Center honored the 2011-12 recipients of program certificates on Thursday, June 21st at 7:00 p.m. The cap and gown graduation ceremony for graduates was held at Lake Receptions, 4425 N Hwy. 19A, Mount Dora. Approximately 611 graduates were recognized for their accomplishments. Rod Duckworth, Florida Department of Education Chancellor of Career and Adult Education delivered the keynote address. The Lake County Board of County Commissioners was announced as Lake Tech's Career and Technical Education Business and Community Partner.

Another highlight of the event was the introduction of Student of the Year nominees and the announcement of the 2011-2012 Student of the Year. The following were nominated by their program instructor for consideration as Student of the Year: Mr. Gabriel Acevedo, Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts; Mr. Timothy Bielfelt, Fire Fighter; Ms. Lynda Colaveccio, Practical Nursing; Ms. Kassie Cozart, Digital Design; Mr. Douglas Draper, Paramedic; Ms. Arlene Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant; Ms. Sierra McVeigh, Emergency Medical Technician; Ms. Paula Quintanilla, Accounting Operations; Ms. Delaney Robinson, Automotive Service Technician; Ms. Quantesia Smith, Cosmetology; and Mr. Cory Sommer, Law Enforcement Officer.

Mr. Cory Sommer, Law Enforcement Officer, was named 2011-2012 Student of the Year. According to Dr. Lindamood, Program Specialist, "Mr. Sommer's first experience at Lake Tech occurred when he was very young; he was part of the Tiny Tech child care program. In 2006, he came back to Lake Tech and entered the Law Enforcement program; he excelled academically and physically; in fact, he still holds the record for the fastest completion time on the Physical Abilities Test. But a challenge beyond his control made him ineligible to become a law enforcement officer at that time. He did other things; he worked overseas for some time, but he never gave up his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer. His focus and perseverance brought him back to Lake Tech in 2011 to the Academy again, and this time he overcame all barriers and met all challenges. He graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy, and he was recently hired as a Certified Deputy with the Lake County Sheriff's Office. This is an impressive story, but the thing that impressed us most about this candidate is his level of willingness to examine his actions and even his own character and to use his education as a vehicle for personal transformation. He described himself before his education as someone with a powerful ego, but serving the public has humbled him and opened his eyes to the realities and challenges of life that many citizens face. It was clear to the selection committee that this experience has definitely changed him. He told us that his power now comes not so much from ego but from maturity and a deep desire to serve, assist, and protect - the very essence of what a law enforcement officer should be."

The 2011-12 recipients of the State of Florida High School Diploma were honored in a separate ceremony held Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00 p.m. The cap and gown graduation ceremony was held at Lake Receptions, 4425 N Hwy. 19A, Mount Dora. Lt. Chris DeLibro, Deputy Sheriff and Lake Tech Law Enforcement Program Director, delivered the keynote address.

Lake Technical Center's Institute of Public Safety held individual ceremonies for program graduates of Law Enforcement, Corrections, Fire Fighter and Crossover from Law Enforcement to Correctional Officer.

Lake Technical Center is a public postsecondary institution that offers high quality affordable training. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify. Eligible veterans may be certified for VA benefits through the Financial Aid Office.

The main campus is located at 2001 Kurt St., Eustis and the Institute of Public Safety is located at 1565 Lane Park Cutoff, Tavares, (352) 742-6463. Questions may be answered by visiting, emailing or calling (352) 589-2250. Like us at Follow us on Twitter at!/LakeTechCenter

Trax Is Probably The Hairiest and Most Spoiled Learning Tool Around

Trax Photo Page

The five month-old German Shepherd is being trained as a K-9 officer by students in the Newberry High School Academy of Criminal Justice. Under the watchful eye of academy director, Patrick Treese, and with the help of local law enforcement agencies, the students will eventually be teaching him to track people and search for narcotics. Ultimately Trax will be going out on actual calls.

"He comes from a long line of police and rescue dogs," said Treese. "With the training he gets here, he will be a real police dog in every sense."

In the meantime, Treese and his students have their hands full teaching the fifty-plus pound puppy basic commands and keeping him from dragging away students' belongings during class. They also have to keep other students and adults at the school from spoiling him, including the front office staffer who keeps a cookie jar of doggie treats on her desk.

"She is limited to two a day," said Treese. "Otherwise she would feed him treats all day long and make him fat."

"He is a good, goofy dog," said junior Alex Grochowski, one of two students chosen as the dog's primary trainers. "He definitely acts like a puppy, but he has a great personality, and I think he will be a really good dog when he gets older."

Trax is already helping earn his keep for the Newberry High program, a magnet career academy that draws students from throughout the district. Treese and his students have taken him to area middle schools to help recruit students into the program, and he's been a big hit.

"More importantly, is what Trax is providing the students already in the program" says Treese.

"I'm always looking for ways to give the students real-life experiences, to make this program as real as I can get it," he said. "This is another facet of law enforcement that they will be getting that they would not normally get to see."

Such an experience would not have been possible without the support of the community. Trax was actually donated by the Von Adelhof Kennel in Hawthorne. His veterinary care is provided free of charge by the Newberry Animal Hospital. And to make sure Trax has an appropriate 'ride,' the program's squad car is getting new 'K-9 on board' signage courtesy of Sign-A-Rama, window tinting from Sound Depot and Performance and a K-9 travel system from Setina Manufacturing.

Treese is currently seeking a sponsor for his food bill and is also looking for help to build an agility course on campus when school starts up again in the fall.

When he's not in school, Trax spends his off hours at home with Treese, Grochowski or junior Nicole Keys, who is his other primary trainer. She says she is looking forward to the day when Trax officially goes 'on duty.'

"If he got the chance to help save somebody's life or do anything that would help someone, that would be wonderful," she said. "That's something we could really take pride in."

DeSoto Middle School Set to Unveil High School Credit Opportunities

DeSoto Photo Page

DeSoto Middle School was recently named a recipient of the Middle School Informational Technology Career Academy Technical Assistance Project. This project is sponsored by The Whetstone Group and CCI Learning Solutions Inc., in cooperation with Workforce Florida, Inc. It will provide 15 middle schools in the State of Florida with free Microsoft Office 2010 Suite software. In addition, professional assistance will be provided regarding setting-up and maintaining a successful Informational Technology Academy. DeSoto Middle School will receive courseware and free industry certification exams totaling over $6000 to support students as they demonstrate their knowledge and abilities in becoming globally recognized as an expert in a multitude of Microsoft Office products.

DeSoto Middle School will offer all eighth graders the chance to enroll in the Informational Technology Academy for the 2012-2013 school year. The course could earn them high school credit as well as the prospect of becoming industry certified in Microsoft Office products. The opportunity to build an educational background in technology will carry on into high school as DeSoto County High School currently has an Informational Technology Academy and likewise offers courses leading to industry certification in Adobe.

Wanting to expand the offerings for the next school year, DeSoto Middle School additionally established two more courses for those interested in Agriculture and Culinary Arts. These classes will also earn high school credit, possible industry certification, and lead into programs offered at DeSoto County High School. The Agriculture class will be the beginning course for a brand new Biotechnology honors program set to open at DeSoto County High School in 2012-2013.