By Tamas Mondovics
Area Elementary School fifth grade students enjoyed the spotlight last month as the winners of the Hillsborough County Sheriff Junior Deputy Essay contest winners were selected from an estimated 1,000 essays submitted to school principals throughout the county and narrowed to a field of 100 entries, out of which 10 winners were chosen by the contest board for their outstanding essays written on the topic, “What being a Junior Deputy means to me.”
Four of the 10 winners representing Seffner, Valrico, Bloomingdale and Lithia communities included Seffner Elementary School students Garry Savary and Dannielle Vigil, FishHawk Creek Elementary student Arianna Willson and Lithia Springs Elementary School student Andrew Shaw.
In their essays, the students commented on the dangers of gangs, drugs, internet predators and shoplifting.
For their talent and effort, the winners were awarded a certificate during a ceremony along with a Kindle Fire HD and a $25 gift check from a local credit union.
Montoute explained that the Sheriff’s Junior Deputies League has provided educational programs to the students of Hillsborough County for more than 40 years.
“The young student-deputies learn about the criminal court system by participating in a mock courtroom trial and it culminates each year with the presentation of official badges and identification cards to the students,” Montoute said.
The Junior Deputy Program is funded through annual donations from the community and funds requested by the sheriff’s office through the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF).
“This fund provides monies to the Junior Deputies League as a result of forfeited assets obtained from criminals and their illegal enterprises,” Montoute said, adding, “The program operates without the help of any taxpayer money. It is designed for fifth grade students and is meant to help them understand and respect the law by practicing good citizenship.”
For more information, visit www.hcso .tampa.fl.us.
Each year since the 2006-2007 school year Superintendent MaryEllen Elia has surprised one employee with a $10,000 check presentation in front of media and supporters as a reward for his or her extra efforts to help students, colleagues and the community.
This year Greco Middle School reading teacher Angela Keller-Markle got the surprise of her life when she was named the winner of the We Deliver Award for 2014. Keller-Markle has been with the district for nine years.
Setting an example for her peers, she is honored for going above and beyond for her students, all while dealing with challenges in her life, including the loss of her husband, Henry, who died of cancer a few years ago.
While students cheered Angela cried and the cameras captured the emotional moment and, although she knew she had been nominated, she never expected to win.
Nearly 400 nominations were submitted online between March and April for the award.