By Tamas Mondovics

Burns Middle School Students Strut Their Talents Under the Limelight

Dozens of Burns Middle School students had a chance this spring to demonstrate some talent in front of their peers as well as parents and teachers during this year’s Burns’ Got Talent competition.

First place prize was $100 and trophy awarded to seventh graders Makaila Redus and Gabriella Martinez for their vocal duet.

The second place prize of $50 and trophy went to vocal solo Adriana DuPont (sixth grade), followed by third place prize of $25 winner Alanna Flowers (eighth grade) who received a trophy for her vocal solo.

Sponsored by Burns Middle School PTSA and organized by Jemy Delikat and Lynn Rodriguez, the event saw more than 20 acts auditioned in March, eventually reaching the top 10 finalists to compete last month at the Bloomingdale High School auditorium. 

As Masters of Ceremony, the competition was led by a group of eighth grade students, including Landon Moody, Rebecca English, Nathan Gross, and Shayla Epps.

While singing seemed to dominate the evening, acts also included a gymnast, magician, dancer,  and a flute player.

Special performances by Burns Show Choir directed by Andrea Peacock (Choral Director);

Burns PTSA Color Guard choreographed by Carla Overly; Burns Drum Line and Burns Jazz Band directed by Kevin Lewis (Band Director) added to the festivities.

Cash prizes were donated by Delikat Family Practice.

Burns Middle School is located at 615 Brooker Rd. in Brandon. For more information, visit

Photos: Burns Middle School Students Makaila Redus and Gabriella Martinez won first place for their vocal duet performance during the recently held Burns Got Talent competition. The event was held at the Bloomingdale High School auditorium. 

Photo: Burns Middle School students Adriana DuPont and Alanna Flowers won second and third place respectively for their individual vocal solo performance during the recently held Burns Got Talent competition. The event was held at the Bloomingdale High School auditorium. 

Local Schools to Receive After School Meals

Hillsborough County Public Schools Officials announced last month that beginning Monday, May 11, the district’s Student Nutrition Services (SNS) will offer free after-school meals to students who attend the extended day program at Cannella, Crestwood, Lopez, Mango, Reddick, and Schmidt elementary schools.

Officials said that the district currently offers free after-school meals to students who attend the extended day program at Baycrest, Bellamy, B.T. Washington, Just, Knights, Morgan Woods, Potter, Robinson, Sulphur Springs, and Town & Country elementary schools; and Van Buren and Webb middle schools.

SNS staff will prepare the meals at each school and students will be served in the cafeteria.  Each after-school meal will consist of a hot entree, fruit, vegetable, and milk.

These 18 schools are eligible because at least half of the children qualify for free and reduced priced meals, and the schools provide after-school academic and enrichment activities.  Meals will be provided only to students attending the extended day program at the participating schools.  

Parents do not have to complete an application for this new meal program.

Funding for the meals is provided by the federal Child Care Food Program.

Hillsborough County High Schools Listed on Washington Post Rankings

of Nation’s Most Academically Challenging Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) officials recently announced that all 27 traditional high schools in the district are listed on the Washington Post’s recent rankings of the nation’s best high schools.

According to the report, Hillsborough High School was the highest rated in the Tampa Bay area, ranking 55th in the nation.

On the list that included more than 2,300 high schools from around the nation, three other Hillsborough County high schools: King High (65th), Robinson High was ranked (78th), and Plant High (88) also rank in the top 100.

The Post ranked some of the nearby schools in the following order: Joe E. Newsome (175), Strawberry Crest (217), Steinbrenner (319), Bloomingdale (500), Spoto (656), Durant (802), Riverview Senior (1247), Brandon (1307), East Bay (1745), Armwood (2034), Earl J. Lennard (2320).

Previously known as America’s Best High Schools published by Newsweek, the ranking is now called America’s Most Challenging High Schools and is published by the Washington Post.

The high school Challenge Index is based on a formula that takes the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and college-level tests administered at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors.

“It’s great to see all our high schools getting this kind of recognition,” said Acting Superintendent Jeff Eakins. “We’re going to continue challenging our students because we know they’re up to the task, and we want them prepared for life after high school.”

For a complete list go to