By Tamas Mondovics

Strawberry Crest Among Top Five Schools Leading the District in Earning National Merit Semifinalists

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) officials were pleased to report that its students posted the district’s highest number of National Merit Semifinalists ever. With 72 students earning the honor including, 16 from Robinson, 13 from King, 11 from Hillsborough, and 10 from Strawberry Crest High School, HCPS are proud of breaking another record.

Roughly 1.5 million students in more than 22,000 high schools enter the competition in their junior year by taking the 2014 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

To be selected as a semifinalist, a student must have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn a score that confirms the student’s academic achievement.

In all, 14 of the 27 public high schools in Hillsborough County were represented on the list, while HCPS students are leading all neighboring school districts.

According to District officials, approximately 16,000 high school seniors from across the country are named as semifinalists.

These seniors now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for one of the 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million offered next spring.

For more information, visit

Back to School Supply Drive Supports A Kid’s Place Residents

Elder Automotive Group, Elder Ford of Tampa and A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, teamed up to host a successful back-to-school supply drive that resulted in the collection of thousands of dollars worth of items and more than $2,500 raised for A Kid’s Place.

“The children at A Kid’s Place often arrive to the organization with only a garbage bag of belongings; sometimes less,” said Robert Elder, president and CEO of Elder Automotive Group, parent company of Elder Ford of Tampa. “As a father and member of this community, I believe that it is our obligation to support kids and help provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”

The children received pens, pencils, paper, rulers backpacks, clothing, shoes as well as basic home supplies from food to detergent and cleaning products.

“Before I came to A Kid’s Place, I was ashamed that I didn’t have a backpack or stuff to put in it,” said 14-year-old Wynn. “Now, I go to school and I am just like everyone else.”

Located on five acres at 1715 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., in Brandon, A Kid’s Place is a 60-bed facility for children, who range from newborns to kids ready to age out of the foster care system at 18. Since 2010, A Kid’s Place has provided a home to more than 850 children as well as assisted more than 370 families.

“We are thrilled that Elder Ford of Tampa is reaching out to its customers to help make sure the children at A Kid’s Place have school supplies,” Samantha Mellen, development specialist at A Kid’s Place. “The community always comes through for our area’s foster children.”

To learn more about A Kid’s Place, visit or call 381-3839.

For more information about Elder Ford of Tampa, visit

Local Junior Achievement Leaders Earn Volunteer Award

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay was pleased to announce that several of its regional board members and volunteers were honored with Junior Achievement (JA) National Leadership Awards, which recognizes JA volunteers for their outstanding service to Junior Achievement.

Honorees were selected from more than 213,000 U.S. volunteers to earn the JA ’s premier award for volunteerism.

Last year, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay reached 94,579 students in the Tampa Bay area. It is no surprise then that JA volunteers play a key role in bringing Junior Achievement’s entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work-readiness programs to life.

Earning the Bronze Awards are: Joe Brancucci, GTE Financial; Joseph Cannella, KPMG LLP; Joe DeLuca, Tampa Bay Times; Michael P. Quackenbush Jr., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Being honored with the Silver Award is Dr. Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida.

For information on how you can get involved and become a Junior Achievement volunteer, contact 490-4495. For more information, visit

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