By Tamas Mondovics

HCPS Superintendent Reports Season-Start Success

The start of each school year brings its own challenges and with close to 207,000 students returning to local schools in the nation’s eighth-largest district, Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) Superintendent Jeff Eakins has plenty to worry about.

To recap the challenging start, Eakins took the opportunity to share his thoughts in a recent online report named “Table Talk,” which included a number of items connected to the first few weeks of the 2015-2016 season.

“School has been in session for a few weeks and it has been a great beginning,” Eakins began, while emphasizing the results of this year’s back-to-school press conference.

While there were some reports of school bus delays, Eakins also spoke highly of the district’s Transportation Department, which faces perhaps some of the most intense scrutiny.

“Our Transportation Department worked very hard to get our students safely to and from school, and while there were a few late buses, it is all coming together,” Eakins said.

The first month of the year also featured a number of College Nights hosted by local schools where students (juniors and seniors) and parents had a chance to learn important information on beginning the next exciting phase of their lives as college students.

Moving forward, Eakins emphasized what is next on the District’s agenda when he said, “Now is the time for important events and information sessions to begin so that everyone has the information needed to help our children be successful.”

Open for feedback Eakins said that he is grateful for the support the community has given the district.

“I look forward to hearing from you,” he said.

To send feedback, email Eakins at

Record Number of Student National Merit Semifinalists

Hillsborough County Public Schools 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 is 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.

“I congratulate all of our students and their families for their hard work and dedication,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins. “Our students are challenging themselves each and every day by taking rigorous courses. I also thank their teachers and all of our employees for building a strong school culture where these students can grow and thrive.”

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

Junior Achievement Leaders Earn Nonprofit’s Top Volunteer Award

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay was pleased to announce that several of its regional board members and volunteers were honored with 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 Richard George at 490-4495. For more information, visit

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