By Tamas Mondovics

New Car Giveaway For Perfect Attendance

Not missing school has paid off nicely for one local high school student this month during an annual event that inspires high school seniors to faithfully attend school.

Blake High School senior Jennifer Vasquez was the tenth student out of 12 to choose a key and try to unlock the car door of a brand new Toyota Scion.

Minutes later—stunned when she heard the horn beep and the car door unlock—she became a proud owner of the car, thanks to pulling the winning key in the New Car Giveaway for Perfect Attendance at Toyota of Tampa Bay.

Vasquez was one of 160 students who had perfect attendance in their senior year of high school and who have preregistered with their school for a chance to win the new car.

Vasquez is planning to attend Hillsborough Community College in the fall and will then transfer to the University of South Florida where she plans to be a pre-med student.

To set up the contest, Superintendent Jeff Eakins and school board members took turns drawing students’ names and letting them select keys for their chance to win the new car. Graduating seniors who had perfect attendance the entire year received two entries into the contest. Seniors who had perfect attendance for one semester received one entry.

The event was the sixth year Toyota of Tampa Bay has sponsored the new car giveaway for students in Hillsborough County Public Schools.     

Local Students Harvest Unexpected Results Of Space Science Experiment

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which blasted into space from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral toward the International Space Station (ISS) last month, carried a science experiment designed by microgravity curriculum students, Karinna Crespo, 12, Chandrika Gandrui, 12, and Casey Utsler, 11.

The experiment tested how zero gravity affects cottonseed growth chosen by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP. The team’s hypothesis was that some of the seeds will germinate, or start to grow. Following its recent return to Earth, the harvest showed exciting results.

According to Hillsborough County School District and local project manager for SSEP, Mary Vaughn, the team determined that 66.6 percent of the microgravity cotton seeds germinated and that 16.6 percent of the Ground Truth 1 seeds germinated, while 50 percent of the Ground Truth 2 cotton seeds germinated.

The district is currently involved with two more projects planned for the upcoming school year.

For more visit, www.ssep.ncesse.org or ncesse.org.

Free VPK Program

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) is giving children a jump start into kindergarten by offering the free Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Program this summer. The program is now scheduled to run from Monday through Thursday, June 15 – July 28, from 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m., remaining flexible for families.

To be eligible, the child must have been born between September 2, 2010 and September 1, 2011 and not have previously participated in a school year VPK program.

Summer 2016 locations include the following elementary schools: Alexander, Bailey, Bellamy, Bing, Boyette Springs, Chiles, Cypress Creek, B. C. Graham, Just, Mitchell, Muller, Potter, Schmidt, Sessums, Shaw, Sheehy, and Sulphur Springs. Call the VPK HOTLINE for any questions at 272-4840.