By Tamas Mondovics

Nelson Hosts Inaugural Senior Walk

Nelson Elementary School located at 5413 Durant Rd. in Dover, held its first ever “Senior Walk,” an event the school now hopes to turn into an annual tradition. Participating seniors were students who attended Kindergarten the opening year of Nelson Elementary 13 years ago.

To make the event official, the now graduating seniors, representing a number of area high schools, wore their caps and gowns and walked through every hallway that was filled with current Nelson students.

The seniors were surrounded by the cheering of students who one day will be wearing those cap and gowns.

“The graduates enjoyed the high fives and cheers which sent them back in time to when they filled those very same halls,” said Nelson Physical Education Teacher Leslie Wheeler.

Following the event, the seniors were asked how it made them feel to walk through their first school’s hallways again, which has prompted some heartwarming responses, while giving credit to the ceremony’s purpose.

“Walking through the halls of Nelson once more, I felt nostalgia,” said Miguel Dimanlig from Strawberry Crest High School. “This experience allowed me to realize the importance of one’s roots, how substantial this foundation in youth is.”

Amanda DaSilva, also from Strawberry Crest, said, “I was reminded of my journey and the dedication I placed in my education to become a graduate.”

Lauren Huff from Newsome particularly enjoyed seeing the faces of the young elementary students who have filled the hallways.

“Seeing all of the little kids’ smiling faces made me want to keep working hard for the future to continue to set an example,” Huff said.

School officials said that they would like to make “Senior Walk” a new tradition. Visit

Local Students Harvest 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 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 (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. Four days after arrival, an astronaut exposed one group of cottonseeds to water under weightless conditions. A second group of seeds were also exposed to water two weeks prior the experiment returning to Earth on May 13.

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. The team determined that 16.6 percent of one group of seeds (Ground Truth 1) that remained on the earth germinated and that 50 percent of the second group (Ground Truth 2) cotton seeds that remained on the Earth germinated.

Casey, who now attends Randall Middle School, summed up the project and her teams’ participation when she said, “We discovered a lot more than we thought. It was very shocking and surprising to us because it was very different than what we expected.”

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