By Tamas Mondovics

RCMA Wimauma Academy recognizes the Terrific Kids for January and February

Hillsborough County Helps Students Achieve Higher Education Goals Through Scholarships
Hillsborough County Social Services and the Community Action Board recently joined forces to assist local students with the goal of achieving a higher education.

The County is now offering scholarships for up to $5,000 to eligible students wishing to continue their education by attending an institution of higher learning.

In 2016, 52 scholarships totaling $260,000 were awarded to Hillsborough County students through Hillsborough County Social Services.

According to officials, scholarship applications for the 2017-2018 school year will be accepted through Friday, March 31, 2017.

Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 22, and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Sixteen year-old students who are graduating seniors may also apply.

Applicants must reside in Hillsborough County, must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 whose household income falls within 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).

Applicants will also be evaluated on their community service and school involvement, application and letters of recommendation, academic record (transcript) and essay response.

Application materials can be downloaded on the Scholarship Application page on the County website, which also provides detailed instructions on how to apply.

Students may submit completed applications online, via mail, or hand deliver applications in person to any County Community Resource Center.

Mailed applications can be sent to P.O. Box 1110, Department of Social Services 24th Floor, Attention Sylvia Wint, Tampa, FL 33601.
Scholarship recipients will be notified in writing prior to the start of the fall semester.

Hillsborough Regional STEM Fair Showcases Local Students

The 2017 Hillsborough Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Fair, the largest in the southeast concluded last month with two awards ceremonies at the Tampa Convention Center honoring the outstanding work of many local talents.
The competition saw more than 2,100 students from all grade levels who have displayed 1,700 projects in three divisions, to be reviewed by 600 judges.

“This is not a single day event. Students have spent months or even years working on their projects,” said Larry Plank, director for K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education.

Some of the area elementary school winners included Bevis student Arnav Chavda, who received the Urban E Recycling Excellence Award for his project; Recycle The Rays.

The Busch Gardens Award went to Brooker Elementary student Sienna Ryan for her project: Oil Slick, while the Great Explorations Award went to Apollo Beach Elementary student, Gavin Smoak for his project; It’s Shake’n Time!

Middle and high school winners are scheduled to be hosted by Bristol-Myers Squibb for a day of learning with scientists and engineers focused upon careers in STEM and strategies for success in the State of Florida Science and Engineering Fair to be held later in March.
“We thank our sponsors, particularly Bristol-Myers Squibb, Stantec, and TECO, as well as the nearly 600 judges who assisted this week during our three days at the Tampa Convention Center,” Plank said.

For more information about STEM education in Hillsborough County please visit

HCC Students Selected to the 2017 All-Florida Academic Team

Hillsborough Community College (HCC) was pleased to announce last month that eight of its students had been selected to the 2017 All-Florida Academic Team.

According to school officials the students were selected for their academic achievement, leadership and service to their community.

HCC’s eight students, who were among 127 students selected from across the state to receive the honor, included: Abdoulaye Ba, Melissa De La Cruz, Nicole Liberato, Imane Malih, Emily Otten, Abigayle Renk, Allen Rogers and Lance Wood.

Selecting the small group of students is particularly noteworthy considering the fact that Hillsborough Community College serves more than 45,000 students annually on five campuses across the region.

HCC campuses located Brandon, and Ruskin, Plant City, Ybor City as well as on Dale Mabry Hwy. in Tampa,
Hillsborough Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Each student who has earned the honor to be selected was first nominated by his or her respective college to the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today and the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

To recognize the students’ outstanding achievements the All-Florida Academic Team Awards ceremony is hosted by The Florida College System on Friday, April 7, 2017, in Tallahassee, Florida.

For more information about AFAT, please visit

HCPS Schools Recognized as Five Star Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools officials were pleased to announce that more than 90 of the schools within the district have earned the Five Star School Award for the 2015-16 school year by the Florida Department of Education. Statewide nearly 700 schools were recognized.

Some of the local elementary schools on the list recognized included Cimino, Lithia Springs, Pinecrest, Brooker and Valrico, just to name a few.

Florida’s Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart, said that the involvement of the community and family are critical to the success of students.

“I am grateful for the parents, caregivers and community members who invest their time in our state’s schools,” Stewart said.

To gain the Five-Star School recognition, a school must show achievement in all of benchmark areas as well as in five specific categories, including volunteerism and family involvement.

The school must also receive a grade of a “C” or better, or a satisfactory improvement rating for the year being recognized.

Click below for the list of schools in Hillsborough County that received the honor.

2017 Excellence in Education Awards Finalists Enjoy Spotlight

Hillsborough County Public Schools officials posted last month the names of twelve finalists of the 2017 Excellence in Education Awards.

Each year, all area schools nominate the top candidates for three categories, including, the Ida S. baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Instructional Support Employee of the year and Teacher of the Year.

Instructional Support Employee of the Year Finalists:
• Nancy Alexander, Wimauma Elementary School
• Terranique Ragins, Franklin Boys Preparatory School
• Roma Soogrim-EsteMcDonald, Muller Elementary Magnet School
Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Finalists
• Olivia Williams Holcombe, Colson Elementary
• Aaron Lee Berry, Alonso High School
• Pedro Castrejon, Jefferson High School
Teacher of the Year Finalists
• Carrie D. Donatelli, Turner Bartels K- 8
• Katerina M. Pawloski, Tinker K-8 
• Lauren Schnebly Hackworth, Mitchell Elementary School
• Maria Torres-Crosby, Memorial Middle School
• Elizabeth Walker, Spoto High School
• Cathelyn Gregoire, Armwood High School

The finalists were notified of the news in surprise visits earlier this month at their school and were joined by Superintendent Eakins, School Board members, Hillsborough Education Foundation, sponsors and school district staff.

The winners were announced during the annual Awards ceremony on Tuesday, February 28 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Previous articleTampa Bay Water to Test Emergency Notification Sirens
Next articleEye On Business: 2017 March Bloomingdale/FishHawk
Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.