Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

Local Home School Group Hosts First Annual International Cultural Fair

Area home school students and their families with Brighter Light Learning filled the recently renovated community meeting room at the Bloomingdale Regional Library last month to host the group’s first annual International Cultural Fair.
Organized by the parents, the students managed to feature, display as well as offer a brief presentation on nearly a dozen countries of their choice.

Presentations included photos, crafts and in most cases a taste of traditional ethnic foods representing each country.
To allow home school students additional opportunities for association and interaction Brighter Light Learning holds regular monthly craft fairs and field trips as well as weekly play time at local parks and community centers.

Brighter Light is currently in the process of building its website,

Local Students Among HCC Collegiate Academy First Cohort Graduates

Hillsborough Community College’s (HCC) was proud to announce the first graduating class of Collegiate Academy students during the 48th Annual HCC Commencement Exercises, earlier this month.

The graduates who have completed 60 college credits at HCC in addition to their required high school class schedules included 100 students from Armwood, Leto and Lennard High Schools.

Collegiate Academy graduates are a cohort that start in ninth grade and follow a rigorous curriculum that enables students to graduate with their associate in arts degree prior to graduating high school.

The Collegiate Academy program not only expedites the time to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but it allows students and their families to earn a savings of about $6,000 in college tuition.

HCC serves more than 45,000 students annually at its five campuses located throughout Tampa Bay.

The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more information, visit

Hillsborough Schools Recognize Student Athletes with Disabilities during 11th Annual Special Olympics Athletic Letter Awards Ceremony

Bloomingdale High School, 1700 E Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico hosted the annual Special Olympics Athletic Letter Awards Ceremony.

The event welcomed 323 students with disabilities from 20 high schools from Hillsborough County Public Schools. The ceremony kicked-off with greetings from Assistant Superintendent for Educational Access, Opportunity & Alternatives Wynne Tye followed by the athletes recital of the Special Olympics Oath; ‘Let me win, But if I cannot win, Let me be brave in the attempt.’

Students and their teams were recognized on stage as they were presented with their letters.  

The ceremony acknowledges the sportsmanship, commitment and perseverance displayed by our student athletes on and off the field.

For more information, visit

Hillsborough County Public Schools Hosts 8th Annual ‘Love It, Like It Or Dislike It?’ Fresh Flavors Expo

For the past eight years the Hillsborough County Public Schools Student Nutrition Services (SNS) Department has gathered hundreds of students from schools around the district to taste and rate new menu items for the upcoming season.

Keeping with the annual tradition, SNS hosted its eighth annual Fresh Flavors – Food for Body and Mind Expo.

The two-day event offered the nearly 150 students 20 new food items to test ahead of the 2017-2018 school year menu.  The new flavors to test included Creamy Tomato Soup with Homemade Croutons, Mediterranean Veggie Wafflewich, and Korean Beef Tacos with Asian Slaw.  

Students were asked to rate each item on a scale of Love It, Like It, or Dislike It, based on the item’s appearance, smell and taste.

The tasting helps SNS to provide healthy menus that are based on student preferences.  

Each participating student also received a goodie bag and a chance to win a FitBit fitness tracker.

For more information about SNS, please visit

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