Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Certificate Of Commendation To Austin Stewart

Austin L. Stewart recently received a Certificate of Commendation from Colonel Donald Brown (right), US Army Retired, President of the Georgia Mountain Chapter, Military Officers Association of America, during commissioning ceremonies at the University of North Georgia.
Second Lieutenant Stewart also received a “gold bar” rank from the chapter for being commissioned into the US Army Infantry and will soon enter Active Duty..  He is the son of Darryl and Tammy Stewart of Apollo Beach.

Center For Gifted Studies 5th Grade “Service City!” Exhibition

The 5th grade students at Boyette Springs Elementary Center for Gifted Studies presented “Service City”, an exhibition that featured the impact of non-profit organizations in our community and across the country. Fifteen non-profit organizations were chosen by the students, who emphasized the importance of non-profits, focusing on issues ranging from homelessness and neglected animals to the Florida environment. Students stressed, to guests, the importance of non-profits and how they depend on donations, volunteers, and community awareness.

Gayla McDowell and David Upchurch, 5th grade teachers at the Center for Gifted Studies, introduced videos and articles on the non-profit sector, and pairs of students selected specific organizations that were special to their interests and passions. They researched and contacted the organizations to get more information. The 5th graders designed and constructed captivating and informational displays that were featured at the exhibition.

The event that started as a 5th grade project became even more impressive when 1st graders, led by Lauren Foley, gained interest in the project after visiting during construction. After learning from the 5th graders, Mrs. Foley’s class wrote opinion essays on the importance of non-profit organizations and joined in on the celebration by teaming up with pairs of 5th grade students and sharing their essays during the exhibition.

Over 100 students, parents, teachers, and administrators, including Tamethea Simmons, Boyette Springs Elementary Principal; Amanda Williams, Assistant Principal; Jane Wells, Lead Teacher for the Center for Gifted Studies; and Dr. Lauri Kirsch, Supervisor of Gifted Education K-12 for Hillsborough County School District and district leaders attended the event.

Apollo Beach Woman’s Club Awards College Scholarships

Apollo Beach Woman’s Club funded $11,200 in college scholarships to eight 2017 High School Graduates from East Bay, Lennard, Durant and Jesuit. The eight recipients were formally awarded at the May Apollo Beach Woman’s Scholarship Luncheon held at the Apollo’s Bistro.

Seven recipients will be attending a four year Florida College/University; each awarded a $1,500 scholarship. One recipient will be attending a two year HCC degree program and was awarded a $700 scholarship.

Scholarship recipients are: Hanna Gottman (Durant – UCF); Sydney Hostelley (East Bay – USF), Aaron Nelson (Lennard – UCF); Sara Hostelley (East Bay’s Salutatorian – USF), John Paul Collins (Jesuit – FSU); Courtney Burnette (East Bay – UCF); Doug Williams (East Bay – FAU), Natalie E. Behen (Lennard – HCC).

To be eligible, scholarship recipients had to be Apollo Beach residents (33572) and plan to attend a Florida college or university. All the college-bound applicants met the club’s scholarship criteria showing outstanding scholastic accomplishments, leadership roles, excellent recommendations and required community service. Each must show financial need.

The ABWC primary mission is to raise funds for college scholarships. Visit

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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.