By Tamas Mondovics

Randall Hosts Veterans Day, 9/11 Memorials

Thanks to Hurricane Irma, earlier this fall, the annual 9/11 Patriots Day Memorial ceremonies had to be postponed.

In harmony with the message of ‘We Will Never Forget’ the memorial may have been delayed but certainly not forgotten.

One such annual ceremony, which has become a FishHawk community pride is held each year at Randall Middle School.

This year the celebration began on Monday, November 6 corresponding with the annual Veterans Day ceremonies as students, teachers and school administration once again took action in remembering the 2,977 victims of the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Randall social studies teacher Kristy Verdi explained that students, through their social studies classes, have again created the memorial markers used for every one of the victims which are placed in the ground in the shape of an American flag.

“Through participation in creating the markers and through classroom instruction, our students learn about the events, causes, and impact the events of September 11, 2001 have had on our nation,” Verdi said, adding, “The students at Randall were born after 2001 and many do not know what happened on 9/11 and why it is now remembered as Patriot Day.”

Since 2009, the project has been organized annually through the Randall Area Youth Service Council’s service-learning program.

In 2011, the R.A.Y.S. Council was recognized by the KidsVote organization as the National Impact Award recipient and travelled to Washington, D.C. to receive the honor.

The project was also recognized by with a $1000 grant.

Newland Communities, Home Depot, and United Rental have also joined in the memorial effort by purchasing durable pre-colored markers and plastic stakes to make the project more sustainable and easier for students to assemble.

To support the R.A.Y.S. Councils’ many service-learning projects, please contact

District Reports More Seniors On Path To Graduation

HCPS officials reported that hundreds of seniors in Hillsborough County Public Schools are now on track to graduate after earning a crucial reading score on the SAT.

Early last month the district offered a free opportunity to take the SAT during the school day, which they said allowed seniors who had not yet met reading benchmarks for the FSA to take the SAT in school during the fall semester for the first time ever.

“The results are back and 750 seniors earned what the state calls ‘concordant scores,’ which guarantees that the reading scores are high enough to earn a diploma, regardless of how they do on future state tests,” stated Tanya Arja with HCPS communications.

Hillsborough County Public Schools has a goal of reaching a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020.

The most recent graduation rate (2015-2016) for Hillsborough County Public Schools increased three-percentage points to 79.1 over the prior year.

“I congratulate our seniors for achieving this next step to earning their diploma,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins. “Our teachers and staff at our schools and across the district are ensuring all students have opportunities to succeed. Earning a high school diploma will be life changing for these students.”

Great American Teach-In

Hillsborough County Public Schools have once again welcomed speakers into classrooms to become teachers for a day by discussing and demonstrating their professions and hobbies during the 2-17 Great American Teach-In held on Thursday, November 16.

Students had a chance to learn from the members of the community along with parents about careers they may not have known about or even thought about pursuing previously.

This year’s speakers ranged from curators at Busch Gardens, military personnel, local athletes, firefighters and police officers along with individuals highlighting 3-D printing, healthy eating and exercise.

Throughout the day school guests spoke directly with students about the benefits of getting a good education and the importance of becoming valuable members of the community.

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