By Tamas Mondovics

Spoto High Hosts Mock DUI Crash Awareness Presentation

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Division, in conjunction with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue presented a Mock DUI crash to students at Spoto High School earlier this month.

The 30-45 minute program demonstrated the dangers of drunk driving including the realities of what may occur during a crash involving an impaired driver.
Spoto High School students willingly played the roles of the vehicle drivers and passengers.

The presentation is put on by HCSO in conjunction with HCFR and our outstanding community partners at TGH Aeromed, Professional Towing, and Blount and Curry Funeral Homes.

The Sheriff’s Office has been conducting Mock DUI Crash events for nearly 15 years as it visits about four schools per year.

“If possible, the presentation aims to accommodate a school safety event such as a buckle-up event, homecoming or holiday season,” said HCSO Public Information Officer Larry McKinnon.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the well-received program continues making its way through all the local high schools as the sad, but very effective presentation demonstrates the reality of what can happen when drinking and driving.

Fellow student Sarah Walker agreed as she emphasized that the program made its point well, adding that while at first some of the students did not take the event seriously, things quickly changed as they watched the student killed in the crash removed.

For more information about the Sheriff’s Office Mock DUI Crash event, please visit,

Dover Teacher Among Hillsborough’s 2018 Excellence in Education Awards Finalists

The Hillsborough Education Foundation traveled to schools around the county last month to surprise 13 top-notch educators as finalists for this year’s Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Instructional Support Employee of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards.

The 13 finalists, including Dover Elementary School, Bilingual Spanish Aide, Miriam Velez-Herandez, represent the best of the best in Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Velez-Hernandez is one of four Instructional Support Employee of the Year finalists.

A winner in each category will be named at the 2018 Excellence in Education Awards presented by the Suncoast Credit Union on January 16, 2018 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. 

2018 Excellence in Education Facts:

◦ Total Nominees – 650
◦ Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year (IDA) – 211
◦ Instructional Support Employee of the Year (ISEOY) – 203
◦ Teacher of the Year (TOY) – 236
◦ Finalists – 13 (four finalists for IDA, four finalists for ISEOY; five finalists for TOY)

For a complete list and more information about the 2018 Excellence in Education Awards, visit

Buccaneers Players Honor Local students with ‘My Cause My Cleats’ Campaign

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) were honored last month by two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, Keith Tandy and Kevin Pamphile.

The two were selected to represent the Bucs Care Foundation, featuring Hillsborough County Public Schools Buccaneer Academies on custom cleats during the 2017 season’s first, December home game.

According to HCPS spokesperson Tanya Arja, players across the NFL have the opportunity to design cleats featuring causes near and dear to their hearts.  
Hillsborough County Public Schools boasts of 24 schools including Lithia Springs and Bevis Elementary schools located in Valrico and FishHawk respectively, designated as a Buccaneer Academy serving close to 14,000 students.

Buccaneers players and cheerleaders visit the Bucs Academies throughout the school year to provide academic support and encourage students to strive for excellence.
The ‘My Cause My Cleats’ campaign is just another way to support students in Hillsborough County and show the Buccaneers commitment to the children of this community.

Keith Tandy’s cleats even feature the names of all 24 Buccaneers Academies.
“I chose to get involved with the Bucs Care Foundation so that I can make a difference in the Tampa Bay area,” said Keith Tandy.

 “Working with the Bucs Care Foundation gives me the opportunity to volunteer in the local Tampa Bay Community and give back to kids,” said Kevin Pamphile.

For more information, please visit

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