Photo courtesy of Buckhorn Elementary. Students were surprised with a sign from their teachers if they earned a 5 on their FSA test. All 18 third, fourth and fifth grade teachers helped deliver the signs.

Buckhorn Elementary, with the help of local Keller Williams realtor Brenda McGlothin, surprised third, fourth and fifth grade students who earned a 5 on their FSA or FSAA tests with congratulatory signs in their front yards. The teachers of the students and McGlothin helped deliver the signs over the course of four days from July 8-11.

According to Buckhorn Principal Tamera Brooks, the purpose of the event is to motivate and reward the students.

“We liken it to sports, where they will get signs for being the T-ball champ or the baseball champ,” said Brooks. “There’s a lot of sports signs out there that really recognize and reward kids for physical excellence, so we wanted to make sure that we were recognizing kids for their academic excellence. They try just as hard working that muscle of a brain.”

About 75 students earned the honor, receiving a 5 in either English/language arts, math or science, which only the fifth graders took. All 18 teachers of the third, fourth and fifth graders also wrote congratulatory notes on the back of the signs.

McGlothin purchased the signs for the three years that this event has taken place.

“I was honored when Ms. Brooks asked me to sponsor this recognition program for the students because Buckhorn Elementary holds a special place in my heart,” she said. “Not only did my children attend the school, but I was also a substitute teacher there for six years and a volunteer for the PTA. I believe in the phrase, ‘The children are our future,’ and this is a great way to recognize their hard work.”

Dubbed ‘The Prize Patrol’ by the faculty and administration, the event will take place again next year as an incentive for kids to do well on their FSAs.

“The teachers really get a kick out of it just as much as the kids, I think because they are so proud of the hard work their kids have done,” said Brooks. “I am super proud that every single one of our third, fourth and fifth grade teachers have had students that scored a 5.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.