School calendar: Students return to public school Aug. 21, according to a 2012-13 calendar that was approved recently by the Hillsborough School Board.
The exception is the Rampello K-8 Downtown Partnership School. Anticipating traffic disruptions during the Republican National Convention, Rampello will start school Aug. 14 and close for the convention week, Aug. 27-31.
The calendar includes a student day off on Oct. 19 and a full week off for Thanksgiving. West Hillsborough students will be off on Feb. 8 for the Florida State fair; in east Hillsborough, there is a day off on March 4 for the Strawberry Festival.
March 29, is a day off. That's when Good Friday is celebrated. The last day of school is June 7.
National Merit Scholars: Seven students from Hillsborough County were named National Merit Scholars this month, each receiving a $2,500 scholarship. They were among 1,000 nationwide who were selected from more than 15,000 entrants.
Awards went to:
Emily J. Price, Newsome High School, probable career in biology.
Rebekka Depew, Berkeley Preparatory School, probable career in biochemistry research.
Austin James Foster, Hillsborough High School, probable career, mathematics.
Tianxing Ma, King High School, probable career, economics.
Zachary M. Ayers, Berkeley Preparatory School, probable career, mechanical engineering.
* Mary E. Green, Academy of the Holy Names, probable career, sports journalism.
Robert Bo Peng, King High School, probable career, diplomatic service.
Student winners: Students from Progress Village Middle Magnet School of the Arts won the district and state level Odyssey of the Mind competitions, and now will compete in the World Finals 2012 in Iowa on May 23-26.
The Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will determine the world champions. To receive an invitation, a team must have placed first or second at their state competition.
All participants created a community and solved a community problem. Since PV is a school for the arts, students created an 8-minute performance to present their solution to the problem. Students created their own skits, props, costumes and set for the performance. In doing so, they learned about recycling and reinventing uses for items to stay within their small budget.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. They then bring their solutions to competitions. Thousands of teams from throughout the United States and from 25 other countries participate in the program.
The team needs to raise $10,000 to cover the costs of their travel and lodging. If you would like to donate, call Johannah Gebur at (813) 671-5110.
Recipe contest: All Hillsborough public school students are invited to take part in the Cook It Up! Student Recipe Challenge. It's a chance to show off their cooking skills and submit a dessert recipe they don't feel guilty for eating. Participants must submit a healthy and creative dessert recipe, along with a short essay explaining what makes their recipe nutritious and why it's important to establish healthful eating habits. A panel of judges will review the submissions and choose one winner in the categories of elementary, middle and high school. Winners will receive annual Florida residents' passes to Disney's Blizzard Beach water park (for a family of four). Their recipes will be featured on school menus; winners' names will be aired on Radio Disney; and they'll be invited to appear on Radio Disney's Kids' Concern Show to discuss their recipe and the importance of developing healthy eating habits.
Entries can be submitted on the Student Nutrition Services website at www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/sns. All entries are due by Friday. Winners will be notified by May 31.
Sports awards: The Hillsborough public schools spring sports awards event has been rescheduled from May 24 to May 23, at 10 a.m., in the school board auditorium at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Team GPA and individual sport awards will be presented for baseball (GPA only), softball, track and field, tennis and flag football. The Vernon Kohrn Award for a total athletic program's overall performance also will be presented.
Safe driving: Durant High School took second place in the Heads Up! Focus on the Road Pledge contest, which encouraged students to take a pledge not to text and drive. Durant had 80 percent of students pledge participation and won $1,000. Pinellas Park High School took first place and $1,500, with nearly 90 percent taking the pledge.
Brandon Newell of Robinson High School took third place in the Heads Up! Focus on the Road Video contest, which asked students to create a 30- to 60-second video on the dangers of distracted driving. He won $100. First place and $500 went to Allie Chandler of Clearwater High School.
Students from five counties competed in the contests sponsored by More Health Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides health and safety education to children, teens and adults.