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March 2: Celebrating your good news

Good for you

Teams of residents in 16 golf carts spread out through Gull Aire Village, a 55+ community in Oldsmar, to collect food for the hungry one day last month.

It was part of a six-week drive to stock the shelves at Oldsmar Cares, an all-volunteer organization that provides stop-gap rent and utility assistance, a food pantry and a clothes closet for those in need in the greater Oldsmar area.

The effort was organized by Debbie Brown and Judy Dentici, Gull Aire residents who also volunteer their time at the Oldsmar Cares food pantry.

"We noticed that after the holidays the food pantry stock was dwindling, so we decided to have a food drive here in Gull Aire," said Brown, who announced the food drive in the community newsletter.

Anne Marie LeBlanc, another Gull Aire resident who volunteers for Oldsmar Cares, brought the food drive to the attention of the Gull Aire Village Social Club, where members Les and Ginny Johnson suggested adding the community-wide, door-to-door food collection.

The couple organized the one-day blitz by dividing the neighborhood into 16 sections with teams of three assigned to collect food from specific homes. They also helped secure all the golf carts and volunteers.

"Thanks to our great friends and residents, we got together 52 workers and we had a very successful morning," said Ginny Johnson, who affirmed, "Our answer to Oldsmar Cares is yes, Gull Aire Village cares."

Sporting signature yellow Oldsmar Cares T-shirts, volunteers collected food from more than 600 homes and transported it to the clubhouse in a parade of golf carts. The Gull Aire Village Social Club also donated $100 toward the purchase of food.

"To say this food drive was a team effort is an understatement," said Brenda Gaulin, Oldsmar Cares chairwoman.

"The residents of Gull Aire Village are extremely generous and we can't thank them enough for their support," Gaulin said of the effort.

• • •

Nine students from St. Cecelia Interparochial School in Clearwater participated in the Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering Fair held Feb. 8 at Seminole Middle School. All the students received awards, including Dana Perrott, whose environmental science project, "Wave Breakers," earned the top spot in the junior division as well as Best of Show.

Category awards:

Eric Gallagher, "Forever Young," fourth place (botany); Ben Krueger, "The Tale of the Three Turning Turbines," fourth place (physics); Nathalie Sieh, "It's Better to Flap than Snap," third place (physics); Tyler Paul, "Heat Shock," second place (physics); Sydney Opyrchal, "Flight or Light?," second place (physics); Shea Wheeler, "Hey, Yolks — Check Out this Eggs-periment!," second place (chemistry); Amanda Lima-Lugo, "Now You See Me, Now You Don't," second place (chemistry); and Esteban Restrepo, "The Ultimate Ulcer," first place (medicine and health).

Projects are scored using a rubric, allowing for more than one second and third place winner.

Special awards were given to Opyrchal, who received the Bay Area Manufacturers Association award of $125 and an invitation to present her project at the BAMA annual meeting; and Restrepo, who earned the Science Supervisor Award ($25) and the M.A. Barton Award for Medical Excellence ($75).

Perrott, Opyrchal and Restrepo will be joining 18 other winners to represent Pinellas County at the statewide fair in Lakeland April 8-10.

• • •

Marissa Streng, a sixth-grader at Clearwater's Saint Paul's School, made a guest appearance Feb. 19 on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she presented her invention, the Puff-n-Fluff, a dog drier that she patented and manufactured.

The Puff-n-Fluff was a result of Marissa's third-grade project for the Invention Convention, an annual regional and statewide invention competition for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Her invention not only took first place at the school level, but also at the state level.

Two years later, Marissa was contacted by the producers of Fallon's show to appear with two other star inventors.

During the segment, Marissa's dog, Mojo, accompanied her on stage as she explained to host Jimmy Fallon how her invention works and why she created it.

The fact that it was Fallon's first week hosting the Tonight Show made the appearance even more memorable for the sixth-grader.

She and the other inventors received $5,000 to put toward their education.

Mail Good For You items to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email to nbeall@tampabay.com.

March 2: Celebrating your good news 02/27/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 12:28pm]
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