Good for you | by Nova Beall
Westlake Christian School in Palm Harbor has been named a 2012 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, one of only two private schools in Florida to earn the honor this year and one of 50 nationwide.
At a Blue Ribbon Rally Sept. 13, the entire school, along with a large contingent of parents, celebrated with an ice cream party sponsored by Blue Bell Ice Cream. Guest speaker state Rep. Peter Nehr congratulated the school for its work and the example it set for the North Pinellas community.
Westlake was selected as an exemplary high-performing school, which means its standardized test scores have consistently been among the highest in the nation in reading and mathematics.
"Though we qualified by showing that our standardized test scores are consistently in the top 10 percent in the nation, Westlake Christian School earned the Blue Ribbon award because we demonstrated that our entire school program is built around best practices that result in exemplary student performance," said Westlake's principal, Rick Pucci.
Westlake Christian School, 1551 Belcher Road in Palm Harbor, is fully accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools and the Florida Kindergarten Council, serving more than 325 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
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On Friday, award-winning middle-grade and young-adult author Adrian Fogelin visited Saint Paul's School, 1600 St. Paul's Drive, Clearwater.
Fogelin is the author of 14 novels and winner of numerous awards including the Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, the Young Adult Top 40 and two Florida Book Award gold medals.
A slow reader during her childhood but an avid storyteller, Fogelin enjoys getting her writing material from her personal life and admits that most of her characters are based on people she knows or sees throughout her day.
"Being a writer is the best job in the world," said Fogelin, who continues to write and come up with story material wherever she goes.
During her visit, the children were engaged and motivated to get excited about their own writing and always be on the lookout for inspiration in their everyday life. Autographed novels were given to those students who purchased one, and the author left everyone with a smile and motivation to keep writing.
"The students of Saint Paul's are great readers and question-askers," said Fogelin, who takes time to speak at schools all over the country. "This is the kind of school I love to visit!"
Fogelin lives in Tallahassee with her husband and daughter.
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