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(ran NTP edition)

TURNAROUND ACHIEVEMENTS: Failing grades. Bad attendance. Substance abuse. Running with the wrong crowd. The future looks bleak. Then a youngster starts to make different choices and, to his or her own surprise, becomes a model student.

Those special students were honored by Hillsborough County Schools and the Tampa Bay Bowling Proprietors at the 12th annual Turnaround Achievement Awards on April 24 at Crown Bowling Lanes in Town 'N Country. The event recognizes middle and high school students who have turned their lives around.

Students honored from the north of Tampa area include: Chasity Anderson of Adams Middle School; Jimmy Westbrook of Benito Middle School; Gabriel Diaz of Buchanan Middle School; Shanel DeSylvia of Chamberlain High School; Shawn Bertrand of Gaither High; Benita Dowdell of Leto High; Cesar Andres Celpa of Pierce Middle School; John Michael Burnette of Sickles High; and Kris Sellers of Wharton High.

TROPICANA PUBLIC SPEAKING CONTEST FINALISTS: Winners from the area competition at King High School on April 21 and 22 include: Colin Campbell, Essrig Elementary, "A Week in the Hospital"; Freddie Bartholomew, Hunter's Green, "Gestures Around the World"; and Shawn Oxtal, Essrig Elementary, "My Trip to the Florida/Florida State Game." The county competition will be at Sickles High School, 7950 Gunn Highway, on May 21.

"WHAT FAMILY MEANS TO ME" ESSAY/ART CONTEST: More than 2,659 entries were received in the recent essay/art contest sponsored by the Education Channel. The contest was open to any Hillsborough County student in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Winners will be recognized during a presentation at each winner's school on their morning news programs.

Essay contest winners include Bryant Fuller, first-grader at Tampa Palms Elementary, and Camille Beredjick, first-grader at Tampa Palms Elementary, first and second place, respectively, in the pre-kindergarten through second grade category. Stuart Prieto, Carrollwood Elementary second-grader, received honorable mention. Tanya Casey, sixth grade at Ben Hill Middle School, won second place in sixth through eighth grades.

Art contest winners include Sarah Bennett, third place, fifth grade, Schwarzkopf Elementary; and Jaimee Martin, honorable mention, third grade at Citrus Park Elementary.

Area students captured all awards in the Grades six-eight category: Vu Nguyen, first place, eighth grade, Ben Hill Middle School; Luccia Lyzette Rivera, second place, sixth grade, Adams Middle School; Melissa Luna, third place, sixth grade, Adams. Honorable mention went to these Adams sixth-graders: Carey Hummel, Erika Sakai, Ryan Thomas, Avery Swiontek and Steven McCullars.