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School Board Presents Awards for teachers

Pasco County school superintendent John Long and School Board members recently recognized and congratulated several Pasco County teachers for winning awards. Four of the teachers recognized were from the central and east Pasco area.

Tina Stavrou, a history and geography teacher at Pine View Middle School in Land O' Lakes, received the Florida Council for Social Studies 2003-2004 Warren Tracy Beginning Teacher Award. This award is granted annually to a teacher with three years or less experience who has shown school leadership, community involvement and has designed engaging lesson plans.

Stavrou was encouraged to apply for the award by Kathy Steiner, district supervisor of curriculum and instruction for social studies. The next step for Stavrou was creating a portfolio which included all the inservices she had taken, lesson plans showing interdisciplinary units, and examples of student work. In addition to this, Stavrou documented that she is sponsor for Pine View Middle School's Florida Future Educators of America, coach for the Geography Bowl, and coach for History Alive! She is a co-sponsor for the National Junior Honor Society.

After being named one of the three state finalists, Stavrou submitted a video of her teaching and had a personal interview with the Florida Council for the Social Studies.

Stavrou holds an undergraduate degree with a double major in social science education and history from Florida State University. She also earned a master's degree in English education from the University of Florida.

Stavrou has held lifelong ambitions to be a teacher. She recalls when she was in first grade her parents gave her a student desk, but by the time she was in fourth grade she says,"I'd already upgraded to my first teacher's desk!"

"It was quite an honor to receive this award, and I'm grateful for all the support of my fellow teachers," Stavrou said.

Lois Quinn, business teacher at Weightman Middle School, was one of three recipients of the Florida Council on Economic Education's 2004 Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics.

According to Quinn, "Judges from the Council believed that my economic lesson on "Price and Profit' was written in a way that students would learn a basic economic principle that would benefit them in the future."

Quinn's entry was the result of an assignment from an "Economics in a Free Enterprise" class from the Stavros Center at the University of South Florida.

Quinn is an educator of 33 years, having taught secondary school business in Indiana, Texas, Missouri and Virginia. For a time she left public education to work as a corporate trainer, before joining the staff at Weightman.

Beverly Ledbetter from Pasco High School and Melinda Covel from Pasco Elementary School were also recipients of the Florida Council on Economic Education's 2004 Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics.

Rotary wins service award

The Daybreak Rotary of Zephyrhills was recently recognized with the service award by the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce at a banquet held at Saddlebrook. Jean Murphy, charter founding member of Daybreak, accepted the award. Murphy later presented the award plaque to Madonna Wise, current president of Daybreak.

The Daybreak Rotary Club has embarked upon the largest civic project in the city's history with the sponsorship funding of its Centennial Rotary project with the building of an interactive water fountain for children and families at Zephyr Park.

Other projects in which Daybreak is actively involved are: Haiti Orphanage sponsorship is which humanitarian member, Nelson Ryman, facilitates the care of children in a Simonette, Haiti orphanage and keeps club members aware of the needs for food, school tuition, and medical care; Camp Rotary of Florida; scholarships for local students from Zephyrhills High School and for scholarships to Pasco-Hernando Community College and Saint Leo University; Neighborhood Care Center weekly donations; contributions to CARES Senior Center; annual Zephyrhills High School Academic Banquet; and a variety of other miscellaneous projects including Zephyrhills High School Project Graduation, Zephyrhills High School Model United Nations, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

To fund the many projects, Daybreak has several fundraisers planned, the largest of which is the Breakaway Golf Tournament scheduled for Scotland Yards Golf Course on Oct. 1. Other fundraisers include a spring bowling tournament, Fourth of July Sparklebration, a booth at the annual Celtic Festival in Zephyrhills, and a raffle for the Haiti Project.

Daybreak Rotary of Zephyrhills meets at 7 a.m. Tuesdays at First Baptist Church, 39300 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills. For information call Madonna Wise, Daybreak President, at (813) 782-0246 or visit the Web site


Sugar 'n Spice kids are everything nice

Lisa Decker, who teaches 4- and 5-year-olds at Sugar 'n Spice Preschool, 3508 Land 'O Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes, grasped the opportunity to teach a valuable lesson of community service to her class of 21.

When Hurricane Charley devastated areas of the state, Decker planned lessons around what it means to be a member of a community and the importance of helping those in need. This sense of community values combined well with a science lesson on the importance of water and the great need people have for it. Decker and the children created a Web design illustrating how a community depends on water, how important water is and what it might be like to go without it.

After discussing the hurricane victims' need for water, Decker and the children decided to collect bottles of water that could be sent to those in hard hit areas. Letters were sent to parents explaining the project. Almost immediately, gallons of water began to show up.

Peyton Brown, 4, took the project to heart. During the evening, following the lesson, his mother, Toni Brown, discovered him taking $1.25 from his piggy bank. He explained that he wanted to buy water for the people in need. His mother made sure he and his 1-year-old sister, Kylee Brown, had water to donate.

It wasn't long before 60 gallons of water had been collected. Decker knew the collection point for water and other items was the Wal-Mart on State Road 54 in Land O' Lakes. She loaded the children with the gallons of water, on a small school bus and off they went to Wal-Mart where they children helped to unload and present their donation. It was a lesson put into practice and one that involved helping the children to understand their role as community volunteers even at the ages of 4 and 5.

Sugar 'n Spice Preschool is owned by Bob Huber, known affectionately as Papa Choo Choo, and has been in operation in Land O'Lakes for the past 28 years. About 105 children, ages 1 to 12, are enrolled in the preschool and after school programs. The Preschool director is Zee Gibson, assisted in the front office by office manager Linda Koka. The school has 16 staff members.

For information about Sugar 'n Spice, call (813) 996-3115.

West Zephyrhills students help hurricane victims

West Zephyrhills Elementary third-graders Sydney Owens, Kelsey Ingram and Courtney Wong, members of Barbara's Pittman's class, were so devastated by the pictures of the disaster left by Hurricane Charley they decided to help children like themselves. They created and named the school-wide project, "Change for Charley Victims" and asked classmates to donate pocket change to help another school that had been hit by the hurricane.

With the help of Sydney's parents, Chuck and Scarlette Owens, and the school's ABC program, they decided donation jugs would be placed in the media center and the main office as collection spots. Money received would go specifically to an elementary school in Arcadia.

Sydney, Kelsey and Courtney plan to take school supplies, reading books and the money donated by West Zephyrhills students to the adopted school. The girls hope to become pen pals with students from the adopted school and continue communications throughout the school year with cards and letters.

Brown-Waite works for hurricane victims

Recently the U.S House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill providing $2-billion to replenish FEMA's disaster relief account. U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite spoke on the House floor supporting the measure.

"Hurricanes Charley and Frances devastated Central Florida, but with adequate funding our determined communities can respond and recover promptly, " Brown-Waite said. "This $2-billion appropriate will cover the immediate needs in Florida and avoid any disruption in FEMA's program funding."

FEMA uses these resources for a variety of disaster relief activities including direct assistance to impacted individuals and families, debris removal, infrastructure repairs and emergency food and shelter. The administration is expected to produce a more comprehensive funding request covering more than just the disaster relief fund in the near future.

In addition to advocating for hurricane relief in Washington, Brown-Waite has been working with local authorities and utilities in Florida on behalf of her constituents.

"Utility companies and local authorities have never before seen a disaster this severe and widespread," she said in a news release. "I have been in constant communication with them while they work as quickly as possible to restore power and service to those who have been affected."

For non-utility problems constituents can contact Brown-Waite's district office at 1-866-492-4835. Constituents can also contact their county emergency operations centers for HIGH FIVES

School district organizes crisis intervention team

The Pasco County School District organized five members of its crisis intervention team to assist the Hardee County School District as it recovers from Hurricane Charley. Those on the team are: Cathy Rapp, district office supervisor of student services; Beverly McKinney, from the Student Services Department; Wendy Kall, school social worker at Gulf High School; Kirsten Joyer, assistant principal, Weightman Middle School; and Cynthia Ryalls-Clephane, school social wokrer, James Irvin Education Center.

The crisis team members worked with team members from Hillsborough, Collier, and Miami-Dade counties providing services to Hardee schools.

They were paired to provide classroom debriefing presentations with students and individual and group counseling. Each member of the team was assigned to a specific school.

Tina Stavrou, Pine View Middle School teacher, recently was awarded the Florida Council for Social Studies 2003-2004 Warren Tracy Beginning Teacher Award. Celebrating the presentation of the award with Stavrou was Dave Estabrook, principal of Pine View Middle School.

Lois Quinn, teacher at Weightman Middle School received the Florida Council on Economic Education's 2004 Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics.

Lisa Decker and her class, including the girls shown here, collected water for hurricane victims. Girls in Decker's class are Jamie Adles, Samantha Cotto, Arleny Garcia, Kristin Haney, Karis Harvey, Alayna Huber, Lauren Ivie, Kailin LaGala, Chelsea Lonon, Yolanda Norris and Nathalie Stark.

Bob Huber is shown here with a group of boys from Lisa Decker's class that collected water for hurricane victims. Members of the class are Joshua Adkins, Alic Backer, Peyton Brown, Dylan Callahan, Cody Dillard, Corbin Doers, Timothy Harvey, Alec Thomas Jackson, and Kyle Mullens.

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