Pinellas education news: Kindergarten registration, Discovery Nights, USF commencement and more

Kate Tiedemann, a philanthropist who gave USF St. Petersburg $10-million for its college of business, received an honorary doctoral degree Sunday at the school’s fall commencement. [Times (2014)]
Kate Tiedemann, a philanthropist who gave USF St. Petersburg $10-million for its college of business, received an honorary doctoral degree Sunday at the school’s fall commencement. [Times (2014)]
Published Dec. 11, 2018

A final round of Discovery Nights before winter break

The Pinellas County school system's schedule of Discovery Nights ends next week, with five choice programs opening their doors to offer families a chance to talk to educators and get a closer look. The events start at 6 p.m. and typically last one to two hours. Choice applications will be accepted online Jan. 9-18. For more information on the programs and the application process, visit or call the school district's Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210. Next week's schedule:

Dec. 18

Center for Gifted Studies, North County Gifted Center

Dec. 19

Academy for Aquatic Management Systems and Environmental Technology, Lakewood High

Center for Advanced Technology, Lakewood High

Center for Journalism and Multimedia, Lakewood High

Dec. 20

Center for Innovation and Digital Learning, Gulf Beaches Elementary

Coming soon: kindergarten registration

Kindergarten registration for the 2019-20 school year begins Jan. 14 in the Pinellas County school system. The school district's annual program to welcome families to the process is called "Ready, Set … Kindergarten," and it includes events at elementary schools on Jan. 15, 16 and 17. Families will have opportunities to register, explore classrooms, meet teachers and find out how to get their children ready for kindergarten. For more information, including a schedule of events, visit or call the Student Assignment office at (727) 588-6210.

USF St. Petersburg honors two at fall commencement

Nearly 500 graduates received their degrees at the University of South Florida's fall commencement on Sunday as the school also celebrated two local business people, including philanthropist and USF donor, Kate Tiedemann, who was bestowed with an honorary doctor of business degree. Born in a rural German village, Tiedemann immigrated to the U.S. at age 18 and later created an international company that designed and manufactured ophthalmic surgical instruments. In 2014, she gave $10 million to USF St. Petersburg, the largest gift in school history, resulting in the construction of the College of Business that now carries her name. Also honored was Bill Edwards, Chairman of the Edwards Group, who received the Chancellor's Community Leadership Award. In addition, the school recognized Stephanie Benmergui as its outstanding graduate. Benmergui is receiving a bachelor's degree biology with a concentration in biomedical sciences and a minor in chemistry. She plans to conduct her own research and apply to medical school.

SPC hosts holiday piano concert

St. Petersburg College will host a holiday season piano concert with Jeffrey Biegel at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Music Center on the St. Petersburg Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave N. Biegel is known for performing standard works for piano and orchestra and has become the go-to pianist for new compositions and special recordings. Admission is $10 at the door and free for SPC faculty and students with an ID.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Chicken and waffle, cheesy bread, fruit and yogurt plate, bologna and cheese sandwich, sweet green peas, marinara cup, fresh veggie dippers.

Tuesday: Featured entrée: beef stroganoff with egg noodles and roll. Other offerings include corn dog, Farmers' Salad or Apple-A-Day Salad, PBJ Jamwich Kit, baked beans, romaine salad.

Wednesday: Chicken drumstick with hush puppy, pasta with meatballs and sauce, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, steamed broccoli florets, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Beef Rib-B-Q sandwich, cheese stick and toasted ravioli boat, chef salad, chicken caesar wrap, marinara cup, sweet potato waffle fries, side salad.

Friday: Fish nuggets with roll, chicken caesar salad, turkey and cheese ciabatta sandwich, mashed potatoes, fresh veggie dippers.