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  1. Education

Pinellas education news: Summer programs, a decorated school officer and more

Kids can still enroll in Pinellas' Summer Bridge program

The Pinellas County school district's Summer Bridge program started June 11, but families can still register their kids through the end of next week. For elementary school students, teachers work to improve skills in reading, math and science using the arts, technology, small group instruction, hands-on labs and project-based learning. The middle school program is for students just leaving fifth, sixth and seventh grades who are performing below their grade level or need help to stay on track. They take part in reading, math, science and social studies activities with lessons that blend technology, small group instruction, hands-on experiments and project-based learning. The high school program is also for students performing below grade level. In addition, the Freshmen Prep program offers two-week sessions where incoming freshmen can meet classmates, get to know their new campuses, participate in group projects and learn about sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities. The Freshmen Prep program has two remaining sessions — one from June 24-July 3 and another from July 8-18. For more information on high school programs, call (727) 588-6302. To find out more about Summer Bridge, visit

Yuengling covers tuition for a military veteran to enter USF's brewing program

Yuengling Brewing has again committed to sponsoring an annual $5,000 tuition award for a student veteran to attend the brewing arts program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. This is the fifth veteran award to be offered by the program, and the third time Yuengling is participating. Previous sponsors have included Green Bench Brewing, Great Bay Distributors and 3 Daughters Brewing. "Yuengling has identified some areas that it's very passionate about supporting," said Jessica Seiders, a Yuengling spokeswoman. "And one of those areas is our military. It was a natural fit when we discovered that there was a need at USFSP for a financial award that could support our military veterans to go back to school and enhance their career." The brewing arts program, launched in 2015, is a collaboration between the school's College of Arts and Sciences and many local and national breweries. It's designed for students looking to make a career in the industry by working in a brewery or opening a brewery one day. The $5,000 award will be made in honor of the late Greg Rapp, the founder of Rapp Brewing and a pioneer of craft brewing in Tampa Bay. Prospective students can visit to apply by the June 23 deadline.

Statewide honor goes to a 30-year Pinellas school officer

Michael Hawkins, an officer for Pinellas County Schools Police, has been awarded the Florida Association of School Resource Officers Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is presented to those who demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments while serving their school and communities. Hawkins has committed 30 years of his 37-year career in law enforcement to the district's school resource officer program, serving longer than any other officer in the county. Over the years he has created a chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions, started a youth crime watch, and continues to be active as a mentor, advisor and role model. Hawkins also trains school resource officers and is an active assailant trainer at St. Petersburg College.

Program aims to keep students reading over the summer

Students can prevent summer learning loss by participating in the 2019 Summer Challenge, a series of learning activities offering prizes for those who participate. Students can log into Clever using their Pinellas County Schools username and password to keep the learning going. For more information, visit