Pinellas education news: USF St. Petersburg's new dorm, high achievers and more

An architect’s rendering of the new 375-bed residence hall underway at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The project, on Third Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues S, will increase the number of students living on campus by 70 percent and feature the campus’ first full-service dining facility. [Courtesy of USF St. Petersburg]
An architect’s rendering of the new 375-bed residence hall underway at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The project, on Third Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues S, will increase the number of students living on campus by 70 percent and feature the campus’ first full-service dining facility. [Courtesy of USF St. Petersburg]
Published April 24, 2019

Work starts on new dorm at USF St. Petersburg

Construction has begun on a 375-bed residence hall at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, a project that will increase the number of students living on campus by 70 percent and feature the campus' first full-service dining facility. The building is rising on Third Street S between Fifth and Sixth avenues S, and is expected to be completed by July 2020. A groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for this week. (See a virtual tour here.) USF St. Petersburg regional chancellor Martin Tadlock called the project a historic development that will "foster a greater sense of community and help us with our efforts to continue improving student success." Rooms in the residence hall will be suite style, with about 60 to 75 percent being four-bed units with two baths. The remainder will be two-bed, one-bath units. Some of the single occupancy units will be capable of converting to double-occupancy. The design will include a student lounge and study room on each floor, as well as a community laundry space. The first floor will house a communal kitchen and a lounge. Demand for student housing has been steadily increasing in recent years, said Jacob Diaz, regional assistant vice chancellor and dean of students at USF St. Petersburg. "I'm really excited for what it will mean for student life on campus," he said.

'Take Stock' seniors reap academic success, scholarships

With graduation fast approaching, more than 230 high school seniors who participated in the Take Stock in Children scholarship program were recognized last week in a ceremony at Largo High. All told, the group received $3.6 million in scholarships. The program, started 26 years ago by the Pinellas Education Foundation, enlists low-income students when they are in middle school. The students pledge to meet regularly with a mentor, stay out of trouble and maintain at least a C average. If they comply, they receive college scholarship money. This year's group included 63 students with a cumulative weighted GPA of 4.0 or higher, including three valedictorians and one salutatorian. The valedictorians are Robert Hurley of Boca Ciega High, Shady Mina of Palm Harbor University High and Sarah Gruber of Northeast High. The salutatorian is Ajla Bilali of Largo High.

SPC seeking adjunct faculty

St. Petersburg College is looking for "energetic, dynamic and creative people with expertise in their field" to join the school as adjunct faculty members. An Adjunct Recruitment Fair will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the SPC EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. N., Clearwater. Participants will be able to learn about course offerings, meet with deans and other faculty, and receive assistance filling out the college employment application. They also are encouraged to bring copies of their resume and college transcripts. For more information, contact Christian Moriarty, professor of ethics and law, at or (727) 614-7265.

District honors 27 students at Honors Breakfast

The Pinellas County school district recently held an Honors Breakfast to recognize 27 high school seniors who were named National Merit Semifinalists and Hispanic Scholars this year. The students were chosen based on their Preliminary SAT scores, their academic records and their contributions to their schools and communities while in high school. The honorees were: Shannon Cousineau and Charlie Nguyen of Countryside High; Eoin Olswold of Dixie Hollins High; Jessica Bennett, Ashwin Ganesh, Nathaniel Shirer and Mario Shontz of East Lake High; William Black, Nathan Hamilton, William Kline, Aidan O'Dowd and Isabel Rask of Lakewood High; Connor Mann and Amy Radwan of Largo High; Hailey Batista, Zoe Brown, Chloe Buck, Sophia Chen, Kyle Nguyen, Thomas Pepas, Kyle Romero, Alexandra Shanabrook, Anuj Som and Alexandra Walker of Palm Harbor University High; Alexandra Debure and Catherine Lee of St. Petersburg High; and Julia Doyle of Seminole High.

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Summer Bridge starts June 11; sign-ups underway

Families are invited to start signing up for the Pinellas County school system's Summer Bridge program, which is offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 11 through July 18. The program is for students in elementary, middle and high school and is recommended for those who are performing below their grade level in reading or math or who need help to stay on track. The elementary and middle school programs focus on reading, math and science with lessons that blend technology, small group instruction, hands-on experiments and project-based learning. The middle school program also has an added focus on social studies, with emphasis on the seventh-grade civics course. For details on high school programs, call the district's High School Education office at (727) 588-6302. Parents must provide transportation to Summer Bridge sessions. They can reserve a spot for their children at, or can visit for more information.

Honors and awards

The USF St. Petersburg ethics and debate team won second place in two of three events at the International Business Ethics and Sustainability Case Competition in Los Angeles this month. The competition featured 30 teams from universities across the nation and as far away as Melbourne, Australia. On the USF team were undergraduate students Julia Linkogle, Ryan McGahan, Marcus Rubenstein, Melissa Keles and Grace Hussain. … Music teacher Marie Hill of Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Elementary Center for Mathematics and Engineering received the Ray Lien Award Aerospace Educator of the Year Award. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to aviation education. … Holly Schwarzmann, school librarian at Largo Middle School, was selected for the 2019 American Association of School Librarians Frances Henne Award. The $1,250 award recognizes a school librarian with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators. Schwarzmann was notified that she also will receive an American Association of School Librarians' Inspire Grant of $5,000 for her school library.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Breaded chicken sandwich, loaded beef and cheese nachos, fruit and yogurt plate, bologna and cheese sandwich, Santa Fe Black Beans, fresh veggie dippers.

Tuesday: Chicken slider basket with emoticon potatoes, grilled cheese sandwich, Farmers' Salad or Apple-A-Day Salad, PBJ Jamwich Kit, tomato soup, romaine salad.

Wednesday: Teriyaki beef dippers over rice or lo mein noodles, chicken nuggets with dip cup, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, sliced cucumbers, steamed broccoli florets.

Thursday: Breakfast for lunch, mini cheese calzones, chef salad, chicken caesar wrap, marinara cup, deli-roasted potatoes, side salad.

Friday: Pizza, cheesy fish filet sandwich, chicken caesar salad, turkey and cheese ciabatta sandwich, corn niblets, fresh veggie dippers.