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Fall commencement and other Pinellas education news

News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
USF St. Petersburg graduates await their turn to walk the stage during the May 2019 commencement at Mahaffey Theater. This year's fall commencement is set for Sunday, when some 450 USFSP graduates will be receiving degrees. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
USF St. Petersburg graduates await their turn to walk the stage during the May 2019 commencement at Mahaffey Theater. This year's fall commencement is set for Sunday, when some 450 USFSP graduates will be receiving degrees. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Dec. 11, 2019

USF St. Pete and SPC to hold fall commencement

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg College will hold fall commencement ceremonies this weekend. It will be the 140th commencement for SPC, which will hold three ceremonies at Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo — at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. The youngest graduate is 17 years old, the oldest is 71 and 15 graduates are over age 60. Two thousand degrees will be awarded. USF St. Petersburg, marking its 67th commencement, will hold two ceremonies on Sunday at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. The first is at 1 p.m. for those graduating from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business and the College of Education, followed by a 5 p.m. ceremony for College of Arts and Sciences graduates. Among the 450 graduates is Jake Burklew, who will be recognized as the Outstanding Graduate. The award honors a senior who embodies leadership, school spirit, community service, character and scholarship. Burklew is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education and served as a campus leader and active community member during his time at USF St. Petersburg. Sabrina Escalona will be recognized the King O’Neal Scholar after completing her coursework with a 4.0 GPA. She plans to start law school next fall.

Three Discovery Nights left. Applications start in January

Three schools will hold Discovery Nights during the week of Dec. 16, bringing an end to a season of open house events that allow families to explore choice programs offered by the Pinellas County school system. Discovery Nights start at 6 p.m. and typically last one to two hours. On Tuesday, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School will invite families to tour both its regular program and its Center for Gifted Studies. Also that day, a Discovery Night is scheduled for the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning at Gulf Beaches Elementary. The final Discovery Night of the year will be held Wednesday at Pasadena Fundamental Elementary. Choice applications will be accepted online Jan. 8–17. For a full list and more information about school choice options, visit or call the school district’s Student Assignment office at (727) 588–6210.

Elementary school lunches

Monday: Chicken tender basket with fries and roll, Max Cheese Sticks, fruit and yogurt plate, deli meat and cheese sandwich, marinara cup, green beans, fresh veggie dippers.

Tuesday: Teriyaki beef dippers with rice and chow mein noodles, grilled cheese, chicken caesar salad, Jamwich Kit, tomato soup, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Chicken fajita bowl, pasta and meat sauce, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, spinach or collard greens, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Mini quesadillas, corn dog or hot dog, Apple-a-Day Salad, chicken caesar wrap, country baked beans, salsa cup, side salad.

Friday: Pizza variety, fish nuggets with roll, chef salad, turkey and cheese hoagie or sandwich, peas, fresh veggie dippers.

For more menus, visit and click on the “Food Service” tab. The school system will close for winter break at the end of the day, Friday, Dec. 20. Students return to school on Jan. 7.


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