1. The Education Gradebook

Turnaround students recognized at annual banquet

The few hours that children are in school are just part of their daily lives. Any number of things can go on in children's lives that shape how they perform in school.

They can be living with parents, grandparents or guardians. There may be someone at home who is sick. They may have recently lost a family member. Their families may be well off or struggling. There might be drugs in the home or even abuse.

Sometimes children come to school with bad attitudes. They may simply not feel like doing their work. Whatever might be going on, there are students who take control, turn themselves around and become the good students they are capable of being.

Those are the ones who were recognized at the annual Turnaround Student Achievement Awards banquet on April 30 at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics. Twenty-five students from elementary through high school, all of whom turned their lives around during the course of the school year, had their night to shine.

The students were chosen at their schools by teachers and staff members. Their names were submitted to the Hernando County Education Foundation.

"We believe in recognizing our students, our teachers and our staff," said Debbye Warrell, the foundation's president. The Turnaround Student Achievement Awards ceremony is hosted by the foundation and sponsored by Suncoast Credit Union. Warrell is also the Challenger K-8 media specialist.

"We recognize our top achievers," Warrell said, alluding to the recent Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce Student Recognition Banquet for outstanding high school seniors. "But those that have to struggle for so many reasons and when they have made such great gains, those types of students need to be recognized, that strength within them."

Tammy Brinker, the foundation's executive director, agreed.

"This program recognizes one student from each public school in Hernando County who demonstrates superior effort, perseverance and commitment in turning his or her life around in a more positive direction," Brinker explained. "The turnaround can occur in behavior changes, academic improvements, attitude adjustment, eliminating substance abuse and often a combination of all of these behaviors. This is a great program for students who have really made a change in their lives."

The event includes a dinner for the students, their parents and a school representative. The students also receive plaques.

This year's turnaround students (some of the K-8 schools have two because the schools include both elementary and middle school students) are:

Brooksville Elementary, Darisbeth Sanchez; Chocachatti Elementary, Dylan New; Deltona Elementary, Elijah Lindo; Eastside Elementary, Karissa Conley; Moton Elementary, Hector Lara; Pine Grove Elementary, Jackie Evans; Spring Hill Elementary, Aaron Wolford; Suncoast Elementary, Kaitlyn Anthony; Westside Elementary, Tyler Barret.

Challenger K-8, Rhylee Acevedo and John Turk; Explorer K-8, Terrionna Holland; J.D. Floyd K-8, Xiara Rivera and Caileen Langley; Winding Waters K-8, Dynasty Adams.

Fox Chapel Middle, Shacoria Owens; Parrott Middle, Randall Thompson; Powell Middle, Jeramiah Holmes; West Hernando Middle, Joshua Faucher.

Central High, Trevin Ladd; Hernando High, Tabatha Sanderson; Nature Coast Technical High, Jake Pietri; Springstead High, Raven Moreau; Weeki Wachee High, Tyrone Stayt.

Endeavor Academy, Bradley Penn.