Outstanding Business Partners of the Year

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR) were recognized as the 2012-2013 St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Outstanding Business Partners of the Year at the 26th annual Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards (CBRA) held on Thursday, June 13 in Tampa. The event was produced by the Florida Department of Education in association with the Florida Education Foundation and highlighted the contributions of honorees chosen from each school district throughout the state.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are strongly committed to the SJCSD through various activities and financial support. Earlier this year, the Jaguars provided on-field game day recognition to more than 70 Pursuing Victory with Honor (PVWH) high school athletes and featured the Creekside High School Marching Band during halftime. As a presenting sponsor of the American Youth Character Awards, the Jaguars participated in the banquet and presented the PVWH finalists and winner with scholarships as part of their $25,000 donation to the district. Additionally, they have supported the district’s career academies through internships, teacher externships, sponsorships and scholarships. The Jaguars have implemented honor roll programs, NFL Play 60 grants, discount tickets and ticket donations as well as player and cheerleader appearances throughout the SJCSD.

The SJCSD and the GTMNERR partnership was created through the Academy of Coastal and Water Resources at St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS). Hands-on field trips allow academy students to study the estuary and learn the value of protecting and conserving natural resources. Students have also participated in an oyster reef restoration and three schools are collecting Spartina Grass seeds and cultivating the seedlings into plugs to restore vegetation. This summer, students will participate in a sea level rise activity to create awareness of the effects of climate change and planning for sea level rise. Additionally, SJTHS carpentry students constructed an overlook at GTMNERR for use in the city of St. Augustine’s 450th Celebration. GTMNERR staff also provided students with certification training in the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) for the protection of water, as well as for the proper use of fertilizers and pesticides as landscape professionals.

CBRA celebrates innovative partnerships between the business community and local school districts for the benefit of students. Businesses were recognized with a reception at the Grand Hyatt Hotel where they were photographed with the Commissioner of Education and received an engraved trophy.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and GTMNERR will be recognized at the School Board Meeting on July 11.