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May 2014

Summer Food Service

The St. Johns County School District will be participating in the Summer Food Service Program for Children June 9-August 1 as outlined below. There will be a break in service July 14-18 as the school district will be closed during this time.

Nutritionally balanced meals will be provided to all children regardless of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin during summer vacation when school breakfasts and lunches are not available. All children 18 years old and younger are eligible for meals on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. The programs are approved for geographical areas of need where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year.

Summer feeding sites that are located at schools provide meals to all children in the immediate vicinity in addition to those enrolled in summer school.

Production sites include John A. Crookshank, Otis A. Mason, Osceola and South Woods elementary schools; The Webster School; and Pedro Menendez and St. Augustine high schools. Pre-packaged meals will be transported to sites and will be refrigerated at each site until served.~ Site personnel will ensure all food items remain at acceptable temperatures before serving to children.

The sites listed below will be in operation as follows:

Site Service Days Beg/End Dates Breakfast Service Times Lunch Service Times Break in Service
St. Augustine High
3205 Varella Ave
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Thursday June 16-July 31 7:45-8:15 a.m. 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m. July 14-18 Fridays
John A. Crookshank Elementary
1455 N. Whitney
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Thursday June 16-July 31 7:45-8:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 7-18Fridays
Pedro Menendez High600 S.R. 206 WestSt. Augustine, FL 32086 Monday– Thursday June 16-July 24 7:45 – 8:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m.- 12 p.m. July 14-18 Fridays
Otis A. Mason Elementary
207 Mason Manatee Way
St. Augustine, FL 32086
Monday– Thursday June 16-July 31 7:30-8 a.m. 12 –12:30 p.m. July 7-18,Fridays
St Paul School of Excellence
85 Dr. M.L. King Ave.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday -Friday June 9 – Aug 1 7:45– 8:45 am 11:30 am – 12:30 pm June 13, July 4, July 14-18
The Webster School
420 N. Orange St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday– Thursday June 16-July 31 7:45-8:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 7-18,Fridays
New Jerusalem Worship Ministries
5196 Avenue B
St. Augustine, FL 32095
Monday – Friday July 1-August 1 8:15 – 9:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 4, NO LUNCH on FRIDAYS
Osceola Elementary
1605 Osceola Elem Rd.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Thursday June 16-July 31 7:45-8:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 7-18, Fridays
Armstrong Outreach Center
6408 Armstrong
Elkton, FL 32033
Monday – Friday June 16 – Aug 1 N/A 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 4
The Players Championship Boys & Girls Club
555 W. King St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday – Friday June 16– July 18 9–10 a.m. 12 – 1 p.m. July 4
Ketterlinus Gym60 Orange StreetSt. Augustine, FL 32084 Fridays ONLY June 20-August 1 7:30-8:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 4
Ketterlinus Elementary School
67 Orange St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Thursday June 16-July 31 7:45-8:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 7-18, Fridays
ESHC Family Program
62 Chapin St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday – Friday June 16 – Aug 1 N/A 12-12:30 p.m. July 4
Harris Community Center
400 East Harris St.
Hastings, FL 32145
Monday – Friday June 16 – Aug 1 8:00 am-9:00am 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. July 4
Solomon Calhoun Center
1400 Duval St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Friday June 16– Aug 1 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. July 4
Hastings Teen Center
6150 Main St
Hastings, FL 32145
Monday – Friday June 16 – Aug 1 8 – 9 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 4
South Woods Elementary
4750 SR 206 W
Elkton, FL 32033
Monday-Thursday June 16-July 31 7:45-8:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. July 7-18,Fridays
St Johns Technical High School
2980 Collins Ave.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Thursday June 9-July 31 8-8:15 a.m. June 16-27 ONLY 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 14-18, Fridays
American Legion
1029 Pearl Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday-Friday June 16-July 25 8 –8:45 a.m. 12 –12:30 p.m. July 16-25

“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.”

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Jacksonville Jaguars to Hold Practice at Bartram Trail High

The Jacksonville Jaguars will hold a training camp practice on Monday, July 28 at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County, the club announced on Wednesday. The practice is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free for the practice. Members of the ROAR and Jaxson de Ville will also be in attendance. Several Jaguars alumni will sign autographs prior to practice and all players and coaches will sign autographs at the completion of practice. “This is just another indication of what we are trying to do to as we become more integrated into the community,” Jaguars President Mark Lamping said. “These things don’t happen without the commitment of our football operations led by David Caldwell and Gus Bradley.” “This is a great opportunity for us and goes with the vision that Shad (Khan) and Mark (Lamping) have created for this organization,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said. “This is a great opportunity to give back to the community and bring Monday night football to Bartram Trail. We think it’s going to be a great event not only for the community but for us as a team. This is just the first step in what we are trying to produce and over time we are going to take this show on the road multiple times over the course of the next couple of years.”

“It’s been a great partnership the last two years between St. Johns County school district and the Jaguars,” said Dr. Joseph Joyner, St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools. “The leadership of Shad Khan and Mark Lamping have really reached out to the community and it’s been amazing the last two years. The Jaguars represent the type of values we represent as a school system. This is a great opportunity for Bartram Trail High School and St. Johns County. I can assure you it will be the largest event in St. Johns County that night. It’s a real joy to see things going in such a positive direction with the Jaguars.” For the third consecutive season, the Jaguars will hold a St. Johns County Day at EverBank Field. This year’s game is Sunday, October 19 against the Cleveland Browns. The Jaguars report to training camp on Thursday, July 24 with the first practice scheduled on Friday, July 25 at the Florida Blue Practice Fields adjacent to EverBank Field. The Jaguars will open the first two days of the club’s mandatory mini-camp to the public on Tuesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 18, General Manager David Caldwell announced today. Both practices are scheduled to run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the Florida Blue Practice Fields. The club announced last week that its OTA practice on Thursday, June 5 will be open to the public from 10:50 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.

For more information, contact Ryan Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars Communications and Media Office at (904) 633-6100 or Christina Langston, director of Community Relations, SJCSD at (904) 547-7504.

Principal Appointment for John A. Crookshank Elementary School

Dr. Paul Goricki, principal of Hickory Creek Elementary (HCE), has been selected by Superintendent Joseph Joyner to be the principal of John A. Crookshank Elementary School. His nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at their June 10 meeting.

Goricki will replace Jay Willets, who was selected as the new principal of Pacetti Bay Middle School.

“After reviewing the skills and attributes identified by the Crookshank staff, community and students, it was very clear to me that they were describing Paul Goricki,” said Joyner. “Dr. Goricki is one of the finest principals I have ever worked with and exemplifies all of the leadership traits necessary to be successful at Crookshank. He has an uncompromising love for children and will be an excellent principal.”

Goricki has more than 30 years of experience in education. He began his career as a first-grade teacher in Kalamazoo, Mich. and went on to teach second and sixth grades before his first principalship, also in Kalamazoo. He also served as a principal in Salisbury, Md.; Easton, Md.; Charlestown, N.H.; and Newark, Del. While in N.H., Goricki was the principal of four schools in the Alstead Attendance Area, simultaneously. In 1997, he joined the St. Johns County School District as the principal of Julington Creek Elementary and most recently he opened HCE as principal where he has been since 2005.

“I am excited to meet Crookshank’s children and families,” said Goricki. “My goal is to expand the good progress that is occurring. I believe that we are called, first to love the children and then to teach them. In elementary school we introduce students to the world of possibility with genuine caring relationships, strong teaching and interactive child-centered learning.”

“A successful education opens the doors of opportunity in our country and I will continue to do everything possible to help children reach their full potential and achieve their life goals,” he added. “Great schools are the result of great teachers and I look forward to working with the Crookshank faculty and staff.”

Goricki holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership both from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. He also holds a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale.

School Bus Routes for 2014-2015

The St. Johns County School District’s (SJCSD) bus routes for the 2014-2015 school year were approved by the School Board at its meeting on May 13. The routes are available online at Parents without access to computers may visit any of the county public library locations, and staff will assist them in locating the website.

“By providing this information prior to the end of school, parents and caregivers are better able to plan and prepare,” said SJCSD Director of Transportation Joe Purvis.

In early August, postcards will be sent home to the parents of all potential bus riders giving them the bus stop, times and bus number for their students.

The Transportation Department will operate 166 bus routes and be transporting approximately 19,350 children twice a day when school starts on Monday, August 18. For additional questions or information, call the Transportation Department at 547-7810.

FCAT Writing and Third-Grade FCAT Reading and Math Scores

The St. Johns County School District received scores from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) today for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Writes assessment and for third-grade FCAT 2.0 Reading and Math.

St. Johns County ranked first in the state in third-grade FCAT Reading. Seventy-six percent of third graders were proficient compared to 57 percent for the state. FCAT Reading is part of a statewide educational accountability program designed to measure students’ proficiency in reading in grades three through 10.

St. Johns County was tied for first in the state in third-grade FCAT Math. Seventy-three percent of third graders were proficient compared to 58 percent for the state. FCAT Math is part of a statewide educational accountability program designed to measure students’ proficiency in math in grades three through 10.

On FCAT Writes, 10th-grade students ranked second in the state, while eighth-grade students ranked seventh. Fourth graders were at 51 percent proficient which is lower than the state average of 53 percent. Eighth graders were at 65 percent proficient with the state at 56 percent, and 10th graders were 73 percent proficient with the state at 64 percent.

FCAT Writes is part of a statewide educational accountability program designed to measure students’ proficiency in writing in grades four, eight and 10. Students are required to write a response to a prompt on an assigned topic within a one-hour time period. This year, writing prompts were expository for fourth, eighth and 10th graders.

“I am very proud of the hard work and efforts by our students, teachers, school administration, parents and district staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. The upward trend in third grade reading and math assessments is encouraging. This is reflective of the increased rigor and expectations as we prepare to administer a new state assessment for these subject areas next year.”

“I am also pleased by our increase in FCAT writing scores in eighth and 10th grades, and I would be remiss in not addressing the unexpected drop in fourth-grade scores resulting in a decreased ranking from second place in the state to 28th place,” stated Joyner. “While we are still reviewing these scores throughout the district, we are simultaneously working on a plan to ensure that this disparity is corrected and students will be well prepared for next year’s assessment.”

Scores for fourth through 10th grades in reading, math and science (fifth and eighth grades only) have not been issued by FLDOE yet. Additional information can be found at

Principal Appointments for Ponte Vedra High School and Fruit Cove Middle School

Steve McCormick, principal of Fruit Cove Middle School (FCMS), has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS). McCormick will replace Principal Craig Speziale who lost his battle against cancer earlier this year.

Lynn O’Connor, assistant principal of PVHS, has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of FCMS. Recommendations for McCormick and O’Connor will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at their June 10 meeting.

McCormick has been employed with the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) since 1995 and is in his seventh year as principal of FCMS. He has also served as dean of students at Bartram Trail and Allen D. Nease high schools and served as assistant principal at Alice B. Landrum Middle School (LMS) and Bartram Trail High School.

FCMS has been an “A” school every year throughout McCormick’s tenure. In 2011 it received recognition as the fifth-highest ranked middle school in the state of Florida. FCMS has received the Golden School Award each year since 2007 for exemplary volunteer programs, as well as the Five Star School designation for community involvement.

“Obviously, replacing Craig is a very difficult task. I know that Steve McCormick is a leader who will carry on the excellence at Ponte Vedra High School,” said Joyner. “He is an experienced, high-performing principal with a great knowledge of the needs of the students and the community. He will be an outstanding principal at PVHS.”

McCormick holds a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at Cortland, a master’s degree from Indiana State University and a certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve the Ponte Vedra community,” said McCormick. “Craig Speziale was an exceptional leader, friend, and mentor. He instilled a love of learning coupled with high expectations in everyone he touched. As a community, we will continue building on this tradition of excellence both in and out of the classroom.”

O’Connor has more than 30 years in education with the last 18 years spent with the SJCSD. She started her career in St. Johns County as a secondary science teacher at Landrum Middle School (LMS). She was at LMS for nine years before joining the district administration as the program coordinator for Gifted Education and subsequently the program specialist for Secondary Science and Gifted Education. She then served as the curriculum resource coordinator at FCMS and the assistant principal at LMS before joining PVHS as the assistant principal in 2012. Throughout her long career she was also a teacher in Owego, NY and in Duval County.

“Lynn O’Connor is the perfect leader to carry on the great work at Fruit Cove,” stated Joyner. “She has the heart of a middle school leader, and will take the school to the next level of excellence. Her strength in instructional leadership, relationship building and overall school management make her an ideal fit.” She has served in several professional service committees at the school, district and even state levels in which many of these were focused on improving secondary education. She was chosen as the Teacher of the Year at LMS in 2004 and was also a National Science Teacher Association award winner in 1983.

O’Connor holds a bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, a master’s degree from the University of South Florida and a certificate in Educational Leadership and Gifted Endorsement from the University of North Florida.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead such an outstanding school as Fruit Cove Middle School,” said O’Connor. “It is my goal to continue the academic excellence that has been put in place by Mr. McCormick and his staff and is exhibited every year by their students. Not only is Fruit Cove strong academically, but it has superior extra-curricular opportunities which make the middle school years more rewarding. My passion has always been for middle grades children by helping them to successfully navigate those challenging pre-teen years and by working closely with the parents, teachers and the community.”

Principal Appointment for Ocean Palms Elementary School

Jessica Richardson, assistant principal at Cunningham Creek Elementary School (CCES), has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Ocean Palms Elementary School. Her nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at its June 10 meeting.

She will replace Principal Betsy Wierda, who has announced her retirement following this school year.

“We wish to express our gratitude to Betsy Wierda for her years of service to the children in St. Johns County,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “The passion and dedication she displayed in her work is greatly appreciated.”

Richardson started her teaching career in St. Johns County 15 years ago and is in her third year of serving as assistant principal at CCES. She has taught second, third and fourth grade as well as served as an instructional literacy coach. Before joining CCES she worked at PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School and Ocean Palms Elementary School, where she held her first position with the district as a third-grade teacher. Richardson’s fondest memories of teaching come from years spent working with students in the unique learning environment that an inclusion classroom offers.

Richardson was chosen as the Assistant Principal of the Year for the district and is currently serving in that capacity. Seeing students actively engaged in learning and growing as leaders is why Richardson became a teacher and ultimately why she decided to become an administrator. She is committed to high standards and expectations of excellence in education, collaborative leadership models, and meeting the learning and life needs of the students, staff, and families.

“I knew immediately who would be a great candidate for the next principal at Ocean Palms,” stated Joyner. “Jessica Richardson is an outstanding instructional leader with excellent skills in all areas. I have great confidence in her ability and know she will serve the community effectively.”

Richardson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida, a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in the area of Middle Childhood Generalist.

“I am overjoyed with the opportunity to return to Ocean Palms in the capacity of principal,” said Richardson. “Continuing the strong foundation of excellence that has been established by Mrs. Betsy Weirda and her staff is a privilege. It is with a humble heart and a great sense of enthusiasm that I embark on this new journey alongside the amazing staff and community of Ocean Palms Elementary.”

Cullipher Announced as Teacher of the Year State Finalist

For 26 years, Macy’s has honored the most exceptional educators in Florida who make magic in and out of their classrooms every day. Now it is time for an extraordinary teacher to receive a magical, unforgettable and well-deserved honor for her commitment to her students. Daryl Cullipher of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County has been chosen as one of five finalists to compete for the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award!

On Friday, May 9, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, along with Lee O’Rourke, District Vice President of Macy’s Northern Florida, were on hand at St. Augustine High School to make the big surprise announcement. The English Language Arts and Teaching Academy teacher will be called by Principal Cathy Mittelstadt and told that she has been chosen as one of five finalists for the prestigious honor. This year’s surprise announcement happens to fall during National Teacher Appreciation Week, a weeklong celebration of teachers in the U.S.

Upon receiving the good news, Ms. Cullipher was presented with a $5,000 check made possible by the Macy’s Foundation and a $500 Macy’s gift card. A $1,000 check, also funded by the Macy’s Foundation, was presented to St. Augustine High School. This year, the Macy’s Foundation will contribute over $100,000 in cash to the state-run Teacher of the Year program, as it has done since 1988.

“Teachers challenge our children to believe and achieve a better tomorrow. We are honored to support Florida’s teachers, who are the backbone of Florida’s educational system,” said Macy’s Executive Vice President and Regional Director of Stores Darlene Hanes. “Macy’s thanks Daryl Cullipher for making her classroom a magical place for her students and inspiring them to reach their full potential.”

“I am so proud of the teachers who stood out among their peers to be chosen as statewide finalists for Florida’s Macy’s Teacher of the Year,” said Commissioner Pam Stewart. “These educators exemplify the talent, passion and dedication needed to excite Florida’s students about learning as we help prepare them for success in college, career and life.”

The winner of the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award will be announced during a ceremony on Thursday, July 10, 2014. The event, hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Deborah Norville, will be held at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios CityWalk.

For the 26th year, Macy’s will sponsor and produce the awards ceremony. During the event, the remaining 67 nominees from around the state will be recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching. Each of the nominees will be presented with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their school, funded by the Macy’s Foundation.

In addition to a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, the Teacher of the Year will receive awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The winner will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State. To date, Macy’s and the Macy’s Foundation have contributed over $2.6 million to teachers throughout the state.

This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. Each finalist is selected on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

About Macy’s Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy’s offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy’s flagship stores — including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California — are known internationally and leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers, employees and Macy’s Foundation, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $70 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.

For Macy’s media materials, including images and contacts, please visit our online pressroom at

Principal Appointment for Pacetti Bay Middle School

Jay Willets, principal at John A. Crookshank Elementary School (CES), has been selected by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner to be the principal of Pacetti Bay Middle School (PBMS). His nomination will be presented to the St. Johns County School Board at their June 10 meeting.

He will replace Principal Sue Sparkman, who has announced her retirement following this school year. Sparkman will stay on as a principal until June 30.

“Sue Sparkman has been a dedicated educator in St. Johns County for many years,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “Her service and devotion to our children will never be forgotten.”

Willets has more than 20 years of experience in the St. Johns County School District and started his career as a teacher at Switzerland Point Middle School (SPMS) and St. Augustine High School. He then served as an assistant principal and principal of the district’s Alternative Schools before serving as principal of St. Johns Technical High School. He joined CES in 2007 and has been the principal there for the last seven years.

“Jay Willets is the perfect choice to carry on the great work at Pacetti Bay,” said Joyner. “He is an exceptional educational leader with a clear understanding of high-quality instruction. I have a great deal of confidence and respect for Jay, and I know he will be an outstanding principal for Pacetti Bay.”

He was named St. Johns County’s Principal of the Year in 2007. Active in the community, Willets is on the board of the THE PLAYERS Championship Boys and Girls Club and serves on the Department of Education Advisory Committee at Flagler College. He holds bachelor’s degrees in elementary and special education from Flagler College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of North Florida.

“I am truly excited to become an active member of the Pacetti Bay Wildcat family,” said Willets. “Having had the opportunity to work with Ms. Sparkman at SPMS, I feel fortunate to continue her legacy of academic and cultural excellence with the students, staff and community of PBMS.”

American Youth Character Awards

More than 90 students were recognized for their exemplary character at the 14th annual American Youth Character Awards (AYCA) Banquet held Thursday, May 1 at Anastasia Baptist Church.

Thirty-one seniors were recognized, along with 54 juniors from Bartram Trail, Creekside, Pedro Menendez, Nease, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine and St. Johns Technical high schools as well as the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Beacon of Hope Christian School and St. Joseph Academy. Students invited their parents as well as a mentor who has served as a character role model for them.

Criteria for the AYCA awards is based on the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. These awards recognize students for serving as good role models for their peers. Nominees were evaluated on the basis of the influence of the Six Pillars in their lives, especially as they relate to overcoming obstacles, making difficult choices, generosity and self-sacrifice, and community service. All honorees received certificates, pins and school letters. In addition, each senior received a $400 award in recognition of their exemplary character.

Eight other seniors were honored as Pursuing Victory with Honor nominees for displaying the Six Pillars of Character on the athletic field. The overall winner received a $1,000 check and the other school finalists each received $400.

The senior award recipients were Jeremiah Bauer, Jacob Coley, Caleb Grantham and Surina Samaroo of Bartram Trail High School; Jordan Chasteen, Hank Mengel, Bria Pickett and Rachel Sizemore of Creekside High School; Joshua Antal and Kyle McCreath of Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind; Stephen Giannelli Jr., Rebecca King, Mikayla Page and Xynacious Ware of Pedro Menendez High School; William Duncan, Madeline Leibin, Kevin Andrew Linder and Madison Stenzel of Nease High School; Haley Baxter, Sean O’Linn, Alexandra Schur and Reed Waldenmaier of Ponte Vedra High School; Mercy Adeshola, Molly Clukey, Savannah Perry and Victoria Regan of St. Augustine High School; Kenisa Warren of St. Johns Technical High School; Anna Bonura of St. Joseph Academy; Skyler Kavanaugh of St. Johns Virtual School; and Robert Hamilton and Brett Perry of Beacon of Hope Christian School.

The junior nominees were as follows:

Bartram Trail High School – Brandon Chiedo, Kyle Dean, Clare Difato, Michael Frick, Alyssamarie Jessen, Jacob Mlynarczyk, Kara Stanaland, Dorthea West

Creekside High School – Hunter Clary, Rachel Gupton, Caroline Kim, Abby Murphy, Alexander Orta, Austin Perkins, Youry Pierre-Louis and Sydney Van Dyke

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind – Edward Cicio and Wes Homewood

Pedro Menendez High School – Jenna Abell, Sarah Cavacini, Amy Costeira, Benjamin Damus, Emily Kayworth, Savannah LeFors, Ivan Martinez and Summer Perritt

Nease High School – Alexandra Blackwell, Katelyn Dyal, John Kahlbaugh, Laura Londono, Patrick Meier, Mikayla Mitchell, Ross Rabalais and Justin Swicegood

Ponte Vedra High School Alex Barnett, Justine Binkley, Rachel Bowersox, Quinn Carey, Mathew Norton, Matthew Plunkett, Kelly Roy, Mary Grace Scully

St. Augustine High School – Emily Bennett, Tresca Esguerra, Sarah Lewis, Luke Mahan, Tiausha Oxendine, Justin Roberts, Hollis Washburn and Travien Wright

St. Johns Technical High School – Keyjah Daniels

St. Joseph Academy – Paige Sharp and Thompson Hinman

St. Johns Virtual School – William Cromar

Nine years ago the law firm of Upchurch, Bailey and Upchurch, P.A. established the David Macaulay Mathis Memorial Pursuing Victory with Honor Award to recognize a varsity athlete who exhibits the Six Pillars of Character. David Mathis was a 1999 International Baccalaureate graduate of Nease High School who was active in the Naval JROTC program and was a member of the varsity basketball team.

This year’s Pursuing Victory with Honor Award winner was Trevon Bryant of Pedro Menendez High School. The other school finalists were Hannah Giangaspro of Bartram Trail High School, Allison Davanzo of Creekside High School, Kyle McCreath of Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Elena Castello of Nease High School, Avery Geehr of Ponte Vedra High School, Robert Gober IV of St. Augustine High School and Tyler Thibault of St. Joseph Academy.

The Tucker McCarty Character Counts! Scholarship has been established by Delaine and Obie McCarty to memorialize their son, Tucker, a graduate of Pedro Menendez High School and a student at the University of Florida. This scholarship is awarded to a student, like Tucker, who exudes good character in an effort to make the world a better place. Jacob Coley of Bartram Trail High School was awarded this year’s Tucker McCarty Character Counts! Scholarship.

This year’s event was presented by Character Counts! of St. Johns County with support from the following partners and co-partners: Beaver Toyota, Jacksonville Jaguars, Northrop Grumman, The Bailey Group, Ameris Bank, Leonard’s, RGS Jostens, Flagler Hospital, Upchurch, Bailey and Upchurch P.A., Allen Family Businesses (The Feed Store and Water Works), Chick-Fil-A, and United Way of St. Johns County. Many other businesses, civic organizations and individuals also contributed to this event.