Dennis Named School-Related Employee of the Year

 Patty Dennis, a registered nurse at Cunningham Creek Elementary School, has been named St. Johns County’s 2009-2010 School-Related Employee of the Year. Her selection was announced at a reception held last Thursday at First Coast Technical College.
Ms. Dennis was selected from among 37 nominees for her exemplary job performance, dedication, interpersonal skills, leadership ability, training to upgrade skills and contributions to the school and district environment.
The district winner has worked for the school district for the past 13 years. She attends to the various medical needs of the school’s Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students and medically fragile population and is a first responder to any school crisis. Ms. Dennis helps train other staff members in First Aid/CPR and is always looking for opportunities to share her knowledge and expertise
The Nominating Committee wrote of her selection, “When looking for a candidate to represent what is best about our school, we wanted to find someone who genuinely cares about each and every student. We wanted someone who always goes above and beyond. This person should be well-respected and admired by school personnel, students, parents and the community.”
They added, “We wanted to find someone who finds a way to provide a safe and healthy learning environment and removes obstacles that might contribute to academic difficulties. Was there someone who contributes toward the academic success of our students while addressing the needs of the whole child? Absolutely! That person is Patty Dennis.”
Ms. Dennis’s name has been forwarded to the state where she will compete at the regional level.   

Naturalization Ceremony   Fifty applicants from 50 different countries will participate in a Naturalization Ceremony at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 25 at Cunningham Creek Elementary School (CCES).
CCES is the first school in Northeast Florida to host this type of event. “Engaging our children first hand in the naturalization process is what education is all about,” said fifth grade teacher Kris Burkes, who has been instrumental in arranging the special plans for this occasion. “This is an event our fifth graders will remember long after their elementary years.”
More than 100 fifth graders will be in the audience wearing red, white and blue to show their patriotism and good citizenship.
During the program 14 student ambassadors will speak about different countries, and Ms. Burkes’ homeroom class will perform the Pledge and National Anthem in sign language.
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is the final step before a naturalization applicant becomes a U.S. citizen. During this ritual immigrants confirm their desire to make American their permanent home and pledge their allegiance to the United States of America. Representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will also participate in the ceremony.