Academy Awards

  The St. Johns County School District hosted its annual Academy Awards on Thursday, May 5 at the new Northeast Regional Airport Conference Center. The event celebrates business and community partners who are involved in the school district’s career academies.   Highlight of the evening was the presentation of two special Awards of Distinction. The National Safety Commission (NSC) was named Business Partner of the Year for expanding its support to all six district career academies through a service-learning project focusing on the dangers of distracted driving.
NSC actively participates in the project by providing industry knowledge, marketing guidance and in-kind promotional materials to the Communications Academy at Nease High School, which is coordinating the campaign. Partners from NSC also conduct school presentations on driver’s safety and have created a fundraising opportunity as a sustainable means of revenue for the academies. Dennis Oistacher and Kelly Barrera received the award on behalf of NSC. They have been active business partners with the Academy of International Business and Marketing at Ponte Vedra High School and the Communications Academy over the past two years.  They serve on the advisory board, provide input on curriculum and academy activities and offer internships to academy students.
The Rookie Partner of the Year award went to Donna Keathley of Keathley Fashions for her involvement in Bartram Trail High School’s Academy of Design and Construction. Ms. Keathley is a member of the advisory board and has helped arrange student internships, student modeling opportunities and fashion displays featuring student designs.
Three student teams were also recognized for their Project Green engineering projects focusing on “green” building concepts. First place went to Team ECO at Pedro Menendez High School for their unique campsite design. Second place was awarded to Green Chiquitas of Bartram Trail High School for a mall design using low cost alternative energy. Third place went to Team Midori of Creekside High School for their design of an addition to their school to make it more energy efficient.
In addition, scholarships were presented to students from the following business partners: the Air Force Association – Falcon Chapter, Flagler Hospital, Northeast Florida Builders Charitable Foundation, St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club, St. Johns Builders Council, Stellar and Vystar Credit Union.
Partner time and resources dedicated to career academy students has been valued at more than $3.1 million. This “value-added” calculation takes into account the time and resources of more than 8,932 hours of involvement including student and teacher internships, guest speakers, field trip hosts, judges for student competitions, advisory board membership and donations of cash or equipment.  
Paula Chaon, Director for Career Education, was the event coordinator. For more information, you may visit the school district website at