Friday, October 19, 2018

Former Gulf High School Star Alton Voss to Address Students

New Port Richey, FL – (October 19, 2018) – Former Gulf High School football star Alton Voss will tell his story of drugs and triumph over addiction during an assembly at 8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, October 23, at Gulf High School.

The school speaking tour started when School Board Member Steve Luikart, Pasco Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Jenkins, Robin Wright, Orville Williamson, and Rev. Jim Campbell got together seven months ago to discuss how to address teenage drug use.

“We thought we could help make an impact through education,” said Luikart. “The goal was to start by hitting every middle and high school each year, and hopefully see an impact after five years.”

The addiction crisis is on the rise, and Florida is far worse than the national average. Alton Voss is on a mission to prevent young people from making the same mistakes he made by sharing his story. He grew up in New Port Richey and understands the issues faced on a day to day basis by our students. As a 3-star recruit from Gulf High School, with dreams of playing in the NFL, he earned a full-ride to play football at the University of South Florida. He threw it all away by choosing alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with issues of anxiety, depression, failure and unmet expectations. Given a second chance at life, he played four years at Grand Valley State University earning All-Conference honors and the McAvoy Character Award, while graduating with a degree in Communications. He played professional football overseas in the German Football League for the Potsdam Royals. Alton speaks from experience and wants to share his message of success, failure, redemption, and second chances because he cares and believes that by sharing his story, he can positively impact the lives of those who hear it.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Scholarship Finalists Announced for Pasco Student-Athletes

Congratulations to PCA’s Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship Award Finalists

Student-athletes from six Pasco County High Schools have been recognized by Positive Coaching Alliance-Tampa Bay as finalists from the Class of 2019 for the Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship Awards Presented by Sagicor Life Insurance Company.

Fivay: Cole Waide, Cross Country/Soccer/Track
Gulf: Zoey Cupps, Cheerleading/Tennis
J.W. Mitchell: Brenan Breuer, Soccer
Land O’Lakes: Estefonia Acosta, Cross Country/Track
Sunlake: Shea Forgas, Softball
Wiregrass Ranch: Jessica Amis, Cross Country/Soccer

PCA-Tampa Bay’s Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship program honors Bay area high school student-athletes who impact sport on three levels by making themselves, their teammates and the game they play better. These student-athletes serve as a model for all student-athletes in the community by living up to the principles PCA-Tampa Bay cultivates.

Student-athletes participate in community education programs delivered in conjunction with Hillsborough County Public Schools, Pasco County Schools, Manatee County Schools, and Pinellas County Schools. Over 3,000 applications were received nationally, and PCA-Tampa Bay is proud to recognize 44 Bay-area finalists!

Thanks to Sagicor Life’s generosity, whom underwrites the scholarship program, PCA-Tampa Bay has awarded over $150,000 to deserving student athletes, and will once again be giving away at least $50,000 to Finalists from the Class of 2019.

Please visit

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Pasco Schools Wins Gold!

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (October 2, 2018) – Pasco County Schools is a Florida Healthy School District Gold award level winner for the first time.
Penny Taylor, director of the Florida Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools and an executive committee member of Florida Action for Healthy Kids, presented Superintendent Kurt Browning and members of the Pasco County School Board with the Florida Healthy School District GOLD flag at this morning’s school board meeting.  The district will hold the Gold award designation through 2020.

“The Florida Partnership for Healthy Schools, Florida Action for Healthy Kids, Florida Association of District School Superintendents, and Florida Healthy Kids Corporation applaud your district for establishing a culture and climate in which students and staff can reach their personal potential and for continuing to serve as a leader in the state in reducing and eliminating the barriers to learning, resulting in increased academic achievement,” said Ms. Taylor.

After accepting the banner, Superintendent Browning thanked the members of the district’s School Health Advisory Committee (see video), which provides advocacy for school health and identifies needs and opportunities to maximize community resources.  The committee advises the Board on health education and initiated the district’s no-smoking policy, among other initiatives.

Pasco County Schools earned the Silver award in 2016, and has been recognized as a Florida Healthy School District consistently since 2012.

To earn the Gold award, the district demonstrated high scores in all areas, as follows:

94% Healthy School Environment
93% Employee Wellness
90% Health Services
86% District Infrastructure
84% Physical Education
82% Counseling Psychological and Social Services
80% Health Education

The Florida Partnership for Healthy Schools is a grassroots partnership whose members represent not-for-profits such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Florida Action for Healthy Kids, and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation; professional  associations of hospitals, dentists, pediatricians, family practitioners, optometrists; school nurses, health educators, and physical educators; insurers, Florida PTA, and other advocates.  The primary purpose of the Partnership is to inform advocacy for school health issues and recognize excellence among Florida school districts.

Photo ID:  Superintendent Kurt Browning, Julie Hedine, Vicki Papaemanuel, Jeannine Welch, Donna Mullens, Amy Ponce, Penny Taylor, Lea Mitchell, Lisa Kern, Melissa Musselwhite, Mark Fox, Linda Cobbe, and School Board Chair Cynthia Armstrong.

Special Olympics Awards Three Pasco County Schools National Recognition

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (October 2, 2018) – Special Olympics named Land O’ Lakes High School, Longleaf Elementary School, and Seven Springs Middle School  2018 National Banner Unified Champion Schools.  Each school will receive a commemorative banner that will be hung on campus to highlight this great, national achievement.

A National Banner School must meet ten standards of excellence among four categories including unified sports, inclusive youth leadership, whole-school engagement, and sustainability.

These ten standards of excellence are:

  1. Unified Sports is offered in at least two seasons throughout the school year.
  2. Unified Sports participation occurs regularly over the course of each sport season or school term and includes competition.
  3. An adult coach for each sport has received training on Special Olympics Unified Sports.
  4. Unified Sports is officially recognized by the school in a similar style as other athletics and activities.
  5. A Unified Club or student group offers leadership opportunities and training for students with and without intellectual disabilities.
  6. The inclusive club meets at least once per month throughout the school year.
  7. The inclusive club has an adult liaison and is officially recognized by the school in a similar style as other clubs.
  8. At least two whole-school engagement activities are implemented per school year.
  9. Students with and without disabilities are involved with planning and leading the awareness activities.
  10. The school is currently self-sustainable or has a plan in place to sustain the three components into the future.

The ten standards of excellence listed above were developed by a national panel of leaders in education and Special Olympics. When a school meets the standards, it is eligible to receive national banner recognition.

Click here to learn more about the National Banner Unified Champion School program.

Wiregrass Elementary Fall into Literacy Night

Who: Wiregrass Elementary students and parents, guest authors, and Pasco County School Board members

What: Fall into Literacy Night

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, October 25

Where: Wiregrass Elementary, 29732 Wiregrass School Road, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

Why: Building on the success of last spring’s STEAM night, Wiregrass Elementary’s Fall into Literacy Night will feature a busy schedule of events showcasing the school’s literacy-related programs and displays of learning. This event will give students an opportunity to show off the work they’ve done so far in their literacy journey.

How: The night will feature student-developed literacy projects such as poems and stories, reading resources for parents, guest authors and story time sessions, an art show, and a pair of musical concerts with performances by the school’s second through fifth grade students.

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