Student Spotlights October 2022

E.R. Dicksons Third and Fourth Grade Authors 4th grade 1
Every month we compile a list of students and schools doing great things across our community.  We have so many talented students in our area.  Greater Pensacola Parents joins with these families and schools to celebrate their achievements!

Escambia County Public Schools - Take Stock in Children Announces 26 New Students Selected for Scholarship Program

Take Stock in Children recently welcomed 26 new scholarship recipients at the annual Take Stock Kickoff Dinner. This year’s students include 18 new 7th graders, seven new 8th graders and one new 9th grader (alternate). There are now 141 students in grades 7-12 in Escambia County’s program. Students will receive a college scholarship upon graduation from high school as long as they maintain good grades, attendance and citizenship, remain crime and drug free, and meet weekly with a volunteer community mentor. Take Stock in Children is a statewide non-profit organization operating locally under the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation. Take Stock provides “scholarships, mentors & hope” to deserving young people selected through a need-based application process through the public middle schools at the end of their 6th or 7th grade year. Scholarship donations from local foundations, organizations, businesses and individuals are matched dollar-for-dollar when scholarships are purchased from Florida Prepaid College Foundation each year and are held until students graduate from high school.
The newly selected students include:
Bailey Middle – Cheyanne Dietz, Kiley Johnson, Addison Nguyen
Bellview Middle – Ashton Caldwell
Beulah Middle – Kemorah Crosby
Brown Barge Middle – Olivia Capell, Ke’Oni Laster, Eric Lin, Zykeria Murphy
Ernest Ward Middle – Hailey Carillo, Nicole Garcia, Randi Kemp, Sarah Lowman, Chloe Satterwhite
Ferry Pass Middle – Trenton Brown, Kennedi Collins, Tania Collins, Vann Hootman, Shaniyah Polingo
Ransom Middle – Amy Floyd, Alaina Thomas, Tam Tran, Kassidy Weiss
Workman Middle – Christian Batista Cruz, Lyadenisse Toro De Jesus
Tate High – Christopher Sparks (9th)

For more information about the Take Stock in Children program in Escambia County, contact Sally Lee, 469-5458,

Pensacola High School International Baccalaureate Program Celebrates Historic Diploma Rate

Build Hope for McKemie Place

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Pensacola High School earned an all-time high graduation rate for the 2021-2022 school year. PHS IB students passed 91.8% of all exams, an all-time tested high pass rate.  IB Students also achieved a 92.5% Diplomas, also an all-time high percent received. PHS raised the school grade from a “C” to a “B”.   PHS has not been a “B” school since 2013. “Pensacola High School is a school of tradition and excellence.  Our teachers are knowledgeable in their craft and they united to collaborate in their professional learning communities on standards based instruction, student data, and student engagement in the classroom,” said PHS Principal Saraya Miller.  “Our school mantra is that of unity, and I am very proud of our students and entire PHS staff for uniting as ONE school, ONE dream, and ONE team to rise to the occasion.  Pensacola High School is truly ‘A Step Above the Rest’!”

Pensacola High School is the first and only school in Escambia County to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) full Diploma Program.  The FL Pre-IB program was first implemented in 1986, with the first IB class graduating in 1990.  Beginning in the ninth and tenth grades, students enroll in Florida Pre-IB courses (as well as conventional high school electives) that prepare them for the rigors of the IB diploma program. Students take a mix of IB and AP classes to provide the most rigorous educational opportunities to prepare them for university. Pensacola High School is located at 500 W. Maxwell Street in Pensacola.

Happy 50th Birthday, Creative Learning Academy!

Creative Learning Academy turns the big 5-0 this year! “I am dreaming of a school where children are free to learn and explore the world around them. A vision of a school imagined where children might learn by discovery…where, through their senses, students choose that which helps to joyfully and purposefully construct themselves through activity. Guided, nurtured and encouraged to achieve mastery in these new skills, the students’ self-confidence increases and their love of learning grows”. These were the words and vision of our founder Mary Lee Porter-Hanson and the year was 1971. In September of 1972, the first class of the Montessori Learning Center began at Temple Beth El. There were 30 students under the direction of Ms. Porter with Allison Appel and Sharon Nelson assisting. In 1974, the name of the school was changed to Creative Learning Center. During the 2002-03 school year, Creative Learning Center became Creative Learning Academy and was welcomed into the National Association of Independent Schools. Creative Learning Academy has become one of the most unique independent schools in Pensacola. Founded on the mission to inspire each student to achieve excellence and creativity in a nurturing, inclusive community, these ideals are still the cornerstone of a CLA education today. We are so excited to be celebrating this milestone with all of our current students, families, alums and friends of CLA. Though CLA has evolved and the people inhabiting the school change over time, our community, the sense that every person is a vital part of the whole, continues to be a central part of CLA’s identity. The community of parents, teachers, and students that first became Creative Learning Center almost 50 years ago laid a strong foundation and a framework of values that allowed the school to become what it is now. The present Creative Learning Academy community is excited and welcomes the opportunity to build on this rich legacy for the next 50 years.

Pensacola Catholic High School Celebrates our Grandparents

South Alabama Walk to Defeat ALS

Grandparents are our heritage and essential members of our families, and the Catholic High community looks forward to honoring them every year during our Annual Grandparents’ Mass. This year’s celebration took place on Friday, September 9. All CHS grandparents of current, as well as past students, are invited to this special occasion. We begin the event with an informal assembly in the CHS Media Center/Library where grandparents are greeted by our Principal, Sr. Kierstin Martin, and our Student Ambassadors and are provided with a short presentation on the History of Catholic High School given by Rita Lay, Director of Advancement. Mrs. Lay who works closely with our Alumni said, “Many of our grandparents are alumni of CHS and could probably lead the presentation on its history. The problem is that it would probably take longer than the time allotted because our Alumni also love to share their “stories” and fond memories of their time here.” Grandparents are then escorted to the Gymnasium where they are met by their grandchildren to participate in the celebration of the Mass. This year’s Mass was celebrated by Father Steve Bosso, an Alumnus of the CHS Class of 1970. Various students who had grandparents in attendance participated as Lectors, Music Ministers, Eucharistic Ministers, Gift Bearers, etc. Following the Mass, there was a reception in the Gym for grandparents and grandchildren. Catholic High always looks forward to this special event when we take the time to honor our students’ grandparents.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists - Pensacola Catholic High School

Peter Wood USA Faculty Trumpet Recital

Pensacola Catholic High School is honored to announce the names of the six Seniors who were recently named as Semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Competition – Alexandra Foland, Porter Hanley, Luke Junck, Elizabeth Owens, Sophia Royles, and Tyler Ruble. This year marks the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program with over 16,000 Semifinalists named. Students earned this designation by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in the Fall of 2021. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than one percent of the U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. One of the Semifinalists from CHS scored a perfect score on the PSAT/NMSQT, the National qualifying exam. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition to earn one of the 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth a total of nearly $28 M that will be offered in the Spring of 2023. To be considered and named a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Pictured from left to right, Catholic High School National Merit Semifinalists: Sophia Royles, Tyler Ruble, Elizabeth Owens, Luke Junck, Alexandra Foland, and Porter Hanley

East Hill’s Leadership Class

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David Muniz is an active-duty Navy Chief/SAR Swimmer with 12 years of service. He has been in Mrs. Smith’s leadership class teaching about warrior toughness. This is mainly in regards to culture and looking into the 3 P’s (Problems, Pressures, and Plans). He had students use the 3 P skills to help develop leadership skills to apply to their personal life and the academic school year.

CHS Class of 1958 Passes on a Piece of History

Recently, members of the Pensacola Catholic High School Class of 1958 visited campus to officially hand over a piece of Catholic High history – a scale model of the original Pensacola Catholic High School that was located on the corner of Garden and Baylen Streets in Downtown Pensacola. Catholic High was located there beginning in 1941 when Bishop Thomas J. Toolen centralized all Catholic secondary education in Pensacola. Not much is known about the origin of the model – Who made it? How old is it? Was there a purpose for the model? Here is what we do know –– When “The Class of CHS”, which they affectionately like to call themselves, was planning their 30th class reunion in 1988, they acquired the model from Fr. John Licari, their former Religion Teacher. For the next 34 years, the model was used during class reunions and get-togethers to help classmates remember “the good ‘ole days”. Classmates took turns being the custodian of the model between events. The Class of 1958 is the last class to graduate from the “original” Catholic High School, after spending all four years there. Their Junior classmates that year started in the Fall of 1958 as Seniors at the “new” Catholic High located on West Scott Street. The 1958 classmates remember referring to the new school as being “out in the boonies” as West Scott Street was still a clay dirt road. After a recent get-together, the Class decided that it was now time to pass the model on to Catholic High, and on September 2 Principal Sister Kierstin Martin, other members of CHS Administration, and Juliet Messerly, Student Council Secretary, graciously accepted the gift on behalf of Catholic High.

East Hill’s Senior Retreat

On September 2nd and 3rd, the senior class enjoyed a retreat to kick off their senior year and encourage unity amongst the class. On Friday, the class, along with their sponsors Mrs.Hitchcock and Mr. Waters had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. After breakfast, they listened to a devotional talk given by Alyssa Schepper, the owner of multiple local businesses in Pace. Then they spent the day at Pensacola Beach, enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring the Boardwalk. That afternoon, Nathan Witter, former administrator at East Hill Christian School, joined the class on the Boardwalk and gave a devotional talk and prayed for the seniors. Friday evening, they enjoyed the varsity volleyball game followed by a lock-in in the gym with pizza, games, and little sleep. On Saturday, the class enjoyed the day in the theme park and water park at OWA in Foley. The senior retreat was a great way for the class of 2023 to start their final year of high school.

East Hill’s 4th Grade Moon Study

East Hill’s 4th grade class has been studying the moon. The class used Oreo’s to study the different phases of the moon. They even created their very own Salt Dough Moon sculptures. This was a very yummy way to study the moon!

Joana Rose
Author: Joana Rose


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