Friday, June 19, 2020

Pictured very top:
Dayron Rojas is one of only 31 juniors across the United States to be selected for the 2020 Alexander Hamilton Scholars Award. Please see his success story below!
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Colonial High School

Speaking during our Class of 2020 virtual graduation ceremony. 
As we have in past years, we are running a few summer break issues of the Colonial Connection to include important reminders and other news for our school community. I hope this first issue finds your summer going very well so far.

If you have not yet checked, report cards were posted to Skyward on Monday. Thank you again to all of our Grenadiers, their families, and our educators for the outstanding effort put forth during the last nine weeks. I hope every student received the final grades they deserved!

Finally, to all of our Colonial fathers, grandfathers, and other important family & friend role models, best wishes for a Happy Father's Day!

It's Great To Be A Grenadier!

Dr. Maestre

Thank you to those seniors who were also members of our 2019-2020 chorus for their beautiful performance during the virtual graduation!

Content and Important Events

In this Issue (Click link)
Dates to Watch For
June 15: Report cards posted online to Skyward
June 21: Happy Father's Day!
August 10: Start of 2020-2021 school year  
* District and school campus hours for the summer are Monday - Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Fridays. (Appointments only.) 

Student Spotlightstudentspotlight
Dayron Rojas, Class of 2021

Dayron Rojas is one of only 31 juniors across the United States to be selected for the 2020 Alexander Hamilton Scholars Award.  Dayron is not only dedicated to academic excellence, his contributions to his school and the greater community demonstrate his commitment to leadership through service. 

As the treasurer of our Student Government Association, his leadership of student committees and campus event planning has led to increased participation and school spirit amongst our student body. As the President of Key Club, Dayron has led multiple service events benefiting community programs, including food distribution and outreach through local churches.  Dayron's humble spirit of giving is an inspiration to his peers and school leaders.  We are so proud of this outstanding young man! Congratulations, Dayron!

Ms. Stuart, Dayron's counselor, had a few words to share about Dayron:

Dayron is an exceptional leader, in every way. His character and fortitude in the face of adversity are unparalleled, coupled with the fact that he has a smile that doesn't quit.  The entire first year I met Dayron I kept asking him, Are you sure you're not a senior?  His level of maturity and the questions that he asked always made me think he was older than the sophomore he was. This is not to say he is boastful or overconfident-he is the opposite, always respectful and humble. I KNOW that Dayron will go far - everything about him says so.

Dayron Rojas with Misael Fuentes (far left) and Victoria Lopez, all members of Colonial's Student Government Association at the opening of Colonial's brand new Performing Arts Center last August.

About the Alexander Hamilton Scholars 2020 Cohort
These 31 young adults from across the United States exhibit the highest standards of character and leadership through service, selected from a pool of over 600 high-achieving high school juniors nationwide. (If you click on the link below all 31 of the 2020 scholars from across the United States have been featured.)


Staff Spotlightstaffspotlight
Meet Mr. & Mrs. Witham, our Academic Deans!
This dynamic couple brings together many of Colonial High School's academic resources for all of our students While they focus on serving students who are not currently on track for graduation on the Colonial High School Main Campus, they work with all of our students wherever there is need. They meet with students and families to create focused plans that help our students reach that graduation finish line, and they work with our Edgenuity courses for course recovery. They also coordinate with our Guidance Department and Reading Teachers for SAT and ACT attendance as well as helping all students pursue their Post-Secondary options like College, Career, and the Military. You will see them coordinating many of our Academic-Related Events and Celebrations like our Honor Roll Breakfasts, our 4.0 Breakfasts, and Graduation.

They have been married for 9 ½ years, with six children between them. Their oldest just graduated high school as part of the class of 2020 and will be attending UCF this Fall (Go Knights!) Their family would not be complete without their six cats and two big dogs - a Great Dane and a Saint Bernard. If you visit their office, you will see their love of travel, particularly RVing, posted all over their walls in amazing pictures.

Come by and see them in office 1-145 for any academic or life related help!             
Summer Reading Assignmentssummerreading

Literacy: Summer Update from our Media SpecialistsLiteracy
Memos from the Media Center . . .

Our library has E-Books for the students to read at home. The steps to access them on Launchpad are:
1. Click on the "Library Research Tools" button
2. Click on the "Follet Destiny" button Questions and Answers about Follett
3. It will open to our school library and they will automatically see all the e-books available.
4. Students will see the e-books banner with their covers.
5. They can use the arrows on the banner or click "See all" button
6. Choose the book
7. Click on the "Open" button
8. Start reading

We have the Florida Teens Read books and others. And students can bookmark the page where they left off. Students, please remember to log in your minutes on Beanstack.

The steps for Beanstack:
1. Click on the Beanstack app Beanstack » Marshes of Glynn Libraries
2. Click on the "Log Reading" button
3. Click on the "Minutes" button
4. Students will click on the day of the reading
5. They will enter the minutes read on "Time Spent Reading"
6. They will type the title of the book, as they start inputting the name it will show titles that are similar. They will click on the title of their book.
7. Students can choose to leave a review if they wish
8. Lastly, click the "Log" button.
9. Students, please register on the "Spring into Reading" program. This is a competition program , meaning there are prizes for students and the school with the most logged minutes.

Another great resource for free books for those who prefer listening to read alouds...
Free Audiobooks: Available now through the end of the summer:

Thank you, stay safe, and have a great summer!

Andrea Parisi & Aimee Havrilesko
Media Specialists: Main Campus and 9th Grade Center

Club Feature: Colonial's FFA Chapter #1ffa

After the points for student performance in state FFA career development events were tabulated, the 2019-2020 top OCPS high school FFA chapter has been determined. With 2 state championships, 4 additional top five state honors and some state high individual scorer honors, Orlando-Colonial High School FFA is the top high school FFA chapter. Congratulations to all of our FFA Members and their sponsor, Ms. Paioff!

Summer Break Reminders . . .summerbreakreminders

Avoiding the "Summer Slide"
Students, since you are able to keep your laptops during the summer, please keep practicing on our digital platforms! Reading Plus, Math XL, Khan Academy, and Beanstack will each offer practice with academic skills.

Yearbook Sales
Students can still order the yearbook online at School Pay for $50.00. The price has not increased and will remain at the current price. There is a limited supply and orders will be processed in the order in which they are received.  Be sure to take a screenshot or save a copy of the final purchase confirmation page for your records. Please contact Mrs. Sharon Christensen-Jones ( to confirm your online purchase of the yearbook.

Parents and students we know that during this time of distance learning, you may have various questions. The CHS Students Services team has created a Frequently Asked Questions document  to answer questions that you may have. Direct link here:

Class of 2021 Senior Portraits

Class of 2020 Senior Awards
If you were unable to view the Senior Awards, please visit the link on the graphic below.

Copy of Virtual Graduation Ceremony

Several of our Class of 2020 graduates applauding during this year's virtual graduation ceremony.

Salutatorian Lynette Sagardia prepares to deliver her message for this year's graduates.

Student Services Newsletterstudentservicesnewsletter


All college-bound students should take both the ACT and the SAT one time in their junior year.

A second test in SAT and/or ACT is recommended again in the junior year or at the latest in the fall of the senior year. Students who have free/reduced lunch can take both the SAT 2 times (not including the school day SATs) and the ACT 2 times for FREE.

Students who have not passed the FSA and have used all of your SAT/ACT waivers, please see your counselor to discuss your options.

If you want a SAT waiver, check your CollegeBoard account first to see if your free test waivers are already unlocked. If not, then see your counselor for a SAT waiver! If you want an ACT waiver, see your counselor.
FSA Passing Alternatives
Students who have not passed the FSA Grade 10 Reading or Algebra 1 FSA should register to take the SAT and/or ACT to achieve FSA Grade 10 Reading or Algebra 1 FSA concordant scores. Earning a concordant score means that you will no longer have to continue taking the FSA Grade 10 reading or the Algebra 1 FSA (you would be considered "all set" for graduation!). There are different sections in different exams that can be used to meet these two testing requirements. The charts below break down, by grade level, what test you would need to take and what score you would need to earn to be considered "all set".

Keep in mind, students would only need to earn ONE of the following scores in order to satisfy the FSA Grade 10 Reading or Algebra 1 FSA graduation requirement. Graduation concordant scores were updated by the Florida Department of Education Summer 2018, so carefully check your graduating class below to see what you would need to meet your class's graduation

Summer Resources for all Studentssummerstudentresources

Summer Meal Service 
Summer meals will be distributed Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon on the Colonial High School Campus. Students and/or a parent or guardian can pick up breakfast and lunch. On Thursday, they can pick up two days of breakfast and lunch.

Teen Xpress Health Services 
Teen Xpress has returned to our Main Campus to provide health services at Colonial High School. Teen Xpress services are open to any Orange County students from 11 to 18 years old. Services are free and you do not need to have insurance. Consent forms are available in the front office. Please call today for your appointment 321-842-1766 or for Spanish 321-842-1765.


Community Health Carecommunityhealthcare

Central Florida Health Insurance Navigator
A health insurance navigator will meet with you in person and help you apply for health insurance. They will explain how much financial help you'll receive. They will also help you understand how to avoid high medical bills by finding a source of primary care and teaching you how to get the most of all your insurance benefits.

Primary Care Access Network
PCAN locations offer a sliding fee scale for uninsured patients in order to receive a discount for health care services based on household income and family size. Medications are not provided free, but patients can usually get prescriptions filled at a discounted cost.

Primary Health Care Locations:
True Health Medical/Dental - 407-322-8645
True Health Prenatal Care - 321-259-BABY (2229)
Community Health Centers - 407-905-8827
Orange Blossom Family Health - 407-428-5751
Grace Medical Home - 407-936-2785

Arrive at least 30 minutes before appointment and bring:
  • Identification such as photo I.D. and Social Security Card (if available).
  • Insurance Card (Prior to appointment, call the phone number on your card to determine your assigned primary care doctor.) If you are uninsured, you can find out if you might qualify for affordable health insurance by calling 1-877-564-5031.
  • If you are applying for sliding fee scale, proof of income for everyone in family is needed (at least four pay stubs or if you are self-employed your most recent W2 form)
  • For children, must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and bring proof of guardianship (such as birth certificate)
  • If recently discharged from the hospital, discharge papers and any current medications.
Emotional/Mental Health Support
Florida Blue is offering a free Bilingual 24 helpline to any Floridian, insured or not, for support in managing feelings of stress, anxiety, grief or fear related to the virus.

The phone number is: 833-848-1762

Here is the link with more information:

Other Community Resources
Call 211 for financial assistance, health programs, crisis support and more.

For additional resources contact Hilda Tolentino, CHS SAFE Coordinator:

Vital Signsvitalsigns

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; data table

The STEM jobs "periodic table" also shows projected growth rates by type of STEM position and average annual salaries in the USA. Please click here for a larger PDF view. 

Friday's Motivational Momentmm

You'll Find Them Here Too 
There's a story about a man who went to a small town in central Florida with the thought of possibly moving his family down  from up north. "What kind of people live around here?" he asked the clerk at a convenience store.

"Well," the clerk replied as he rang up the man's purchase, "what kind of people live back where you're from?" The visitor took a swallow of his cherry soda and replied, "They're angry, mean a lot, and dishonest!"

The clerk looked up and answered, "Mister, you'll find them about like that around here, too."

A few weeks later, another gentleman stopped by the same convenience mart on a muggy July afternoon with the same question.

"Excuse me," he said as he wiped off his forehead. "I'm thinking of moving to your town with my family. What kind of people live around this part of Florida?"

Again, the clerk asked, "Well, what kind of people live back where you're from?"

The stranger thought for a moment and replied, "I find them to be kind, friendly, and honest people."

The clerk looked up and said, "Mister, you'll find them about like that around here, too."

It's so true. You often find what you're looking for.

Perhaps the saying "perception is reality" came from the exact same story. How we view the world around us is often given right back to us, as the clerk pointed out. It goes back to the age-old maxim, "treat others how you would like to be treated."

If these past three months of 2020 have taught us anything, it's that having respect and understanding for all those we share this experience called life with is absolutely vital. Let's find the kind, friendly, honest side in all of us, starting with ourselves.  
Have a great weekend Grenadiers!

Dr. Maestre, Principal 
Colonial High School 
Friday, June 19, 2020 

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Leadership Team

chs Principal: Dr. Hector Maestre
Assistant Principal: Ms. Elizabeth Fuller
Assistant Principal: Mr. Jason Jimenez
Assistant Principal: Mr. Jonathan Zenzel
Assistant Principal: Ms. Kimberly Parsons
Assistant Principal: Ms. Maricarmen Aponte
Assistant Principal: Mr. Michael Mezger
Assistant Principal: Ms. Mary Vetter
Leadership Team Biographies: Leadership Team Biographies

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Copyright Notice
Reproduction of this material, either written or electronically, including the general layout, graphics, analyses, and content topics without the express approval of Target Performance Systems, Inc., a Florida corporation, and OCPS-Colonial High School is forbidden without written consent.  Thank you for your support of the Orange County Public Schools and OCPS-Colonial High School. Please contact Ms. Mary Vetter (assistant principal) at with any questions.