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February 2018  
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In this edition of ConnectED:
  • We stand with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

  • Save the Date: Play Fore Education Golf Tournament

  • HEF hosts STEM Fair VIP Preview/student tours

  • Some exciting news about community scholarships

  • Volunteer in the Teaching Tools Store

  • Change a student's life, become a mentor

  • HEF Spotlight: Sharon O'Connor

We stand with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 
In the days since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, the Hillsborough County School District has been monitoring its schools and reviewing security procedures to ensure the safety of its students. 

Last week, each Hillsborough school performed a lockdown and evacuation drill, so students and school employees would know what to expect if there was an active, immediate threat on campus.  

On Friday, the district broadcast a school-security overview video at all schools. 

Meanwhile, local students have participated in gun-violence protests, walkouts and vigils - including one at Curtis Hixon Park on Feb. 19 - in support and honor of the 17 people killed in the shooting. One example: Plant High students conducted a "chalk protest" on the sidewalk outside of their school and created this tribute video

How to help: 
Our hearts go out to the Parkland community. Our partners at the Broward Education Foundation have established a Douglas High Victims' Fund to support the victims and families of the horrific massacre. Please consider making a donation if you can. 

There are two easy ways to give: 
1. Make a donation on the fundraiser's official  GoFundMe page.  
2. Text to Donate: to make a $10 donation, simply text the word "Parkland" to the phone number 20222.

Golfers: Play Fore Education tourney is coming up
Join us for a fun day of golf and help kids in our community at the same time! The Play Fore Education Golf Tournament presented by Batson-Cook is coming up on March 19 at the Avila Golf & Country Club . The format is a team scramble featuring on-course contests and prizes. 

Since 2004, proceeds from the annual tournament have gone to the Hillsborough Education Foundation to support scholarships, mentoring, free school supplies, classroom projects, recognition for educators and more.  

Click here to register by March 12. 

Questions? Contact Sharon O'Connor at

HEF hosts STEM Fair VIP Preview/student tours

At the Hillsborough Education Foundation, we are proud to support STEM education in Hillsborough County Public Schools. hundreds of students from all over the county converged on the Tampa Convention Center Feb. 11-13 for the Hillsborough Regional STEM Fair, sponsored in part by Bristol-Myers Squibb. On Feb. 12, HEF hosted a VIP Preview and student-led tours at the fair. Attendees heard from current and past Fair participants and got an up-close look at some of the projects from the students themselves. 

Thank you to all of our STEM Fair sponsors for their support! 

Click here to view a full Facebook album from the event. 

Students present their STEM Fair projects to a group from Fair sponsor Bristol-Myers Squibb.
From left to right: STEM Fair participant Sebastian Yuskaitis, HEF President Kim Jowell, STEM Fair alumnus Mark Parrish and Superintendent Jeff Eakins.

Thank you, Bristol-Myers Squibb, for supporting STEM in our schools!

Foundation to award community scholarships
We are pleased to report that this spring, we will be able to award 185 high-school seniors in our community with college scholarships, thanks to our generous donors. The scholarship recipients will be notified by the end of March. 

Special thanks to our scholarship-application reviewers who reviewed more than 1,500 applications this year.

Volunteer in the Teaching Tools Store!

We are in need of individuals and groups to volunteer on weekday mornings from 9 -
noon, as well as during shopping hours:
  • Mondays: 2:30-5 p.m.
  • Wednesdays/Thursdays: 3-6 p.m.
For more information, contact Brandi Melton at    or  (813)574-0275.

Change a student's life, become a mentor
If you are looking for a meaningful way to give back, consider becoming a mentor to a HCPS middle- or high-school student. As a mentor, you will meet with your mentee at his or her school weekly throughout the academic year.  Click here  to learn more or to fill out an application.

Schools with the most need: 
Durant High  | Strawberry Crest High  | 
Turkey Creek Middle  | Tampa Bay Tech High   |  
Armwood High

To get matched with a student, contact Brandi Melton at  
or  (813)574-0275.

Sharon O'Connor | Event Coordinator

Responsibilities include:  Coordination and execution of all events related to fundraising and recognition for the Foundation.

Years at HEF: 4

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Ms. Dolly. She was kind to all second-graders, even the awkward ones like me.

What was your first job?
Seamstress in a sewing factory. 
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Kindness - being able to make everyone be kind to all creatures great and small.

What was your most memorable vacation?
Cruise to Alaska. It was relaxing and the scenery was so beautiful.