May 2019
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In this edition of ConnectED:
  • The Mayoral Inaugural Ball Raises $200,000 for Take Stock in Children Scholarships
  • Local Teacher of the Year Among the Top Educators in the State!
  • Make a Difference - Support Our Supply Drive
  • "RaysUp" for Education
  • Teacher Appreciation Week - Our Favorite Time of Year
  • Robinson High School Student Awarded a 4-Year Scholarship
  • HEF Honors Mentor and Supporter at the HCPS Volunteer Awards
The Mayoral Inaugural Ball Raises $200,000 for Take Stock in Children Scholarships

A TSIC student smiles during the check presentation at the Mayoral Inaugural Ball hosted by the Economic Club of Tampa and presented by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On May 8th, over 600 of Tampa's community leaders gathered to celebrate our new Mayor Castor at the Economic Club of Tampa's Mayoral Inaugural Ball. Presented by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Ball raised $200,000 for HEF's Take Stock in Children Program. This impressive figure will provide students the opportunity of a scholarship and mentor through our Take Stock in Children program! We are extremely grateful to ECOT and humbled by this incredible display of support from the community!

Several current Take Stock in Children students were in attendance and had the opportunity of greeting the guests and even meeting a few of the Buccaneers' players including William Gholston and Rakeem Nunez-Roches. During dinner, guests heard from Jessica Suarez, a Take Stock in Children alumna who shared the impact that TSIC made in her life not only because of the scholarship, but because of her mentor and Mayoral Ball Committee member, Laura Woodard. Jessica is now a freshman at the University of South Florida and on her way to reaching her dreams. 

This is just one of the success stories that have resulted from our Take Stock in Children program and we are very excited to offer this same opportunity to many other students like Jessica! 

Click here to view our Facebook album of the evening's pictures. 

Interested in becoming a mentor with TSIC? To get matched with a student, contact Anna Laird at or (813) 463-4283. 
Local Teacher of the Year Among the 
Top Educators in the State!

Dr. Dakeyan Graham receives a second Surprise Patrol visit to his classroom at King High
On  May 8th Dr. Dakeyan Graham, Hillsborough County's Teacher of the Year received a second Surprise Patrol visit to his classroom - this time
announcing him as one of five finalists for State Teacher of the Year! 

The group of surprise visitors was made up of Superintendent Jeff Eakins and other local and state officials including Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality, Dr. Paul Burns and Jacob Oliva, State Chancellor for the Division of Public Schools who entered Dr. Graham's classroom carrying balloons and a banner. Bob Conigliaro, VP of Community Relations for  Caspers Company McDonald's Restaurants even called in during the surprise to congratulate Dr. Graham personally. Caspers is the  is the Founding Sponsor of the local Teacher of the Year Award and Mr. Congiliaro wouldn't miss the opportunity to celebrate with Dr. Graham. 

The Excellence in Education Awards are co-presented by HEF and Hillsborough County Public Schools, so naturally, we are incredibly proud to have our local winner be a finalist for this state honor! We know Dr. Graham will continue to do great things, and we wish him the best of luck throughout this journey! 

Make a Difference - Support Our Supply Drive

Did you know - hundreds of students in Hillsborough County are at risk of beginning the school year without even a pencil to call their own? The summer months fly by and back-to-school season will be here before we know it! 

By  hosting a drive   at your plac e of business  or supporting our virtual drive by purchasing key supplies online , you can help us ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom. 
Learn more  here

Questions? Contact Denise Becker at:

"RaysUp" for Education

Check presentation during the New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 
baseball game at the Tropicana Field

On  May 11th, the Tampa Bay Rays celebrated education in Hillsborough County during Hillsborough County Public Schools' Spirit Night. Throughout the game against the New York Yankees, the 2019 Excellence in Education award winners, Teacher of the Year, Dr. Dakeyan Graham; Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Sandra Misciasci; and Instructional Support Employee of the Year, Barbara Maxwell participated on the field. 

Before the game, the Rays presented a check for $50,000 to HEF. This gift will provide funding for student scholarships - enabling us to provide a greater number of students with the opportunity to turn their dreams of a higher education into a reality. 

Teacher Appreciation Week -
Our Favorite Time of Year

Three teachers hold up the goody-bags given to them during
Teacher Appreciation Week at the Teaching Tools Resource Center

At HEF, we believe that effective teachers are foundational to student success and during Teacher Appreciation Week, we honored them with lunch, raffle prizes and loads of classroom supplies. Throughout  the week of May 6th, our Teaching Tools Resource Center served over 700 teachers providing nearly  $200,000 worth of supplies! 

Almost everyone can recall a teacher that impact their life and we were thrilled to have been able to serve as many teachers as we did. In the words of our President, Kim Jowell, "One week is simply not enough to thank them for the work that they do. However, we hope they know how much we value them and their dedication to our future generation." 

We would also like to thank our sponsors who provided lunch and in-kind donations along with our volunteers whose help kept everything running smoothly! 

Be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts for our Teacher Appreciation video mini-series! 

Robinson High School Student
Awarded a 4-Year Scholarship

Gabriela Arias-Zamora and Kim Brannan at Robinson High

On May 21st, HEF Director of Scholarships and Strategic Initiatives, Cheryl Hedrick accompanied Kim Brannan during a visit to Robinson High School and presented  Gabriela Arias-Zamora with the John B. Brannan Scholarship. The scholarship presentation was made during graduation practice and Gabriela was all smiles when she received the award.

This four-year scholarship is named in memory of John Brannan, a 20-year Board Member of the Hillsborough Education Foundation and a Hillsborough County Public Schools graduate. Memorial scholarship donations from the Brannan family and the Economic Club of Tampa provide funding for half of the scholarship with a match HEF secured with the Florida Prepaid Foundation through their Legacy Challenge Match Scholarship Program

Thanks to the generosity of the Brannan family and ECOT, Gabriela will be able to reach her dreams! 

HEF Honors Mentor and Supporter at the HCPS Volunteer Awards

Joe Gross holds up his award plaque at the HCPS Volunteer Awards

On May 14th, HEF had the pleasure of honoring a long-time supporter and volunteer with the Our Students, Our Future Award at Hillsborough County Public Schools' Annual Volunteer Award Ceremony. 

For 6 years, Joe Gross has been involved with HEF in various capacities. Not only has he served as a mentor for two students in the Take Stock in Children program, but has also been an active member of our Mentoring Committee. Mr. Gross embodies the spirit of commitment and involvement, inspiring his mentees to do the same. When Mr. Gross was asked what he hopes to teach his mentee, he responded, "I would be quite satisfied if I could instill in him the virtues of patience, the pursuit of lifelong learning and a responsibility to volunteer in the community." 

We are very grateful to Mr. Gross and the impact he continues to have not only on his mentees, but on the community!