February 2019
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In this edition of ConnectED:
  • Coca-Cola Donates Laptops to Take Stock in Children Students in Honor of Black History Month
  • Governor DeSantis Makes Major Announcements About Education During Visits to Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Your Time Can Make a Difference for Achievement Schools
  • Regional STEM Fair Winners Prepare for the State Fair
  • Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - Celebrating Local Student Talent
  • Change a Life - Be a Mentor for a Student in Need
  • HEF Spotlight - Joan Torres-Lopez
Coca-Cola Donates Laptops to
Take Stock in Children Students in Honor of Black History Month

Coca-Cola laptop presentation

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida  celebrated  Black History Month
by supporting education. The local Coca-Cola bottler donated laptops to community partners across Florida, including  10  to Hillsborough Education Foundation's Take Stock in Children program.

Through the essay-selection process, 10 students were selected to receive the laptops. "I don't have any resource to work on other than the school computer that I can use during class or when I give up eating my lunch to go to the library. Winning a laptop would not only be a benefit for me, but also for my family... my parents work picking tomatoes which doesn't bring in that much money for us to spend," said Ahtziri Reyes, a junior at Durant High School.

Take Stock student, Ahtziri Reyes and College Success Coach, Marimar Velaz-Rivero

In spite of their unique challenges, these students have demonstrated an unbelievable amount of determination to succeed. Erika Higgins, a sophomore at Alonso High School said, "C urrently, to do my homework, I walk across the street to the library where I must trust that there is an open computer or that the library is even open...last year, I took 3 full-year online classes in the span of our two-month vacation, where I had to walk to the library almost every day to complete my assignments. I'm hoping to be able to take more online classes this upcoming summer to maintain my 5.0 GPA."

Erika Higgins holds up her new laptop

The laptop winners were notified last week and our College Success Coaches are excited to continue delivering them over the coming weeks. Thank you Coke Florida for helping us provide these deserving students like Ahtziri and Erika, the hope of a brighter future!  

Governor DeSantis Makes Major Announcements About Education During Visits to Hillsborough County Public Schools

In February, Governor Ron DeSantis visited two Hillsborough County Public Schools to make major announcements pertaining to education.  

On February 1st, the Governor met with students at Tampa Bay Technical High School and spoke with them about their involvement in career and technical programs and their plans post-graduation.  Glen Wester, a junior at the school shared his experience in the welding program, " It's preparing me for the
work-field because its giving me training in my trade... I really enjoy the program, its definitely a privilege, and I'm honored to be here.
" The governor announced his executive order to audit Florida's career and technical programs to ensure that they are truly preparing students for the current demands of the workforce. 

Tampa Bay Tech Junior Glenn Wester III Meets Governor DeSantis
Tampa Bay Tech Junior Glenn Wester III Meets Governor DeSantis

During his second visit on February 7th, the Governor visited Armwood High School to discuss his plan for a new teacher incentive program. 
"What we're trying to do is identify those teachers that are rated 'highly effective' and that are helping their schools move forward, and when they're doing that, we think that they should be rewarded," said Governor DeSantis. 

Raw video: Gov. DeSantis announces reforms to
Gov. DeSantis at Armwood High School

Hillsborough Education Foundation is a proud supporter of workforce development and recognizes teachers as the backbone of student achievement. We are excited to see what the future holds for our amazing students and educators!
Your Time Can Make a Difference for Achievement Schools
Sulphur Springs Elementary students at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center

At Hillsborough Education Foundation, we are proud to support our Achievement Schools , and what better way to show our support than to volunteer?

On February 26th, students from Sulphur Springs Elementary went on a field trip to the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach. Our Chief Advancement Officer, Mike McCollum volunteered as a chaperone and had a great time kayaking with the students! Through this activity, the class had an opportunity to learn about the biology and ecosystem of the conservation area firsthand through a fun, hands-on experience. The overwhelming majority of these students had never been kayaking or participated in activities like this before. This trip allowed them to see parts of the world that they had never been exposed to.

There are always a variety of volunteering opportunities to help fill  gaps at schools where resources may not always be readily available. If you are i nterested in volunteering at an Achievement School or in the Teaching Tools Store , contact Samantha Gray at  sgray@educationfoundation.com or 
(813) 574-0260. 
Regional STEM Fair Winners Prepare
for the State Fair

STEM projects on display at the Tampa Convention Center

On February 6th, HEF hosted a VIP Preview Breakfast and student-led tours at the Hillsborough Regional STEM Fair. During the preview session, attendees interacted with both current and past Fair participants while getting a close-up look at several of the projects. 

The Fair, sponsored in part by Bristol-Myers Squibb consisted of 1,479 projects displayed at the Tampa Convention Center.  Maggie Parrish , former STEM Fair Best of Show winner  said, " This is the future right here, and it's incredible because you walk through and you see the most incredible projects and you just know the future is bright!
Field Day at Bristol-Myers Squibb

On February 28th, Bristol-Myers Squibb hosted a STEM Field Day for Hillsborough County students who were selected from the regional STEM Fair to advance to the state STEM Fair. BMS employees took of their time to coach the students on their presentation skills to prepare for the state competition. 

Thank you to the sponsors of the 
2019 Hillsborough Region STEM Fair

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards -
Celebrating Local Student Talent

From left to right: Cindy Helton, Jeff Eakins, Kendra Frourp, Chloe McLeod, Tamara P. Shamburger,
Karen Perez, Kim Jowell

On February 28th, regional and national award-winners were honored at the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Ceremony, presented by Suncoast Credit Union. The event included a reception at the University of Tampa's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery and an award-ceremony at the Falk Theater. 

One student, Chloe McLeod won a $20,000 scholarship from the University of Tampa. She stated, " I love art because it allows me to really get into this space of focus and think about something other than the stresses in my life... the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are a big motivation for me to produce work," said Chloe. 

In addition, a select group of students will participate in the national competition. These National Medalists will be announced in March 2019 and Gold Medalists will be celebrated at the National Ceremony in New York City's Carnegie Hall in June. 

The art and writing pieces created by all participating students from Thursday's ceremony will be featured at the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery through March 8th.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday. 

Click here to view the full album of the event on our Facebook page. 

Thank you to the sponsors of the 
2019 Hillsborough Region Scholastic Art & Writing  Awards 

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Change a Life - Be a Mentor for a 
Student in Need

Through our Take Stock in Children program, we pair at-risk students with caring adults who serve as positive role-models to guide them while providing a listening ear. By becoming a mentor, you can change a life by helping a child develop values, set goals and develop a good self-esteem. Please take a moment to watch the video below to see just one of many success stories and learn more about being a mentor. 

Take Stock In Children Story 1

"I feel that having had such a great mentor, it motivates me to go back and be a great mentor as well since I know firsthand the benefits of having one."  
- Melkevia Ivey

Interested in becoming a mentor?  Click here  to view the areas of the county where we need mentors the most. Could be right near your job or home!

Just one hour of your time per week can make a LIFETIME of difference! To get matched with a student for the 2018-2019 school year, contact Anna Laird at   alaird@educationfoundation.com   or (813)463-4283.


Joan Torres-Lopez | Teaching Tools Store Coordinator

Responsibilities include: Going through donations and restocking the store, setting up and supervising volunteer projects, checking teachers in and out during store hours.

Time at HEF:  6 Months

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Ms. Justiniano, she made up songs to teach us anything we were struggling with to make it easier for us to learn.

What was your first job?
My first job was working as a museum educator.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
If I could have a super power, it would be teleportation.

What was your most memorable vacation?
The first time I went to Universal Orlando.