FATHER AND DAUGHTER DONATE $25,000 TO UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Ashley Chaney Bishop, owner of Budget Insurance, Inc.; and Gerald Chaney, owner of Chaney’s Auto Sales DBA: Cars and Trucks for You, Inc.; made the donation to support education programs in Highlands County. Thanks to the Crenshaw Leadership Challenge, a match program provided by generous United Way supporters, Bishop and Chaney’s entire $25,000 gift will be matched, making their total gift $50,000.
ELITE PROGRAM EXPANDS
Establishing Leaders in Teacher Education will allow students at Bartow High, Haines City High and Ridge Community High to work toward earning an associate degree from Polk State College during high school. After earning their associate degree, they will work toward successfully completing two years at Polk State to earn a bachelor’s degree in either elementary education or early childhood education. With their baccalaureate degrees, ELITE participants will immediately become eligible for employment as a teacher with Polk County Public Schools.
NEW CONSTRUCTION AT BARTOW HIGH
A Polk County Public School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, March 20 to celebrate the newly built construction academy at Bartow High. Work on the academy began in May 2018 and was funded by the half-cent sales tax that pays for the school district’s facilities projects. The March 20 event included a tour of the new Academy of Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) at Bartow High, which prepares students for careers in construction and related fields. Bartow High is located at 1270 S. Broadway Ave.
2019 SUNSHINE STATE SCHOLARS NAMED
Sophia Castrillon from Lake Gibson High, Christina Cunningham from Harrison School for the Arts, and Isaiah Vega from Auburndale High. Every year, school districts across Florida select their top 11th-graders in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for the Sunshine State Scholars program. Each of the Scholars will travel to Orlando in June for a two-day event, where they will be honored by the Commissioner of Education and meet with college representatives to discuss higher education opportunities available to them in Florida.
FLORIDA ARTS MODEL SCHOOL
Rochelle School of the Arts has been named a Florida Arts Model School. The designation, awarded by the Florida Department of Education and Florida Alliance for Arts Education, recognizes schools that offer “exemplary” programs in one or more arts disciplines: dance, music, theatre and visual art. Rochelle earned its designation for music, theatre and visual art. PCPS is now home to six Florida Arts Model Schools. Rochelle School of the Arts is located at 1501 Martin L King Jr Ave, Lakeland.
READING WITH ERMA
April Taylor and her therapy dog, Erma, are a remarkable duo who volunteer at Kingsford and Lewis elementary schools. When Erma lays next to kids, their anxiety about reading seems to fade away, and they can just lose themselves in a good book. Taylor and Erma will do just about anything to encourage students, including reading bedtime stories on Facebook Live.
DON’T GET SCAMMED
Polk County Clerk of Courts Stacy Butterfield is warning residents that jury duty scams are once again targeting Polk County. The scams usually come as either a fraudulent email or telephone call. They state the intended victim missed jury duty and must pay money or provide private information to avoid arrest. If residents encounter scams, they should write down as much information about the encounter as possible, and contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at
A-C-T’S CHILI COOK OFF SHATTERS RECORDS
A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure’s ninth annual Chili Cook-off shattered previous years’ records. The event raised $24,255 in 120 minutes – a 61.4 percent increase over last year. Money raised will benefit the United Way of Central Florida. The first place overall winner was Yadira Holmes for her “Mean Girl Chili.”