GRAD RATE INCREASES
Polk County Public Schools’ graduation rate improved to 81.2 percent last year, a new record. The district’s latest graduation rate increased from 80.4 percent in 2017-18, according to the Florida Department of Education. Florida’s new graduation rate of 86.9 percent was up 0.8 percentage points from the year before, the same rate of improvement as PCPS. A school that showed significant gains is Lake Region High, which jumped 9.8 percentage points to 89.6 percent.
The Winter Haven Chamber Foundation has partnered with State Farm Insurance to offer a $1,000 college scholarship to up to five public high school seniors in the Winter Haven area. This is intended for students looking to pursue a college degree in business, marketing or any field where they hope to be an entrepreneur or business owner in the future. Applications must be submitted by Friday, March 20, 2020 to the Winter Haven Chamber Foundation, Inc. More info at winterhavenchamber.com
ROWDY GETS UPGRADES
The Winter Haven City Commission agreed to allocate $700,000 for interior and exterior improvements to the Rowdy Gaines Olympic Pool facility at the Chain of Lakes Complex. The renovation would upgrade the Rowdy Gaines facilities and make them more compatible with the new $25 million AdventHealth Fieldhouse. The money will come from a $1.5 million fund the city had established in its 2019-20 budget for relocating City Hall to the Nora Mayo Hall.
Polk State College students Sylvia Andrade and Fryda Contreras inspired with their words and received Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream the Dream Scholarship awards for their academic achievements and service to the community. Both Associate in Arts students were presented with scholarships worth up to $500 each during the College’s 16th annual MLK Celebration and thanked the community for supporting not only their dreams but the dreams of all Polk State students.
All Polk County Public Library card holders now receive automatic renewal of eligible items – no sign up required. Eligible physical library items will now auto-renew one (1) day before the due date. The new due date will be based on the date of renewal and the loan period for that item (ex. a book due January 3rd would be renewed on January 2nd and have a new due date of January 16th). This service will automatically renew checked out books, DVDs and CDs, up to three times. More info at mywinterhaven.com
YOUTH ESSAY CONTEST
One of Langston Hughes’ most popular poems is “I, Too.” What does the speaker in the poem mean when he says, “I, too am America,” and how would that apply today? Open to all 6th-8th graders living in Winter Haven. 300 words or less, deadline is Feb. 28. Prizes awarded to the 1st and 2nd place winners. More info at mywinterhaven.com
19TH AMENDMENT CENTENNIAL
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Award-winning writer, historian and Assistant Professor at Rollins College, Leslie Kemp Poole, PhD will present an overview of her book, Saving Florida. Her presentation will focus on the role of women and organizations, especially as they relate to Florida’s environmental movement. March 26th, seating is limited, register at www.mywinterhaven.com/library/
IT’S HAPPENIN’ IN THE HAVEN
A Podcast Presented by Dolphin Image Studios and the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce. On each episode, the GWHCC will speak to the amazing people taking Winter Haven and its surrounding Central Florida area to the next level. They are putting a spotlight on the future focused attitude and celebrating the entrepreneurial history. You can find It’s Happenin’ In the Haven on Spotify, Apple Podcast and iTunes, Google Play or wherever you find your podcasts.