The City of Winter Haven made it into the Top Six Great Places in the State of Florida through the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association!  They say, “Nestled among 50 lakes, downtown Winter Haven is where water play and affordable lake living is just down the block. With a concert on every corner and family excitement in every park, it’s that classic century-old downtown gathering place blended with a contemporary understated cool vibe…”



Polk County Public Schools had more than 5,100 students graduate during the 2018-2019 school year, with scholarship offers exceeding $66.5 million.  Students took more than 7,500 dual enrollment courses over the course of their high school careers, and 2,015 seniors graduated with valuable industry certifications.  The Class of 2019 also logged approximately 380,000 service hours.



Between November 1 and November 25, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort will honor U.S. veterans and active military personnel with free theme park admission, 50 percent off tickets for up to six guests and up to 25 percent off overnight stays. It’s their way of saying thank you to the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. U.S. Veterans will receive discounts on hotel stays this November. To save up to 25 percent on overnight stays, visit



New teacher retention rose to 75 percent in the 2018-2019 school year — a two percent increase from the prior school year. Polk County Public Schools hired 1,093 new teachers, and 823 of them remained employed as teachers by the end of the school year.  PCPS has found success with a mixture of virtual recruitment fairs, new teacher seminars and leadership development opportunities for experienced teachers.



The best show water skiers in the world will perform on Lake Silver in Winter Haven, Florida, as part of the 2022 IWWF World Water Ski Show Tournament, the International Waterski and Wakeboard Foundation (IWWF) announced in October.  The tournament celebrates the 100th year of the sport.  The IWWF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole authority governing all towed water sports. The IWWF has more than 90 affiliated member Federations worldwide.



Two Polk County Public School students have been named to the 2019 All-National Honor Ensembles by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).  Congratulations to Bartow IB’s Veronica Prevost (choir) and Jessie Thurman (guitar) from Harrison School for the Arts.  The All-National Honor Ensembles “represent the top performing high school musicians in the United States,” according to NAfME. A total of 557 students were selected this year.



This call for artists is open to all artists working in the United States. Entries must be received by November 15, 2019. The City of Winter Haven is seeking designs for the Water Tower located in the downtown corridor.  Only original designs will be accepted. The art must be suitable for the community and the artist is encouraged to be creative and to think outside of the box in an iconic manner to create a statement piece that would draw visitors to our community. The art is not restricted to painted surface designs. More info at



At the October 1st board meeting of the GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF), Terry Simmers announced he will retire from his position as President and CEO on October 1, 2020. “This is a decision that I have carefully thought about for some time. Our board and staff are strong and deeply committed to the mission of the community foundation,” said Terry Simmers. “It has been extremely rewarding to have been a part of the growth of the foundation, and I am confident that this organization will have a bright future under new leadership.”


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