Chalk Talk 10/11/2017

AP exam scores improve
More Pasco County students scored the highest level on Advanced Placement (AP) exams in 2017 than in any previous year, and equaled or exceeded peer performances in the state, nation and globally on seven subject area exams.

These achievements occurred while Pasco County increased the number of students taking AP exams. Across the district, 4,174 students took 7,281 exams, which was a 2.9 percent increase from the previous year.

District-wide, 54 percent of the tests taken resulted in a score of 3.0 or better, matching the district’s previous record high from 2014.

Scores of Level 3, Level 4 or Level 5 are considered to reflect proficiency at the college level.

For the fourth year in a row, more Pasco students scored a Level 5, the highest possible passing score, than the prior year.

The number of Level 4 and Level 5 scores either exceeded or matched the district’s best performances.

Compared to state averages, Pasco County matched the number of Level 5 scores, and exceeded the number of Level 3 and 4 scores.

Pasco also had fewer Level 1 scores than the state.

To access the subject comparisons, visit

Fall open house
Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, 13651 Hays Road in Spring Hill, will host a Fall Open House Oct. 15 from noon to 3 p.m.

Admissions testing will be Nov. 4.

For information, call (727) 857-2600, ext. 244, or visit

Academy open house
Hillel Academy, 2020 W. Fletcher Ave., in Tampa, will host an open house Oct. 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Hillel is the city’s only private Jewish day school.

Topics will be academic secular programming, Hebrew and Judaics, art, music, physical education and technology programs. There also will be door prizes, tours, goody bags and refreshments.

For information or to RSVP, call (813) 963-2242, email moc.a1534297677pmaty1534297677medac1534297677alell1534297677ih@nn1534297677amlez1534297677nukc1534297677, or visit

National Merit semifinalists
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Semifinalists from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area include:

  • Freedom High School: Annie Cao, Ryan Dembo and Catherine Weng
  • Land O’ Lakes High School: Joshua Brett, Nathan Brett, Zachery Dahm, Daniel Fernandez, Roshan Kumaraswamy, Camellia Moors, Pooja Patel, Ethan Teo, Rohil Tuli, Akshaya Venkata and Kenta Xu
  • Pasco High School: Andrew Hull
  • Steinbrenner High School: Dahyeon Kim and Grant LoPresti
  • Sunlake High School: Jordan Kaszyk and Rebecca Urbonas
  • Wiregrass Ranch High School: Joseph Basi, Angelora Cooper, Taylor Douglas and Emily Leonard

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, the semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition, including submitting a detailed scholarship application, in which the student provides information about his or her academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

The student must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

The nonprofit organization Shoes-4-Schools is hosting a fundraising campaign to help supply local school children with footwear.

Faceplant Dreams has donated samples of its top-selling items, and every $10 donation can receive a free gift of either a cosmetic bag or a travel bag, while supplies last.

For information, email Janet Chubinsky at moc.l1534297677iamg@1534297677yksni1534297677buhcj1534297677.

New grant program
Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund is now offering young people, whether in school or not, the opportunity to win grant awards of up to $5,000.

The new program has a policy of awarding grants to young people, between the ages of 16 and 25, who have a demonstrated enthusiasm and passion in their lives and who are pursuing an innovative idea or dream.

The memorial fund’s focus is to encourage those with interests in the performing arts, technology, music of entrepreneurship who need funding to help take their passion to the next level.

The fund was created in honor of Hunter Brooks Watson, a young man killed in a car crash in the spring of 2016, just before he was about to enter his junior year at Syracuse University.

The grant program does not require the young person to be in school, to have a certain grade-point average, to be a member of any religious group or demonstrate school leadership or athletic accomplishments.

For information and the grant application, visit

The deadline for the current grant cycle is Nov. 15.

There is no charge to apply.

Local student at Colby College
Chase Goode, of Lutz, has enrolled at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Prior to the fall class semester, Goode took part in a weeklong orientation that included a civic engagement component in Waterville, an introduction to academic and intellectual life at Colby, and an address at Colby’s 200th convocation.

Goode, a graduate of Wharton High School, is the son of Tom and Shera Goode, of Lutz.

High school may convert to technical school
Ridgewood High School, which received two consecutive D grades from the state in 2016 and 2017, is exploring the possibility of converting to a technical high school and entering into a dual enrollment agreement with Fred K. Marchman Technical College.

The two schools sit next to each other in New Port Richey, making a merger convenient.

A technical high school specializes in skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation. Students can learn relevant skills that help make the students marketable right out of high school.

Donate socks and shoes to help Pasco students
Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano’s office is taking part in the second annual new socks and new shoes campaign to help local students in need.

The effort is a collaboration with Pasco County government and Pasco County Schools.

The “Two Good Soles” campaign seeks to collect as many new pairs and socks and new socks as possible between now and Oct. 27.

The tax collector’s five offices in Pasco County will be collection sites for “Two Good Soles.”

“It is heartbreaking to know that children come to school without socks or shoes in good repair,” Fasano said, in a news release. “I am pleased that our office is part of this effort to collect as many pairs of footwear as possible.  I encourage everyone who is able to please stop by one of our offices and leave a donation.  Every item will go to a student in need who attends a school in Pasco County.”

Pasco County Schools reports that the sizes most in need are children’s shoes 9 and up and adults 5 and up.  Socks of all sizes are welcome.  It is recommended that sneakers, tennis shoes and socks be of a “neutral” color, but all donations of new items will be accepted.

Here are the tax collector’s collection sites:

  • New Port Richey: 8731 Citizens Drive, Room 120.
  • Gulf Harbors: 4720 U. S. 19, in New Port Richey
  • Land O’ Lakes: 4111 Land O’Lakes Blvd. (also known as U.S. 41)
  • Lutz : 4610 Pet Lane, C 101 (this is known as the tax collector’s Wesley Chapel office)
  • Dade City – 14236 Sixth St., Room 100

For more information, contact Greg Giordanao, assistant tax collector at (727) 847-8179.

The Laker/Lutz News likes to spotlight local school news in our Chalk Talk section every week. Send us your photos, events, accomplishments, etc., so our communities can see what your school is up to! Submissions can be emailed to moc.s1534297677wenzt1534297677ulrek1534297677al@sw1534297677en1534297677.



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