Chalk Talk 02/06/2019

Liz Franzone, a sophomore English major, uses a saw at the Habitat for Humanity build site alongside Krystal Sanchez, assistant director of Greek Life and Community Engagement. (Courtesy of Benjamin Watters, Saint Leo University)

Saint Leo partners with Habitat for Humanity
Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service in 1994.

This year, Saint Leo University partnered with Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco County to work on a house being built in Dade City, near University Campus.

The Office of Community Engagement honors the university’s Benedictine core values by working to raise awareness and assist with various social issues, such as animal welfare, environmental concerns, hunger and homelessness.

The site that Saint Leo students, faculty and staff worked on was still in the early stages of construction, so volunteers performed tasks such as paneling windows, nailing the roof and building frames for the home.

Top ‘dogs’ recognized
Stewart Middle School recently honored its second quarter “Top Dogs” at a lunch.

Students who were recognized were Lizandro Alzugaray, Merquray Daughtry, Aljandra Padilla, Adrianna Wilner, Serenity Rommel, Savannah Scheuerman, Jasmilyn Ramos, Edward Wilkes, Destiny Flummer and Jaquaune Harrison.

One student is selected by the teachers from each team for academics and leadership.

Panel discussion
Hillel Academy, 2020 W. Fletcher Ave., in Tampa, will host a panel discussion entitled, “What You Want to Know: Differentiating Private, Public, Charter and Independent Schools,” Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Choosing a school can be overwhelming and confusing. Hillel will offer this free panel discussion to clarify and offer perspective on the types of school choices.

Dr. Marlene Bloom, psychologist; academic coach Dr. Norrine Russell; and Erica DuPont, therapist/IEP advocate will delve into the differences and similarities, challenges and benefits of all types of schools.

To RSVP, email .

Saint Leo open house
Saint Leo University will host an Undergraduate Admissions open house Feb. 16, starting at 8 a.m.

Students of all ages are welcome to attend with their families and friends.

Guests can explore the campus at 33701 State Road 52 in St. Leo, and speak with members of the Saint Leo University community.

Prospective students are welcome to tour the campus, learn about the university’s academic offerings, student life, campus involvement, financial aid and more.

For information and to register, a visit

For questions regarding special accommodations, contact the school’s Office of Admissions at (352) 588-8283 or .

Fostering literacy
The University Area CDC (Community Development Corporation) installed three Dreamboxes in the University Area, one of Tampa’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

These book-filled Dreamboxes are in addition to the four other boxes installed last summer, surrounding Harvest Hope Park. Plans are in the works to create and install 12 more by the end of the year.

The mini-libraries were built through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Tampa North, for the purpose of fostering a sense of community and increase access to books for readers of all ages, fostering literacy.

Residents are encouraged to borrow books and donate books to share with others.

With more than 20 years of community service, the University Area CDC provides support for thousands through youth programs, adult education and resource assistance.

To donate books for inclusion in the Dreamboxes, contact Jaree Ervin, director of development, at (813) 558-5212, ext. 210, or .

Best online bachelor programs
Saint Leo University was named as providing two of the best online programs in the United States, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online Programs” edition.

The university ranked 69th in the Best Online Programs for bachelor degrees, tied with the University of Cincinnati, University of North Dakota and the University of North Texas.

In addition, Saint Leo was named as one of the 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.

Saint Leo recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of offering online education. Launched in December 1998, the school was one of the first institutions to embrace online education with the creation of the Center for Online Learning.

For information, visit

Scholarships for women
GFWC Florida will award two $3,000 scholarships to women returning to college who need financial assistance for education to achieve their goal to gain employment and become self-sufficient.

Recipients must be a Florida resident and attend an accredited Florida public college, university or technical school as a full-time student.

The recipient’s application, personal statement and two references must be submitted by email to .

The application and recommended forms are available online at, under Member Resources, Grants, Scholarships and Awards.

The deadline for applications is March 1.

For more information about the program, contact Candi Aubin at (850) 508-3107 or .

Literacy book drive
Goodwill’s BookWorks childhood literacy program runs through March 15. People are encouraged to donate children’s books in good condition or to make a donation to purchase books for the program.

The BookWorks program promotes literacy by giving books to children from families with low incomes. Goodwill volunteers read to children at Head Start centers and other locations, and then present each child with a personalized book to take home.

Last year, BookWorks presented books to more than 41,000 children.

To donate books, attach a note indicating they are for “BookWorks,” and drop the books off at any Goodwill-Suncoast store or donation site in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Sumter, Marion or Highlands counties.

For locations, visit, or call (888) 279-1988.

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