A collaborative effort
Members of the public and Saint Leo students and alumni attended a Community Expo presented by Saint Leo University and Moffitt Cancer Center on April 14, as the two institutions partnered to offer job and education opportunities to area residents, students and alumni. Moffitt is building a medical research and innovation center on 775 acres in Land O’ Lakes in Pasco County, and Saint Leo is helping to educate students and provide a talent pipeline. Both institutions are collaborating to support substantive social and economic impact, noted Dr. Mark Gesner, vice president of community engagement and communications, in a news release.
Teacher wins furniture
First-year math and science teacher Dylan Zuccarello of Lawton Chiles Elementary School in New Tampa is one of three winners in a national classroom furniture giveaway from furniture-maker KI. He was selected from nearly 500 entries and won in a poll of nine finalists, according to a news release.
After submitting his classroom design, Zuccarello was awarded $40,000 worth of furniture to bring his vision to life.
The teacher wanted his classroom to make students excited to come to school and make it easy for kids to connect and interact with each other, something he said he would have loved to have had back when he was a student.
His design focused on creating different zones to ensure his students would be comfortable no matter their communication or learning style.
Literacy for Families
PBS Kids will present “Literacy for Families” on May 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Starkey Ranch Theatre Library Cultural Center, 12118 Lake Blanche Drive in Odessa.
Participants can discover a variety of pre-reading/reading/language-based games, crafts and other suggestions that promote literacy.
The program is designed for families and their children ages 3 to 5. A family is considered a parent/guardian plus one or two children.
Registration is required. For information, call 727-815-7126.
• Emily Flinter, of Lutz, was initiated into the Emory University Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.
• Payton VanNort, of Lutz, is a member of the production crew for Marietta College’s (Ohio) performance of “Spring Awakening.” VanNort is majoring in theater-directing and is working as an assistant stage manager in the production.
Summer Open House
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of South Florida (OLLI-USF) will host a Summer Open House on May 11 at 10 a.m., at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, 200 Inverness Ave., in Temple Terrace.
OLLI is a member-based learning community of adults age 50 and older. It offers classes, workshops, lectures, events and social networking, and provides high-quality, low-cost learning opportunities for adults. Visit USFSeniors.org for more information.
The open house will highlight the 100 liberal arts and technology classes and lectures that will be offered both in person and online, and guests can meet the faculty.
The keynote speaker will be retired professor Howard Kerner on the topic of “History: Why Don’t We Know the Names of the Good?” Kerner researches and shares uplifting and inspiring stories of human goodness during the Holocaust.
To RSVP for the event, call 813-974-5848.
Alternative Peer Group
Victory High School in New Port Richey will host an Alternative Peer Group from May 15 through July 27, for youth ages 14 to 18 who have a substance use disorder or co-occurring disorder and no sex or violent offenses.
The program will run Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with two weeks off: May 29 to June 2 and July 3 to July 7.
The group will take educational field trips to discover new career options, trades, vocational opportunities and tour colleges, and it will participate in sober, fun activities in Tampa Bay.
There also will be yoga, art, and sound healing sessions.
For more information, visit FloridaRecoverySchoolsOfTampaBay.com.
Pasco County Schools will celebrate education with a Spirit Night at the Tampa Bay Rays’ game on May 20 at 4:10 p.m., at Tropicana Field.
Lower-level seating is $19. The deadline to purchase tickets is May 8. A portion of each ticket purchased will benefit the Pasco Education Foundation.
For tickets, visit tinyurl.com/3w8ram5k.
Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) will host a PHSC Foundation Cornhole Tournament on May 20 at 11 a.m., at Backdraughts Pizza, 6351 Grand Blvd., in New Port Richey, to benefit the PHSC Foundation.
There also will be a 50/05, live auction, raffles, and a guaranteed sponsor payout for first, second and third place.
Participants should bring their own bags; six games are guaranteed.
The cost is $25 through the ScoreHolio App or the day of the tournament.
For information, contact Lisa Yeager, foundation advancement coordinator, at 727-457-7888 or .
New classes at Lighthouse
Lighthouse Community School will begin offering classes for elementary school age children in the 2023-2024 school year, according to a news release. Lighthouse Preschool of Wesley Chapel already has 3- to 4-year-olds enrolled in its programs.
The community school model brings together aspects of homeschooling and the benefits of classroom learning. Students are given qualified instruction on campus two days per week. Parents are responsible for homeschooling two days per week using the curriculum and lesson plans sent home by the classroom teacher.
“After many years of requests from parents, we decided to expand Lighthouse to include these older students,” said Director Heather Olsen, in the release. “Our plan is to begin with two teachers in a combined kindergarten/first grade class and to add additional classes as more people express interest.”
Lighthouse Community School is a Christian school that meets at Grace Community Church, and is located 1.5 miles north of State Road 54, near Wesley Chapel District Park.
For information, visit LighthouseWesleyChapel.com. To schedule a tour, call 813-994-8678.
Athletics director recognized for his loyalty
Steve Winterling, athletics director for Pasco-Hernando State College, has received the NJCAA Loyalty Award, an honor awarded only 22 times in the history of the National Junior College Athletic Association, according to a news release.
Winterling is the first in Florida and FCSAA Region 8 to receive the award.
The Loyalty Award is given to an active athletic director in the NJCAA that has worked to uphold the ideals of the organization. Significant to this award is leadership in an athletic program exemplifying excellence both on the field or court and in the classroom.
“I think being there for our student-athletes and their academic success is very important and has always been a high priority for us,” said Winterling, in the release.
Winterling has served as the athletics director at Pasco-Hernando State College since 2018 and was the head baseball coach for the Bobcats for 27 years prior.
He started Pasco-Hernando State’s first intercollegiate baseball team in March 1991 and in 1994 took the Bobcats to its first FCSAA State Tournament, finishing as state runner-up.
In 1995, the program won the Suncoast Conference and made its second appearance in the state tournament. He built the Pasco-Hernando State College athletics program by recruiting quality student-athletes to play against top competition throughout the state of Florida. More than 30 players have signed professional contracts and many others have gone on to four-year institutions.
Winterling also is heavily involved on the national level as the chair of the NJCAA Division II Softball Committee and a member of the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Committee. In 2021, Winterling was selected into the FCSAA Hall of Fame, and in 2022 was inducted into the Paso-Hernando State Walk of Fame.
“I enjoy watching them compete, but mainly getting to see their journey and know them as people,” said Winterling.
High honors for tech school
Wendell Krinn Technical High School (KTech) has been awarded the designation as a National Demonstration School by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), according to a news release.
This rare distinction means the school has met MSA standards at the highest levels and can now serve as a model for schools around the nation interested in establishing successful magnet schools and magnet programs.
The A-rated school in New Port Richey offers technical programs that prepare students for college and careers in biomedical science, cybersecurity, automotive maintenance, culinary arts, welding, robotics, and other fields.
“This says a lot about the high level of the programs and instruction we offer our students,” said Krinn Principal Chris Dunning, in the release.
“It is truly a collaborative effort involving all the teachers, staff and administrators at KTech and at Marchman Technical College,” said Dunning.
Some Marchman instructors teach KTech students.
Superintendent of the Year
Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning has been named Superintendent of the Year by Magnet Schools of America, a national honor that acknowledges Browning’s commitment to expanding school choice in Pasco, according to a news release.
Browning was elected as superintendent in 2012, identifying a need to expand opportunities and choices for students and families in Pasco County.
At that time, the school district had two International Baccalaureate magnet programs.
These three programs have since been implemented: Cambridge Programme, STEAM/STEM, and the expansion of International Baccalaureate, each of which has a K-12 feeder pattern in designated pathways in the school district.
Over the course of the last 10 years, the district has implemented 26 new magnet schools and programs with topics and fields of study based on community need and student interest.
“This national recognition says a lot about our district’s laser focus on expanding choices for families,” said Browning, after receiving the award, the release said.
“We have been determined to provide world-class programs that prepare students for college, career and life. …Everyone shares in this honor: our teachers and students, our administrators, our school board, and our entire school community for really embracing this effort,” said Browning.