Center builds respect, understanding
The community came together on Oct. 26 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Saint Leo University’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS) and to present the 19th Eternal Light Award to Rabbi David Fox Sandmel, PhD., at the Shanna and Bryan Glazer Jewish Community Center in Tampa.
The event recognized the work of Saint Leo’s CCJS to build mutual respect and understanding between Catholics, Jews and all people of goodwill.
Guest speakers included Joseph Probasco, attorney and board member of the Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation; Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg; Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida and a trustee of the university; Dr. Matthew Tapie, director of CCJS; and Father Dennis McManus, a consultant for Jewish Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rabbi David Mayan, associate director of the center, introduced award winner Rabbi David Fox Sandmel, who was recognized for his dedication, outstanding contributions and lifelong commitment to the cause of Catholic-Jewish relations.
Sandmel’s keynote address was “Why Catholic-Jewish Relations Matter Today.” He also commented on what is happening in the world and noted he recently participated in the recent international conference in Rome organized by the CCJS.
“Let’s continue to support this organization (CCJS),” Sandmel said in his acceptance, and he encouraged everyone to continue to build friendships.
Learning Academy opens
Pasco County Schools has announced the opening of the Mittye P. Locke Early Learning Academy, at 4339 Evans Ave., in New Port Richey, on the former Mittye P. Locke Elementary School site.
The school was named in honor of the esteemed longtime principal, Mittye P. Locke, and is set to become a cornerstone in the community’s efforts to provide young learners with a solid educational foundation, according to a news release.
The grand opening ceremony brought together students, parents, staff and Pasco County Schools officials for a ribbon-cutting, special guests, and a performance by the Eaglets, the academy’s children’s choir.
The learning academy is designed to serve Pasco County children ages 3 to 5 and offers a wide range of programs, including the Head Start Program, exceptional classes, and the voluntary pre-kindergarten program (VPK). The school also provides complimentary breakfast and lunch daily.
The new facility features 10 well-equipped classrooms that can accommodate up to 18 students each. The curriculum emphasizes literacy, mathematics, creative arts, and scientific exploration through meaningful play, ensuring a holistic and engaging learning experience for young learners, the release says.
Flexible enrollment options are available, including a full-day option for VPK.
Before parents can apply for enrollment, a valid VPK Certificate of Eligibility must be obtained from the Pasco Hernando Early Learning Coalition.
To learn more, visit Lela.pasco.k12.fl.us, or call the academy directly at 727-246-5352.
New Honor Society members
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines, has inducted these new members: Caitlyn Culpepper, Odessa; Joseph Pereira, Lutz; and Gabriella Sanabria, Lutz.
Holiday Card Lane
The Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce is calling on local schools and artists to collaborate in reimagining its Holiday Card Lane for this and future generations. The cards adorn the paths of Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey throughout the holiday season and are sponsored by local Pasco County businesses.
The chamber is seeking creative ideas and expertise:
- Material innovation: Looking for environmentally friendly materials to replace the heavy plywood traditionally used. The new materials should be sustainable, transportable and weather-resistant.
- Artistic Expression: Looking for artists to infuse their unique styles and celebrate the spirit of the season while incorporating sustainable themes.
- Community Involvement: This is an opportunity for schools and artists to gain exposure and engage with the local community.
Artists, schools or anyone who fits the bill should reach out to the chamber at 727-842-7651. Ideas, suggestions and contributions are welcome.
The national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN), in partnership with AT&T, has brought Digital Literacy Learning Workshops and job fairs to those who may not know where to start or understand how technology can help them.
Since September 2022, CN has organized 330 workshops and/or classes and 59 job fairs — training 2,236 people in 21 different states, according to a news release.
Each workshop or class is taught by digital literacy experts and is focused on one of six topics: Computer Basics, Internet Basics, Email Basics, Cybersecurity, Video Conferencing, and Mobile Device Basics.
The workshops are part of CN’s mission to expand internet access and advance digital literacy across America. The classes are made possible as part of AT&T Connecting Learning and AT&T’s commitment to help narrow the Digital Divide, the release says.
CN is looking to partner with more local community and state organizations to host in-person and virtual workshops.
To learn more, visit ConnectedNation.org/digital-literacy-workshops/.
Fish art contest
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)’s annual Fish Art Contest is now open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. In partnership with Wildlife Forever, FWC announced a second annual category for a Florida Native Fish Award, in addition to the national Fish Art Contest that students can qualify for by submitting a Florida native species from the specified list below.
Grade brackets awards will be kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grade, seventh through ninth grade, and 10th through 12th grade.
Students can submit an original piece of physical artwork featuring any fish including one or more of these Florida native species from the same category:
- Category 1: Freshwater: largemouth bass, striped bass, black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, spotted sunfish, channel catfish, Florida gar, chain pickerel, bowfin
- Category 2: Saltwater: snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, tarpon, mahi-mahi, Spanish mackerel, hogfish, queen snapper, black grouper
Digital artwork will not be accepted. Students also must submit a piece of creative writing, no longer than one page, about the chosen species (required for grades four to 12) and a Florida State-Fish Art Contest entry form. The deadline to enter is Feb. 28.