Gold Star daughter graduates
Nazeraeh Montrond, a Gold Star daughter who received a brand-new, mortgage-free home in Wesley Chapel in August 2022, graduated from the University of South Florida on Dec. 8.
Nazeraeh lost her father, Army Sgt. Alberto Montrond, in February 2006 to an IED explosion in Afghanistan. In March 2021, Nazeraeh’s mother passed away after a two-year battle with cancer, leaving her the primary caregiver to her three siblings.
Nazeraeh graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, while raising her two brothers and sister and managing the demands of a full-time job.
She plans to begin her occupational therapy doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University next summer.
Internships at USF
The University of South Florida researchers are looking for University Area Community residents, ages 16 and older, to become paid interns, to help clean up and redevelop Aaran’s Pond at the corner of N. 15th Street and 131st Avenue in Tampa.
Interns can learn how to study water quality, explore new technologies for treating pollutants, and discover preferences for pond redevelopment. There is a flexible schedule of 10 hours per week, from January to May.
Pasco County Schools maintain B grade
Pasco County Schools maintained a B grade for 2023, according to the district grades and school grades released by the Florida Department of Education (DOE). These are informational baseline grades. Pasco has maintained a B grade since 2017.
“I’m pleased to see what our schools have accomplished, and two (50%) of our schools are no longer at an F status,” said Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning, in a news release.
“Now that we have the baseline grades, our teachers and administrators are focused on these data and planning for greater accomplishments based on this mid-year reflection. These data will help us to make informed decisions about improvements for the remainder of the year.”
Seventy-seven percent of Pasco schools earned an A, B or C grade, and half of Pasco’s schools earned As and Bs. Of the district’s 94 schools, 26 received an A. Three of the schools moved up from a B to an A. Other highlights this year include 12 schools increased their overall grade, the release says.
Six schools received an “I” (incomplete). Pasco County Schools will be looking at appeals for these schools and will know more information about why they received an “I” once the data file is received. Often, an “I” is given to schools that do not meet the participation rate.
For more information on school-by-school and district level grades, visit FLDOE.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/theFlorida.
Delivering cheer during the holiday season
Members of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club delivered Christmas bundles of gifts for distribution to families in need at three local schools: Denham Oaks Elementary (shown here), Miles Elementary and Lutz K-8. For more club information or membership opportunities, visit FWCLutzLandOLakesWomansClub.org or its Facebook page.
-Abigail Greene, of Lutz, was named to the fall Dean’s List at Pennsylvania Western University, California, Pennsylvania.
-Maxwell Gebhart, of Wesley Chapel, earned his Master of Science in Biology from Minnesota State University-Mankato. The school awarded 1,772 degrees to 1,617 students at the end of the fall 2023 semester.
Best College Towns
WalletHub released its report on 2024’s Best & Worst College Towns & Cities in America, as a follow-up to its College & University Rankings.
The top Best Large College Towns, ranked from first to 10th: Austin, Texas; Orlando; Tampa; Las Vegas, Nevada; Raleigh, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Miami; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle, Washington
The Best Mid-size College Towns, from first to 10th: Scottsdale, Arizona; Gainesville; Boise, Idaho; Tempe, Arizona; Charleston, South Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Petersburg; Tallahassee; Cary, North Carolina; and Irvine, California.
The only city in Florida to make the top 10 in Best Small College Towns was Boca Raton, in the 10th spot.
WalletHub also offered these tips to finding a good college town:
- Check out school rankings.
- Don’t focus only on academics.
- Consider the costs.
- Talk to alumni.
For a full report, visit WalletHub.com/edu/e/best-worst-college-cities-and-towns-in-america/8974.
Pasco Citizens Academy
The Pasco Citizens Academy is for those interested in gaining a deep understanding of Pasco County’s budget development, the county’s structure and the essential functions of its constitutional officers and departments. Students of the academy will engage directly with elected officials, state agency partners, department directors and county staff.
Participants can become well-informed ambassadors for the community and eligible to serve on advisory boards and volunteer.
The Spring 2024 session is limited to 25 participants. Apply online at PascoCountyFl-services.app.transform.civicplus.com/forms/26223.