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Event honors high-achieving minority graduating seniors

Event honors high-achieving minority graduating seniors

More than 400 graduating seniors of Polk high schools were honored at the 21st Annual Minority Achievement Awards event held May 12 at Polk State College in Winter Haven. 

The event honored minority students for achieving a 3.5 grade point average and above in regular education classes.

The event also included the naming of each school’s minority graduate with the highest GPA and each school’s “most improved” minority graduate. Most improved minority graduates made significant academic improvements from their freshman to senior years.

Bartow International Baccalaureate won the Vivien Lillian Postell Award for having the largest percentage of high achieving minority graduates among its student enrollment.

Polk deputy named one of nation's 'Top Cops'

Polk deputy named one of nation's  'Top Cops'

The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) presented its list of winners and honorable mentions for the Eighteenth Annual TOP COPS Awards on Friday, May 13. Each year since 1994 NAPO has presented the TOP COPS Awards Ceremony to educate the American public about our nation’s heroes and to pay tribute to law enforcement officers in federal, state, county, and local agencies from across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the preceding year.

The sole winner from Florida was from the Polk County Sheriff's Office - 33-year-old Deputy Sheriff Michael L. Braswell, an 11-year veteran of the agency.

Deputy Braswell and Deputy Sheriff Paul Fairbanks were shot by convicted felon Matthew Tutt during the early morning hours of June 25, 2010. Thanks to his quick actions and his bullet-resistant vest, Deputy Braswell was able to survive the shooting and eliminate the threat presented by Tutt, saving not only lives of Deputy Fairbanks and his own, but ensuring that Tutt did not cause further harm to Polk County's citizens.

School district employee named 'Social Worker of the Year'

School district employee named 'Social Worker of the Year'

Cheryl Marino, a social worker with the Polk Public Schools, was named Social Worker of the Year by the Heartland Unit of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Florida Chapter. The Heartland Unit of the NASW-Florida Chapter includes Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.

Marino has been with the Polk Public Schools for four years. She previously worked in the Broward County Public Schools and for 17 years she was with the state Department of Children and Families. For five years, Cheryl served on a statewide quality assurance team that worked to prevent child and adult abuse.

With a focus on working with special needs children and their families, she established a districtwide support group for parents of students with disabilities. The group works on outreach programs to these families.

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Wanna be a 10 News Weather Watcher?

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About Face Awards honor students making positive changes

About Face Awards honor students making positive changes

Middle and high school students were honored May 11 at the school district’s About Face Awards ceremony for making positive improvements in areas that include grade point average, attendance, disposition and attitude toward school or themselves. Individual schools or sites nominated students for an About Face Award.

The event was held at Winter Haven’s Nora Mayo Hall and was attended by About Face honorees, their families, school district staff and administrators, school board members and community members. The event was also attended by honorees’ mentors who helped each honoree make the positive changes and turnaround. The event’s sponsor was Tampa Electric and guest speaker was Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Library media specialists assist homeless students

Library media specialists assist homeless students

The Polk Educational Media Association (PEMA), a professional organization of library media specialists in the Polk Public Schools, donated 180 backpacks filled with books that will be given to students in the school district meeting the federal government’s definition of homeless.

The PEMA gave the backpacks to the school district’s Hearth Department on May 3 with eventual distribution of the books going to homeless students.

The Hearth Department assists students in the school district considered homeless. Nearly 2,300 students in the Polk Public Schools meet the federal definition of homeless representing more than 2 percent of Polk’s total student population.

Three graduating seniors to be honored for 13 years of perfect attendance

Three graduating seniors to be honored for 13 years of perfect attendance

Three graduating seniors from Polk high schools will be honored May 10 for 13 years of perfect attendance in the Polk Public Schools. There are approximately 5,900 seniors in Polk high schools.

Three seniors with perfect attendance from kindergarten through 12th grade being honored are Eric Konkol-Bennett of Bartow High, Kurt Lambert of Lakeland’s Harrison School for the Arts and Brant Snell of Lakeland’s George Jenkins High.  Eric is a Lake Wales resident while Kurt and Brant are from Lakeland.

Eric, Kurt and Brant will be honored during the special recognition portion of the May 10 school board meeting held at the school district administrative office in Bartow.  The special recognition portion occurs shortly after the meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.