Sarasota County Schools News

Suncoast Technical College Newtown to cut ribbon on garden Jan. 24

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SCS News

SARASOTA, Jan. 20, 2017 – Suncoast Technical College Newtown will cut the ribbon on an organic school garden from 9:30-11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24. Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw and other city and school district officials are scheduled to attend. 

The garden is made possible with the assistance of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences School & Community Garden program, which assists several schools with campus gardens.

STC Newtown teaches adult education at this campus for students ages 16 to 55. Volunteers, registered through the district’s Volunteer and Partnership Office, will be assisting students in taking care of the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, and possibly collard greens — all organic — will be grown in the garden and nutrition education classes will be taught so students can learn about cooking food fresh from the garden. 

Adult education teacher Susan Imperato said, “This gardening program is in many of our schools in Sarasota County, and we’re pleased to now offer it in adult education. I’m pleased that we’ll be educating parents and other adults to help them learn innovative ways to cook and provide healthy meals for their children and other family members, using fresh ingredients.”  

STC Newtown is located at 2400 Carlson Ave., Sarasota.

Booker High student gets top score in nation on AICE literature exam

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Dana Buckhoy 2016 BHS grad

TOP SCHOLAR: Booker High 2016 graduate Dana Buckhoy earned the Cambridge Learner "Top in Country" distinction.

SARASOTA, Jan. 18, 2017 – Booker High School graduate Dana Buckhoy has been awarded the Cambridge Learner “Top in Country” distinction on the Cambridge AICE English Literature exam. Buckhoy was one of only two students in the U.S. to achieve the award.

AICE is the Advanced International Certificate of Education, an international educational program developed and administered by the University of Cambridge, an 800-year old institution based in Cambridge, England. In Sarasota County, the AICE program is offered to students at Booker, Sarasota and North Port high schools; a middle-school program is offered at Heron Creek Middle in North Port.   

Booker High AICE Coordinator Chris Hutchinson said he is thrilled about Buckhoy’s accomplishment and what it reflects about the quality of AICE instruction at Booker. “I’m very proud of Dana. Her achievement shows what hard work and dedication can do, and it reflects well on the program.”

Buckhoy, who now studies Fine Art on a full scholarship at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, said she was “shocked” to learn that she won this honor. “I knew I passed the test, but I didn’t know what score I got until I learned about this,” Buckhoy said. “I really struggled with the class, so to achieve something like this makes it worth it.”

Her AICE Literature teacher, Rebecca Prozzo, said she is not surprised that Buckhoy earned this honor. Prozzo describes her former student as a flexible thinker with the insight to move beyond the structure of analysis and mechanical writing. “She had that perception and sensitivity that not all learners have,” Prozzo said. “I think she was born with it. It was an honor to teach her.”

Buckhoy said English has always been her strongest subject in school, and she earned As on both the AICE General Paper and the AICE English Language exams. However, by senior year, she was juggling so much in her life — balancing two jobs with attending school, where she carried a rigorous course load — she said attending class became a struggle. She said she was exhausted from the long hours she kept and credits Prozzo’s nurturing guidance with helping her navigate the difficulties of both her life and the class. Prozzo has been teaching English at Booker High for 23 years.

“If it wasn’t for Ms. Prozzo, I would have had a much harder time with the class and with the entire year. She sat down and cornered me about coming to school,” Buckhoy said, adding, “the way she taught her class made it understandable. She made what we were reading come to life.”

Prozzo acknowledged that helping her student prioritize and pare down her extracurricular obligations was challenging, but was key to Buckhoy’s ultimate achievement. “She really had to struggle to find balance,” Prozzo said.

While Buckhoy is not enrolled in English classes at Santa Fe, she said the award has opened her mind to the possibilities of what she could do. Prozzo echoed this sentiment.

“I think what’s important is that Dana has that sense of self-affirmation now, and that will help propel her forward,” Prozzo said.

Buckhoy said she feels that coming to Booker High School was “fate.” She moved to Sarasota in her sophomore year and happened to be districted to Booker. She applied for both AICE and the school’s Visual and Performing Arts programs and was accepted into both.

Booker High School is located at 3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota.


Education Foundation rebrands Eve of Excellence fundraiser 'CreateSRQ'

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Education Foundation logo Sept 2016

This news release is from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

SARASOTA, Jan. 11, 2017 - The Education Foundation of Sarasota County announces the evolution of Evening of Excellence. Re-branded as CreateSRQ, this multi-faceted initiative created to elevate arts education has become the area’s preeminent high school arts competition and exhibit. The arts exhibit has been enhanced to also include a traveling art show in which the TOP 25 pieces will be displayed at 20 high profile locations across Sarasota County including The Met Fashion House, Sarasota Yacht Club, the Sarasota Opera, Selby Gardens, University Park Country Club, Venetian River & Golf Club and the North Port Arts Center.

The culmination of the CreateSRQ events, the Education Foundation will host a gala at Michael’s on The Bay at Selby Gardens on Friday, February 24, 2017.  This signature fundraising event has also evolved to include a mobile auction of 20 of the TOP 25 artworks and a live auction of the TOP 5 artworks will take place at the gala; two will be paired with experiences such as tickets to the Broadway Show Hamilton and a trip to Napa Valley. Tickets for the CreateSRQ Gala are $250 per person, attire is cocktail and, due to the mobile bidding, smart phones are an encouraged accessory. Tickets can be purchased at

CreateSRQ Overview:

January 13-16: Juried Art Show - Open to the public daily noon to 4 p.m., Roskamp Exhibition Hall I Ringling College of Art + Design

February 8-23: Traveling Art Show, various locations across Sarasota County

February 24: CreateSRQ Gala – 6 p.m. cocktails I 7p.m. Dinner and Dancing, Michael’s on The Bay at Selby Gardens,  $250 per person

The CreateSRQ Gala is presented by PNC Wealth Management and sponsored by numerous individuals and organizations including Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Ringling College of Art + Design, Swift Family Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Tom and Sherry Koski, McIntyre Elwell & Strammer General Contractors, Tandem Construction and Willis Smith Construction. 

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is a supporting partner that exponentially enhances the educational experiences available to the children of Sarasota County. Its mission is to strengthen the community by investing in educational opportunities for the students, teachers, and schools. The Foundation works to match donor’s passions with high-impact projects and initiatives that help every child in Sarasota County rise to their full potential. It achieves this mission through scholarships, access to advanced technology, supplies needed for creativity to flourish, and funds for educators’ professional development. The Education Foundation of Sarasota County and its philanthropic investors are champions for students, teachers, and schools.

For more information on the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, call 941.927.0965 or visit


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Phone: 941-927-4009 or
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