Please excuse robotics students at Carver Middle and Beverly Shores Elementary if their minds begin to wander the next few days as their focus is on winning the 2014 VEX Robotics World Championship on April 23-26 in Anaheim, Calif.

Competing against 800 schools from 28 different countries will be four teams from Carver Middle and one team from Beverly Shores Elementary. The VEX Robotics World Championships will include the top teams from more than 400 tournaments held between June 2013 and March 2014.

The competition is based on an engineering challenge presented to the teams in the form of a game. This year’s event is “Toss Up,” which requires robots to perform stunts that include picking up various sized balls and tossing them into goals, climbing over bumps and hanging from walls.

Carver Middle and Beverly Shores Elementary students have been working year-round using the VEX Robotics Design System to build robots designed to score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination competitions and skills challenges. According to Bart Nash, Robotics Teacher at Carver Middle, students have been working diligently all year long working through the engineering-design process to come up with solutions to play the predetermined robotics game.

“For the past four or five years I have been invited over to Carver Middle School for the state tournament that Mr. Nash have held,” said School Board Member Rosanne Brandeburg. “The students over the years have done a phenomenal job, and a lot of it has to do with your leadership Mr. Nash.”

In its first year of competition, one of the teams from Beverly Shores Elementary won the state championship.

“I am very proud of my students,” said Joseph Newton, fifth grade teacher at Beverly Shores Elementary. “We just started this year and we haven’t even had these robots for more than six months and our kids went all the way.”

To learn more about the 2014 VEX Robotics World Championship, visit www.vexrobotics.com.

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New York City is a place that never lacks excitement, but you don’t have to hop the next flight out of town to find the best cheesecake and a gaggle of memorable characters breaking into song ‑ All you have to do is come see “Guys and Dolls” on April 24-26 at Lake Minneola High School.

Based on various short stories by Damon Runyon, the Tony-award winning musical “Guys and Dolls” is the perfect musical comedy for all ages. Good ole reliable Nathan Detroit can’t seem to make a commitment to Adelaide, his fiancé of 14 years; perhaps it’s because he’s too focused on running his next crap game. When the infamous gambler Sky Masterson comes to town, Nathan seizes the opportunity by striking up a bet. Sky is now faced with the challenge of wooing the straight-laced mission doll, Miss Sergeant Sarah Brown, into going to dinner with him in Havana. But what starts out as a simple bet on a doll quickly becomes a high stakes bet on love.

Out of the four musicals performed at LMHS thus far, “Guys and Dolls” is the only one to have made its Broadway debut before 2005.

“The Lake Minneola High School performing arts team decided it was time for something more traditional” said Kaitlin Elizabeth Baxter, director and choreographer. “Guys and Dolls has always been one of my favorite musicals, but I wasn’t so sure the students would fall in love with a musical from the 1950s as easily as I did. However, with a cast, crew, and band comprised of over 100 excited students, my worries were soon non-existent.”

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. curtain. Tickets for Guys and Dolls are $7 for senior citizens and students with an ID, $10 for adults, and $15 for preferred seating tickets that will put guests in the front rows. To make reservations or for more information contact Kaitlin E. Baxter at BaxterK@lake.k12.fl.us or 352-394-9600, ext. 5168. Lake Minneola High School is located at 101 N. Hancock Road, Minneola.

Guys and Dolls is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI.) All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 W. 54th St., New York, NY 10019. Phone: 212-541-4684; Fax: 212-397-4684; http://www.MTIShows.com

Lake Minneola High School

The East Ridge High Theater Department will present the musical “The Last 5 Years” on April 24-26 at 7 p.m.

East Ridge High SchoolTickets are $8. Doors open a half hour before each show at the “Barn,” the black box theater at East Ridge High, located at 13322 Excalibur Road in Clermont. The “Barn” is located behind the gym by the tennis courts, just follow the signs.

“The Last 5 Years” is a musical about New Yorkers who fall in and out love over the course of five years.

Seating is limited to 60 per performance, so reservations are encouraged. To reserve tickets, email Vince Santo at santov@lake.k12.fl.us.

Students of Lake County Schools will have April 18 off from school as the day set aside for storm make-up is not needed.

Schools and the administration offices of Lake County Schools will be open on Friday.

Students will have one more day off before the end of school on June 6. The entire school district will be closed to observe Memorial Day on May 26.

To view a complete student calendar for Lake County Schools, log on to http://www.lake.k12.fl.us and view the “District Calendars” link.

A new venue at Lake-Sumter State College’s Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center gave the Educational Foundation of Lake County’s annual Night of Stars celebration a new vibe this year as dozens of volunteers and school employees were honored last week.

Night of StarsFrom more than 6,000 volunteers, schools selected 51 volunteers who were vying for the Volunteer of the Year honor. The three finalists for the honor were:

Harmony Gray, Beverly Shores Elementary School — As the youth division winner, she volunteered more than 440 hours this school year and has been a volunteer for two years. Some of her volunteer activities include: helping with the summer pre-kindergarten program; school office; and family science nights.

Gayle Minnig, Mount Dora High School — As the adult division winner, she has volunteered more than 2,000 hours this year and has been a volunteer for 4 years. Volunteering for the Hurricane Marching Band at Mount Dora High is her passion. Her biggest challenge date was to organize the band’s largest field trip in history: the Super Bowl parade in New Orleans.

Martha Koons, Beverly Shores Elementary School — As the senior division winner, she had volunteered more than 2,500 hours this year and has been a volunteer for 10 years. Her patience and dedication has helped hundreds of children learn to read not only at Beverly Shores, but at Eustis Heights and Leesburg elementary schools as well.

Minnig was selected as the Volunteer of the Year. Three finalists were also vying for the School-Related Employee of the Year honor. The three finalists were:

Night of StarsNilda Rivera — A Secretary from the Human Resources Department, Rivera has been with the school district for 10 years. She is responsible for fingerprinting and screening employees. Her supervisor finds her to be organized and constantly looking to improve productivity.

Allison Auld — A Bookkeeper at Leesburg High, Auld has been with the school district for seven years. Principal Bill Miller cites her skills and accuracy as a factor of her nomination but states “the finest characteristic of Mrs. Auld is her passion to assist struggling students. She has adopted several student mentees and meets regularly to offer encouragement.”

Lydia Flores — A Secretary for Title I Department, Flores has eight years of experience with the school district. She is known for her passion for working with families who are sometimes left out of the school setting. She has formed relationships within the community to provide food, clothing and household items to families in need.

Rivera was selected as the School-Related Employee of the Year. The nominees for the Volunteer of the Year and School Employee of the Year awards were selected by peer vote at their school site or department and a panel of independent judges scored the nominee packets using guidelines from the Florida Department of Education. Both winners will compete at the state level over the summer.

Other awards handed out during the celebration included:

  • Business Partners of the Year — Akers Media and Walt Disney World
  • Scott Strong Volunteer of the Year — Jim Miller
  • Foundation Board Member of the Year — Bill Giffing

Volunteers honored at the Night of Stars, which was hosted by the Educational Foundation of Lake County and sponsored by CFE Federal Credit Union, Electric Services Inc., Mathias Foodservice Equipment, SEIU, Herff-Jones and AXA Financial include (number of hours reflect their volunteer time served and years of service):


  • Harmony L. Gray, Beverly Shores Elementary (440 hours, 2 years)
  • Ashley May, East Ridge High (300 hours, 1 year)
  • Darian Hunter, Fruitland Park Elementary (180 hours, 1.5 years)
  • Kristen Larson, Groveland Elementary (120 hours, 2 years)
  • Mariam McIntosh, Grassy Lake Elementary (253 hours, 1.5 hours)
  • Danielle Reid, Lost Lake Elementary (110 hours, 4 years)
  • Jane Saunders, Mount Dora Middle (117 hours, 1.5 years)
  • Robert Carlisle, Pine Ridge Elementary (20 hours, 3 years)
  • Maya Weissman, Sawgrass Bay Elementary (10 hours, 1 year)
  • Austin McCullough, Seminole Springs Elementary (23 hours, 1 year)
  • Mara Fenlon, Tavares Elementary (443 hours, 5 years)
  • Michael Crowe, Tavares Middle (70 hours, 2 years)
  • Rachel Schram, Triangle Elementary (175 hours, 2 years)
  • Robyn Demitry, Umatilla Elementary (200 hours, 4 years)
  • Jon Elbert Hoskinson, Windy Hill Middle (270 hours, 2 years)


  • Angela Tatro, Beverly Shores Elementary (1,240 hours, 2 years)
  • Margie Donelson, East Ridge High (400 hours, 2 years)
  • Cyndi Caruso, Eustis High (540 hours, 3 years)
  • Robin Bracco, Fruitland Park Elementary (200 hours, 4 years)
  • Cherie Larson, Groveland Elementary (600 hours, 6 years)
  • Adam Cronk, Grassy Lake Elementary (209 hours, 4 years)
  • Sherina Jones, Leesburg Elementary (800 hours, 3 years)
  • Theresa Sherman, Lost Lake Elementary (104 hours, 3 years)
  • Cheryl Johnson, Minneola Charter Elementary (789 hours, 4 years)
  • Gayle Minnig, Mount Dora High (2,000 hours, 4 years)
  • Dana Bruns, Mount Dora Middle (14 hours, 1.5 years)
  • Sarah Forero, Pine Ridge Elementary (189 hours, 2 years)
  • Jenny Solano, Sawgrass Bay Elementary (105 hours, 5 years)
  • Krista Pentz, Seminole Springs Elementary (264 hours, 2 years)
  • Anna Schroth, Sorrento Elementary (365 hours, 3 years)
  • Carla Stephens, Spring Creek Charter (300 hours, 9 years)
  • Mary Hongo, Tavares Elementary (424 hours, 4 years)
  • Andrew Jones, Tavares High (450 hours, 2 years)
  • Sandy Wooster, Tavares Middle (1,500 hours, 9 years)
  • Colleen Terry, Triangle Elementary (250 hours, 4 years)
  • Laura Rummel, Umatilla Elementary (160 hours, 4 years)
  • Hazel Morfe, Windy Hill Middle (100 hours, 8 years)


  • Martha Koons, Beverly Shores Elementary (2,500 hours, 10 years)
  • Gerry Baiman, East Ridge High (400 hours, 1 year)
  • Beverly Lang, Fruitland Park Elementary (116 hours, 2 months)
  • Stuart Young, Groveland Elementary (363 hours, 1 year)
  • Barbara Carmody, Grassy Lake Elementary (150 hours, 4 years)
  • Vincent Brewer, Lost Lake Elementary (86 hours, 10 years)
  • Sharon Sayre, Pine Ridge Elementary (169 hours, 3 years)
  • Carol Finger, Sawgrass Bay Elementary (44 hours, 6 years)
  • Joyce Stevens, Seminole Springs Elementary (134 hours, 17 years)
  • Sue Wolf, Tavares Elementary (1,200 hours, 3 years)
  • Robert Herrick, Treadway Elementary (285 hours, 5 years)
  • Donna Hobbs, Triangle Elementary (1,690 hours, 5 years)
  • Michael Crawford, Windy Hill Middle (108 hours, 4 years)


  • Dawn Johnson, Astatula Elementary
  • Shunta Hurst, Beverly Shores Elementary
  • Jennifer Pease, Carver Middle
  • Lynne Gigliati, Clermont Elementary
  • Richard Bowman, Clermont Middle
  • Patty Robbins, Cypress Ridge Elementary
  • Nicole Oster, East Ridge High
  • Xavier Rodriguez, East Ridge Middle
  • Maria Parra, Eustis Elementary
  • Sandra Todd, Eustis Heights Elementary
  • Cindy McVeigh, Eustis High
  • Regina Brown, Eustis Middle
  • Sarah Lockwood, Fruitland Park Elementary
  • D’Lynn Garay, Grassy Lake Elementary
  • Regina Penny, Gray Middle
  • Dawn Simons, Groveland Elementary
  • Jessica Hopperton, Lake County Virtual School
  • Lucy Hall, Lake Hills School
  • Alice Schellhorn, Lake Minneola High
  • Irene B. Storm, Lake Technical Center
  • Alex Marchbanks, Leesburg Elementary
  • Allison Auld, Leesburg High
  • Bobbie Beer, Lost Lake Elementary
  • Robin Harris, Mascotte Charter Elementary
  • Leonor Morales, Minneola Charter Elementary
  • Emma Arredondo, Mount Dora High
  • Mary Mulligan, Mount Dora Middle
  • Sue Dearwester, Oak Park Middle
  • Yvonne Milejczak, Pine Ridge Elementary
  • Roger White, Rimes Early Learning & Literacy Center
  • Kimber Keene, Round Lake Charter Elementary
  • Orlenda Martinez, Sawgrass Bay Elementary
  • Sharon Solomon, Seminole Springs Elementary
  • Maria Tew, Sorrento Elementary
  • Mary McKinnon, South Lake High
  • Teresa Hammock, Spring Creek Charter
  • Kathy Williams, Tavares Elementary
  • Benjamin Crunk, Tavares High
  • Gloria Reyes, Tavares Middle
  • Alphonso Williams, Treadway Elementary
  • Nancy Woodward, Triangle Elementary
  • Nancy White, Umatilla Elementary
  • Donna Daughtry, Umatilla High
  • David W. Brown, Umatilla Middle
  • Tom Smith, Villages Elementary
  • Kathy Staab, Windy Hill Middle
  • Lydia Flores, Title I
  • Shannon Hensley, Maintenance Department
  • Melissa Metz Moore, Facilities Department
  • Nilda Rivera, Human Resources Department
  • Nancy Hauptkorn, Main Transportation
  • Jerri Groves, South Lake Bus Lot
  • John Ross, Tavares Bus Lot

Umatilla High is pleased to announce Maria Belen Lopez, a Spanish teacher, has been awarded a scholarship to attend the 2014 Kagan Summer Academy at Walt Disney World.

Lopez was one of 60 deserving educators, including teachers, administrators, student teachers, and international educators chosen for nearly $40,000 in Kagan scholarships. More than 580 applications were received.

Kagan’s 28th Annual Summer Academy on July 7-18 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista offers workshops that help prepare teachers for the transition to the deeper thinking and application skills within the new Florida Standards. Participants in the workshops implement the strategies in their classrooms and/or on their campuses and share the information with their colleagues as part of their school-based professional development activities and in their school Professional Learning Communities.

“Ms. Lopez’s ability and desire to secure this grant is a testament to her dedication, expertise and hard work as a teacher at Umatilla High,” said Randy Campbell, Principal at Umatilla High.

Partners for SuccessLake County Schools is excited to be a part of the upcoming Partners for Success event on Thursday, April 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lake-Sumter State College’s Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center, located at 9501 U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg.

During the event, students, teachers and administrators will be highlighting many of the Career-Technical Education (CTE) programs featured at area high schools. The Partners in Success event will also give students — trained in various technical skills — from Lake Tech, LSCC and Lake County Schools the opportunity to mingle with business leaders, entrepreneurs and human resources professionals. Partners for Success is a joint effort between the Lake County Economic Development & Tourism Department, Lake County Schools, LSSC, Lake Tech and the Lake County Chamber Alliance.

The list of programs to be featured from Lake County Schools includes:

  • East Ridge High — Applied Cybersecurity; Automotive Collision, Repair and Refinishing; Commercial Art Technology; Early Childhood Education; International Business; Pathways to Engineering; Marketing; Television Production
  • Eustis High— Applied Cybersecurity; Culinary Arts
  • Leesburg High — Agritechnology; Building Construction Technology; Energy Technician(Power Academy); Horticulture Science & Services; Pathways to Engineering; Culinary Arts; Digital Design
  • Lake Minneola High — Architectural Drafting; Automation & Production Technology; Commercial Art Technology; Early Childhood Education; Plant Biotechnology
  • Mount Dora High — Architectural Drafting; Culinary Arts
  • South Lake High — Allied Health Assisting; Nursing Assistant; Culinary Arts
  • Tavares High — Culinary Arts; Game/Simulation/Animation Programming; Allied Health Assisting and Nursing Assistant
  • Umatilla High — Agritechnology; Culinary Arts; Horticulture Science & Services
  • Academic Services’ Curriculum Department will showcase AVID, STEM, Science Fair and AP Seminars during the event.

Lake County Schools features robust CTE programs at all of its high and middle schools. The curriculum consists of 31 career preparatory high school programs and five middle school programs. Lake County’s 10 middle schools and eight high schools house more than 100 state-of-the-art CTE laboratories. Programs of study are varied and technically challenging, and include Plant Biotechnology, Engineering, Gaming and Simulation, Automation and Production (Robotics), Culinary Arts, Allied Health, Television Production and Architectural Drafting (these are only eight of the 29 high school programs offered). Thirty-eight Career and Professional Academies provide students the opportunity to earn industry certifications, including Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Adobe Dreamweaver.

For more information about the event, contact Nancy Muenzmay at muenzmaN@lssc.edu.


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