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Tavares Middle School shines again!  A team of 8th grade students – Lainey Smith, Thomas Kirkland and Taylor Wolf — recently participated in the 2016 eCYBERMISSION STEM competition and earned an honorable mention! The event is an internet based science fair where students compete on a national level.

The purpose of their project was to design an effective and improved cutting board that stays in place while in use. They bought a cutting board and hot-glued five suction cups to the bottom of it. Their strategy successfully minimized the cutting board’s movement when it was in use.  The original cutting board slid and average distance of 4.75 in. The new and improved product slid an average distance of only .25 in.

“This project involved STEM because we used engineering to build the design using the design process,” the students wrote in their abstract. “We used math because we had to measure the direct distance they moved when cutting. We implied technology when we answered the questions and made the graph with an app. We also used science because by adding the suction cups, we reduced the motion in the board and this would reduce cutting related injuries.”

We are proud of you, Lainey, Thomas and Taylor!

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NHDLake County middle school and high school students are gearing up for the second annual National History Day competition. This competition allows students to create projects on historical topics in the categories of exhibit, paper, documentary, performance, or website.

Students from every middle school and four of the high schools (East Ridge, Eustis, Lake Minneola, and South Lake) will come together on March 5, 2016, at Windy Hill Middle School to be judged on their projects in the morning. In the afternoon, starting at 5:00 p.m. there will be an Open House and the awards ceremony will follow at 5:30 p.m.

Each year there is a different National History Day theme that students use as a guide for creating their projects. Last year’s theme was Leadership and Legacy. This year’s theme will be Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange. Students will be challenged to think, research, and write like historians while exploring human history and its effects on our society today.

The top two winners in each category will be moving on to the state competition, held in Tallahassee, May 1-3, 2016.

For more information or to see how you can sponsor or help with this event, contact Nicole DeLuca, Social Studies Program Specialist, at delucan@lake.k12.fl.us or 352-253-6874.

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lweekFour schools in Eustis were notified this week that they, as a team, have won either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in a statewide literacy-civic service contest. The formal announcement will be made later this month in Tallahassee.

A group of 20 student ambassadors from Eustis Heights and Eustis elementary schools, Eustis Middle School and Eustis High School teamed up for literacy last month and began writing an alphabet book with members of the community. They will come back together on Friday, Jan. 15, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Eustis Heights to complete the narrative, add pictures and put the final touches on the book which, when finished, will highlight strategic points of interest in Eustis.

The project was submitted as an entry to the statewide Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Literacy-Civics Service contest, and the schools learned this week that they are a winner of either a $25, $500 or $1,000 prize.

The Eustis schools plan to use the money they win to get their book published so they can present copies to local day care centers and pre-schools.

Florida First Lady Ann Scott will present the awards at a ceremony on Jan. 28 at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee. In addition, Eustis Mayor Michael Holland will read a proclamation on Jan. 21, when the student ambassadors will present the book to the city commissioners. Mayor Holland will declare Jan. 27, 2016, as “Read Across Eustis Day,” part of the statewide designation of January as “Read Across Florida Month.” The students will travel throughout Eustis to read the book they created, helping to instill a love of reading and an appreciation for the Eustis community.

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STEMosphereStudents in PK through 12th grade, their families and all lifelong learners are invited to explore, invent and experiment at STEMosphere Orlando! This free highly interactive event hosted by UCF on Jan. 23, 2016, will include hands-on adventures such as building with KEVA planks, Incredible Insects, a mobile STEM lab, core sampling with NASA and virtual animal dissection. Click here for information and to register. Space is limited!

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dc6on4AqiOn December 5th, 2015 East Ridge Middle School’s Thespian Troupe 89049 attended District 9’s Theatre competition with 39 acting students ready to perform in 37 individual events. These events ranged from performing events like Solo Musical, Ensemble Acting, Improvisation and Pantomime and technical events like Marketing, Costume Design and Scene Writing. Students competed in 14 categories in all and earned 22 Superior Ratings and 12 Excellent Ratings. In each category, a best of show was selected from the day’s performances and Troupe 89049 took 10 of the 14 categories. Those categories were Solo Musical, Duet Musical, Small Group Musical, Large Group Musical, Ensemble Acting, Pantomime, Marketing, Costume Design, Makeup Design and Scene Writing. Troupe 89049 is under the direction of Tiana Sandh, Chorus/Theatre Director at East Ridge Middle School.

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142x140xBESTBUDDIES-LOGO.JPG.pagespeed.ic.LIVHXMCm5ZTavares Middle School was recently named the 2015 Best Buddies Middle School Chapter of the Year for Florida and the top Overall School Friendship Walk Team!

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We are so excited to spread the mission for social inclusion,’’ said Michelle Metheny, a Tavares Middle School teacher who works with the chapter. “Our fundraising efforts has helped Best Buddies so Central Florida could open five new chapters in Lake County. Best Buddies not only positively impacts my students with autism, but their peer buddies, too.”

Statewide, Best Buddies Florida operates 160 chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges. The chapter at Tavares Middle School raised $18,497 in support of the Best Buddies Friendship Walk, which has drawn more than 55,000 participants in more than 26 states and raised more than $5 million since it started in 2009.

The Tavares Middle School chapter was recognized for its fundraising accomplishments at the Best Buddies 2015 Leadership Conference at Indiana University this summer.

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Thanks to a Digital Learning Grant, the Lake County School Board  recently approved the purchase of 1,312 HP Stream laptops for use in the schools utilizing these grant funds. The laptops are thin, light, loaded with Windows 8.1 and ready for cloud-based and offline productivity. The devices will be distributed among all schools. The number of computers each school will receive varies based on student population. For example, East Ridge High School will receive 77, Umatilla Middle School 21 and Beverly Shores Elementary 25.

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