EDUCATION NOTES: SAHS Tech Club headed to nationals

St. Augustine High School’s Technology Club has earned a place in the Technology Student Association Nationals competition in Orlando, June 21-26. The five-member team will showcase the video game they designed, which was awarded second place at the state level. At the national competition, the group will go up against 144 other teams across the country. The club has launched a GoFundMe page ( to help cover costs for registration and travel accommodations.


Principal appointments

Several principal appointments have been made recently within the St. Johns County School District:

• Edie Jarrell, principal at Wards Creek Elementary, has been named principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary. She will replace Jud Strickland who was appointed principal of the new Picolata Crossing Elementary School. Jarrell has nine years of experience in St. Johns County, serving as the assistant principal of CCE and principal of WCE, including other positions within the district.

• Kelly Jacobson, assistant principal at Bartram Trail High School, has been named principal of Fruit Cove Middle School. She will replace Lynn O’Connor who is retiring from the SJCSD. Jacobson previously served as a dean at Switzerland Point Middle School, in addition to other administrative posts both inside and outside the district.

• Traci Hemingway, principal at Timberlin Creek Elementary, has been named principal of Liberty Pines Academy. She will replace Judith Thayer who is retiring this year. Hemingway has been with the schools for over four years, serving previously as assistant principal at Pacetti Bay Middle School.

• Steve McCormick, principal of Ponte Vedra High School, has been named principal of Creekside High School. He will replace Randy Johnson who is retiring from the district this year. McCormick spent seven years as principal of FCMS before becoming principal at PVHS. He also served as dean of students at BTHS and Allen D. Nease High School and as assistant principal at LMS and BTHS.

Flagler College launches digital archives

More than 1,000 Flagler College archival items, from yearbooks and college catalogs to historic and college photographs, are now available to the public, thanks to a new digital archives project by the college’s archives specialist Jolene DuBray. These relics of the past — formerly viewable only during in-person visits — became available online May 5, during Alumni Weekend, when DuBray launched the project.

“With the new digital archives project, we’re starting out with a select portion of old photographs, yearbooks, FLARE magazines and course catalogs,” DuBray said. “There’s definitely been in increased interest in archives. I think that living in an historic town like St. Augustine is part of the appeal.”

Local students pick up Citizenship Awards

At its May 8 meeting, the St. Augustine City Commission awarded its annual Citizenship Awards. The awards recognize graduating seniors from St. Johns County High Schools who demonstrate services to others.

This year’s recipients are: Christine Maldonado, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and Deaf; Emily McKee, Bartram Trail High School; Sarah Lewis, Pedro Menendez High School; Natalie Costello, Ponte Vedra High School; Anna Crum, St. Augustine High School; Tyre Singleton, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind; Andrew Ryan, St. Joseph Academy; Justin Capili, Creekside High School; and Chance Bryce Phillips, St. Johns Technical High School. Recipients receive a commemorative plaque, a lapel pin depicting the city’s coat of arms, and a $200 scholarship to assist in costs associated with further education.

Nursery rhymes to boost literacy

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida recently developed a new reading program that uses traditional nursery rhymes to encourage literacy retention.

The Mother Goose program was developed through the collaboration of the ELC staff and Literacy Outreach Assistant Sandi Dunnavant. Different stories are performed centering around music and rhythm sticks, which helps children learn to read more quickly.

Due to the program’s success, ELC plans to continue the program and is looking for volunteers and donations so more local daycare centers can offer it.

Abare receives leadership award

Flagler College President William Abare Jr. has been awarded the Council of Independent Colleges’ 2017 Charles W.L. Foreman Award, the highest honor given by the organization’s State Councils.

The award is presented annually to someone who has “demonstrated truly exceptional commitment and leadership.” CIC President Richard Ekman said Abare was selected because of his work over the years with the Florida Independent College Fund.

Abare will retire as president this summer after serving in the position for 16 years.