Carver/Century Holds Last Ever Graduation Exercise

May 27, 2009


The moment was bittersweet as the final eighth grade class at Carver/Century K-8 School held graduation exercises Tuesday night.

There was excitement over the new beginning that the graduation presents for the students as they head off to high school in the fall, and there was sadness over the class being the last ever to graduate from the Blackcat legacy of Century High School, Carver/Century, Century Elementary and Carver Middle.

Friday is final day of school for the Carver/Century after the school board voted earlier this year to close Century’s last school.

“This really a very poignant moment for all us,” Carver/Century Curriculum Coordinator Paula Jernigan said. Tuesday marked her 25th graduation excercise at a Century school.

carver-century-grad-25.jpg“I can remember when it was not easy for someone to  event make it to the eighth grade,” Rev. Willie Carter told the graduating eighth graders, holding his Century diploma from May 22, 1936, in his hand. “Tonight, we have to think of it as a beginning.”

Principal Jeff Garthwaite presented a certificate and pin depicting a blackcat and the word “pride”.  It was all about the Blackcat pride legacy, he said. “We’ve tried to share that with students that they are continuing that Blackcat pride.”

“Nobody’s going to ask you if came out of a little town like Century, but if you can do the job,” Rev. Carter said.

The top-ranked student in the class, Devon Cottrell, said, “This is only a small step for to walk and leave Carver/Century School; however, out lives experince big change, a chance that will be managed with patience as wisdom.”

The second-ranked student in the class was Skyler Macks, just 1/100th of a point behind Cottrell.

“I am proud that I had the opportunity to attend this school,” Macks said. “I will miss the good times we’ve had at Carver/Century.”

“Today is a day of joy and celebration. We are moving on and growing,” Macks said. “This was a great school.”

Click here for a complete photo gallery from the Carver/Century eighth grade graduation exercise Tuesday night.

The following students were in the final graduation class at Carver/Century K-8 School: Jay Ates; Keairra Brown; LaPorsha Brown; Devon Cottrell; Jaquan Dale; Tyaisha Davison; Ashtin Dixon; Aradius Elliott; Arkelle Elliott; Tierra Floyd; Alisha Grice; Kahlil Grice; Blaze Harkness; Kateria Hoffman; Trevor Hubbard; Cordell Jackson; Shaquanna Jones; Te’Andreia Knight; La’Mikal Kyles; Skyler Macks; Chris Madison; Trevelle McWilliams; Demontra Mitchel; Jontashia Myles; Stetson Nash; Jamell Rivers; Deidre Steel; Talia Syria Dyshun White; Roderick Woods.

Pictured top: Graduation exercises at Carver/Century K-8 School Tuesday night. Pictured inset: Rev. Willie Carter addresses the students, his 1936 Century diploma in hand. Pictured below: Devon Cottrell receives his eighth grade certificate. photos, click to enlarge.


All Smiles At EWMS: Somer Bridges Named A Teacher Of The Year

May 27, 2009


Ernest Ward Middle School teacher Somer Bridges was all smiles Tuesday as she learned that she had been selected as the Teacher of the Year in a contest sponsored by a local orthodontist.

Brooks Orthodontics, which has locations in Pensacola, Pace and Jay, sponsors a contest in which patients are asked to nominate their favorite teacher for the Teacher of the Year contest. Of the hundreds of entries, Ernest Ward’s Somer Bridges was the only teacher nominated twice.

She was nominated by eighth grade students and classmates, Stephanie Roach and Chad Smith.

“She has always been there for me. She is more than my teacher, she is my friend. When my dad passed away she brought cards from my class and checked on me everyday,” Smith wrote about Bridges.

“She inspires me and all her students to do their best. She treats us as she would her own children. She does whatever she can to help us learn,” Roach wrote in her essay. “She even goes out of her way to talk to us if we need someone to talk to. She listens and talks us through our problem. She is a wonderful person and deserves this after all she’s done for me and my classmates.”

Ernest Ward Principal Nancy Gindl-Perry noted that she was proud of Bridges, having encouraged her when she was in the eleventh grade to become a teacher.

“I taught her in high school,” Perry said. “I told her in her eleventh grade anatomy and physiology class that she would make a good teacher. Then I ended up being the one to hire her.”

Pictured above (L-R): EWMS student Stephanie Roach,  Teacher of the Year Somer Bridges, student Chad Smith and Stacey Peaden from Brooks Orthodontics. photo, click to enlarge.

Go After God In A Big Way: NHS Class Of 2009 Holds Baccalaureate Services

May 25, 2009


The Northview High School Class of 2009 held their Baccalaureate service Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church of Bratt — the first time in the history of the school that Baccalaureate has not been held at the school.

nhs-baccalaureate69.jpgThe class motto sums up the story of the students’ struggle to hold a  Baccalaureate service: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

The school was not able able to organize a Baccalaureate service due to a new Escambia School Board policy preventing the school from promoting any religious ceremony. That policy was implemented after a federal judge issued an order against any policy or practice where school district employees promote or take part in prayer or religious services organized by the Santa Rosa County School District.

The Baccalaureate service was organized by the Northview senior class, led by class President Luke Killam.

“I am glad that we could gather to praise God,” Killam said after the service.

“I was proud of our class organizing the service,” senior class Vice President Briana Halteman said. “A lot of the community got involved and helped us stand up for what we believed in.”

“You can’t keep God out of schools,” Jason Oxodine, youth minister at the First Assembly of God in Atmore, told the graduates. “You went against the grain..and stood up for God.”

Oxodine said the school board and court decisions concerning religion in schools have made it hard for school personnel to function as leaders in the community “when they know that what you need most in your life is Jesus Christ.”

“Go after God in a big way,” the youth pastor urged the 42 students that took part in the service.

“Everlasting God”, “Glorious One”, and “My Saviour, My God” were among the songs performed by the Senior Ensemble at Sunday morning’s service.

Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas, Northview Principal Gayle Weaver and other school personnel were at the service but did not speak during the service.

For a photo gallery from the service, click here.

Pictured above and below: Scenes from the  Northview High School Baccalaureate Service Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Bratt. photo, click to enlarge.


Molino Park Student One Of Four In Escambia With Perfect FCAT Scores

May 22, 2009

Only four students in Escambia County made a perfect “5″ on the third grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in both reading and math, including a North Escambia student at Molino Park Elementary School.

School district officials say Molino Park’s  Sarah Perritt scored that perfect top-rated “5″ on both the reading and math FCAT administered earlier this year. Only three other third grade students in Escambia County had scores as good. The other students are: John Lovall, Hellen Caro Elementary; Milly Ladner, A.K. Suter; and Nathaniel Freeman, West Pensacola.

There were 56 students in Escambia County that made perfect scores in math, and just 24 earned a perfect “5″ in reading.

For more about how North Escambia schools fared on the third grade FCAT, click here.

3rd Grade Math, Reading FCAT Scores Released : Bratt Declines, All Others Improve

May 21, 2009

Third grade reading and math FCAT scores were released Thursday morning by the Florida Department of Education, with every North Escambia school showing an increase in scores except for Bratt Elementary.

At Bratt Elementary, the number of third grade students scoring at grade level on the reading portion of the FCAT dropped from 83 percent last year to 78 percent this year. In math, Bratt also declined, from 86 percent at grade level last year to 81 percent this year.

Bryneville Elementary School third grade students improved from 83 percent at grade level in reading last year to 86 percent this year. The percentage of students at third grade level in math remained steady at 93 percent.

Carver/Century third graders improved on both the math and reading FCAT tests. The percent scoring a “3″, which is considered grade level, increased from 53 to 72 percent in reading and from 58 to 72 percent in math.

Molino Park Elementary third grade students also showed gains on the FCAT. The percent of grade level students in reading increased from 76 to 81 percent. The number of Molino Park third graders at grade level in math increased from 84 to 89 percent.

Jim Allen Elementary school in Cantonment showed increases as well. The percentage of third grade students at grade level in reading increased from 76 to 78 percent; in math the number went from 84 percent last year to 89 this year.

Overall, third grade students in Escambia County improved one percentage point from one year ago. The number at grade level in reading increased from 71 to 72 percent. In reading, the county score improved from 76 to 77 percent at grade level.

“We are, of course, pleased with this year’s results and the gains being made in our schools,” said Superintendent Malcolm Thomas. “A lot of hard work was put forth by our teachers, principals and students to continue to increase scores at this level. This will give us some momentum heading into next year.”

Among the highlights from across the county:

● Navy Point increased 21% in math and 11% in reading
● Spencer Bibbs increased 15% in math and 16% in reading
● Longleaf increased 5% in math and 10% in reading
● NB Cook students scored 97% in math and 91% in reading
● Suter students scored 97% in math and 90% in reading
● 56 District students earned perfect scores in math
● 24 District students earned perfect scores in reading
● 4 District students earned perfect scores in both categories

Welcome To The Real World: NHS Students Juggle Work, School

May 21, 2009


During her senior year, Northview student Ashley Snow maintained her GPA, cheered on the varsity cheerleading squad and was involved in other extracurricular activities. She also worked as an office assistant five days a week. And she worked at the Atmore YMCA. And she worked at the Movie Gallery.

Ashley is one of 27 students enrolled in the Diversified Career Technology/Career Education Clubs of Florida class at Northview High School. It’s a program that is sometimes called OJT, or on the job training. Students like Ashley take three to six periods in school at Northview; then they earn classroom credit for working their jobs under the watchful eye of DCT instructor Tommy Weaver.

“We call it the ‘world of work’,” Weaver said of his class. “It’s a welcome to the real world.”

At one point during the year, Ashley was juggling school and a 40-45 hour work week under the DCT program.

“I didn’t have a social life. I didn’t have time to sleep,” she said. She’s since quit her job at the YMCA, but continues to work at the Movie Gallery. She also will continue her job as a paid student aide in the Northview office until the end of the school year.

dct11.jpgFor senior Amie Sutton (pictured left), the DCT program has allowed her to advance in her job. She started as a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly in Century, and now her duties include working as an office clerk, managing cash, checks, money orders and more. She’s learned that advancing in a career has its perks.

“I can tell people what to do,” Sutton said. “But I hate when a customer is rude.”

“Yeah, sometimes when they have late fees they don’t want to pay, people can be so rude,” Ashley said. It’s that “welcome to the real world” that Weaver mentioned.

“It can get real hectic at times,” Jessica Mothershed said of her job as a paid aide in the Northview office. “Sometimes you can lose track because so many people want you to do so many different things.”

Jessica said she is glad she had the opportunity to get the Northview office job through the DCT program. “It’s been a great chance to get real experience, and the people I work with are just wonderful.”

Summer Sanders said it was necessary for her to work while attending school and that she was thankful for the opportunities presented by the DCT class.

“They are a great group of students who have work extremely hard to maintain jobs as well as attend school,” Summer said, thanking Weaver for helping her find her first job at David’s Catfish and her current job at Century Care Center.

I Enjoy working at the Care Center,” she said. “The staff is really nice and caring, and the residents just have a way of brightening my day when I’m having a bad day. It is a great environment to work in.”

Tiffany Chance found her job, well, by accident. An accident landed her at the chiropractor.  She found chiropractic work interesting, and now she works at Newlin Chiropractic in Pensacola through the Northview DCT program.

“I just fell in love with the people at the chiropractic office after my accident, and they offered me a job,” she said. “I love having a job where I can help people. There’s nothing bad about it; it is all positive.”

But without the ability to take part in the NHS DCT program, Tiffany said it would be unlikely that she would have the job that she believes will prepare her for life after high school.

“It has taught me to accomplish tasks for myself,” Tiffany said. “It has definitely prepared me for the real world.”

Classroom time in the DCT program does work to prepare students for the real world.

Students learn how to write a resume, conduct an interview and even file their taxes.

Students receive both a classroom grade and a grade from their work supervisors. Good performance is important to maintaining or improving a GPA; students can earn up to five A’s per nine weeks in the DCT program. It is possible for a senior to take DCT, English and Government/Economics during the first three periods of the school day, then leave for work. Their employers are required to provide them with one hour of work for each period they are out of school.

But Weaver encourages the students to not be all work and no play; they are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities and to return to campus for school events like pep rallies.

“They are a great group of kids,” Weaver said.

Amanda Barrow, manager of the Atmore Movie Gallery where Ashley works, agrees.

“I couldn’t ask for a better employee. She accepts responsibility. Everyone would wish for an employee as work oriented as Ashley,” Barrow said. “I think it (DCT) is a great program. It gives students the hands-on training they need before they are pursuing their careers.”

Ashley worked as a night nursery attendant during her time at the Atmore YMCA and found out that the DCT program can even provide life lessons.

“I don’t want kids anymore,” she said.

Members of the Northview 2008-2009 DCT program are listed below with their employer:

  • Michelle Bellamy, Century Care Center, Century
  • Joshua Black, Ernest Ward Middle School, Walnut Hill
  • Gretchen Boughner, Whataburger, Century
  • Andrew Bowlan, Whataburger, Cantonment
  • Richard Braun, Northview High School, Bratt
  • Brittany Brown, Country Charms, Atmore
  • Tiffany Chance, Newlin Chiropractic, Pensacola
  • Matthew Coffee, Winn-Dixie, Cantonment
  • Stephanie Doucette, Grocery Advantage, Cantonment
  • Whitney Flurnoy, Buster’s Restaurant, Atmore
  • Melissa Garrett, Grocery Advantage, Cantonment
  • Jasey Gibson, Whataburger, Cantonment
  • Jesse Grimes, Piggly Wiggly, Davisville
  • Denise Hart, Northview High School, Bratt
  • Blaine Jeter, Pee Wee Construction, Atmore
  • Dalton Justice, Right Lead Ranch, Walnut Hill
  • Ryan Lamber, Smith Tractor, Atmore
  • Adam Martin, Pee Wee Construction, Atmore
  • Steven Meadows, Chuck E. Cheese, Pensacola
  • Jessica Mothershed, Northview High School, Bratt
  • Dustin Odom, Subway, Atmore
  • Caitlin Roley, Northview High School, Bratt
  • Summer Sanders, Century Care Century, Century
  • Haley Smith, Northview High School, Bratt
  • Ashley Snow, Movie Gallery, Atmore
  • Amie Sutton, Piggly Wiggly, Century
  • Kayla Wheeler, Winn Dixie, Cantonment

For more on the DCT program at Northview, click here.
Pictured top: Jessica Mothershed (left) and Tiffany Chance are two of 27 students in the DCT program at Northview High School. Pictured inset: Amie Sutton works at Century’s Piggly Wiggly in the DCT program. Pictured below: Escambia County School Superintendent  Malcolm Thomas visits with DCT student Ashley Snow, who works as an office aide at NHS. photos, click to enlarge.


Northview DCT Students Work Hard, Visit Six Flags

May 21, 2009


The following was written and submitted by the DCT class at Northview High School.

The Diversified Career Technology/ Career Education Clubs of Florida class at Northview High School recently had a busy week. DCT is a class for students, who have jobs and who want to keep the job while attending school. The students in DCT work very hard to maintain good grades, while holding down a job. These students take core classes and then are released from school to gain valuable experience by doing on-the-job-training at work.

They receive a grade for both classroom and OJT work. Northview has a rather large class this year with 27 members. The class is led by President Jessica Mothershed, Vice President Summer Sanders, Secretary Melissa Garrett, Treasurer Amie Sutton, Parliamentarian Gretchen Boughner, and Hospitality Chairperson Kaydee Wheeler

All have done an exceptional job of keeping things running smoothly. The other members include Michelle Bellamy, Josh Black, Andrew Bowlan, Richard Braun, Brittany Brown, Tiffany Chance, Matthew Coffey, Stephanie Doucette, Whitney Flurnoy, Jasey Gibson, Jesse Grimes, Denise Hart, Blaine Jeter, Dalton Justice, Ryan Lambert, Adam Martin, Steven Meadows, Dustin Odom, Caitlin Roley, Haley Smith and Ashley Snow.

In appreciation for being a great class, our DCT Coordinator, Tommy Weaver, and our Principal, Mrs. Gayle Weaver, accompanied the class to Six Flags Over Georgia on April 25th. The trip was a blast and a great success.

Jessica Mothershed, president, said, “I had a wonderful time. I loved spending time with my friends and seeing their faces on some of the rides. It was priceless.” Ashley Snow, said, “Six Flags was really exciting and because Amie Sutton and I had flash passes we rode almost every ride.”

Summer Sanders, said, “I loved spending time with classmates and it made memories that will last forever.” Amie Sutton, said, “The trip to Six Flags was awesome and I had a great time with my fellow classmates. The memories of that day will be remembered for ever.”

The DCT class recently held the Annual Employer-Employee Banquet at David’s Catfish in Atmore. The banquet was an opportunity for the employees to show appreciation to their employers for all the employers have done for them in the past year. There was great participation by both employers and employees. After a great meal by David’s, the group was presented a program by Mrs. Paula Miller, Director of Human Resources PCI-CIE, highlighting opportunities available with PCI-CIE. It was a very informative and interesting program. The CECF Club was honored to have Dr. Michelle Taylor, Workforce Education Specialist Escambia School District, and her husband, Mr. Tommy Taylor, former Director of Workforce Education, as special quests.

The trip and banquet were great, and the DCT class of 2008-2009 is very proud of their accomplishments this year.

For more information about the DCT program at Northview High School, click here.

Local Student One Of 100 To Take Part In Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend

May 20, 2009

An eighth grade Carver/Century K-8 School student is one of just 100 young men selected to take part in the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend this June in Dallas.

elliot.jpgArkelle Elliott was selected based upon a father-figure essay he wrote to take part in the program with comedian, actor and radio personality Steve Harvey. Elliot will attend the mentoring weekend June 18-21.

“Mrs. Harris encouraged me a lot,” Elliot said of his teacher Detria Harris. “I wrote an essay about what it was like to have a father figure.”

“He told me from the day he turned it in that he was going to pack because he was going to win,” Harris said.

The event includes a weekend of seminars and team building activities. The program is led by Harvey and is designed to build a foundation for young men, according to the program’s web site.

steveharvey.jpgThe Steve Harvey (pictured left) program “will expose young males to business professionals, athletes, celebrities and ministers that will assist them in focusing their hopes into dreams and transforming their dreams into reality,” the web site says.

The program is for young men from a family with a single female head of household.

Elliot and the other 99 program participants will take part in sessions to include “Tool Time”, “Style is Success”, “Handling Your Money”, “What It Takes To Get Into and Stay In College” and “New Ideas To Make Money”.

Pictured top: Arkelle Elliott, eighth grade student at Carver/Century K-8, is one of just 100 young men that will take part in a Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend in Dallas this summer. photo, click to enlarge.

Updated: Security Doors Being Installed At Molino Park, EWMS, Northview

May 19, 2009

(Updated 11:00 a.m.) The Escambia County School District is spending $210,105 to install two security doors at each of 29 schools, including Northview High School, Molino Park Elementary and Ernest Ward Middle School.

The doors can be locked and unlocked from a central access point in each school’s office and include a panic button to quickly control the doors. The doors provide a level of defense against a school intruder, according to officials.

Each school on the list of 29 will receive $348 worth of electric hinges, doors valued at $1,824; an access panel for $1,581;two panic buttons for $792 and $600 worth of wiring for the door.

A company representative for Warren Hollow Metal Doors said that while Bratt Elementary was originally approved by the school board for a set of the doors, Bratt had declined the installation. The doors originally intended for Bratt will now be installed at Northview.

The doors will be paid for from the school district’s budgeted Access Control Revenue fund.

Ernest Ward Students Participate In Public Speaking Contest

May 19, 2009

Sixth grade students at Ernest Ward Middle School recently participated in a public speaking contest with one student advancing to take third place in the entire county.

Every sixth grader at EWMS took part in a school-wide 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Competition. School winners were Tamara Wise, first place; Morgan Ward, second place; Shalmali Bhadkamkar, third place; and Tristan Portwood, honorable mention.

Tamara represented EWMS at the county contest at the 4-H Langley Bell Center, placing third in the county. It was a close contest; the top three contestants were separated by just three points.

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