Three Escambia Students Award Prestigous American FFA Degree

November 4, 2013

Three Escambia County students have been awarded  the American FFA Degree, which is awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA. The award is presented after the FFA member graduates from high school.

Northview High School FFA graduate Lydia Weaver accepted her degree on stage  during the annual National FFA Convention Saturday morning in Louisville, KY. West Florida High School FFA graduates Jake Scott and Justin Ryan Hall were also awarded the American FFA Degree but did not attend the convention.

Less than half of one percent of all FFA members receive the American FFA Degree, making it one of the organization’s highest honors.  The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Pictured: Northview High School FFA graduate Lydia Weaver accepts  her American FFA degree on stage  during the annual National FFA Convention Saturday morning in Louisville, KY. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Photos: Northview Senior Night; Band and Cheerleaders

November 4, 2013

Friday night was Senior Night for the Northview Chiefs.

For a Senior Night, band and cheerleader photo gallery, click here.

(High quality prints are available of the Senior Night photos from the photo gallery, plus additional sword arch photos are available of most seniors. For information, email news@northescambia.com.)

Seniors honored Friday night were:

2013-2014 Northview Chief football Team

Tristan Creamer, Football, two years
Daulton Ray Daniel, Football, four years
Andrew Edwards, Football, four years
Brandon Freeman, Football, four years
Marvin A. Haynie, Jr., Football, four years
Holden Moore, Football, one year
Baccari Ramer, Football, one year
Neino Robinson, Football, two years
Nathan Ships, Football, two years
Danny Slay, Football, four years
Jeffrey Taylor II, Football, four years
LaQuan M Thomas, Football, two years
Daulton Tullis, Football, four years

2013-2014 Northview Cheerleading Team

Mariah Laine Albritton, Cheerleading, four years
Madison Brooke Arrington, Cheerleading, three years
Katelynne Nicole Calloway, Cheerleading, four years
Anna Elizabeth Fisher, Cheerleading, four years; Dance Team, three years
Chloe Vanessa Leonard, Cheerleading, four years; Dance Team, three years
Ali Martin, Cheerleading, four years
Olivia Neal, Cheerleading, one year
Courtney Weaver, Cheerleading, three years

2013 -2014 Tribal Beat Band

Donald Baity, Band, two years; ROTC, four years
Taylor Brook, Band, four years
Mashama Codrington, Band, one year
Hunter Dettling, Band, two years
Morgan Digmon, Dance Team, three years
Anna Elizabeth Donald, Band, one year
Cory Hester, Band, four years
Jessica Lowery, Dance Team, three years
Jasmine Maher, Band, two years
Brittany Nicole Martin, Band, two year; ROTC, four years
Shelby Nielsen, Band, three years
Rachel Presley, Dance Team, two years
Hilery Danielle Scott, Dance Team, three years
Rebekah Mary Sepulveda, Dance Team, one year
Kent Smith, Band, four years; ROTC, three years
Jeremy Logan Stacey, Band, three years
Lily Ann Townson, Dance Team, three years
Kendrick Walker, Band, two years; ROTC, four years

2013-2014 Northview  NJROTC
Kasie Braun, ROTC, four years
Jessica Ann Brown, ROTC, four years
Kira Cartwright, ROTC, four years
Zacarra Davis, ROTC, four years
Casey Godwin, ROTC, three years
Courtney Jones, ROTC, three years
Shauna Walker, ROTC, four years
Victoria Wright, ROTC, four years

Blue Angels Fly Together Again

November 4, 2013

The Blue Angels returned to the air over the weekend for their first public flight appearance since their funding was cut back in April. They flew over Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana before Notre Dame edged Navy 38-34.

Capt. Michael Ryan, commanding officer of the University of Notre Dame’s Navy Reserve Officer Training Candidate (ROTC) unit,  presented a University of Notre Dame football helmet to the Blues and Flight Leader Cmdr. Tom Frosch. The helmet was a gift from Notre Dame Football Head Coach Brian Kelly.

The Blues still have not announced any change to the cancellation of their Homecoming Show, originally set for this past weekend, at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

U.S. Navy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Robotics Competition Brings Out The Best In Young Scientists

November 3, 2013

Young scientists from 11 area middle and high schools — including Tate and West Florida — tested robots they built in the pressure-cooker of real competition at the sixth annual Emerald Coast BEST Robotics competition Saturday at the University of West Florida.

Each student team had six weeks to design and build a remote-controlled robot to solve a problem or perform a specific function. The year’s theme, Gatekeeper 2013, tasked robots to build a CPU (Central Processing Unit) to upgrade the BEST robot, Squeaky, to Squeaky 2.0. The students designed a prototype robot to build the mock CPU through three fabrication stages.

Each team was judged on its robot performance, marketing presentation, team exhibit, technical notebook and spirit and sportsmanship. The top two overall teams and the team with the top robot advance to regional competition Dec 7-8 at Auburn University.

Seaside Neighborhood School took the overall competition, and will be joined by Woodlawn and Woodham middle schools to represent the Emerald Coast BEST hub at Auburn.

Gulf Power Company has sponsored the BEST Robotics competition for the past six years. The event teaches teamwork, problem-solving, project management and pride in task completion.

BEST Robotics Inc. — Boosting Engineering Science and Technology — is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, and technology through participation in a sports-like, science and engineering-based robotics competition.

“Gulf Power supports the annual competition because it provides local students the opportunity to learn practical engineering, science and math skills, which are critical for their future,” said Jeff Rogers, Gulf Power spokesman. “Events like the BEST Robotics competition also help promote interest in high-quality technology careers down the line for these students.”

Gulf Power has recently ramped up efforts to increase the availability of skilled technicians in Northwest Florida by helping form the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council earlier this year. The council will help local manufacturing companies work together to compete in a global marketplace with a special emphasis on having a skilled workforce.

Area schools have been competing in BEST since 2004, when Gulf Power sponsored eight local teams to compete in the BEST hub in Mobile, Ala. The funding of hub operations depends entirely on corporate and individual sponsorships. Materials kits to build the robots are provided to the teams by the hub. No fees are paid by students or schools participating in BEST robotics.

AWARD CATEGORIES
Advancing to Regionals at South’s BEST – Auburn University on Dec. 7-8

1: Seaside Neighborhood
2: Woodlawn Middle School
3: Woodham Middle School

Robotics Award – Awarded to the teams whose machines finish first, second and third in the tournament bracket.
1: Seaside Neighborhood
2: Woodlawn Beach Middle School
3: Tate High School

BEST Robotics Finalist – Awarded to the team whose machine finished 4th
Pine Forest High School
Founders Award for Creative Design – awarded to the team that makes best use of the engineering process in consideration of offensive and defensive capabilities in machine design; awarded in recognition of BEST founders Steve Marum and Ted Mahler.
Seaside Neighborhood

Most Robust Machine – Awarded to the team whose machine requires the least maintenance during and between matches and is generally the sturdiest machine in the competition.
Pine Forest High School

Most Photogenic Machine
Woodlawn Beach Middle School

Gulf Power Blood, Sweat and Duct Tape Award
Bethlehem School

Best T-Shirt Design
1: Woodlawn Beach Middle School
2: Sims Middle School
3: Seaside Neighborhood

Web Page Design Award – Awarded for the best team website; based on page functionality, creative use of the game theme, information about team members and community efforts.
Sims Middle School

Best Spirit and Sportsmanship – Recognizes the vigor and enthusiasm displayed by team representatives and the outward display of sportsmanship (e.g., helping other teams in need), grace in winning and losing, and conduct and attitude considered befitting participation in sports.
1: Sims Middle School
2: Woodham Middle School
3: Seaside Neighborhood

Best Team Exhibit and Interview – The purpose of this category is to communicate through a display, and through discussion with judges, information about the team’s efforts to promote BEST in the community and schools; Foster BEST spirit, camaraderie, and participation and give evidence of sportsmanship.
1: Seaside Neighborhood
2: Woodham Middle School
3: Sims Middle School

Best Project Engineering Notebook – The purpose of the notebook is to document the process the team used to design, build, and test their robot.
1: Newpoint Pensacola High
2: Seaside Neighborhood
3: Woodham Middle School

Best Marketing Presentation – Teams should view themselves as employees of a “company” that is marketing their “product” (robot) to a potential buyer (judges). This marketing team is an integral part of the engineering team that has designed a specialized robot.
1: Seaside Neighborhood
2: Woodham Middle School
3: Newpoint Pensacola High

BEST Award – The BEST Award is presented to the team that best embodies the attributes associated with “Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology” in its development which include teamwork, diversity of participation, sportsmanship, creativity, ethics, positive attitude/enthusiasm, school/community involvement and exposure to and use of the engineering process.
1: Seaside Neighborhood
2: Woodlawn Middle School
3: Woodham Middle School

Pictured top: The Emerald Coast BEST Robotics competition Saturday at the University of West Florida. Pictured inset: The West Florida High School Robot. Pictured below: Seaside Neighborhood School took the overall competition. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: Fill Voids In Landscape With Shrubs

November 3, 2013

Occasionally gardeners will lose a shrub in their landscapes. This typically results in an unsightly void. Or perhaps you chose a beautiful shrub but put it in a location which it quickly outgrew. Fall is the best time of the year to plant new shrubs and transplant those that may need a new home.

When planting new shrubs, take the time to choose plants that will meet your design requirement and will be the right size for your location. Trying to artificially manipulate a plant’s size or height by pruning should be avoided in the landscape, unless you are an expert at topiaries.

Another consideration when choosing shrubs is their leaf-retaining characteristics. Evergreen plants always have green leaves on the plant; however, they do drop foliage throughout the year. Deciduous plants drop all of their leaves at one time of the year, usually late fall.

Deciduous plants typically add beautiful floral displays to the landscape. Evergreen plants will provide the backbone of the design. The well-designed landscape will contain both deciduous and evergreen shrubs.

Northwest Florida gardeners can choose from a wide variety of beautiful shrubs. Some popular choices include azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, cleyera, holly and gardenias. For more options and information, refer to a University of Florida publication titled “Selected Shrubs for North Florida.” It’s available online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg344 or by calling your local Extension Office.

The best time to add new shrubs to the landscape is when we experience cooler weather, fall through early spring. To ensure success, be sure to follow proper procedures when planting the shrub. Correct planting and proper aftercare will prevent problems in the future.

Begin by digging a hole at least twice as wide as and no deeper than the root ball. After digging, ensure that about one to two inches of the root ball is raised above the level of the surrounding soil. Remember the old saying, “Plant it high, it won’t die. Plant it low, it won’t grow.”

Probably one of the most overlooked steps is correcting root problems prior to planting. Shrubs that are planted with circling roots will always have circling roots and can abruptly fall over in high winds. Use your hands or a knife to loosen any roots that have been matted while growing in the container. Also, cut through any circling roots.

After you backfill the hole with the soil you removed, water-in the plant to release any air pockets. Mulch with three inches of organic mulch such as pine straw after planting is completed, but never on top of the root ball.

If you have decided to transplant a shrub, consider the following. Shrubs have better transplant tolerance than trees, deciduous plants better than evergreens, shallow rooted species better than deep rooted species, and younger plants better than older plants. Plants which are already in advanced stages of decline are likely to succumb to transplantation stress.

Dig as large a rootball as you can handle and follow the normal planting procedures. Aftercare is critical to a transplanted shrub’s survival, with proper watering perhaps the most important practice. Remember that sprinkler systems are not designed to establish trees and shrubs, so hand watering or a slow-drip system is recommended. Talk to your local Extension Agent for specific instructions.

You can have better success with planting or transplanting shrubs when you do it in the fall. Just be sure to follow established procedures and tend to the shrub for several months after planting.

Theresa Friday is the Residential Horticulture Extension Agent for Santa Rosa County.. Photo credit -  David Marshall.

Birth: Ruth Ann Bryan

November 3, 2013

Heath and Shelby Bryan are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Ruth Ann Bryan, born October 10, 2013, at Thomas Medical Center.

Ruth Ann weighed 6-pounds, 11-ounces and was 19.75 inches long. Grandparents are Ricky and Cheryl Golson, and Terry and Sheila Bryan of Bratt. Great-grandparents are Marlene Forester and the late Curtis Forester, the late Walter Lee Golson and Doris Oline Hopkins, Pansy Bryan and the late Preston Bryan, Dillard and Rochelle Bankston, and the late Billy Macks.

Ruth Ann was welcomed home by her big brother, Forest.

Northview’s FFA Honored As One Of America’s Best Chapters

November 1, 2013

The Northview High School FFA chapter was awarded one of the highest national honors presented by the National FFA Thursday afternoon.

Northview’s FFA  received the Three Star Chapter award on live national television during the National FFA Convention & Expo going on this week at Louisville, KY. About 53,000 FFA members and advisors are attending the convention through Saturday.

The program recognizes outstanding FFA chapters from throughout the county that successfully complete an annual set of required activities that encourage members to grow individually, work as a team and serve others in their community.

In addition to the national honors presented Thursday, the Northview High FFA chapter was recently honored for having the top Fresh From Florida Food Advocacy Program, formerly known as the Food for America Program, in the entire state.

The Fresh From Florida Advocacy Program is an educational program focusing on agricultural literacy in elementary schools and communities. It is a program developed to assist FFA members and all agricultural education students in leadership skill development as they reach out to youth, peers and their entire communities by sharing the world of agriculture.

Planning began in the fall of 2012 with FFA members setting goals and establishing working committees for the spring 2013 event. Through the efforts of 100 FFA members and community support, approximately 1,000 mostly elementary level students participated in agriculture awareness  through hands-on exhibits and activities.

In addition, members of the Northview High School FFA officer team visited several area elementary schools to read agriculture-related books to students.

The Florida FFA Organization has honored Northview High School FFA Food  for America program at the state level multiple years.

Pictured top: On behalf of the Northview FFA, President Courtney Solari (left) and Secretary Bethany Reynolds (middle) receive the Three Star Chapter award on live national television during the National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY, Thursday afternoon. Pictured below. Representing the Northview FFA during the National Convention in Louisville, KY, are chapter advisor Perry Byars, President Courtney Solari, Vice President Courtney Weekley, Secretary Bethany Reynolds, 2nd Vice President Haylee Weaver and NHS graduate Lydia Weaver. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Make-A-Wish Providing Paris Trip For Halee Boyd

November 1, 2013

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is making a dream come true for local cancer patient Halee Boyd — with a trip next week to Paris, France.

A year and a half ago Halee was a Tate High School junior on top of the world, looking forward to her senior year and graduation. In April 2012, Halee started having severe headaches, followed by blurry and double vision. Within 10 days her right eye was swollen, and the Boyds headed to a hospital emergency room. By the end of the month, they learned she had a tumor.

The diagnosis — Alevola Rhabdomyosarcoma , ARMS for short, a rare cancer of the muscles that are attached to the bones.

Her treatment for alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma ended in May of this year, but she has continued to suffer with more problems and side effects. A week ago she underwent surgery for another bone marrow biopsy to see if a medical condition is keeping her platelets from recovering since treatment ended.

Halee learned during a dinner at Ollie’s Neighborhood Grill on Nine Mile Road that she and her mother, Mardi Boyd, will fly out Monday for a week in Paris.

“This is the best time for Halee to be going and getting away from all the medical things she has been dealing with,” Mardi Boyd said.

Pictured top and inset: Halee Boyd reacts when she learns she will be leaving on a Make-A-Wish trip to Paris next week. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Thousands Attend Fall Festivals, Halloween Events

November 1, 2013

Thousands of people attended fall festivals and Halloween events across the North Escambia area Thursday night.

One of the largest was the annual community-wide fall festival at Victory Assembly of God. The festival was a combined effort of three area churches – Victory, Highland Baptist and Cross Faith Church. The interdenominational event was designed to provide a safe activity for attendees from across the community. The event featured a variety of games, bounce house, a hayride and lots of free food.

A similar event was held at Heritage Baptist Church in Cantonment.A

At the Century Care Center, ghosts and goblins joined residents to trick or treat in the hallways.

For more photos from Molino, Cantonment and Century, click here.

Hundreds attended other events across the area.

NorthEscambia.com photos from Victory Assembly in Molino (top), Heritage Baptist in Cantonment (inset) and the Century Care Center (below), click to enlarge.

Battle Of The Robots Saturday

November 1, 2013

Student-constructed robots will face off to be best of the BEST as young scientists compete against each other Saturday at the University of West Florida Field House.

The sixth annual Emerald Coast BEST Robotics middle and high school competition is sponsored by Gulf Power Company. The event will pit teams from 13 Northwest Florida schools — including Tate and West Florida high schools –  in head-to-head competition to teach teamwork, problem-solving, project management and pride in task completion.

BEST Robotics Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, and technology through participation in a sports-like, science and engineering-based robotics competition.

“Gulf Power supports the annual competition because it provides local students the opportunity to learn practical engineering, science and math skills, which are critical for their future,” said Jeff Rogers, Gulf Power spokesperson.

Gulf Power has recently ramped up efforts to help increase the availability of skilled technicians in Northwest Florida by helping to form the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council earlier this year. The council will help local manufacturing companies work together to compete in a global marketplace with a special emphasis on having a skilled workforce.

“Events like the BEST Robotics competition also help promote interest in high-quality manufacturing careers down the line for these students,” said Rogers.

Each student team has six weeks to design and build a remote-controlled robot to solve a problem or perform a specific function. The year’s theme, Gatekeeper 2013, refers to a conceived challenge of constructing a CPU (Central Processing Unit) to upgrade BEST robot, Squeaky, to Squeaky 2.0. The goal for the students is to design a prototype robot to construct a CPU over the course of three fabrication stages.

Each team is judged on its robot performance, marketing presentation, team exhibit, technical notebook and spirit and sportsmanship. The 13 schools from across Northwest Florida will participate in the University of West Florida Emerald Coast BEST hub with the top schools advancing to regional competition at Auburn University.

Area schools have been competing in BEST since 2004, when Gulf Power sponsored eight local teams to compete in the BEST hub in Mobile, Ala. The funding of hub operations depends entirely on corporate and individual sponsorships. Materials kits to build the robots are provided to the teams by the hub. No fees are paid by students or schools participating in BEST robotics.

2013 Teams:

  • Arnold High School
  • Avalon Middle School
  • Bethlehem School
  • Jinks Middle School
  • Milton High School
  • Newpoint Pensacola High
  • Pine Forest High School
  • Seaside Neighborhood
  • Sims Middle School
  • Tate High School
  • West Florida High School
  • Woodham Middle School
  • Woodlawn Beach Middle School

Pictured: Previous robotics competitions at the University of West Florida. File photos, click to enlarge.

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