‘Ocean Commotion’ At Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church

June 7, 2016

Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church  kicked off their “Ocean Commotion” Vacation Bible School Monday night. The VBS continues nightly through Friday from 6 until 8:30. A light supper will be served each night. The church is located at 140 Bogia Road, just off Highway 29, in McDavid.

For a list of other area Vacation Bible Schools, click here. To submit photos from your church’s VBS, email news@northescambia.com.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Delaney Reynolds, click to enlarge.

Two Tate Graduates To Be Featured On Times Square Billboard

June 6, 2016

On Wednesday, The Get Schooled Foundation and partner Taco Bell Foundation will honor 300 students, including two from Tate High School.

Their pictures and stories will be featured on a six story digital yearbook in the heart of Times Square. Each of the applicants were asked to detail their life passion and how they used education to further their passions and dreams this school year.

Two J.M. Tate High School Class of 2016 graduates being honored are Devon Ledbetter and Miranda Nock. Their featured stories are as follows:

  • “My dream career is being an editor for a publishing company. I have had a passion for reading and writing from a very young age, and I have had the opportunity to explore my interests through being the Editor-in-Chief of my school’s yearbook for two consecutive years now. This position has allowed me to grow and learn so much before I even start college, and has secured my sense of belonging in this career path. There is nothing I desire to pursue more, and I cannot wait to study at FSU!” — Devon Ledbetter
  • “I’ve always know I wanted to work with animals since I can remember. I joined the vet academy at my high school helping me gain knowledge of the career and to confirm further my passion to work with animals. For a year now I have been working in a vet clinic being very hands on. I get to give shots, take care of animals, and even assist in surgeries! I even achieved getting my Florida State Veterinarian Assistant certification taking me a step closer to becoming a veterinarian! ” — Miranda Nock

Each of the honorees will also receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Jim Allen, Molino Park Students Raise $4k For Clean Water In Africa

June 5, 2016

Jim Allen Elementary School Enrichment classes in grades K-5 and Molino Park Elementary School Enrichment classes in grades K-2 presented a $4,082.42 donation to the non-profit Maji:Hope.

Maji:Hope works to be bring clean water to rural villages in Africa.  Students sold candy bars, bracelets, shirts, and devised individual fundraising projects to donate to this worthy cause. The idea came about after students studied Africa in their enrichment classes and learned of the water crisis and its negative affects.

Working together, students learned that anyone can make a difference.

Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Vacation Bible School Scheduled at Many Area Churches

June 5, 2016

Vacation Bible School is a summertime tradition for many area children. Here is a list of upcoming VBS events in the North Escambia area. To add a VBS to this list, email news@northescambia.com.

Oak Grove Baptist Church VBS
Oak Grove Baptist Church will hold their VBS June 6-10 from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Dinner will be provided. The church is located at 2600 North Highway 99 in Oak Grove.

Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church VBS
Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church will hold VBS “Ocean Commotion”, June 6-10 from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. each evening. Light supper will be served. A The church is located at 140 Bogia Road in McDavid.

First Baptist Church of Cantonment VBS
The First Baptist Church of Cantonment will hold their VBS, June 6-10 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. for ages four years through fourth grade. There will be a VBX class for 5th-8th grades. This class must be preregistered. The church is located at 118 Morris Avenue in Cantoment. For more information call (850) 968-9135.

Plainview Baptist Church VBS
Plainview Baptist Church will hold their VBS, June 6-10 from 9 a.m. until noon. The theme is ‘Submerged: Finding Truth Below the Surface’. The church is located at 1101 West Nine Mile Road in Pensacola. For more information call (850) 476-3845.

Pine Forest Estates Baptist Church VBS
Pine Forest Estates Baptist Church will hold VBS “Ocean Commotion”, June 6-10 from 6:15 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for ages three through 12. Transportation provided. Call Alex at (850) 206-6188 for questions or registration. The church is located at 2550 W 9 Mile Rd in Pensacola.

Oakfield Union Missionary Baptist Church VBS
Oakfield Union Missionary Baptist Church will hold their VBS, The Ultimate Climb: Hiking Up to Meet God, June 13-17, 2016, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Ages four years to adults. The church is located at 459 Hancock Lane in Pensacola. For more information call (850) 476-9127.

First Baptist Church Cottage Hill VBS
First Baptist Church Cottage Hill will hold VBS “Ocean Commotion”, June 13-17 from 6 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The church is located at 230 Williams Ditch Rd in Cantonment.

New Faith Missionary Baptist Church VBS
New Faith Missionary Baptist Church will hold VBS June 20-24, from 5:45 p.m. until 8 p.m. The church is located at 223 Massachusetts Avenue in Pensacola. For more information call (850) 469-0205.

Highland Baptist Church VBS
Highland Baptist Church will hold VBS ‘Cave Quest’, June 20-24, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for ages three through 5th grade. Family night will be June 26. Registration forms available at the church office or request an online registration form at hbcubs2016@gmail.com. The church is located at 6240 County Hwy 95A in Molino.

Charity Chapel VBS
Charity Chapel will hold their VBS June 27-July 1, from 9 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. Register online at www.charitychapel.org. The church is located at 5820 Montgomery Avenue in Pensacola. For more information call (850) 944-5520.

Poplar Dell Baptist Church VBS
Poplar Dell Baptist Church will hold VBS July 11 – 15, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. The theme will be Submerged with Motto being Jesus Sees, Jesus Knows, and Jesus Saves. The church is located at 2631 Highway 4A, Century.

Aldersgate United Methodist Church VBS
Aldersgate United Methodist Church will host Surf Shack VBS from July 18-22nd ; 5:30-8:30pm. All children from 3 yr old through rising 5th graders are welcome to join us. Online registration is located at www.aumcmolino.org. For more information contact Sandra at (850) 587-2489 or the church office at (850) 587-5294.

Pine Forest Assembly of God VBS
Pine Forest Assembly of God will hold VBS Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23, from 5:30 until 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 24 at 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 3125 Pine Forest Rd in Cantonment. For more information call (850) 476-1378.

Take Stock In Children Awards $215K In Scholarships To Local Students

June 4, 2016

Take Stock in Children and the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation awarded $215,000 in scholarships at the June 2 “Graduation & Unsung Hero Celebration”. The event honored 17 graduating seniors who received four-year tuition scholarships. In addition, each graduate received a laptop computer.

The 2016 Take Stock in Children graduates are:

Escambia High: Ashleigh Bell, Shelby Butts, Austin Travis:
Northview High: Ureil Codrington, Amber Freeman, Carly Ward;
Pensacola High: Destinee Brundidge, Savion Henderson, Jazmin Womack;
Pine Forest High: Tara Vanderburg;
Tate High: Brianna Holmquist, Alicia Presswood;
Washington High: Alyssa Barnes, Courtney Greene, Donald Vaughan;
West Florida High: Nikita Babkin, Mariah McMullen

Take Stock in Children was established in 1995 as a non-profit organization in Florida that provides a unique opportunity for deserving low-income students to escape the cycle of poverty through education. Students receive college scholarships, caring volunteer mentors, and hope for a better life. Students are selected through a need-based application process in middle school and comprehensive services continue through high school and include the students’ transition into college. Scholarships are funded through a unique public-private fundraising model in which local scholarship donations are matched by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation when scholarships are purchased each year. Each student is matched with a volunteer mentor who meets with the student weekly at school.

Pictured: 2016 Escambia County Take Stock in Children graduates (front, L-R) Carly Ward, Courtney Greene, Nikita Babkin, Savion Henderson, Ureil Codrington, Destinee Brundidge, Jazmin Womack, Shelby Butts, (back, L-R) Donald Vaughan, Alyssa Barnes, Ashleigh Bell, Austin Travis, Tara Vanderburg, Mariah McMullen, Alicia Presswood and Amber Freeman. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Northview’s Moretz Named Escambia Social Studies Teacher Of The Year

June 2, 2016

James Moretz of Northview High School has been named the Escambia County School District High School Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He will officially receive the award Thursday, and he has been invited to attend the Florida Council for Social Studies Conference in October.

Moretz earned a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from the University of West Florida and two associate degrees from Pensacola State College.  He holds a professional educator’s certificate in social science for grades 6-12.  He previously worked with the Escambia County School District as a school resource officer.

Moretz retired from the U.S. Navy as a limited duty officer lieutenant commander in 2004.

One Cowboy, One Horse And A 48 State Ride For Children

June 1, 2016

Tye Sturgeon is just one cowboy in this old world, but with his horse he is on a major mission to help children.

He’s riding solo through 48 states with the goal of raising at least $30,000 for children’s charities, although he admits a million dollars would be good.

Tuesday morning, rode into Century, marking his 13th state as he continued on to Jay by afternoon.

Sturgeon, 20, dreamed of being a cowboy, horseman and a Pro Bronco rider. Even though he did not make it to the pro circuit he did get to rodeo for awhile. Sadly due to injuries he had to give that dream up. Yet, he said he feels blessed that God gave him the chance to live it at all and helped him create a new dream.

Knowing that there are so many young people out there who are not blessed enough to live their dreams, Sturgeon was inspired to make his 48-state ride to earn money for Western Wishes, a charity that “since 1994 helps turn dreams into lasting memories for countless kids faced with adversity who love the western way of life.”

As he rides, Sturgeon is collecting pledges to be paid to Western Wishes once his ride is complete.

Born and raised in North Central Arkansas, Sturgeon is a quiet, soft spoken young man with a quick smile and big warm heart. He claims he never meets a stranger and goes out of his way to make people feel at ease.

When asked about where his respect for horsemanship began, he said, “I learned a love of horses and mules from my father and grandfather. I grew up watching them train horses and mules.  They also competed in (and still enjoy attending) chuck wagon races which were especially fun because my family was the first to ‘drive 4 Up’ at the Clinton Arkansas Chuck Wagon Races.”

Sturgeon graduated from Batesville High School where he played football for the Pioneers. He was also a member of the FFA and showed steers in the All Star Steer program.

As a small kid, he rode sheep at local rodeos, and as a young man, moved on to his beloved broncs. But concussions and a warning from his doctor changed Sturgeon’s rodeo path from competitor to fan.After his Ride is over Sturgeon plans to settle down on a piece of land to train horses and mules and continue his outreach for children’s charities.

“I really respect and look up to Tuff Hedeman and Chris Cox and the other great American Cowboys who make up an elite group. I feel their honesty, hard work and integrity make them someone to emulate and to look up to. I absolutely love the American Cowboy lifestyle and code of living and greatly admire the honest simple way of life that is being lost to a digital age.”

To donate to Sturgeon’s ride or Western Wishes, click here.

Pictured top: Cowboy Tye Sturgeon rode into Century Tuesday morning, his 13th state on a 48 state ride. Pictured inset: Sturgeon meets a young man at The Panhandle Restaurant in Century. Pictured below: Sturgeon made it to Jay on Tuesday. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Molino Student Awarded National Merit Scholarship

June 1, 2016

A Molino student was named today as a winner of a National Merit Scholarship.

Colby C. Gilley, a 2016 graduate of Trinitas Christian School in Pensacola, was awarded the National Merit Washington and Lee University Scholarship.

Washington and Lee is a private college for men and women devoted primarily to the liberal arts and sciences. Rich in heritage, its steady purpose is to remain one of the nation’s great teaching colleges; it encourages close association between an exceptional faculty and a talented, highly motivated student body–emphasizing the individual’s honor, integrity, and personal and social responsibility.

Gilley is undecided on his future career field.

Jessica Amerson of Walnut Hill was awarded a National Merit scholarship to the University of Alabama. Click here for a previous story.

Molino Park Principal Woodward Retires After 30 Years (With Gallery)

May 31, 2016

Molino Park Elementary School Principal Alice Woodward is retiring after 30 years in local education.

Woodward is proud of her connection to the local community and her connection to three local schools. She started her teaching career in 1986 at Barrineau Park Elementary School. She moved into administration as the curriculum coordinator and then served as a principal intern splitting her time between Barrineau Park and Molino Elementary while the new Molino Park Elementary School was under construction. Molino Park opened in the fall of 2003, and  Woodward stepped into the role of principal in the fall of 2006.

“It’s very rare to have a principal who has worked in a single school and then ended up principal in that same school,” Woodward explained. “This is our world and it is wonderful to be in the same community for 30 years. I was very fortunate to have that door open for me.”

During the last five years Woodward has had parents come into the school that are her former students. “As a matter of fact, I signed a yearbook yesterday for a little girl and she was so sweet she came up and said, ‘I love you, Mrs. Woodward, and thank you for teaching my daddy.’  So I signed her yearbook, I love you and you are very special, just like your daddy was.”

For more photos, click here.

She will happily talk about how much she enjoys crossing paths with her students and their families, outside of school at Jimmy’s Grill, or church, or the ballpark where she would go to watch her kids or her grandkids along with her  students. “I think I was a coach’s nightmare,” she says with a laugh. “I walked up and the kids were all hollering, ‘Hey. Mrs. Woodward,’ instead of watching the ball game.”

“It’s been a lot of fun. I enjoy getting to see them other places then just the schoolhouse. It makes us a family and a community.”

When she looks back at the beginning of her career, Woodward smiles and says, “I was so happy to be a teacher! I couldn’t believe they were going to pay me to do this job. I remember telling my sister, this is so much fun I can’t believe they pay me to do this!”

When Woodward was first hired by the school district, her first assignment was to teach second grade at Barrineau Park Elementary School. Her daughter was going into second grade and there was only one homeroom. “She was going to have to be in my classroom and I made a promise to myself, and my students’ parents, that I would treat their children like they were mine, instead of treating my child like she were theirs.  That means you have to get onto them sometimes, but you love them all the time. I have tried to stay true to that promise.”

“That’s the same thing I told my parents when I became a principal in 2006. By then I had grandchildren here, so I told them I would treat their children like they were one of my grandchildren, instead of treating my grandchild like one of theirs.”

For today’s new teachers Woodward has some words of advice, “Number one you have got to love what you do, and if in your first few years of teaching you don’t love it, go find another job. If you don’t, it will wear you out.”

For teachers who are considering whether or not to make the move into administration, she says, “If you begin to look around and see that you want to affect more people and more children, and you want to hone your leadership skills, then going into administration is a great idea” Woodward explained. “But, if you don’t like to be the leader and be the listener as well, don’t go into administration. It’s a team effort and leading and listening are equally important.”

“Alice Woodward is well respected in the north end of our county, and specifically at Molino Park Elementary School. Her devotion to her faculty and staff, her students, and to her community has never been questioned. She will leave a void as someone else will do her job but no one else can take her place,” stated Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

Woodward was selected last year as the Escambia County School District’s Principal of the Year.  Sara Calhoun, a Molino Park teacher and parent, contributed to the nomination package. She describes Woodward this way, “Although she is quick to always celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of others, she never seeks any recognition for herself for the tremendous gains our school has made. Her desire to strive for excellence as we educate these young minds, while never neglecting to gently shape each precious heart, makes her an exemplary leader. I know that I am eternally grateful for the ‘fingerprints’ she has left on my own children.”

So how did the Molino staff decided they would recognize Woodward’s accomplishments? How would they thank her?

If you visit Molino Park Elementary you will see art on the walls, not hanging on the walls, but painted on the walls. One hallway, in fact, it is painted floor to ceiling with an underwater scene. So, it is not a surprise that they decided to show their thanks in a way that would honor her professional history with a mural.

“We commissioned Loren Miller to create a mural that shows Barrineau Park School, where Mrs. Woodward started her teaching career; Molino Elementary School, where she became a leader; and Molino Park Elementary School where she has served as principal since 2006,” explained Assistant Principal Quinn Evans. “She was involved in every detail when the two older schools were closed and all of the students transferred into the new school.”

“It is humbling,” Woodward says of their gift.

Woodward leaves Molino Park with a message for the community.

“Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for supporting me.  Thank you for supporting your children and helping them be the best they can be and learn, and thank you for making this community what it is.”

For more photos, click here.

Pictured above: Retiring Molino Park Elementary School Principal Alice Woodward spent the last day of school saying goodbye to students, staff members and volunteers. Pictured below: A cafeteria mural in Woodward’s honor. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


Camp Fire Century Holds Graduation; Registration Underway For Summer Camp (With Gallery)

May 31, 2016

The Camp Fire USA Century Youth Learning Center held a graduation program recently.

For more photos, click here.

Registration is underway for Camp Fire’s WILD and WISE Nature Day Camp. Parents can register this children today for a nature adventure offered offered at Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Center beginning June 1. Each week campers will explore the outdoors and different environmental themes like WILD Adventure, Gulf Coast Safari and WISE Journey.

The camper’s goal is to complete the Camp Fire Trail to Environment program and earn the emblem during the summer, which includes the Wise Old Willie program; children discover outdoor basics and learn about ecology and the 3 R’s: reduces, reuse and recycle. Campers explore Florida flora and fauna though Project WILD hands-on activities from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Additionally, campers complete a community service project to keep the earth healthy and give service to  others. Weekly camps are for ages 5-12 years old and runs through August 5.

“Camp Fire is the first camp both of my kids have enjoyed. They both ask to return year after year. The program has truly mentored my children and helped them grow into  mature, responsible young adults. The staff genuinely care about my children and their  wellbeing. I cannot thank each of them enough for all of their help, kindness, and flexibility throughout the years,” said parent Sunni Solveson.

Campers may register for one or more weeks of summer program. In Century, weekly rates start at $85 per camper with discounts for a second and third child. A registration fee of $20 is due upon registration of a child. Camp hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Center.
For more info, contact Pam Townson, director of the Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Center at (850) 256-0953 or email ptownson@cfgulfwind.org. For more details and registration forms, visit http://www.campfirekidsfl.com/camps_1.

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