Beulah Elementary School Students Write Letters Of Support To Navy Recruits

February 10, 2019

Beulah Elementary School participated in a writing project to promote individual student support focused on creating happiness and motivation within U.S. Navy recruits beginning basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois.

The writing project was established in January 2018 after being proposed by a Beulah student as an idea for an assignment. Other Beulah students eagerly supported the idea and wanted to help by providing emotional support to the recruits, while also learning the formalities of writing letters.

The writing project was administered by one of Beulah’s teachers, Krystal Gibson, to her fifth grade class. The assignment consisted of the student sharing information about themselves, transitioning into words of support for those who serve their country, followed by questions about the recruits’ life and goals. Each letter closed with at least two jokes to make the recruits smile and boost morale.

Capt. Kertreck Brooks, commanding officer of the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC), accompanied by Command Master Chief Gregory Prichard, paid a visit to the class.

“My visit is motivated by my devotion to helping Navy recruits adapt to the sudden life changes they’ll experience in boot camp,” said Brooks, who previously served as the executive officer of Recruit Training Command from February 2013 to June 2015. “It’s important for me to express my appreciation to the students for their participation and thoughtfulness towards the Navy recruits.”

As a former executive officer, Brooks was able to provide details to the class about recruit life. He explained that recruits begin each day at 6 a.m. with continuous training lasting until 10 p.m. He also shared how exhausting Navy recruit training is physically and mentally, especially with the lack of emotional support from friends and family.

One of the descriptive points Brooks emphasized was the procedure that takes place when the new recruit arrives at the Great Lakes recruit training facility.

“Upon arrival, all recruits are allowed to make one final phone call home to their family, then all of their personal belongings, including their cell phones are boxed up and mailed home,” said Brooks. “The only form of communication left is through mail, which makes Mail Call a special event for recruits.”

Brooks went on to tell the students how their letters would now become a welcomed addition to that special event and add greatly to the emotional support of the recruits. The students were then invited to read their letters to the class, followed by a question and answer session.

Photo courtesy Julian Huff/U.S. Navy for, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: February Tips

February 9, 2019

Here are gardening tips for the month of February from your local Extension Service:


  • Re-fertilize cool season flowerbeds, using a liquid or granular form of fertilizer. Be careful not to apply excessive amounts and keep granules away from the base of stems.
  • Prepare flowerbeds for spring planting by adding and incorporating soil amendments like mushroom compost, manure or homemade compost. Till or spade the bed to incorporate the amendments with the existing soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Allow the prepared bed to lie undisturbed for 3 to 4 weeks before planting. This provides time for some important biological activity to take place, and new plants are less likely to suffer from stem and root rots as a result. Have a soil test done. Sometimes lime is needed. However, a lime application should be made only if the need is revealed by the test.
  • Replenish mulch in flowerbeds.
  • Prune rose bushes.

Trees and Shrubs

  • February is possible the best month for rejuvenation of old, overgrown shrubs. When pruned now, plants have an entire growing season to recover.
  • Prune summer flowering deciduous shrubs such as Althea and Hibiscus. Since they flower on current season’s growth, flowering can actually be enhanced by proper pruning
  • Do NOT prune the spring flowering shrubs yet. Azaleas, Spiraeas and Forsythia flower during early spring because buds were formed last summer and fall. Pruning in February would therefore remove most of the flower buds.
  • Cold damaged trees and shrubs should NOT be pruned until new growth appears. You want to preserve as much healthy plant material as possible.
  • Replenish mulch in shrub beds
  • Finish planting ornamental and fruit trees.

Fruits and Nuts

  • Fertilize established pecan trees. Use a “special pecan fertilizer” that contains zinc. Use 2 lbs. for every year of age of the tree up to a maximum of 55 lbs. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly beneath the tree.
  • Fertilize established peach, plum, pear, persimmon, apple and fig. Apply about 1 ½ lbs of a 10-10-10 (or similar) fertilizer for each year of age of the tree until a maximum of 10 to 15 lbs. per tree is reached.
  • Blueberries are very sensitive to nitrogen and can be killed easily, particularly when they are young. Fertilize only if your goal is to increase yield or berry size. An annual application of 2 ounces of a special “azalea/camellia” or “special blueberry” type fertilizer per plant in February is ample fertilizer on 2-year-old plants.
  • Prune muscadine grapes between mid-February to mid-March. A standard method is to allow 2 to 4 node spurs spaced every 6 inches of cordon. You may notice that pruning cuts bleed, but there is no evidence that this is injurious to the vine.
  • Grapes (bunch and muscadine) should be fertilized at the rate of 1 ½ lbs of 10-10-10 for each year of age with a maximum of 5 lbs per plant applied in late February.
  • Last call for planting fruit trees! Most fruit trees such as pecans, plums, persimmons, figs, peaches and nectarines are shipped bare roots and should be planted during the dormant season.
  • Apply a spray containing horticultural oils emulsion to dormant fruit trees and ornamental shrubs. Follow label directions carefully.

Vegetable Garden

  • Several winter vegetables can still be successfully grown by starting them this month. Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, endive/escarole, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, parsley, English peas, radish and turnips.
  • Plant Irish potatoes. Purchase certified seed potatoes rather than using the grocery store kinds. Use 2-ounce seed pieces with eyes and plant them 3 to 4 inches deep.
  • Prepare spring vegetable and herb beds for planting by adding and incorporating soil amendments like mushroom compost, manure or homemade compost. Wait 3 to 4 weeks before planting.


  • Hold off on fertilizing the lawn. It is still too early for an application of nitrogen containing product. Cold temperatures and lack of plant response would likely result in wasted fertilizer. However, your winter weeds would benefit greatly.

Escambia Fire Rescue Smoke Detector Program Credited For Saving Life In House Fire

February 9, 2019

It’s a story that could play out anywhere in Escambia County.

Sometimes things have a way of coming together, even in the worst of circumstances.

When Escambia County Fire Rescue installed a smoke detector in a home on Herron Villon Lane a year ago, they had no way of knowing that it would help save a man’s life.

A fire broke out overnight in the residence, with flames ultimately consuming the home and making it a total loss. The elderly resident was asleep in his bed, but thankfully the smoke detector installed by ECFR last year woke him. Between being asleep at the time of the fire and having significant mobility issues, he said there’s no way he would have escaped without it.

ECFR crews arrived on scene to find the resident partially outside of the home. They were able to move him to a safe location, where he was then transported by Escambia County EMS to Baptist Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, Escambia County Emergency Communications Supervisor Shenae Maxwell was having trouble sleeping and decided to step outside. She saw the glow of the fire, called 911, drove to the location and provided the address and information to dispatchers. Since Maxwell is used to taking 911 calls, she was able to provide valuable information from the scene for her colleagues on the other end of the line.

Fire crews were able to bring the fire under control less than an hour after arriving on scene.

If you live in Escambia County and do not have a working smoke detector, call (850) 595-HERO (4376) for a free one. City of Pensacola residents can call (850) 436-5200 for smoke detector installation assistance.

Pensacola Opera Presents Hansel And Gretel At Molino Branch Library

February 7, 2019

<The Pensacola Opera presented Hansel and Gretel Wednesday morning at the Molino Branch Library. Photos for, click to enlarge.

Molino Park Holds Literacy Week Book Character Teacher Parade

February 5, 2019

The teachers, faculty and staff at Molino Park Elementary School dressed as book characters for a Literacy Week Book Character Teacher Parade.

For more photos, click here.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

2019 Annual Youth Art Exhibit Winners Announced

February 4, 2019

For the 65th year, the Escambia County School District has partnered with the Pensacola Museum of Art to present the Annual Youth Art Focus, an annual exhibition showcasing the talents of Escambia County art students and educators.

From now until Feb. 17, visitors can view the amazing works from over 500 art students and educators and take in their strong artistic achievements. The exhibition creates an opportunity for ECSD art students to experience the fine art world and enjoy the feeling that comes with having their work on display, celebrates ECSD art instructors for their talent, and invites the community to to take a glimpse at the thriving art world inside ECSD schools.

The 65th Annual Youth Art Focus exhibit is available for viewing now until Feb. 17, 2019. The 2019 student and instructor winners were honored at receptions for the artists and their families and friends last week. Stop by and enjoy all of their artwork!  Museum hours and admission information is provided below.

The 2019 winners are:

Art Educators:

3rd – Denise Quirk Vowell, Love Bird, Hellen Caro Elementary School

2nd – Sarah Stubbs, Sweet, Northview High School

1st – Sarah Ingram, Restoration, West Florida High School

Best in Show – Katherine Discepolo, Tronco, Global Learning Academy

Student Artist Best in Show:

David Barthod-Perez, West Florida High, Forestful Rest

High School Student Artists:


3rd – Katie Munoz, Washington, Moroccan Blues

2nd – Ben Crossin, Washington, Peacock

1st – Benjamin Darby, Pensacola High School, Look What You Have Done


3rd – Loc Pham, Washington, Yokai

2nd – Jolie Kennedy, Tate High, Metallic Slithering

1st – Scarlett Coffey, Washington, Self Portrait

Photography/Digital Arts:

3rd – Maggie Smartt, Escambia High, Shattered Fragments

3rd – Madalyn McGurk, Pensacola High School, Meadow

2nd – Raegan Tainter, Tate, Ladder to the Sky

1st – Ian Larrieu, Pensacola High, Reach

3-Dimensional Works:

3rd – Michelle Luther, Tate High, Autumnal Bowl

2nd – Chensen Nguyen, Escambia High, Vans Shoe

1st – Isabel Cauley, West Florida, Abraham

2-Dimensional Works:

3rd – Elijah Edmonds, West Florida High, We Took An “L”

2nd – Ian Young, West Florida High, Lakeside Village

1st – Savannah Creel, Washington High, X-Ray

Middle School Student Artists:


3rd – Jasmine Felks, Bailey Middle, Wolf

2nd – Morgan Arreglado, Bellview Middle, Untitled

1st – Aiden Wilson, Bellview Middle, Untitled


3rd – Laynee Hubbell, Ransom Middle, Hybrid

2nd – Connor Hignite, Beulah Middle, Harmonious

1st – Monee´ Stokes, Beulah Middle, Emotional Singularity

Photography/Digital Arts:

2nd – Alyssa Allen, Beulah Middle, Reflection

1st – Adrienne Kimball, Beulah Middle, Friendship

3-Dimensional Works:

3rd – David Hathaway, Bellview Middle, Untitled

2nd – Gavin Pesta, Bailey Middle, Smoosh Face

1st – Jobey Conrad, Ransom Middle, Thoughts in Relief

2-Dimensional Works:

3rd – Patrick Rolin, Ernest Ward Middle, Untitled

2nd – James Harper, Beulah Middle, Man of Steel

1st – Nicole Lobo, Bellview Middle, Untitled

Outstanding Artistic Achievement: Cameron Keefer, Westgate, Untitled

Outstanding Artistic Achievement: Taylor Causey, Westgate, Untitled

Outstanding Artistic Achievement: Tyrese Thomas, Bellview, Untitled

Outstanding Artistic Achievement: Mya Dalton, Pine Forest High, Whos Kingdom

The museum is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. Admission costs are: adults $7 ($6 for military, seniors, AAA members, UWF Historic Trust Members and UWF Alumni Association Members) and students (3 – 14) $4 (younger than 3 are Free). EBT cardholders, with a photo I.D., can obtain four free admissions. UWF students and museum members also receive free admission.

Bob And Bess: You Can Learn A Lot From A Couple Of Byrneville Ducks

January 31, 2019

At Byrneville Elementary School, there’s a plenty of learning about reading, writing and math, and there’s a lot of learning from Bob and Bess.

Bob and Bess are a couple of ceramic ducks that sit in the hallway near the front door. Each and every school day, there is a message taped to each, usually a conversation between the duo.

“Gosh, Bess it really is cold this morning. I am glad that we live inside the school,” Bob’s message greeted Byrneville students on a freezing cold Wednesday morning.

“Me too, Bob. I don’t think it will stay this cold much longer, but the boys and girls need to be prepared if it does,” was the reply from Bess.

They’ve spread their messages for many years, thanks to Byrneville Principal Dee-Wolfe Sullivan. Bob and Bess are a Byrneville Braves tradition and are often a first stop for students arriving at school.

“If I had saved all the messages and stacked them up, they would probably reach up to here,” she said, holding her hand above her waist.

“The kids just really love them,” Sullivan said with a smile.

Pictured: Bob (top) and Bess (below) at Byrneville Elementary School Wednesday. photos, click to enlarge.

Molino Park Students Dress As 100-Year Olds To Celebrate 100th Day Of School

January 30, 2019

Molino Park Elementary School students celebrated the 100th day of the school year Tuesday by dressing up like 100-year olds.

For more photos, click here.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Ransom Middle School Names January Students Of The Month

January 30, 2019

Ransom Middle School has named their Students of the Month for January. They are Tom Fleming, sixth grade, and Erica Langton, eight grade. Photos for, click to enlarge.

Bratt Elementary Names January Students Of The Month

January 28, 2019

Bratt Elementary School has named their January Students of the Month. They are:

Jasiah Barnes
Kayson Southard

Brantley Sharpless
Shaleigh Wesley
Benji Burkland
Hayden Batson

1st Grade
Emma Southard
Bentley Alexander
Jadon Long
Landon Lee
Linley Dunn

2nd Grade
Olivia Garrett
Na’kiyah Williams
Shawn Andrews
Sophia Ikner

3rd Grade
Alyssa Barber
Anthony Johnson
Tyler McAnally
Hunter Parker
Kasei Barlow

4th Grade
Mikayla McAnally
Anna Sanspree
Kylar Davis

5th Grade
Bryson Orso
Maggie Stewart
Charlee Weaver
Camden Clark

Max Mason

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