Individual Grantee Award Winners

Florida Learn & Serve is proud to share information about awards recieved by its projects. If you represent a Florida Learn & Serve project and have something to add to this page, please let us know.

Orange County District Coordinator, Wendy Doromal and TCHS teacher Jennifer Bohn received Disney Grants

Mrs. Doromal received the news at a school board meeting that she was awarded $28,000 from Disney World for the TCHS Service Learning Academy. The Vice President (of Disney) and Mickey Mouse were there. Jennifer Bohn a teacher at the school also got $28,000 for her service learning homeless project. Her students will now make a documentary and new book with the funds. Mrs. Doromal says she will use $14,000 for an outdoor classroom and the rest for projects/mini-grants for district teachers.

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Orange County District Coordinator, Wendy Doromal received Spirit of Service Award from CNCS

Mrs. Doromal received the Spirit of Service Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service Learn and Serve America. She was nominated by Joe Follman, Executive Director of Florida learn and Serve. The CNCS said in the award program, “True to Wendy’s belief that service-learning is a vehicle for social justice, the students’ projects frequently focus on helping the poor, needy, homeless, and disenfranchised. Wendy is a true servant leader.”

When presenting the award to Wendy, David Eisner, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, told the audience that S. 2739, the bill Wendy has been pushing to pass for over a decade, had passed in the Senate earlier that day. When signed into law by President Bush, Title VII of S.2739 will extend U.S. immigration laws to the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

After Archbishop Tutu spoke, Mrs. Doromal was called to join him on stage along with other award winners. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs. Doromal hugged and he expressed congratulations.

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Endeavour Elementary Recognized Nationally for ‘Promising Practices’ in Character Education

VIERA—Endeavour Elementary Magnet School of Technology has won two national “Promising Practices” awards from the Character Education Partnership (CEP). Endeavour won for its Reading Intervention Program and its World Community Project. Endeavour was one of only 11 schools recognized in Florida. CEP gives the annual awards for unique and specific exemplary practices that encourage the ethical, social, and academic growth of K-12 students through character education. By publicizing these awards, CEP hopes to recognize educators for their efforts and to encourage others to learn from and even replicate these successful initiatives. “I congratulate the entire Endeavour community on this wonderful recognition,” said Superintendent Dr. Richard A. DiPatri. “These unique projects for which they are being honored are indicative of the innovative educational efforts seen every day at Endeavour.”

Endeavour’s Reading Intervention Program is a cooperative initiative where Brevard Community College and Rockledge High School Future Educators volunteer to mentor five classes of kindergarteners. Meanwhile, the World Community Project engages students, teachers, and community members writing letters to friends, relatives, dignitaries and well-known people of positive influence and requesting them to write their favorite positive quote on paper Endeavour shuttles. These shuttles, when returned to the school, are discussed and documented on a World Community Map located in Endeavour’s primary hallway.
This year, CEP received a record 279 applications from 217 public and private schools and districts. More than 130 schools and districts from around the United States as well as from Canada and Mexico will receive 153 awards for “Promising Practices.” Winning practices included creative ways to engage parents and community members, encourage student voice and leadership, and offer students opportunities to serve others. CEP will give the awards at the 15th Annual National Forum on Character Education to be held Oct. 17-19 in Arlington, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. In addition, winning practices will be featured in CEP’s annual National Schools of Character publication and on the CEP Web site

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Joe Acaba,
Dunnellon Middle School, Marion County, FL

Mr. Joe Acaba, a service-learning instructor at Dunnellon Middle School, was named one of NASA's New Educator Astronauts for 2004. During a ceremony held in Virginia, which was telecast at the middle school on a large screen in the gym, Mr. Acaba was named a Mission Specialist Educator. Ten other members were introduced during a news conference at the National Air and Space Museum's Stpehen F. Udvar-Haze Center in Chantilly, Va. John Glenn was also in attendance.

Mr. Acaba was one of 1,600 educators nationwide who sought to be Educator Astronauts. According to the NASA website, they will be trained to perform space walks, operate space shuttle robotic arm, and lead research experiments. Educator Astronauts will also share their extraordinary experience with millions of teachers and students in a new unique NASA program designed to show learning in a whole new light. Mr. Acaba commented, "I want to be on the first flight to Mars. You need to dream big, it's worth the rewards."

Mr. Acaba has a Masters of Science in geology in from the University of Arizona and served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. (Information gathered from an article in the St. Petersburg Time, May 7, 2004).

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J. Colin English Elementary School
Ft. Myers, Lee County, FL

J. Colin English Elementary School in Ft. Myers, Lee County, was named the winner of Disney's 2004-05 Jiminy Cricket's Environmentality Challenge for the South District. Led by teacher Sheryl Terepka, students visited local creeks to test water quality and test soil for pH, potassium, and nitrogen levels. Results were reported to Lee County Utilities and South Florida Water Management District.

Students taught kindergarten and first grade classes about water and soil testing and held a J. Colin English Night at the Science Center on Earth Day. Chelsea Benton commented on the project's demonstration component, "...the kids will probably have more fun if kids teach them instead of teachers teaching them all the time. They will probably learn better too."

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Thomas Murray
PTEC High School, Pinellas County, FL

Thomas Murray of Pinellas County has been awarded the Secondary Teacher of the Year Award by The Florida Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Tom Hall, the President of the Tampa Chapter and an officer in the State and National organization presented the award to Mr. Murray at the state conference in Ft. Myers. He was awarded a large etched glass award plus $500.00.

Mr. Murray also received the local SAM's CLUB Teacher of the Year Award for the Clearwater store. One of his students wrote the nomination. The award is a SAM'S red vest, a paper certificate and a $1,000 check for the school.

Mr. Murray writes, "My teaching philosophy is get the students going and get out of the way."

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Corporation for National & Community Service