The Seahawks are all enjoying a well-needed Spring Break this week, having five days away from campus to rest, relax and get rejuvenated. We all return Monday, March 21 with only seven weeks of school remaining before the 2015-16 school year concludes.

On the day of our return from Spring Break, our Student Government Association (SGA) and our National Honor Society (NHS) are jointly sponsoring a Blood Drive. From 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m, students have the opportunity to help save lives by donating blood with the theme being “Give A Pint Of Hope.”  SGA Co-Advisor Tara Klink is coordinating the efforts for the Seahawks and although aware of the date being the first day after Spring Break, which could not be avoided, she is working hard to get students signed up for this special community service project . Students had the opportunity to sign up Friday, before they left for Spring Break, but for those that didn’t and would like to support this effort, appointments can be made on-line at www.oneblooddonor.org. Make sure you use sponsor code #18882. Students who donate, giving such a special gift, will also receive a gift, plus a wellness checkup, which includes blood pressure, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screenings.

Continuing with our Soaring Senior Spotlight feature, this week, we spotlight Class of 2016 member Kendrick Hunter who has been accepted to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Touted as the “world’s premier culinary college,” Kendrick is very excited about attending such a prestigious institution and will be headed for NY right after graduation, beginning his journey to becoming a chef June 20.

Kendrick says “there is no way to even describe the excitement it will be for me” adding that it will be “an entirely different environment to adjust to.” Looking forward to the curriculum at the culinary school, he comments with the “knowledge I’ll acquire, there are already ideas sprouting off my head, of my own businesses throughout the country, becoming a world-renowned pastry chef!”

As a Seahawk, Kendrick is a member of Beta Club, serving on the honor society’s executive council. He also serves on the executive council of SWAT, as well as being one of the founding members of the Seahawk Step Team. On the impending move to NY, he remarks that “as time ticks down upon my departure, it still at times doesn’t seem real” adding that “it will be a learning experience to broaden my horizons and through it all, for better or worse, I will be able to say . . . ‘Je ne regrette rien!’” (translation: I regret nothing!)

The Seahawk Band has kept quite busy attending Florida Bandmaster’s Association events and at each, they have performed wonderfully. One in late February was for solos and ensembles, and ratings of superior and excellent were earned by our students. Bringing home a “Superior” rating: alto sax Holly Larkin and Jessica Rudd; clarinet Jackson Copley, Cayce Daniels, and Abbie Pace; euphonium Ann Reeder; flute Ursula Countryman; snare drum Keondre Sewell; trombone Peyton Smith; trumpet Melody Hatfield and Makayla Varner; and tenor sax-KT Nessley. Earning an “Excellent” rating: French horn Rory Countryman; trumpet Charles Petty; and tuba Colby Boatwright.

The concert band as a whole participated in the association’s Concert Performance Assessment last week and received superior ratings across the board in both sight reading and their performance. Big thanks to band members Melody Hatfield and Ann Reeder for providing this information. Of the experience, Ann, who’s been a member for five years, said that “It was really fun! You learn a lot because of the comments of the judges” adding that “the band really comes together and we got superior from all three judges and a superior in site-reading, too.” Karl Lester, the Seahawk band director commented that “the band continues to amaze me with their dedication and hard work“ adding that he sees “continuous improvement and I am very proud of all of them.”

On Tuesday, March 22, our fourth grade has a fundraiser, the Easter Bunny visits and for a small cost, elementary students can take pictures with the bunny. Funds from this special effort will go towards financing the fourth grade’s annual St. Augustine trip.

The next day, Wednesday, March 23, spring pictures will be taken. Packets were sent home with information about costs, so parents, if you did not get yours, contact the school and find out what you need to know because spring pictures must be pre-paid. Students do not have to wear school shirts, but must still adhere to the guidelines stipulated in the code of conduct, which can be accessed online at the district’s website, www.franklincountyschools.org. As these pictures are pre-paid, students must have their money turned in before their picture is taken.

The third nine-weeks grading period ends Tuesday, March 22 with report cards distributed one week later, Tuesday, March 29. Parents, don’t forget you can access your child’s information and monitor their progress using the FOCUS Parent Portal. To create a FOCUS account, all you need is a valid email address. If you don’t already have a FOCUS account, please contact the office and they can assist you with setting one up. FOCUS is a valuable communication tool so all parents are encouraged to sign up, log on and stay in the know.

On Wednesday, March 30  there’s a 4th Grade Parent Meeting, 7 p.m.

That’s the news for this week’s article. Until next week….keep soaring!

A longtime classroom teacher in the Franklin County Schools, reporter Elinor Mount-Simmons penned a regular column for the Times for many years, and now writes Seahawk News on behalf of the Franklin County Schools.