Thursday, October 28, 2021

Responsibility + Resilience = Recognition + Rewards

It’s that time of the year! Culminating activities at all Collier County Schools have been underway during May with more to come before school closes for the summer on Friday the 30th, which is an Early Release Day. Why an Early Release Day? Our dedicated teachers need time to complete paperwork, uninterrupted and focused. They’ll be fortunate to actually “be finished” after the half day; many will be in their schools the next week to finish up all their responsibilities with no compensation.

The following week, many will begin taking additional classes necessary for certification or to fulfill the requirements for another education-related degree. Plenty of them will be attending in-service training either online or in person to satisfy the demands of their jobs. Classes for certification need to be updated along with specific school district information and many teachers will be preparing to teach summer school.

But, before all that occurs, there are Moving-Up Ceremonies, Academic Signings, Awards Programs, Concerts, Leadership Recognitions, Graduations and more. Students are recognized for their character, perseverance, fortitude, dedication, talents, positivity and quest for education. By the next issue of the Coastal Breeze, I’ll have the information about the Seniors’ continuing education and the scholarships they’ve received.

It has been a pleasure for me to attend many of our school district events and I delight in sharing them with you via photos and captions. Schools will be recognized but names will not be recognized due to privacy issues, unless I know it’s okay to mention them. Here we go!

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lia Okencova for several years, enjoyed her acting ability and her success in so many areas. Vanderbilt has offered her a scholarship to attend their prestigious university. Seniors gathered in the courtyard, cheered, and the drum line also saluted the seniors and their plans after high school.

Seniors at Naples High School sign their names and schools on a huge banner that will be posted on campus.

Several years ago, Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) decided to not only honor each high school’s athletes with a “Signing Day,” but to honor the graduates that were accepted to a college, university, military career or technical college, called an Academic Signing Day.

High schools use different formats. For example, a smaller school like Everglades City School brings in the other high school students and junior high students to witness the signing. Another high school invites any seniors that want to attend and hold their signing recognition in the auditorium, and another holds it during lunch when the most students can participate. Parents are invited to these events and the participation is high, not to mention the pride.

There are many Award Programs across the school district, each tailored to its population and needs, but all schools have a common denominator – to honor the accomplishments of their students and they do it with obvious pride. The Immokalee Middle School 8th graders have their Awards Program in the auditorium at Immokalee High School. It’s a good thing because the auditorium was packed with parents, siblings and relatives all with big smiles and phones to capture the special moments.

Yes, “it’s that time of the year again,” and the teachers, administrators, parents, relatives and friends share in the accomplishments of our graduates and those moving on to another school. Each of those special people have instilled greatness in our students and have left a piece of their hearts to take them onward and upward.


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