The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) celebrated the graduation of Basic Law Enforcement 9BLE) Academy #80 with a ceremony on June 24 at Coral Shores High School. Twelve cadets successfully completed the 770-hour training program. Upon passing the state certification exam, each will be eligible to become a Florida Law Enforcement Officer.
CFK President Dr. Jonathan Gueverra recognized top performing graduates with special accolades. Class Captain Mary Ann Matthews earned awards for leadership and physical fitness. Gilbert Bobo also received a physical fitness award. The “PIG” award, which recognizes pride, integrity, and guts, went to Eric Hunsberger. Tiffany Rodda earned the academic achievement award and “Top Gun” honors for superior shooting skills. Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay swore-in Matthews and Rodda as well as Oscar Espinoza and Christian Cortes as Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
CFK’s law enforcement officer program satisfies the training requirements of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. CFK is currently accepting applications for two upcoming basic law enforcement academies. One will be held at the Key West Campus and the other at the Upper Keys Center in Key Largo. Both academies are part-time evening programs, running Monday through Friday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., starting in August and ending in June 2023. Applications are due on July 29. For more information about CFK’s Institute for Public Safety, visit the College’s website at https://www.cfk.edu/academics/academic-departments/institute-for-public-safety/.
CFK Accreditation Reaffirmed
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced the reaffirmation of accreditation of The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) for the next 10 years. This action was approved with “no recommendations” by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees at its annual meeting on June 16.
Accreditation is completed through “a collective analysis and judgement.” The process, which spans several years, began with CFK’s internal constituencies assembling a Compliance Report, an extensive document that demonstrates accordance with each Core Requirement and Comprehensive Standard established by SACSCOC. Additionally, the College needed to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that aims to improve specific student learning outcomes. CFK’s QEP, dubbed Destination Graduation, was launched in April. It focuses on reducing students’ time to program completion. Both the Compliance Report and QEP were meticulously evaluated by peer evaluators representing the SACSCOC. The process included a site visit that occurred virtually last September. Subsequently, elected SACSCOC Board members made the final determination of CFK’s compliance with accreditation requirements.
“SACSCOC’s reaffirmation of CFK is the result of diligent and committed work by many at the College,” said Dr. Jonathan Gueverra, CFK President. “This extraordinary outcome denotes the College’s high standards and levels of compliance with SACSCOC requirements. Being accredited is a stamp of approval that tells our community that CFK’s quality and integrity of its programs are such that students will be eligible for federal financial aid. It applies to all programs and services, regardless of location, and indicates that CFK is successful in achieving its stated objectives.”
Key West Conchs Commended
Key West High School Baseball Team Commended
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission commended the Key West High School Baseball Team for their outstanding season.
The 2022 baseball program for Key West High School won the 4A District 16 Championship on May 5th, 2022. The Conchs baseball program earned their #1 seed in the regional playoffs by commanding a spectacular 23 and 7 record for the season.
“The baseball team and coaches have shown,” reads the commendation, “that through tenacity and perseverance, the spirit of ‘Conch Ball’ remains intact.
“Coach Ralph Henriquez and son Ralph Henriquez Jr. continue to add to the legacy of performance,” it continues, “Coach Henriquez collected over 350 wins in his Key West High coaching career.”
The team thanked the commission and the Key West community for their support.
Key West High School Lady Conchs Softball Team Commended
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission commended the Key West Lady Conchs Girls Softball Team for their outstanding season.
The team won the regional championship on May 20th and became the first ever Key West High School softball team to advance to the State Championship Series.
Coach Jason Garcia, Assistant Coach Erik Snow, and the team accepted the commendation.
“They say it takes a village to raise a kid,” said Coach Garcia, “Well, it takes a community to have a quality softball team. I said here last year that we’d go to the state championships, and we look forward to doing it again next year.”
City Attorney Shawn Smith, whose daughter is on the team, reiterated Coach Garcia’s statement. He noted that this same group of young women has appeared annually in front of the commission, earning kudos for their softball accomplishments as they grew from the eight and under league to where they are today.
The commendation also recognized the team’s leadership. “Coach Jason Garcia, assistant coach Erik Snow and pitching coach Jewls Castillo continue to do an outstanding job with the development of contenders and athletes,” reads the commendation.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is seeking Monroe County artists of all genres (visual, music, dance, literary, etc.) and Arts Organizations to apply for two grant opportunities. The deadline for Artist in Schools and Special Project grants is June 30 at 5pm. Applications are accepted online, and can be found at www.keysarts.com under the grants tab.
The Artists in Schools Grant program invites teaching artists in the performing, visual, literary or historical arts into the classroom. Teachers and teaching artists are encouraged to collaborate on creative projects together to enhance the existing curriculum or to teach a new topic integrating the arts. All Monroe County public and private schools, as well as other organizations that serve children ages 5-18, are eligible to be partners for the teaching artist. This application is for the Fall 2022 semester. Artists in Schools grants are up to $2,000 per request.
Special Project Grants are intended for arts organizations or individual artists in Monroe County. The grant is to provide short-term support to vital, creative projects that do not fit into the other grant categories. Special Project funding is limited to once in three years, up to $2,000 per request.
Please call the Florida Keys Council of the Arts for suggestions and assistance at 305-295-4369 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is the leading arts and cultural organization in the Florida Keys. As the non-profit local arts agency in Monroe County, it connects audiences from around the world to galleries, theaters, museums, festivals, dance, music and more from Key Largo to Key West. The Council makes grants, supports Art in Public Places, and promotes the destination for its rich and diverse history in art and culture. The Arts Council provides services to visual and performing artists, arts organizations, students and the public, striving to instill a passion for and participation in the arts.
Key West Fire Academy Graduation
Fourteen Key West High School students this week graduated the Key West Fire Department’s Firefighters Academy. Proud families, members of the Key West Fire Department, and City officials were on hand during the ceremony to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of these students who have invested two years of training for their future careers as first responders.
These students earned certifications in Firefighter I, Emergency Medical Responder, and Hazmat Awareness.
Lt Tim Anson, who leads the academy, praised the group for the tenacity it requires to finish the academy, noting that they would do their grueling physical training in the early hours before heading off to a full day of high school.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin thanked the students for their community spirit and presented each graduate with a City challenge coin.
The two-year fire academy trains future firefighters while they’re attending their final two years of high school and provides them, upon completion, the equivalent training of a Certified Firefighter I, which puts them halfway through the training required to become a Key West Firefighter.
On Friday, April 29, the 9th Annual Youth Making Ripples Film Festival revealed this year's winners online. Kara Norman, of Key West, won the high school division of the 2022 international film festival.
On April 22 (Earth Day), Mote Marine Laboratory hosted the inaugural Key West Youth Making Ripples Film Festival at the Tropic Cinema in front of a sold out crowd. Film festival attendees were able to watch past years' winners; they also were able to view Norman's film entry. Kara was invited to introduce her film titled 'The Life and Death of Florida's Coral Reef,' where she spoke in front of the audience about her love of the ocean and coral reefs. Dr. Michael Crosby, Mote's President and CEO, was onsite for the festival. In his opening remarks, he urged the young attendees of the festival to "seek out ways to make an impact locally that will ripple globally."
Kara Norman lives in Key West and attends Somerset Island Prep Charter High School. She's an avid scientific diver and is involved with local non-profit, DiveN2Life. DiveN2Life is an academic extracurricular STEM and scientific research diving program for adolescents and young adults. Norman is a champion for conservation of the local ecosystem and often speaks at city & county commission meetings on critical issues facing the local waters.
The 2022 Youth Making Ripples Film Festival is available to view online via their website. Youth Making Ripples Film Competition is a non-profit focused on giving K-12 students the opportunity to use their creative talents and serve as a voice for our oceans. Films must be less than five minutes and can focus on any interesting marine topic or call to action for ocean conservation. Mote Marine Laboratory has supported the festival in past years at its Sarasota campus. This was the first year Mote brought the festival to the Florida Keys. Mote plans to bring the festival back to the Keys in future years.
Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens
Deadline: Tue, May 3, 2022
In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, and Robert Frost (1874-1963), The Studios of Key West is delighted to host the Annual Children and Teen Poetry Contest each year. Following spring break, the contest will be open to all Monroe County children & teens.
Monroe county students are encouraged to submit poetry entries to the Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens by May 3. Children aged 6-12 and teens aged 13-18 are encouraged to mail or drop their poems off at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street. Students may also submit written works by emailing poems to email@example.com. Students should include their name, parent or guardian’s name, phone number and age with submissions. Poetry can be any length, based on any subject, and be rhymed or unrhymed. Teachers may also submit the work of their students.
Cash prizes are as follows: $150 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place, in each age category.
National Poetry Month is a worldwide celebration that highlights poetry’s vital place in our culture. The Florida Keys have a special connection with Robert Frost, who won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry, and wintered many years at the garden cottage of the Heritage House in Key West. Through funds established by the Jeane and Jessie Porter Fund at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, the contest for children and teenagers was created in his honor, and nurtures and develops the interest of budding poets, and their vital connection to the Keys’ creative spirit.
Winners will be announced online and recognized at an awards reception and public reading to be held at The Studios, 533 Eaton Street, on May 21, 2022. Made possible by the Jeane and Jessie Porter Memorial Fund
Contact: Michelle Boscamp, Marketing and Development Coordinator 305-296-0458 / firstname.lastname@example.org
CFK Student Art Show
The College of the Florida Keys will showcase the talent and creativity of its students at the annual Student Art Show in the Library Gallery on the Key West Campus. Join art students, art faculty, and art lovers from the entire Keys community to celebrate a year’s worth of art and accomplishment at the opening reception on Wednesday, April 20, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event, sponsored by the College of The Florida Keys Foundation, is free and open to the public.
A myriad of artwork created by students this past year will be featured, including pottery, photography, and sculptures. Some pieces will be for sale with proceeds going to the student artists as well as the Library Gallery Fund. Several awards will be given for each category, including the prestigious $1,000 “Jay Gogin Excellence in Visual Arts Award,” named after the College of the Florida Keys late Artist in Residence and ceramics instructor. Attendees will be invited to cast votes for the winner of the “People’s Choice” award.
For more information, contact Kristina Neihouse, Director, Learning Resource Center. email@example.com or 305-809-3501
Monroe County high school students can earn FREE college credit
The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) will hold a virtual event for Monroe County high school students and their parents/ guardians to learn more about its Dual Enrollment (DE) opportunities on Thursday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m. Through DE, high school students can simultaneously earn college and high school credits at no cost to the student. The program provides a head start to college for students while potentially saving families thousands of dollars. At the virtual event, CFK will discuss the benefits of taking DE classes, requirements to participate, and the application process.
Interested students and parents can sign up for the event and learn more about the DE program by visiting the College’s website at CFK.edu/DE. For more information DE, contact Nicole Gerrard, CFK Director of Academic Advising, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of Diving Museum hosts community art exhibit with local artists and students
The History of Diving Museum invites you to visit the new featured exhibit Dive Into Art: FantaSea. This is the fourth collaborative art show with the Museum, Art Guild of the Purple Isles (AGPI) and local students. The limited-time show encompasses fantasy elements tied to the ocean: mermaids, pirates, sea monsters and more, as well as literary themes such as fairytales, fantastical poems and epics.
The museum celebrated the opening of the exhibit by inviting teachers and students from the eight participating schools; Coral Shores High School, Key Largo School, Key Largo Middle School, Ocean Studies Charter School, Plantation Key School, Stanley Switlik Elementary School and Treasure Village Montessori, to an afternoon preview. Students were delighted to see their work on display and be able to share the experience with family members. Following the preview, Art Guild of the Purple Isles board members hosted a virtual walkthrough and in-person tour.
The exhibit would not have been possible without the help of members and donors contributing to our Giving Tuesday campaign. In addition, the Featured Exhibit is sponsored in part by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Development Council, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The History of Diving Museum greatly appreciates these wonderful organizations that support outreach programming and events.
The exhibit will be on view through April 20th, and the student art will then travel to the Monroe County public libraries.
The History of Diving Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Islamorada (MM83). Open daily 10am-5pm, both divers and land-lovers alike are amazed by over 4,000 years of “the quest to explore under the sea.” From early breath-hold diving to venturing into the abyss, see how pioneers shaped our understanding of the world below, and the special role that South Florida and the Florida Keys played in this untold story. Check out DivingMuseum.org to find out more, become a member to support this important history and shop for unique items in the Museum Store.
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