The College of the Florida Keys is offering a free Nautical STEM Robotics Camp, July 18- 22, for youths 13 to 17 years old. The one-week camp will engage students on the water and on dry land at the College’s Key West Campus. Morning activities will include field trips on the ocean, projects in the CFK mariculture lab, and other nautical themed experiences. In the afternoons, campers will split into teams to work on robotics, coding their Pathfinder vehicles, and running competitions.
The PORPOISE Robotics program was created by the Office of Naval Research to entice young people to explore the maritime environment. It introduces them to computer coding and nautical STEM careers such as mariculture, underseas robotics, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations, ocean and coastal research, and maritime sensor technology. The program is a joint effort by CFK and David Grober, who is an Emmy and Academy Award winner in Sci-Tech for camera stabilization systems. The PORPOISE Robotics team includes Kevin Bowen, a former senior submersibles engineer with Raytheon, Professor Thomas Culhane, who is also a National Geographic Explorer specializing in STEM and sustainable food and energy systems, and Ebenson Michelin, an experienced local teacher who will lead the camp.
The College is able to provide the Nautical STEM Robotics Camp free of charge to local teens thanks to a grant and a donation of equipment. The Golden Fleece Foundation, founded by former CFK Foundation board member John Padget, donated $10,000 and Grober donated the PORPOISE Robotics equipment to the College for the camp.
To register for the Nautical STEM Robotics Camp, please visit CFK.edu/summer-camps. Space is limited.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 / email@example.com
The Florida Keys Children’s Shelter has announced that there are limited spaces available for their upcoming free summer camp program. The “Jelsema Journey” camp is a program for Monroe County at-risk youth, ages 10-17, with several one-week sessions offered June through August at the Melvin M. Jelsema Center in Tavernier.
“We are happy to make this special experience available at no cost to qualifying youth,” said Residential Coordinator, Nathaly Milla. “The first session begins on May 27th, continued weekly all summer and the last session begins on July 22nd.” Daily outings to Marine Lab, rollerblading, water sports, ice skating, yoga, Zoo Miami, Everglades Alligator Farm and glass-bottom boat rides are partially funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. Recreation, life skills and educational programming are made possible with funding from the Ocean Reef Community Foundation. All other costs, including free transportation to and from the Lower and Middle Keys, are covered by the Keys Children’s Foundation, the Helen’s Hope Foundation, along with county, state, and federal grants.
Youth at risk of making bad decisions, or who would benefit from a supervised, structured environment are invited to apply for the free camp. For more information, contact Nathaly at (305) 906.2060 or Karen at (305) 848.3808.
About the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter
“Safe Kids, Strong Families, and a Healthy Community” drives every facet of the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter programming. Serving Monroe County for 35 years, the nonprofit changes the lives of more than 500 youth annually with its free programs including an emergency shelter, transitional living programs, community-based counseling, and drop-in center for homeless and run-away youth. For information, visit www.FKCS.org or call (305) 852.4246.
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.
The City Commission has proclaimed January 20th as Keys to Be the Change Mentoring Day. The commemoration falls in a month set aside nationally to recognize all mentors who work to guide our youth to success.
Keys to Be the Change was established in 2014 and is aimed at helping at-risk students succeed. The program provides education, awareness and opportunities that empower children, youth and adults to improve health, wellness and skills for success in school and in life. “Mentors play a vital role,” said Executive Director Heidi Golightly,” by providing crucial support and guidance to high-risk youth as they grow and develop into our next generation of productive citizens.”
The proclamation notes that Keys to Be the Change collaborates with volunteers from the community as well as the Key West Police Department and the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIAFT) South, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines. “These mentors offer our high-risk youth academic support as well as promoting pro-social behavior,” said Golightly.
Golightly brought with her some of the mentors from JIAFT, noting that their guidance is making a huge difference in children’s lives. “We have -- even with Covid -- a 75 percent success rate of these students passing their classes,” said Golightly. “The kids are eager to come to school and meet with their mentors.”
In the Photo: Mentors from JIAFT South join Keys to Be the Change Executive Director Heidi Golightly and the entire City Commission to receive their recognition.
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