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Determination and reward

The school district will recognize fifth- and eighth-graders who excel in the PRIDE awards ceremony tonight.

By DONNA WINCHESTER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 17, 2002

In a ceremony that has become a Pinellas County tradition, the school district will recognize 449 elementary and middle school students tonight at the 20th annual PRIDE awards at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

PRIDE, which stands for Program to Recognize Initiative and Distinction in Education, honors fifth-graders who excel in math, science, social studies and writing. The program awards eighth-graders who are tops in math, science, social studies, writing and world languages.

"We need to recognize those students who have a lot of initiative and determination to become the best students," gifted program supervisor Art Dimter said. "That's exactly what these awards do."

At tonight's ceremony, 335 elementary students and 114 middle school students will receive introductions from their principals and shake hands with superintendent Howard Hinesley. They will walk across the stage wearing bronze medallions engraved with their names and subjects, and each will receive a gold-toned trophy.

Originally a state of Florida initiative to identify outstanding high school students, Dimter said, administrators decided to open the program to elementary and middle school students the first year. After the state dropped its funding, the school district turned to the Pinellas County Education Foundation. With the help of corporate sponsors, the foundation contributes about $5,000 for the program each year.

"It's a wonderful, wonderful program," said Rich Engwall, vice president of development and external affairs. "The foundation and our sponsors are very proud to support any program that recognizes excellence among our students and teachers in Pinellas County schools."

The program is coordinated by the gifted office, but it is open to regular education students as well as gifted students, Dimter said. To win an award, fifth-graders must maintain an A average in their subject of choice throughout the year, demonstrate a positive attitude and receive the highest score on a county-developed test.

Eighth-graders forego the test but must carry a 3.5 grade point average in their subject during their middle school years, show extracurricular interest in the subject by joining clubs, and exhibit good citizenship.

High school students are eligible for PRIDE awards based on their SAT or ACT scores and their grade point average, but they receive their awards in year-end ceremonies at their individual schools.

The process is a learning experience for both students and teachers, Clearview Elementary principal Linda Paonanen said.

"It's interesting to have teachers from other grades score the tests. They look at the test answers and sometimes they see hints of what they need to teach," she said.

Some students who are good in more than one subject opt to take more than one test, Paonanen said, but they can receive an award in one subject only.

Of course, some students who win awards as fifth-graders win again as eighth-graders. Patrick Wojtala, a student at Pinellas Park Middle School, won a PRIDE award for social studies when he was in fifth grade. This year, he won a writing award.

"I'm glad I won the PRIDE award for my writing," he said. "It's nice to be recognized as a good writer."


74th Street Elementary: Alexandria Graffer, Math; Steven Wagner, Science; Rebecca Wright, Social Studies; Paul Farris, Writing.

Academie Da Vinci Elementary: Alyssa Bagadion, Math; Bjorn Stange, Science; Kyle Pedretty, Social Studies. Anona Elementary: Kelley Russell, Math; Jaime Sprecher, Science; Paul Caruso, Social Studies; Chelsea Nibert, Writing.

Azalea Elementary: Olivia Hopper, Math; John Finken, Science; Briannon Tartaglia, Social Studies; Kaylynn Hartley, Writing.

Bardmoor Elementary: Cameron Mackey, Math; Kulton Jackson, Science; Sean Brewer, Social Studies; Nancy McCoy, Writing.

Bauder Elementary: Patrick Fenelon, Math; Daniel Boston, Science; Torek Waked, Social Studies; Stephanie Taylor, Writing.

Bay Point Elementary: Shelby A. Begany, Math; Niraj Singh, Science; Hakim Effiom-Dauw, Social Studies; Samantha Rose, Writing.

Bay Vista Fundamental: Matthew Kepto, Math; Marissa Herman, Science; Brandon Moll, Social Studies; Austin Hodges, Writing.

Bear Creek Elementary: Ashten Shiver, Math; Sawyer Zent, Science; Tori Broadway, Social Studies; Alicia Harris, Writing.

Belcher Elementary: Leigh Jester, Math; Stephanie Boyd, Science; Darrington Miller, Social Studies; Mallory White, Writing.

Belleair Elementary: Angelica Davis, Math; Andrew Tift, Science; Lizbeth Martinez, Social Studies; Kahla Sansom, Writing.

Blanton Elementary: Michael Rodenbaugh, Math; Christian Thomas, Science; Mary Mott, Social Studies; Cristi Davis, Writing.

Brooker Creek Elementary: Matthew Uelmen, Math; Alexander Kelsch, Science; Billy Byrne, Social Studies; Casey Ekberg, Writing.

Campbell Park Elementary: Paul Chrulski, Math; Perlita Garcia, Science; Natasha Bell, Social Studies; Lauren Steen, Writing.

Clearview Elementary: Shane McCausland, Math; Abdiel Gonzalez, Science; Joseph Hornbeck, Social Studies; Jessica Denmark, Writing.

Clearwater Intermediate: Spencer Miller, Math; Timothy Bellmore, Science; Vincent Barbuto, Social Studies; Kimberly Shawley, Writing.

Cross Bayou Elementary: Danielle Smith, Math; Neil David, Science; Erica LePak, Social Studies; Kristen Teresi, Writing.

Curlew Creek Elementary: Jennifer Szlasa, Math; Richard Coro, Science; Adam Smythe, Social Studies; Nicole Romeo, Writing.

Curtis Fundamental Elementary: Michael Saade, Math; Brian Kagay, Science; Mia DeFazio, Social Studies; Alyssa Knight, Writing.

Cypress Woods Elementary: Allyson Bowers, Math; Jerome Leonard Jr., Science; Timothy Carty, Social Studies; Kelly Maronpot, Writing.

Dunedin Elementary: Eric Kreuter, Math; Madelyn Farris, Science; George Maragos, Social Studies; Jacob Trumbull, Writing.

Eisenhower Elementary: Lauren Futral, Math; Ray Drudgeon, Science; Vincent Rivas, Social Studies; Jessica Jarvis, Writing.

Fairmount Park Elementary: Amanda Darcangelo, Math; Daniel Ramirez, Science; Vincent Bonnain, Social Studies; Jessica Silva, Writing.

Forest Lakes Elementary: Keegan Musser, Math; Kelsey Mustra, Science; Matthew Beil, Social Studies; Karly Gilchrist, Writing.

Frontier Elementary: Brett Gourlay, Math; Jessica Patel, Science; Trent McNab, Social Studies; Mariah Michael, Writing.

Fuguitt Elementary: Alexander Guthrie, Math; Keith Leslie, Science; Dylan Eling, Social Studies; Jessica Guler, Writing.

Garrison-Jones Elementary: Jacob T. Crabtree, Math; Brandon Parks, Science; James Garrison, Social Studies; Melissa Mogensen, Writing.

Gulf Beaches Elementary: Phillip Ours, Math; Joseph Werle, Science; Crystal Wager, Social Studies; Melissa Stiksma, Writing.

Gulfport Elementary: Michele Parry, Math; Eric Averbeck, Science; Daniel Woods, Social Studies; Lauren Johnson, Writing.

High Point Elementary: Dalton Wilson, Math; Nicholas Baker, Science; Alexis Flagler, Social Studies; Ashlyn Hawkins, Writing.

Highland Lakes Elementary: Miles Toli, Math; Seth Hochberg, Science; Samuel Cosgrove Jr., Social Studies; Shelby Connors, Writing.

Kings Highway Elementary: Kaylie Nelson, Math; Liam Hallahan, Science; Charles Castagna, Social Studies; Patriz Guevara, Writing.

Lake St. George Elementary: Matthew Gruebel, Math; David Ouziel, Science; Ian Baker, Social Studies; Andrew Khan, Writing.

Lakeview Fundamental: Samuel Youngerman, Math; Aaron Abel, Science; Arianna Cooper, Social Studies; Aaron Bennett, Writing.

Lakewood Elementary: Christopher Wells, Math; Andrea Abrenica, Science; Jarelle Avery, Social Studies; Jennifer Parrish, Writing.

Largo Central Elementary: Kristel Bataku, Math; Daniel Ronk, Science; Ly Tran, Social Studies; Samantha Dean, Writing.

Lealman Avenue Elementary: Kayla Savage, Math; McKay Lodliemphrachanh, Science; Trevor Bordner, Social Studies; Yen Le, Writing.

Lealman Intermediate: Stephan Thomas, Math; Carrie Walbridge, Science; Roxanne Balcom, Social Studies; Renee Small, Writing.

Leila G. Davis Elementary: Alicia Smart, Math; Robert Majure, Science; Tylor Kizer, Social Studies; Pauline Murphy, Writing.

Lynch Elementary: Amber Harbour, Math; Ezekiel Fairbanks, Science; Crystal Sheffield, Social Studies; Brielle Carter, Writing.

Madeira Beach Elementary: Andrew Landon, Math; Matthew Frank, Science; Whitney Kyles, Social Studies; Courtney Yadevia, Writing.

Maximo Elementary: Candice Sumbry, Math; Kevin Curp, Science; David Thomas, Social Studies; Brittany Skinner, Writing.

McMullen Booth Elementary: Rachael Landis, Math; Samantha Brock, Science; James Kissling, Social Studies; Hannah Jones, Writing.

Melrose Elementary: Ian Kashdan, Math; Monica Sarim, Science; Randall Ferreira, Social Studies; Shalyn McClung, Writing.

Mildred Helms Elementary: Justin Turek, Math; Shannon Jones, Science; Marius Pitre, Social Studies; Katie Cavallaro, Writing.

Mount Vernon Elementary: Duy Linh Nguyen, Math; Petar Moskov, Science; Christopher Bramer, Social Studies; Melissa Schmidt, Writing.

North Shore Elementary: Ajla Fatkic, Math; Jessica Brown, Science; Christian Neikens, Social Studies; Zachary Kopec, Writing.

North Ward Elementary: Christopher Makowiecki, Math; Robert Magill, Science; Andrew Quintero, Social Studies; Emmalee Isom, Writing.

Northwest Elementary: Keith Reynolds, Math; Zoe Griego, Science; Isabella Maafu, Social Studies; Melody Delaney, Writing.

Oakhurst Elementary: Melissa Giddings, Math; Bethany Levenson, Science; Alexander Cronk, Social Studies; Brian McPhee, Writing.

Oldsmar Elementary: Sherman Allen, Math; Nghia Le, Science; Gregory Hoskins, Social Studies; Samantha Caruso, Writing.

Orange Grove Elementary: Alexander Maccini, Math; Andrew Miller, Science; Destinee Lowe, Social Studies; Alexandra Morgan, Writing.

Ozona Elementary: Kenji Jones, Math; Fiona Karran, Science; Ieva Vilkelyte, Social Studies; Brooke Dodgen, Writing.

Palm Harbor Elementary: Aaron W. Bley, Math; Kyle Bowman, Science; Jena-Marie Gardner, Social Studies; Victoria Garos, Writing.

Pasadena Fundamental: Joseph Lamb, Math; Patrick Schuster, Science; Thomas Holdstein, Social Studies; Kimberly Ferris, Writing.

Perkins Elementary: Parker Beatty, Math; Pieter Gorsira, Science; Amanda Nickens, Social Studies; Molly McCormick, Writing.

Pinellas Central Elementary: Nikola Vuckovic, Math; Ana Rosado, Science; Christina Vuu, Social Studies; Jaydee Perales, Writing.

Pinellas Park Elementary: Olga Noriega, Math; Bryan Huynh, Science; Yassmarie Hernandez, Social Studies; Jamie Severino, Writing.

Plumb Elementary: Spencer Herran, Math; Justin Householder, Science; Igor Kikic, Social Studies; Dustin Maxwell, Writing.

Ponce DeLeon Elementary: Jak Dawson, Math; Austin Crane, Science; Jessie Tripp, Social Studies; Kyle Keffer, Writing.

Rawlings Elementary: Ashley Turner, Math; Jeffrey Richards, Science; Katie Szabo, Social Studies; Kayla McCrickard, Writing.

Ridgecrest Elementary: Andrew Smith, Math; Kristen Hannukainen, Science; Amy Boyd, Social Studies; Alexandra Robertson, Writing.

Ridgecrest Center for Gifted Studies: Veronica Cruz, Math; Jennifer Degan, Science; Joshua Lumpkin, Social Studies; Devon Koutsourais, Writing.

Rio Vista Elementary: Sean Cortes, Math; Corey Rogers, Science; David Al, Social Studies; Kayla Kappes, Writing.

Safety Harbor Elementary: Joseph Ardis, Math; Kelley VanCleve, Science; Emma Anderson, Social Studies; Rebeccah Clark, Writing.

San Jose Elementary: Tate Gdovin, Math; Elliot Leisure, Science; Andrew Liebert, Social Studies; Nicholas Forrester, Writing.

Sandy Lane Elementary: Elizabeth Hinkson, Math; Elias Votzakis, Science; Maria Plunkett, Social Studies; Kaylee Galvin, Writing.

Sawgrass Lake Elementary: Annie Zheng, Math; Kim Nguyen, Science; Michael Mallen, Social Studies; Catherine Anderson, Writing.

Seminole Elementary: Isaiah Sheppard, Math; Chase Diamond, Science; Zachary Hann, Social Studies; Alexandria Campbell, Writing.

Sexton Elementary: Alexander Ferguson, Math; Natalie Patenaude, Science; Nikki Smith, Social Studies; Robert Jackson, Writing.

Shore Acres Elementary: Marcus Hutchinson, Math; Sean Triglianos, Science; Benjamin Buljic, Social Studies; Alexanndrea Wert, Writing.

Skycrest Elementary: Adam Barrett-Clarke, Math; Daniel Morgan, Science; Clay McDonie, Social Studies; Bianca Johnson, Writing.

Skyview Elementary: Richard Shepard, Math; Nicole Kent, Science; Tricia Terry, Social Studies; Keely Arnett, Writing.

South Ward Elementary: Michael Morroni, Math; Christine Middleton, Science; Darren Dill, Social Studies; Ashely Wetzel, Writing.

Southern Oak Elementary: Paul Podlas, Math; Rene Neshev, Science; Blake Falone, Social Studies; Charles Franchini, Writing.

Starkey Elementary: Timothy Tang, Math; Christopher Corsetti, Science; Erin Cole, Social Studies; Sarah Johnston, Writing.

Sunset Hills Elementary: Philippe Leguichard, Math; Sydney Little, Science; Jessica Amlaw, Social Studies; Kelsey Albina, Writing.

Sutherland Elementary: Alyssa Hambacher, Math; Michael Govola, Science; Noah Crisp, Social Studies; Brenna Griffin, Writing.

Tarpon Springs Elementary: Aaron Harris, Math; Stephen Miccio, Science; Kassandra Riekofski, Social Studies; Effe Mia Coburn, Writing.

Tarpon Springs Fundamental: Ryan Cardew, Math; Jack Thornton, Science; Adarsh Mehta, Social Studies; Cory Hartman, Writing.

Tyrone Elementary: Monica Pham, Math; Daniel Martin, Science; Paul Roberts, Social Studies; Coree McKee, Writing.

Walsingham Elementary: Marc Despiegler, Math; Sarah Fairchild, Science; Nicholas Phillips, Social Studies; Nichole Georgatos, Writing.

Westgate Elementary: Amy Tra, Math; Marcus Graham, Science; William Harrison, Social Studies; Chelsea Bonnain, Writing.

Woodlawn Elementary: Ashley Ishak, Math; Dorian Earley, Science; Anthony Montalvo, Social Studies; Erika Byrd, Writing.


Azalea Middle: Karen Rivera, Math; Christopher Degraeve, Science; Laura Bygrave, Social Studies; Sarah Champagne, Writing; Katherine Wright, World Language.

Bay Point Middle: Luv Patel, Math; Jonathan Walters, Science; Jhanavi-Shiv Pathak, Social Studies; Thomas Frobisher, Writing; Sarah Falk, World Language.

Carwise Middle: Leighann Hartzog, Math; Nicholas Esker, Science; Derick Holzmacher, Social Studies; Kristen Huff, Writing; Srinivasan Venkatesh, World Language.

Clearwater Intermediate: Dennis Natale III, Math; Socrates Colindres, Science; Sarah Harland, Social Studies; Codi Vuong, Writing. Coachman Fundamental: Matthew Zeeb, Math; Steven Cardew, Science; Ian Shatanoff, Social Studies; Sarah Robinson, Writing; Nadia Christain, World Language.

Dunedin Middle: Courtney Maxa, Math; Melanie Marshall, Science; Kimberly Skelton, Social Studies; Jill Ruppert, Writing; Prashanth Sridharan, World Language.

Fitzgerald Middle: Alyssa Blacquiere, Math; Casie Goelz, Science; Brett Marlow, Social Studies; Simon Thiphonpham, Writing; Amanda Pitt, World Language.

John Hopkins Middle: Robert Pace, Math; Kerry Allen, Science; Kamita Baba, Social Studies; Lesa McKee, Writing. Sierra Grant, World Language.

Kennedy Middle: Caitlin Ruechell, Math; Alice Want, Science; Tanesha Smith, Social Studies; Rebecca Keilty, Writing; Shannon Jones, World Language.

Lealman Intermediate: Romeo Bodda, Math; Brendan Thomas, Science; Trinisha Johnson, Social Studies; Jarika Mack, Writing. Largo Middle: Lauren Hambridge, Math; Tiffany Giarla, Science; Hanh-Thuan Phan, Social Studies; Lucy Larn, Writing; Cora Jones, World Language.

Madeira Beach Middle: Peter Zdebski, Math; Kyle Thornton, Science; Brittany Tomlinson, Social Studies; Jessica Maltz, Writing; Tate Twinam, World Language.

Meadowlawn Middle: Yanting Liu, Math; Long Vong, Science; Svetlana Damjanovic, Social Studies; Stephan Gallego, Writing; Laura Masse, World Language.

Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center: Lakisha Thompson, Math; Louis McClanahan III, Social Studies. Oak Grove Middle: Bradley Hamilton, Math; Aaron Singh, Science; Alhanna Schaaf, Social Studies; Grant Jester, World Language.

Osceola Middle: Amanda Shirley, Math; Candice Wimberly, Science; Jacob Keglor, Social Studies; Alexander Kuhl, Writing; Melissa Neal, World Language.

Palm Harbor Middle: Stephen Kisella, Math; Nikita Iakovel, Science; Jenna Berger, Social Studies; Julie Posada, Writing; Laura Edsall, World Language.

Pinellas Park Middle: Judith Li, Math; Ryan McDermott, Science; Holly Hilton, Social Studies; Patrick Wojtala, Writing; Shannon Buchanan, World Language.

Riviera Middle: Lee Williams, Math; Ngoc Bich Huynh, Science; Tiffany Tran, Social Studies; Hillary Mitchell, Writing; Kaitlin Towell, World Language.

Safety Harbor Middle: Gregory Hamill, Math; Jesica Flammer, Science; Najia Hamid, Social Studies; Bryce Crouch, Writing; Christina Chan, World Language.

Seminole Middle: Ye Wang, Math; Kimberly Yunk, Science; Nicholas Bliesner, Social Studies; Maria Kuecken, Writing; Satyan Sreenath, World Language.

Southside Fundamental Middle: Crystal Moser, Math; Hua Xiaojia, Science; Sakira Hadley, Social Studies; Sarah Bennett, Writing; Theresa Standfast, World Language.

Tarpon Springs Middle: Brandon Grove, Math; Gregory Feldman, Science; Gregory Burr, Social Studies; Jennifer Jacobs, Writing; Natalia Alzate, World Language.

Tyrone Middle: Joshua Bonnain, Math; Christopher Head, Science; Brianne Shoby, Social Studies; Shanna Fan, Writing; Amber Busto, World Language.

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