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And the award goes to ...

Seemingly everyone in these classrooms. The fourth- and fifth-graders were honored for good humor, helpfulness and other positive traits.

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000


LECANTO -- At the end of a typical school year there are the usual awards: perfect attendance, academic achievement, good citizenship. In Beth Cornelius' and Marylynn Levengood's fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Lecanto Primary School, the awards went a little bit further.

Their students, who attend school on the alternative calendar, ended the school year on June 14, two weeks after regular calendar students were already out for the summer. On their last day of school, parents and relatives of the children were invited to a program that included the teachers' own brand of awards.

Levengood, 31, started the light-hearted presentations by telling the students and guests she wanted to go beyond the certificate each student would receive because they had all passed. "We all did?" a little incredulous voice called from the sea of students on the floor.

Assured they were all moving on to middle school, Levengood passed out her awards. The "Miss Fashion" award went to Jo Anna Fix, who kept her teacher up-to-date on the latest fashions. Robert Demartine received the "Good Humor" award because, Levengood said, he "always kept me laughing."

A Florida State University fan, Levengood was not too keen on Gators, but, she said, George Megan "made me like a Gator fan," so he received the "Friendly Gator" award. Meghan Nash, was also bestowed a "Friendly Gator" award for being such a good sport. And thank goodness for Kristie Pearsall, who received the "Fellow FSU" award.

Christopher Gilbert received the "Mr. Quiet" award and Heather Gilbert, who Levengood called "Miss Don't Worry," was handed the "Everything's Fine" award.

William Green was given the "Mr. Curiosity" Award for always asking, "What're we doin' today? What're we doin' today?"

Ronnie Harper, the recipient of the "College Adversary" award "always made liking college football lots of fun," Levengood said.

JenniferLynn Griffith, Levengood said, always wanted to know what she could do next, so she earned the "Most Helpful" award. The "Mr. Helpful" award went to another happy-to-help child, Cameron Ingall.

Although George Kedenberg was known for saying "I didn't do it," Levengood said she could also count on him for technical assistance and so he received the "Technical Guru" award.

Three of Levengood's students were particularly good at making her classroom a great place to be. Amber Kestner was always smiling and received the "Miss Pleasant" award. Marjorie McElmurray was designated "Miss Smiles," and Stephen Lo Faro was dubbed "Mr. Happy," because he "had a knack for making each day fun," said Levengood.

Neil Maves, said Levengood, had a way of always surprising her, so he received the "Unexpected" award. Justin Plante, who kept the class up-to-date in the world of sports, was declared "Mr. Sports" and Haley Swenson, upon whom Levengood said she could always count, was "Miss Dependable."

Beth Cornelius, 34, stepped up to the front next with awards for her fourth-grade class. Vicki Villinova received one of the "Good Speller" awards. She got a 100 percent on every spelling test, except one, she said, when she got a 99. Other "Good Spellers" were Nina Mele and Brittany LaMattina. Vicki also had perfect attendance.

Lou Tamposi received the "Highest AR (Accelerated Reader) Points" award and Crystal Ingall was given the "Polite Award."

Two students, Ben Wilson and Heather Johnson, were recognized as good writers with the "Penmanship" awards and Rebecca Hoggard was a "Good Listener."

Jonathan Junkins received the "What a Team Award." He said he always does his work.

Patricia Rock was given the "Most Helpful" award and Allison George received the "Clean Desk" honor.

There were three "Quality Work" awards. They went to Angela Anderson, Steven Sanders and Danielle Dixon.

Nicole Dixon was given a "Good Manners" award because, she said, "I am polite to my classmates. Every time someone asks me a question, I answer them fully."

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