Annual St. Pete’s Promise Awards Celebration

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – “Paying it Forward” was the theme of the night last Wed., March 30 as the Pinellas Education Foundation joined the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County Schools to present 155 St. Petersburg public school students with the opportunity to receive a Take Stock in Children Scholarship (TSIC) once they graduate from high school.

The annual St. Pete’s Promise Awards Celebration at the historic Coliseum awarded up to nearly $2.2 million. These 155 students join the 125 North county scholars who were inducted into the program March 1. There are approximately 4,000 scholars currently in the Foundation’s TSIC program.

Students attending this event will sign a scholarship contract stating they will earn a “C” or better in each class they take, attend school regularly, have good behavior in and outside of school, meet with a TSIC mentor and remain crime and drug free among other items. The major sponsors of these scholarships include the employees of the City of St. Petersburg, the Beth Dillinger Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of St. Petersburg, Bill Edwards, the Rays Baseball Foundation and the Helios Education Foundation.

“To the parents I want to say thank you for entrusting your sons and daughters with us,” said Michael Grego, Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools. “We don’t take that lightly, and each and every teacher, principal and assistant principal here today –they’re here today because they’re committed to your children,” he said.

Christopher Devine, an alumni recipient of the TSIC scholarship, urged the young people to be diligent in following the procedures necessary to secure their scholarship, such as completing the “thank you” letter to their sponsor. He reminded the future college graduates that without their sponsor’s generosity and contribution “you would not be able to receive your scholarships.”

Normally reserved for middle and high school students, the Pinellas Education Foundation made the unusual move of offering a total of 25 scholarships to Campbell Park, Fairmont Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose Elementary Schools – St. Petersburg’s five Scale Up schools.

In addition to the students being honored, Mayor Rick Kriseman paid tribute to St. Petersburg area public schools that achieved an “A” grade during the 2014-15 school year, as well as those schools that improved their school grade, improved math scores and improved reading scores. This recognition is part of the St. Pete’s Promise Program, which is a partnership between the City of St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Education Foundation.

“A” schools

St. Petersburg High, St. Petersburg Collegiate, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental, James B. Sanderlin IB World, Madeira Beach Fundamental, Douglas Jamerson Elementary, Gulf Beaches Elementary, Lakeview Fundamental, Pasadena Fundamental, Osceola Fundamental High, Perkins Elementary and Bay Vista Fundamental Elementary

Schools that improved their reading performance

Gibbs High, Lakewood High, Northeast High, Bay Point Middle, Blanton Elementary, Douglas Jamerson Elementary and Fairmount Park Elementary

Schools that improved one or more letter grades

Northeast High, St. Petersburg High, Azalea Middle, John Hopkins Middle, Meadowlawn Middle, Azalea Elementary, Bay Point Elementary, Blanton Elementary, Lakeview Fundamental Elementary, Lynch Elementary, New Heights Elementary, North Shore Elementary and Northwest Elementary

Schools that improved their math performance

St. Petersburg Collegiate High, Azalea Middle, Bay Point Middle, John Hopkins Middle, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental, James B. Sanderlin IB World, Azalea Elementary, Bay Point Elementary, Bear Creek Elementary, Blanton Elementary, Campbell Park Elementary, Douglas Jamerson Elementary, Fairmount Park Elementary, Gulfport Elementary, Lakeview Fundamental Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Lealman Avenue Elementary, Lynch Elementary, Maximo Elementary, Melrose Elementary, Mount Vernon Elementary, New Heights Elementary, North Shore Elementary, Northwest Elementary, Pasadena Fundamental Elementary, Perkins Elementary, Sawgrass Lake Elementary, 74th Street Elementary and Woodlawn Elementary

For more information about applying for the TSIC scholarship, contact the Pinellas Education Foundation at (727) 588-4616, or you can visit takestockinchildren.org.

To reach Allen Buchanan, email abuchanan@theweeklychallenger.com

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