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Category: Education


When their struggles became stories, young writers became warriors. Remember the 2007 movie, “Freedom Writers,” with Hilary Swank as California teacher Erin Gruwell, who transformed a class of students that others had deemed “unteachable?”  The movie’s true story about Gruwell’s high school initiative that turned at-risk students into authors has grown exponentially into a global curriculum that trains teachers to transform students by introducing them to relevant reading material and the emotional release of writing. Claire Schoonover, a Key West High School sophomore, was recently chosen...

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The College of the Florida Keys held an outdoor ceremony on May 7 to celebrate the spring graduating Class of 2021 on the Key West. The event, which featured a Jumbotron to display videos and close-ups, was streamed live on the College’s Facebook page to reach family, friends and even students who were not in attendance.   Approximately 70 students received diplomas on stage, but the College expects to award more than 150 bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificates to the spring class of 2021. The ceremony featured a student address by nursing graduate Madison...

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History of Diving Museum celebrates military

This May, the History of Diving Museum celebrates past and active military service members through special programming and visiting opportunities. Since opening in 2005, the History of Diving Museum’s founders, Joe and Sally Bauer, instituted a program to extend free admission to active duty military service members. The museum’s military outreach expanded when they joined the Blue Star Museums program at its inception in 2010. Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families and the Defense Department, over 2,000 museums participate annually with a goal to help service...

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Key West Police Department reported the following about an incident that occurred Wednesday morning: On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, Key West Police received information about a teen who had a gun in his waistband when he boarded the school bus on Cudjoe Key Wednesday morning. When the bus arrived at Key West High School, the student got off the bus and walked off campus. The teen attends Somerset Island Prep, a charter high school less than a block from Key West High School. (The same school bus is used by students attending both schools.) The teen skipped school on Wednesday and was found by police...

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School district officials acted quickly on May 7 to investigate allegations of racism at Sugarloaf School.  “We have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment in our schools,” Superintendent Theresa Axford told the Keys Weekly at 6 p.m. that day. Investigators then interviewed 23 students and four employees.  “Action needs to be taken and will be taken,” the lead investigator told the student’s mother, Jwanna Powell on Wednesday, May 12. Superintendent Theresa Axford told the Keys Weekly investigators had “confirmed inappropriate use of a racial slur.” Axford added that students and...

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Marathon artist strikes the right chord

In the heart of the Florida Keys, I recently discovered a hidden treasure. I was not out on Sombrero Beach with a metal detector, nor did I uncover it while snorkeling out on Looe Key reef. This treasure I found in the corridors of Stanley Switlik Elementary School. Christopher Willis is the school guidance counselor by job title, but he is so much more. He serves as a mentor to countless students, helping them find their way to success in the classroom and in life. Honored by the Monroe County School District as a Counselor of the Year and respected by all who know him, when I first met Chris...

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School district officials acted quickly on Friday to investigate allegations of racism at Sugarloaf School.  “We have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment in our schools,” Superintendent Theresa Axford told the Keys Weekly at 6 p.m. Friday after confirming that an investigation is underway. She added that the school district “will cooperate with law enforcement to solve this.”  Jwanna Powell, the mother of two Black students at the school — one in middle school and one in elementary — told school officials and the Keys Weekly about the two incidents after she had spoken with her daughter...

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“Goodbye Week” at the old Marathon library facility runs through Friday, April 30 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The library staff needs help moving books to the new library building, and patrons can use this as an opportunity to catch up on reading. The public is welcome to go inside the old building, write on the goodbye wall and check out up to 50 books and 25 DVDs from the collection, then return them to the new library building when it opens in early June. For more information, call 305-743-5156. The old library building is located at 3251 Overseas Hwy, Marathon. The post COMMUNITY HELPS MARATHON...

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Keys students earn awards at state science competition

Five entries by Keys students earned state recognition in the virtual State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF). Sebastian McCoy, from Key Largo School, placed third in the junior division for his “Lighting Up the Sky” experiment and received a nomination to Broadcom Masters Middle School Science Competition. Special award designations at the state level were earned by Robert Aleman of Key Largo School; the duo of Kevin Nguyen and Nathaniel Cabrera from Sigsbee Charter School; and the trio of Laira Gomer, Diana Diaz and Brook Barrow of Coral Shores High School.  Eight projects were submitted...

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At the April 27 Monroe County School District board meeting, Superintendent Theresa Axford announced that more than 100 Key West High School students have been quarantined in just the fourth week of the school district’s reopening to five days of in-person instruction. “The social distancing at 3 feet, which is what we’re able to do now with more students returned to school, has become a problem when there is a positive case and contact tracing goes on,” she told the assembled board members. “There are 126 students who are out at Key West High School right now, not because they are positive...

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