Officer Mike and K9 Mike highlight the first Lower School assembly of the year


Staff Sergeant Michael Marcus, known as Officer Mike around campus, brought his trusted canine, Mike, a K9 officer, to the assembly at the DeSeta Chapel and received many “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd of Lower School children, faculty and staff when he had K9 Mike perform an assortment of commands, some in German and some in English. Perhaps the most approval came when the Beauceron guard dog walked backwards, doing a version of the moonwalk.

Besides showing off the skill set of K9 Mike, Officer Mike talked to the kids about “respect.” He discussed how K9 Mike must respect him if the two “officers” are going to be able to complete their tasks and in doing so, he compared it to how the students must show respect to their elders.

The presentation was part of the Keys of Excellence program, which focuses on character traits. The Key of Excellence for September is respect.


Other highlights:

After Kalynn Miner read the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the assembly, Mrs. Fine asked the 46 new students to stand so the rest of the school could welcome them.

Kalynn Miner received the Book Recommendation Award for the month of August. Kalynn penned a recommendation on The Fault in Our Stars, the sixth novel by author John Green in which a 16-year-old cancer patient named Hazel Grace Lancaster befriends and falls in love with Augustus Waters, a similarly afflicted teen from her cancer support group.

Duke Talent Identification Program


Mrs. Fine recognized Ben Crawford, Elijah Dixon, Austin Gay, Matthew Levin, Brian Magenheimer, Kalynn Miner, Helena Panuthos, Dylan Rice, Hugh Seeley, and Tobia Spinelli for qualifying for the 7th Grade Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP).  TIP identifies gifted children and provides resources to nurture the development of these exceptionally bright youngsters. Students in seventh grade are recognized if they score in the 95th percentile or higher on an accepted subtest from a standardized achievement test or were recommended by an educator.

Meeting Greatness


3rd graders Carson Covington, Carlos Bonilla and his sister Kindergartener Cassandra talked about their experience meeting astronaut Charlie Duke ‘53 at his home in San Antonio, Texas. Charlie Duke graduated as valedictorian from Admiral Farragut and became the tenth person to walk on the moon.

Reading with the Rays


2nd grader Steven Miller was recognized for completing the “Reading with the Rays” summer reading program called “Read Around The Bases,” in which students are motivated to complete 24 hours of reading throughout the summer. He was awarded with Tampa Bay Rays tickets for his summer reading that was documented by the St. Pete Beach library.

The Belt Way


Kindergartener Jacob Cuesta earned his Senior Brown Belt in Tae Kwon Do and has just three more levels to attain Black Belt status. Jacob is now in his third week in the Junior Instructor Program at Taekwondo, a position he greatly loves and is very proud of. He’s the youngest Junior Instructor in the school.