The Putnam County School District broke ground for its new transportation complex July 7. The complex at 1400 N. St. Rd. 19 in Palatka will be approximately 15,300 square feet. It will house the district’s transportation maintenance facilities as well as the Palatka bus compound and 60 buses.
From left, David Tiffin, Bruce Arnold and Myron McCall of Perry-McCall Construction; David Buckles, PCSD school board member; Scott Gattshall, PCSD director of facilities; Phyllis Criswell, superintendent of PCSD schools; Rodney Symonds, PCSD director of transportation; Jim Roach, PCSD associate superintendent of support services; Gary McClellan, PCSD transportation shop supervisor; and Helen Muir, PCSD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The music directors of Putnam County will be offering a summer enrichment music camp for all levels of band students in grades 6-12.
The Putnam County Summer Music Camp will be July 13-16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Price Middle School in Interlachen. A final performance will be held July 16 at 6:30 p.m.
In addition to beginning band, the camp will offer an advanced band (for middle and high school students), and ensemble opportunities for high school students. Along with performance fundamentals, master classes covering theory, tone production, technique, and instrument maintenance and care will also be offered.
Instruments for students who have none are available on a first-come first-served basis. All music and books will be supplied.
Lunch will be provided daily, and bus transportation will be provided from Crescent City, with pickup and drop-off at Crescent City Jr.-Sr. High School.
Cost for the camp is $10 per student.
For more information or to reserve an instrument, call Julie Horton at Price at 684-2113 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, West Putnam teens and tweens get their chance to contribute to a “super” video being produced as part of the Putnam County library system’s countywide summer library program.
The Interlachen Public Library is hosting the video workshop Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m.
The video is a progressive effort, with a different segment being produced at each of the county’s five libraries.
The theme of this year’s summer library program is Every Hero has a Story.
A group of 15 budding young filmmakers worked on the first part of the video at the Palatka Public Library June 24-25, choosing to go with a superhero-based storyline.
The summer library program is a series of events created to encourage families to read together. The Putnam County Library System and the Putnam County Board of County Commissioners are sponsoring the summer program, along with additional support from Branch Library Friends groups, the Putnam County Library Board, Inc., and many volunteers.
Shane Burkes, Jeremy Yates and Kirk Collier are heading up the video project.
The schedule for the remaining progressive video workshops is:
Melrose July 15-16 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bostwick July 21-22 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Crescent City July 15-16 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
For more information, visit funinputnam.com or call the main Putnam County library branch at 329-0126.
Carlie Dennard will be attending the University of Florida to pursue a degree in materials science and engineering. Cierra Johnson will be joining the Army July 7. Chinara Bryant will be attending St. Johns River State College. Justin McDaniel will be working as a welder.
But before they set out to meet those individual challenges, they had to face a final one together as the Palatka High School Class of 2015: an outdoor graduation ceremony threatened by rain.
Fortunately for the prospective graduates, the storm clouds shortly before the 8 p.m. start time and the event went on as planned at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
After Senior Class Treasurer Kaylie Trumble’s Pledge of Allegiance, Cierra Johnson performed a stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
That was immediately followed by Senior Class Secretary Josh Williams’ emotionally stirring invocation, with a delivery as smooth as silk.
Kaylie Vinson, senior class president, and Allyson Futch, senior class vice-president, gave the opening remarks together.
“It feels like it was just yesterday that we were handed our freshman schedules as we were shaking in our tucked-in, collared shirts,” Futch told her classmates, referring to the district-wide dress code that was in place at that time.
Principal Mary Beth Hedstrom fought back tears at the end of her speech as she addressed her students for the last time. She paralled her morning announcements that she said the students had heard approximately 445 times.
“With something to think about, this is Mrs. Hedstrom, and I love you,” she said, her voice shaking. “Make it a great life.”
Phyllis Criswell, superintendent of Putnam County schools, spoke of technology during her speech. She told the graduates that they had grown up in a much different world than their parents and grandparents, with cellphones and computers a constant presence. “Never before have the people of the world been able to communicate instantly with each other,” she said, adding that events that happen in other places can and do affect them directly because of it.
Alli Carnes spoke to her classmates about the obstacles they will face as they each travel their own paths. “Embrace those obstacles,” she said. “Face them head on and have peace, because those obstacles are opportunities not only for us to rise above our limitations, but also to grow as people.”
Lauren Futch said it was the day the graduates started a new chapter in their lives.
“Some will stay in our small town and become its leaders. Some will go to big universities and become our next doctors. Some will join the military and defend our freedom. Some will move far away, never to be seen again. The future is what we make it.”
Crescent City Jr.-Sr. High School’s Class of 2015’s motto was “We’re going to make history,” and they did just that at their graduation ceremony, thanks to senior class president Sanika Smith.
Smith was undoubtedly the first Putnam County student graduate ever to use a selfie stick to take a photo during a graduation speech.
“Because I have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I’m going to use it to help us make history tonight,” Smith said, before pulling out the device to take the photo of herself and her classmates on the field behind her.
Approximately 90 seniors walked onto Wisnoski Field at Wilcher Stadium to receive their diplomas Thursday night.
In his opening remarks, Noah Hartley set the tone for the ceremony by summing up the senior Raiders’ attitude. “No matter what happens, we are from Crescent City High School, and we will prevail,” he said. Raiders do not back down.”
Phyllis Criswell, superintendent of Putnam County schools, spoke of technology during her speech. She told the graduates that they had grown up in a much different world than their parents and grandparents. “Never before have the people of the world been able to communicate instantly with each other,” she said, adding that events that happen in other places can and do affect them directly because of it.
Kenya Lovell, university chaplain at Bethune-Cookman University and a 1997 graduate of CCJSHS, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
Among the many things she advised the graduates to do was “See the world. Even if it’s just a sliver of the world.”
She also told the graduates to surround themselves with “people who get you.”
At the very end of the ceremony, Principal Mechele Higginbotham had one last surprise for her graduating seniors when she told them to “turn your tassels to the right.” After a few moments of confusion among the Class of 2015, she said “Gotcha! You turn them to the left. That’s my senior prank on you!”
The Putnam County School District will change to its summer operating schedule starting June 8.
Schools throughout the county and administrative offices at the district’s administration building at 200 Reid St. in Palatka will be open Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will return to their individual schedules Aug. 10.
School campuses in Putnam County will be closed to visitors Aug. 3-7 so that school employees can make final preparations for the 2015-16 school year.
“We want to make sure the schools are ready for our students to return to a clean, safe and productive learning environment,” said Phyllis Criswell, superintendent of Putnam County Schools. “Certain things need to be done on our campuses that require the full focus and attention of school and district staff.”
Criswell said she encourages parents who may need to register students, or who wish to have their children tour their new school location, to visit the schools before or after the week they will be closed.
The first day of school for students is Aug. 18, but staff development days at the schools are scheduled for Aug. 10-11, followed by preplanning days for teachers Aug. 12-14 and Aug. 17.
Also, school starting and ending times have changed at all Putnam County district schools for the 2015-2016 school year. Parents should check with their child’s school or visit the district’s website at putnamschools.org. for the new school schedules.
Members of Interlachen High School’s Class of 2015 showed they knew how to seize an opportunity even before they officially graduated June 2.
The graduation ceremony was on hold as thunderstorms swept over and around Thompson-Baker Stadium near the 8 p.m. scheduled start time.
A brief break from the rain jumpstarted the ceremony into high gear for more than 130 graduates and their family and friends.
Principal Thomas Bolling acknowledged the weather situation with his first words to those in the stadium. “Welcome to Florida,” he said.
Bolling amended the program to exclude all previously planned adult speeches in favor of student ones.
Haleigh Kwaak led the Pledge of Allegiance and Brett Sellers gave the invocation.
Joneal Porter, president of the Class of 2015, mentioned the word failure in her speech to her classmates.
“Yes, that’s right, I’m using the word failure in my graduation speech,” she said. “If you reach an obstacle that you cannot overcome, I want you to fail forward rather than give up. If you fail a class, take it again. If you get laid off at work, look for a new job.”
Graduate Kasey Nelson thanked the faculty and staff for their help during her and her classmates time at IHS.
“However, my most important thank you is to my classmates that are graduating with me that I credit with all of the positive experiences that I’ve had during the last four years.” She said they were ultimately what made the classes, clubs and sports worthwhile.
As soon as the graduates began the walk to receive their diplomas, a steady rain started coming down again. However, it didn’t seem to dampen their spirits as they walked across the stage, received their diplomas, turned their tassels from left to right and finally tossed their caps at the dark gray clouds raining down from above them.
Two Crescent City Jr.-Sr. High School basketball players signed letters of intent June 2 to play hoops for a Florida college.
Raiders Ken Bibbs and Gary Mims will play for Warner Southern College in Lake Wales.
During the letter-signing ceremony, the two graduating seniors thanked their families, coaches and friends for supporting them during the last four years.
Basketball Coach Al Carter thanked Bibbs and Mims for being “part of a great, history-making team this year.”
Principal Mechele Higginbotham asked the two athletes to “go ahead and make Crescent City proud.”
Miller Intemediate School's Drama Club performed "Alice @ Wonderland the Musical" last week and this week for the public and for fellow classmates.
Cast members included, in front, from left: Giovanni Palencia, Frog/Newsie; Rachel Malphurs, The Mad Hatter; Kendal Asbury,Alice; and Albelardo Ocampo, Humpty Dumpty. Second row: Melanie Deleon, March Hare; Autumn Crosby, Cheshire Cat 2; Trinity Chanthavongsa, White Rabbit; Kirsten Pelehach, Queen of Hearts; Brooke Prevatt, Chesshire Cat 1; and Quintavious Lewis, Fish/Newsie. In back are Sis Nunez, Rose; Vevvy Summerall, Lily; and Isabella Ramirez, Tiny Door. Not pictured are Jeremiah Cook, King of Hearts; and Summer Crosby, Caterpillar.