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On December 2nd, Walton County Career and Technical Education teachers participated in a training to assist them in understanding the importance of creating career pathways for their students.  Walton County's middle schools, high schools and Emerald Coast Technical College participated in this training.  There were also representatives from UF/IFAS (Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences) Extension Office, Chelco, Walton County Sheriff's Office, Toy Box Child Care Center, and WMBB News Channel 13 on hand to talk about the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Maggie Solomon from WMBB News Channel 13 provided a story on this meeting which may be viewed at http://www.mypanhandle.com/news/walton-co-school-district-holds-cte-training. Pictured is Leslie Harrison from Emerald Coast Technical College presenting information to Walton County teachers on how to develop their own program advisory board.  This is the first of many community incorporated meetings that Walton County intends to hold in an attempt to make our CTE programs rigorous and relevant to current employer demands.  Submitted by Donna Honish.

"The Science Fair this year at FMS was a huge success!  It was a difficult process narrowing down the winners to only 3 from the entire school of 5th through 8th grade students.  After deliberation, the top three projects were as follows:  

(Left to Right)

8th grade student Madison Kysel won 1st place with her project on "Tooth Decay."

8th grade student Elissa Rodriguez-Lombardo won 2nd place with her project on "Gas Stations' Underground Secret."  

5th  grade student Shelby Cosson won 3rd place with her project on "Do Video Games Affect the Mind and Body?"  

Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who participated in the Science Fair this year at FMS!"

Submitted by Chelsea Ellison

Due to inclement weather, please be advised of the following changes pertaining to the WCSD Science Fair. Please note the Award's Ceremony has been moved to Thursday Evening at the WISE Center. Set-up and Judging have been moved to tomorrow evening at the Community Center in DeFuniak Springs. 

Thank you for your assistance and understanding! 

Tuesday – December 6, 2016

2 PM to 5 PM – Project registration and set up at the  Community Center, DeFuniak Springs– Students/parents will be asked to leave the exhibit room at 5 PM. There will be a waiting room set up for them at that time.

5:45 PM – Students must be back for orientation and judging (report to the waiting room).

5 PM to 6 PM – Exhibit room closed for judges to initially view projects.

6 PM to 8:30 PM – Judging.  Parents must remain in waiting room.  This is an estimate of the time needed.  The students will be dismissed when the judges are finished judging their division.  Students must stay until they are dismissed because judges may want to return to see them a second time.

NOTE:  Please be prepared to take projects home at the end of judging!

Thursday– December 8, 2016

6 PM – Awards Ceremony at the WISE Center (old Walton High School) on 555 Walton Rd., DeFuniak Springs  

VRB had its Tropicana school-level competition this past Thursday, December 1. All of the speeches were so good, it made a very difficult decision for the judges. Our judges this year were Kathryn Youngblood, Bonnie Shelton, and Michelle Curtis. First place went to Ella Ekenseair. Second place was Elysia Koch, and third place was Cole Graham. Congratulations to our winners that will be representing Butler well in the district completition! Submitted by Sherrie Binkowski.

Walton High School is pleased to announce our Educational Support Person of the Year, Steve Paulk, and Teacher of the Year, Christy English. 

We appreciate and congratulate these deserving members of the WHS team! Submitted by Christy English.

     Russell Hughes began his career as a teacher at Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida where he taught business law & management, math and keyboarding. Russell was identified by the principal as having excellent classroom management, discipline and instructional skill. Consequently he was appointed dean of students managing discipline for ninth and tenth grades until transferring to Richbourg Middle School in Crestview, Florida. Russell served as Assistant Principal and Head Football Coach at Richbourg from 1997-2000.

     Russell’s career with the Walton County School District began at Walton Middle School in August of 2000. He became principal in 2004 .  Under his leadership Walton Middle School earned their first “A” grade, which was maintained for two consecutive years.   Walton Middle School was selected as one of the top 20 schools in the state, having made the most year to year progress in student learning gains. Additionally, Walton Middle School was the first middle school in the county to make an “A” and achieve AYP in the same year.  In recognition of their academic achievement, the school was awarded funds for their performance from the state and congratulatory letters from former Governors Charlie Christ and Jeb Bush.

     In 2007, Mr. Hughes was assigned to Walton High School as Principal. For the following eight years, Walton High School excelled in academic performance.  The School has been awarded a “B” grade for six years from the state grading system, two of which were more than 100 points above an “A.”  Although, the School’s accumulated points were significant, an “A” eluded them by less than two points in critical areas.  For the past two years, (2014-2015) Walton High has been identified by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools.  Also, In 2015, they were named one of two schools in the state of Florida and one of fifty in the United States as “Most Inspiring Schools.”  Russell’s individual recognition includes; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Teacher of the Year Candidate every year while in classroom, Outstanding Young Americans and the completion of the first Commissioners Leadership Academy.

As a first generation college graduate, Mr. Hughes is passionate about encouraging young men and young ladies to obtain post-secondary education. Russell looks continually to uncover strategic methods that will inspire students to unlock their potential to become successful academically, behaviorally, socially and individually.  When Russell isn’t busy inspiring students he can be found inspiring those that attend the church he and his wife founded in 2000.  The church began with seven charter members and has grown to a current membership of more than 150. 

     Russell Hughes is a lifelong learner and educator. He loves his church, enjoys reading, playing golf and spending time with family and friends.  Mr. Hughes makes his home in DeFuniak Springs, Florida with his wife, Lori and daughter, Micah.

The Freeport High School AVID program recently toured the campuses of the University of South Alabama and the University of West Florida. Students gained insight on admissions, campus activities, housing, academic programs, dining options, social clubs and organizations, and much more for each campus. Submitted by Patty Woodard.