Sarasota Military Academy Launches Improved Conservation Club

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local public charter school, recently relaunched the Academy’s Ducks Unlimited school chapter under new supervision and leadership to benefit cadets interested in conservation efforts.

Founded two years ago at Sarasota Military Academy, the revamped Ducks Unlimited club is facilitated by SMA Command Sergeant Major (CSM) (Retired) Mike Collis and faculty advisors. Currently, the SMA Ducks Unlimited chapter includes more than 65 cadets.

“Cadets involved in SMA’s Ducks Unlimited chapter get to experience a deeper appreciation for our natural resources, wildlife and conditions that affect them, and how their efforts can have a positive impact on those conditions,” said SMA-CSM (Retired) Mike Collis, SMA Ducks Unlimited chapter advisor. “We work with the state and national Ducks Unlimited organizations and we are also supported by members of the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association (SSA) through the donation of countless opportunities, training, experiences, trips and financial support.”

Cadets involved in the SMA Ducks Unlimited club are responsible for conducting and hosting meetings, becoming involved in various aspects of conservation efforts, tracking club activities and planning and coordinating four main areas of the club including the duck box construction crew, wetland conservation, wildlife management and wildlife migration and mapping.

Members are given the opportunity to work with the SSA to earn hunter safety certifications and participate in hunting and fishing trips.

“At Sarasota Military Academy, we are incredibly supportive of not only our cadets’ academic achievements and progress, but we also look for new opportunities to cultivate interest in a variety of topics and extra-curricular activities,” said SMA-MAJ C.J. Bannister, Sarasota Military Academy Foundation, Inc. Chief Development Officer. “Through our partnerships with local conservation organizations and through the guidance of our staff, SMA cadets are given the chance to explore a love and appreciation for nature, wildlife and their environmental impact. We are proud to have Ducks Unlimited as one of our many activities that cadets can choose to participate in, and we are excited to see how they continue to positively impact our community.”

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

Personal Musings

My Dear SMA Family,

This time of year is often a time of reflection of the months past, accomplishments and challenges, seasoned and new relationships, and of course, wishes for the future. Many thoughts meander through my mind during this season, and these past few months with my SMA family have brought multiple joys, tears, and feelings of thankfulness.

The holiday season always leads to a reflection on memories of the past; special relationships, loss of loved ones, mentors and pillars that have influenced who I am. The most prominent of my musings is most often the loss of loved ones, bringing to mind, of course, my mother, Janine Antonia, and the influence she has had on me, as well as the regret that I can’t share my joys and successes with her any longer. My prayers to Mom (I’m a mamma’s boy by the way) are most often a conversation asking her guidance in my continuous work toward being a better husband and father, and of course hoping for her approval of who I am as a man. The questions usually include;

  • “Do I support and show my love to my bride enough, and do you think she finds me worthy?” Good questions to always reflect on as a life partner.
  • “Can you keep an eye on my Dago Flower (daughter)? She doesn’t think she needs help, but I always worry.” “Oh, and isn’t your great-grandson amazing?!?” Being a single mom so far away from family to support her, and not one to show emotion or ask for help (like her dad), exacerbates the worries.
  • “Our little Bug has blossomed into an amazing Mom of two and is married to a dad-approved young man that treats her like the princess she is, and don’t you just want to pinch those chubby cheeks of those two beautiful great grandbabies?” (I so wish my grandchildren and I weren’t so many miles apart.)
  • “Please help me to show my love for my incredible new daughters (step) that just continue to make me proud, and struggle themselves with their challenging relationship with a distant father. I just want so badly for them to feel love; they deserve it.”
  • “Oh, and Little Bit (named Antonia for you); I do so wish you could have met her. She often asks about you … she consistently reminds me of you … almost like you are there sitting next to me.”

These conversations help me to keep focused on the importance of personal relationships, and I share them with you to give you a greater understanding of my social/emotional mindset, and the importance of the human aspect of all we do.

In reflection of those lost, and relationships that may have been placed on an obscure shelf though still reside in my memories, I would be remiss to not recognize those that continue to influence who I am as a man, father, husband, and educator.

  • “Max; how I wish I could have known you personally.” This type of loss can never be understood. In my years as an educator within a diverse community that is over-represented among suicide statistics (Native American and Veterans), I have unfortunately been directly affected by these occurrences. Max, one other completed attempt during my tenure as an administrator, and seven other attempts. It seems too many … but really, one is too many. I promise I will be here for you. There is a better option. Please, let me talk to you. To Max’s family … “you are in my prayers.”
  • To my Six … “you are always in my mind, and I always feel you there with me … I will never forget, though we are separated by borders and boundaries, time and life paths … I’ve got your six.” There is one I need to call this week … I pray his new leader has his six.

Reflecting on the joys, I am immediately prompted to be thankful for my family, to include my SMA family. My family and I have felt so welcomed by the staff, faculty, cadets, and families and just feel as if we are home. There are so many to be thankful for that I will only mention a few here, but I do hope you all know how you have influenced me.

  • “Gerlie (my dear bride), these past ten years continue to be the greatest and are only getting better … I am so happy that Florida’s west coast reminds you of your island home, and pray that I live up to what you deserve!” Always remind those you love how important they are.
  • “Abby and Cathy (SMA-LTCs Williams and Rodriguez), I cannot express how important you are to me … how your influence makes me a better man, colleague, and leader. I cannot imagine my role here without your influence. Don’t ever think of leaving me! JIt is cliché to say that “It takes a village”, but I will say that my success takes a team – the A TEAM!
  • “Colleagues, faculty, staff, directors, and most importantly my Instructional Leadership Team, I cannot be thankful enough for your influence, professionalism, advice, and especially your candid conversations that help me to keep the morale of our family and the wellness of our cadets the focus of our mission. Thank you!” I am blessed to work with so many incredible individuals with so many amazing stories and accomplishments!
  • “Monika and Angela … I can never tell you enough that you are the reason it all works!” You know that saying that behind every good man is a great woman? I have five great women that make me look good … Gerlie, Abby, Cathy … MONIKA and ANGELA!
  • “That mom, you know who you are, that gave me the orange and green vests to wear at the car line … thank you! Your random act of kindness is what makes humans great!”
  • “That cadet that thanked me for caring … please know you have the power … you too can have that effect on someone.” 

I am continuously thankful for these blessings in my life. Have a great break, and see you next year!

Sarasota Teacher Selected as United Nations Sustainability Ambassador

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) teacher Todd Brown, PhD., creator of the SMA “Inspire Project” curriculum and winner of the “Ignite Innovation” award from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, has been selected as a Teach Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador for the United Nations.

Through this designation, Dr. Brown will report to the program director and the office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly for 2019. Dr. Brown is one of 100 people throughout 193 countries selected and is the only person from Florida, aside from the program director.

As a TeachSDG Ambassador, Dr. Brown will work to support and enhance the work of the United Nations’ efforts within K-12 classrooms through the organization’s 2030 agenda. Goals include advancing the work of the UN in relation to education through advocacy, outreach and informational services throughout the global community.

“I am honored to receive the prestigious opportunity to serve as an ambassador on such a large scale,” said Sarasota Military Academy Teacher Todd Brown. “Being involved in this global organization is something that will not only allow me the chance to make a difference in a new way, but also allows me to show our cadets what is possible when you dream big, take advantage of opportunities and open your eyes to what’s happening around you.”

In addition to receiving the Education Foundation of Sarasota County “Ignite Innovation” award in 2018, Dr. Brown has been invited to speak at the AdvancED Global Conference in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and he was nominated for the CNN Heroes Award by Harvard University, among other honors.

“We are incredibly proud of Dr. Brown and his achievements, and we appreciate all that he has done and continues to do for our cadets and community at Sarasota Military Academy,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “He is a constant source of inspiration for our cadets and staff, and he is incredibly innovative in how he positively impacts our academy and our culture. We are excited to see what he will continue to accomplish through this new adventure.”

To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

American Ninja Warrior, Barclay Stockett, tells SMA Prep Cadets, “Mindset is Everything!”

American Ninja Warrior, Barclay Stockett, shared her story with SMA Prep cadets as part of this year’s Project Equality which is one of the pathways developed through The Inspire Project. As many cadets are fans of the show, they listened intently as she answered their questions while enlightening them on the bigger picture that goes beyond winning competitions.

Although Stockett can sometimes make the Rope Swing, Warped Wall, or Jumping Spider look easy, cadets were given the real scoop about the dedication and hard work she puts into training. From January to June every year she trains 5 days for 4 hours a day and sometimes more. She emphasizes to cadets, however, allowing time for your body to recover is as important as the training time you put in.

In response to the classic question of what did you want to be when you grew up, Stockett replied, “a firefighter, an archeaologist in Eygpt, a trapeze artist, and an architect.” She would eventually become a gymnast which empowered her as she built her body and mind to win competitions and overcome challenges.

As far a being a strong woman competing with men she describes her experience when she was growing up and out racing boys. “I had to learn for myself and I began to understand where a boy’s pride would be hurt. I was stronger and faster and they couldn’t except it. Women that look strong, just look strong.  No matter who you are you can be strong.

Ms. Stockett shared that the hardest part about what she does is the expectations and always being in the public eye. “People are expecting you to be happy and bubbly and anything less than perfect can feel like a failure.” She reminds cadets to experience failure as a learning experience every time you feel it. As far as experiencing a lack of confidence, Stockett says, “it is usually outside coming into something- when I did gymnastics, I became scared of the balance beam as part of my series. I had to get to the point where fear is not knowing what is going to happen, it’s the unknown, but you have to remember Mindset is everything!”

With a background in as a physical therapist, she is not only an American Ninja Warrior but she also works for Alpha Warrior where she teaches how to use ninja-like obstacles for the military. She travels all over the world visiting military basis and doing what she loves to do which is help others through teaching and training.

“Remain super passionate about living the life we’re given.  If you are passionate about something, try it find out if you can do it. Life is too short to work half your life doing something you don’t enjoy and remember to have gratitude that you get to do something you love.”

Afterall she says, “I never thought I could make money playing on obstacles, I just work really hard and diligently.”

 

Local Academy Recognized for Community Clean-Up Project, School Excellence

Keeping Sarasota County Beautiful recently awarded Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) Prep middle school cadets and staff with the “School Excellence” award during the 30th Annual KSCB Volunteer Awards Recognition Dinner, held on November 7, 2018.

The cadet-led community project, initiated by SMA Cadet-MAJ Thomas Canales, an 8th-grade student, was a litter and beach clean-up at Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach in Sarasota. The Sarasota Parks and Recreation Department nominated the project and cadets for the Keeping Sarasota County Beautiful award.

“The best part of community service is seeing friends, family, kids from school, and even people we have never met, come together and work towards one common goal: a better environment. The future depends on us!,” said SMA Cadet-MAJ Thomas Canales.

“Thank you to the Sarasota Parks and Recreation Department for the nomination, and to Keeping Sarasota County Beautiful for this valued recognition,” said SMA-CPT Terri Davis, Sarasota Military Academy Prep Military Studies teacher and IB MYP Community Project facilitator. “Through our community projects, cadets learn skills that they will apply throughout their lives. It is exciting to see middle school cadets shine as leaders who want to make a positive impact on the world around them.”

As an authorized IB World School, SMA Prep cadets participate in a community project as part of the IB Middle Years Program (IB/MYP). During community projects throughout the last two years, cadets at SMA Prep have provided and promoted environmental stewardship while serving approximately 160 volunteer hours throughout Sarasota County Parks and natural areas.

The focus of the KSCB awards ceremony was “The Future is Now” with a “Back to the Future” movie-inspired theme. A variety of organizations and attendees were recognized and lauded for contributions. Keep Sarasota County Beautiful, an affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful Inc. nonprofit organization, is a county-wide beautification program established in 1987 that initiates community cleanup projects to help keep the community free of litter.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

Somali Author of Call Me American: A Memoir, Abdi Nor Iftin, Shares His Refugee Journey with SMA Prep Cadets

Somali Author of Call Me American: A Memoir, Abdi Nor Iftin, shares his remarkable journey as a refugee from Mogadishu to Maine and offers SMA Prep cadets a unique “outside – in” perspective of America. His story is powerful and ties into this year’s Inspire Project pathway: Project Equality. Cadets are exploring equality, tolerance, and, discrimination across gender, race, and ethnicity.

As a child growing up in Mogadishu, Abdi first knew of America when US Marines came to his village to provide food and places to eat because their presence allowed for peace. “I thought they were aliens.”  Abdi had never seen anyone that looked different than him.  He described his life in Mogadishu as difficult. There is no public service and there is also a war. He taught himself English from movies and began to feel that he was no different than any other child.  He grew a love of America and gained the nickname “American Abdi” and he knew that one day he would get there, even though it was not easy traveling 10,000 miles to the U.S.

“All humans share a desire for survival and acceptance.”

Many of his coworkers think of Africa as all the same. There are different languages and culture throughout Africa. In his book, he wanted people to see the human side of the refugee story. “All humans share a desire for survival and acceptance. I was just like every American kid who wants to be inspired by something. Everything you have is a privilege.”

The hardest part about adjusting to American was the lack of diversity where he lives in Maine. The weather was also a shock having come from a consistently warmer climate. He also described the more humorous side of learning about a new culture. “Ordering a coffee at Dunkin Donuts drove me crazy. In Kenya you just say coffee and they give me coffee, but here you have to say so many things.” He says he now sticks with hot chocolate.

SMA-Cadet MacCloud was reminded, “how to not take for granted all we have here. Mr. Iftin notices every little thing for example how many types of crackers are available at Walmart.”

When asked what drove him to keep surviving he replied, “Many times, I almost gave up on hope. As long as I was breathing and living another day, I needed to do everything it takes to get myself out of the life I was living at the time. I connected to the rest of the world through my stories. Teaching myself English motivated me because I was able to communicate to a wider audience.”

About Sarasota Military Academy

Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter, (6th-12th) located on 2 campuses in Sarasota, FL. As an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, SMA provides students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

SMA Prep Cadets Take on the NPR Student Podcast Challenge: Turn An Idea Into Sound

SMA Prep cadets in Military Studies and Digital Arts combine forces to take on the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Cadets have begun brainstorming to find their podcast topic. They are working off of various topic ideas such as:

  • Tell us a story about your school or community: about something that happened there – recently or in the past — that you want your audience to know about.
  • What is a moment in history that all students should learn about?
  • Show us both sides of a debate about an issue that’s important to you.
  • What do you want to change about the world? What’s a big change that you want to make in the future?
  • Explain something to us that kids understand and grownups don’t.

From this brainstorm, students will select their podcast topic and begin to write scripts, collect content, designate roles and design the sound and feel of their podcast for submission. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria: Information and Structure, Personality and Creativity, and Production Quality.

Thank you to SMA-CPT Miller and CPT Davis for engaging these creative SMA cadets.

Bringing two classes together allows for 6th, 7th and 8th graders to build communication and collaboration across age groups. SMA-Cadet Kalli B., who is a 6th grader, says she’s excited about this project because “everyone is working together as a team and is open to each other’s ideas”. Many cadets have expressed interest in continuing a cadet-led podcast that will add to SMA Prep’s media platform already established through the live streaming daily broadcast of Prep World News.

The contest opens up to entries on Jan. 1, 2019, and closes on March 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. ET. NPR will pick two winners: one from grades 5 through 8 and one from grades 9 through 12. We can’t wait to “hear” what these talented and engaged cadets come up with when they Turn Their Idea Into Sound!

About Sarasota Military Academy

Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter, (6th-12th) located on 2 campuses in Sarasota, FL. As an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, SMA provides students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

Stanford Professor Emeritus and World-Renowned Psychologist, Dr. Zimbardo Challenges SMA Prep Cadets to Train for Everyday Heroic Action

Dr. Philip Zimbardo, an American psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University introduced cadets at SMA Prep to the Heroic Imagination Project of which he is the founder and president. Many know of Dr. Zimbardo for his 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment along with many other notable works. Currently, he is focused on motivating people to no longer be bystanders and instead take action to have a positive impact on the world around them.

Growing up in poverty in the Bronx in the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Zimbardo often wondered how it was that some of his friends in the neighborhood grew up to be “bad” kids while others grew up to be “good” kids. As he refocuses his pursuit of understanding human behavior, he has established a new approach by asking, “how do ordinary people act heroically? Being introduced to the Heroic Imagination Project, cadets began to make their own connections with issues such as bullying and intolerance that can also be a part of their adolescent lives.

“Heroism starts in the mind.”

The larger question Dr. Zimbardo posed to cadets was, “Can anyone be a hero?” and emphasized the need to teach people to move away from being passive and instead to help people and situations that are in distress. Other questions came to light such as how to eliminate stereotypes and become more accepting of others as well as the value of developing a growth mindset as opposed to a mindset that is fixed and unchangeable. Dr. Zimbardo imparted to cadets that success in life depends on mindset, are you thinking into the future or are you stuck in the present only seeking immediate reward?

 

Dr. Zimbardo speaks to cadets this year for Project Equality which is one of the pathways developed through The Inspire Project created by SMA-MAJ Todd Brown who teaches 8th-grade Individuals & Societies as well as Civics. Brown has been cultivating this program over 5 years and it has positively impacted many students. SMA Cadet-CPL Grace Wagler is currently attending SMA High School and shared this about Dr. Zimbardo, “something that really stuck with me was the idea that just as normal people can take on “evil” roles so easily, normal people can also take on roles as heroes. This was an interesting concept and I think it is amazing that DrZimbardo used the findings from an experiment that sort of went south (Stanford Prison Experiment) to inspire people to become everyday heroes.”.

Dr. Zimbardo is also involved in the green school movement with the goal to empower kids across the world as Eco-Heros. He currently works with schools in 18 countries and Green School in Bali is particularly impressive. SMA Prep was awarded the Green Flag award from Eco-Schools USA through the National Wildlife Federation. The connection to other green schools offers a unique opportunity for SMA Prep cadets to collaborate on a global level.

Dr. Zimbardo and his team believe, “Most people want to take effective action in challenging situations, they just don’t know how.” He is hoping to train a new generation of heroes, “suggesting that each and every seemingly ordinary person on this planet is capable of committing heroic acts”.

About Sarasota Military Academy

Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter, (6th-12th) located on 2 campuses in Sarasota, FL. As an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, SMA provides students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

About Heroic Imagination Project

The Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) develops and implements education programs, research, and public initiatives to inspire and encourage everyday heroism. Our mission is to encourage and empower individuals to take heroic action during crucial moments in their lives. We prepare them to act with integrity, compassion, and moral courage, heightened by an understanding of the power of situational forces. More information is available at www.heroicimagination.org.

 

SMA Prep Partners with Apparel Co. MANG to Give 7,000 Mangroves New Life

SMA Prep welcomed back Kyle Rossin, co-founder of the West Palm, high-performance apparel company, MANG. Prep’s young environmentalists work with MANG to give dying mangroves a second chance at life which in turn positively impacts Florida’s fragile ecosystem. As an environmentally responsible company, MANG’s “Buy One. Plant One.” initiative pledges to plant one mangrove propagule for every product that is purchased.  SMA Prep cadets provide the resuscitated mangroves they cultivate on campus to support MANG’s one plant at a time initiative.

Every August for the last five years, SMA- MAJ Deb Walker and her 6th-grade cadets have walked the local beaches and estuaries for stranded Red Mangrove seed pods (propagules). These “props” are doomed to decomposition unless placed vertically so that they can produce their famous red roots that are so valuable to the environment. This year, the cadets brought in over 7000 propagules and cultivated them until their first set of true leaves have appeared.

Several years ago, SMA-MAJ Walker received an email from a member of Captains for Clean Water, an ecological group in Ft. Myers. She was asked about her mangrove cultivation project and they offered to spread the word in South Florida. The result was an email from Kyle Rossin, co-founder of MANG.

Kyle takes the time to work with the cadets and give a lesson on the importance of mangroves in the local ecosystems. The cadets loaded up his truck with about 7000 mangrove propagules that they had been cultivating for months. Volunteers in West Palm then plant the props in local estuaries.

SMA Prep cadets benefit from the network of environmental goodwill SMA-MAJ Walker continues to build. “What a great experience for our cadets: to know that their months of effort are rewarded by their mangroves finding a new home and helping to restore the estuaries that have been so threatened by Red Tide.”

Click below to learn more about SMA-MAJ Deb Walker and her 6th-grade cadets’ past and ongoing green initiatives at SMA Prep:

About Sarasota Military Academy

Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter, (6th-12th) located on 2 campuses in Sarasota, FL. As an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, SMA provides students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

About MANG

MANG is a high-performance apparel and gear company dedicated to preserving the natural ecology of coastlines and mangrove ecosystems. Their team of avid fisherman and naturalists recognize that mangrove habitats are the life-support system and nursery for many juvenile marine species. “Our vision is by 2020 MANG will be a locally recognized and environmentally responsible company that is changing the world by planting one mangrove at a time.” More information is available at www.manggear.com

Pledge Equitable Discourse

As I try to process the rhetoric and discourse that has become a defining perception of American society of late, I am troubled most NOT by the loudest voices that seem to be spouting hateful language and separatist – discordant verbosity, but by the silence of voices guiding us in moral, values-based conversation that brings us together.

I long for that voice of my grandfather, Federico, teaching me to be a loving man at the age of nine, in what seemed a simpler time.

I dream of a powerful voice that envisioned an equitable existence for all mankind regardless of “the color of their skin”, religion, national origin, ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, or …. political affiliation.

I hope and pray for a future for my students, children, and grandchildren that affords voice without fear of persecution, an ability to practice their belief without fear violence, and the ability and courage to accept the differences of others with respect, honor, and integrity.

I am reminded of the trainings and the guiding research that has brought an awareness of the impact of trauma to the education professional, the soldier and military leader, the police officer and first responders, the crisis therapist and mental health provider. The plethora of research and evidence linking experiential trauma to a life-time of health and mental health complications, to include greater likelihood of high risk activities and even a diminished life expectancy, is irrefutable. We all know this as professionals. However, we haven’t examined the effect societal traumas on the social and emotional wellness of our school, community, nation, and the world as a whole. I know that I cannot do justice to the academic discourse surrounding the long lasting effects of local, national, and international events that have shaped our human experience, but I would like to make some observations about a few.

As a trauma trained educational professional, I am prompted to think of our societal traumas as I would a school aged child. In one of my trainings the facilitator exemplified the effects of a child’s trauma by pulling books out of a backpack labeled with things like; domestic violence, alcohol in the home, bullying online, sibling in jail, etc. The backpack seemed bottomless. I would like to pull a few things out of OUR proverbial backpack:

  • Closer to home than we would ever like to be … active shooters in schools. Students, parents, grandparents, school faculty and staff, local first responders. Let’s think about the level of fear that these have propagated, and the resulting effects on educational priorities. Other ramifications of the fear is the “hardening” of schools to the point that you can’t tell if the fences and walls are to keep the danger out, or to keep the danger in. Likely the most divisive effect of this circumstance is the enduring contention between sides over armed Teachers or staff that has caused great distress among families, friends, and communities. The discordant rhetoric surrounding this disagreement has caused seemingly irreparable harm as it has often devolved into fractious, hateful language, and greater division within our society.
  • A week ago, my wife and I went to see the movie “The Hate You Give.” This movie, as an artistic representation of the antagonistic political discourse attributed to the theme of maltreatment of oppressed populations, attempts to refocus the discussion on the concept that these issues will never be addressed until we can set aside the hate and address the root causes to the circumstances. Even before the release of this movie the discourse took a sharp turn toward accusation, animosity, and deflection to political agendas, rather than a willingness to listen, debate, and work toward a solution. The seeming unwillingness of leaders, formal and informal, or a suppression of voices of reason to see this as an opportunity to resolve societal ills only encourages greater fragmentation of values and morals and bolster fanatical perspectives.
  • The seemingly burgeoning human rights atrocities propagated by war, conflicts, political unrest, crime, and what seems to be an increase in religious, racial, and ethnic contention throughout our global society has had the effect of stoking the dormant fears we have of the unknown and averted our attention from the value of service to others. Rather than meeting to address a distressed circumstance that may have displaced a group of people from another part of the globe or even near our borders, the divisive rhetoric has once again embraced the discourse of fear and hate and displaced our values for human rights. This continuing discourse of fear and hate has handicapped our societal value system and disabled the ability of our leadership construct from acting in the interest of the natural rights of all humans.
  • Fanaticism and extremism have been terms copiously alleged from all parties, viewpoints, belief structures, as well as pundits, politicians, and from organizational platforms. The accusatory use of these terms toward opposing perspectives propagates the hate language and affects a climate of division and conflict. De-escalation of of this divisive rhetoric and realignment of societal and political discourse based on the values of respect, honor, and integrity, which are arguably the cornerstones of our constitutional foundations, must be achieved to combat the perception of fascism and engender the concept of democracy.

As a father and grandfather, as an educator and education leader, as a veteran and current member of the armed forces … I beseech my fellow American, my fellow human, to take a moment to reflect on the discourse we are involved and assess whether values are being compromised. I am not asking to set aside your beliefs and passions, rather to guide the discourse we have in a manner that values our neighbors, our communities, nation and global society.

Reflecting on what I can do to alleviate these concerns, even within my own small community, I know that I can affect change in one certain way … I can pledge my personal attention to equitable discourse.

  • I will honor your voice
  • I will express myself with respect
  • We will find a solution that reflects our integrity

 

Sarasota Military Academy Announces 2018 Wreaths Across America Campaign

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local public charter school, recently announced the 2018 SMA Wreaths Across America Campaign through a partnership with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit that aims to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and teach children the value of freedom.

“In 2009, Sarasota Military Academy staff, cadets and families introduced the Wreaths Across America campaign to our community, and we are incredibly proud to continue this tradition at the Sarasota National Cemetery,” said SMA-MAJ C.J. Bannister, Sarasota Military Academy Foundation, Inc. Chief Development Officer. “As a veteran, the mom of a cadet attending SMA, and a proud supporter of this event, it’s incredible to see the involvement and passion of the cadets throughout this campaign. This partnership is ideal as the mission of Wreaths Across America perfectly aligns with the mission at SMA, and it is an incredible learning experience for all involved.”

During the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Sarasota National Cemetery, SMA cadets and community members participate in honoring veterans and remembering their sacrifices and service. Through partnerships with other schools and organizations throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, this campaign has been led by SMA cadets, staff and their families since the Sarasota National Cemetery opened in 2009.

“There are approximately 13,000 gravesites at the Sarasota National Cemetery and we are proud to be involved in this annual campaign to cover as many gravesites as possible,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “When you sponsor a wreath, not only are you helping us honor our local resting veterans while teaching our cadets about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, you are also supporting SMA and our cadets and staff.”

The annual campaign yields back five dollars to SMA for each wreath sponsored, and fundraising dollars support cadet extra-curricular activities for both Academy middle school (Prep) and high school cadets. Sponsorships and donations will be accepted until Tuesday, November 20, 2018 and the 2018 Wreaths Across America Ceremony will take place on December 15, 2018.

To donate to the 2018 SMA Wreaths Across America Campaign, or to learn more about SMA’s involvement in this organization, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/support-sma/wreaths-across-america.  

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

Diversity at SMA

Friends and Families,
This past week has been at the least interesting, and at the most – nearly – divisive. This week the leadership with the Sarasota County Schools released a document providing their guidance for gender diverse populations. Please understand that these are not policy, but rather a guiding document for schools to refer. I would like to set all of your minds at ease by expressing the following guidance from the SMA Leadership Team:
  • First and foremost, ALL cadets, regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender and gender orientation, age, disability, marital status, and sexual orientation are valued as members of our community and will be treated with RESPECT.
  • Any type of harassment will not be tolerated, and any accusations of harassment should be reported immediately.
  • Sharing of personal cadet information is a violation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
With these understandings in place, and under the guidance of best practices and policies, the accommodations to be implemented in the case of gender diverse cadets are based on case by case circumstances by a team that considers the health, wellness, and academic success of all cadets impacted.
  • Gender diverse refers to the social construct that may include gender identity and gender expression.
  • The determination of accommodations for the gender diverse cadet will be determined by a team that includes the cadet, administration, parent/guardian, counseling, and an advocate if requested.
  • A plan will be developed that meets the privacy needs of the gender diverse cadet, as well as all cadets.
  • Uniforms will be issued to match the most consistently identified gender identity as determined by the team. This guideline is supported by JROTC protocol.
  • Restroom use will be determined and agreed upon by the team to ensure privacy and comfort levels of all cadets. There are multiple types of restrooms on each campus, to include; single use and traditional with multiple private stalls. These restrooms are for the use of all cadets, but if your cadet has a legitimate privacy concern, the use of the single use restroom may be made available at administration’s discretion. Any cadets have concerns for their own privacy should speak first with the Teacher, and any accommodations will be approved by administration.
  • Locker Rooms use will be determined and agreed upon by the team to ensure privacy and comfort levels of all cadets. Each locker room has privacy options available, and the scheduled use of locker rooms can be arranged to address any privacy concerns. Any cadets have concerns for their own privacy should speak first with the Teacher, and any accommodations will be approved by administration.
I cannot stress enough that each individual within our SMA family must at all times be treated with respect, as this is a foundational value of who we are. I fully trust the integrity of our cadets, staff, and faculty to value every individual and provide them with this respect. If you have any follow up questions or concerns, I would be happy to meet with you. Please feel free to email me at fred.fout@oursma.org, or make an appointment through the front office to meet with me.
Respectfully,
SMA-LTC Frederick T. Fout
Head of School

SMA Cadets Plan Community Holiday Family Mini Session Photo Fundraiser

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) invites the public to a Holiday Family Mini Session Photo Fundraiser on Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 10am to 4pm at the SMA high school campus, located at 801 N. Orange Avenue in Sarasota, and 10am to 4pm at the SMA Prep middle school campus, located at 3101 Bethel Lane on Fruitville Road in Sarasota.

All proceeds raised during the fundraiser will be used to purchase new campus digital cameras for cadets to use for yearbook and digital imaging and photography classes. Photo sessions will be 30 minutes each and each session will cost $50. All photos will be captured by cadets enrolled in photography courses taught by SMA Captain (CPT) Samantha Miller, and participants will receive 5 edited photos from their session.

“When our students were brainstorming ways to raise money to buy new cameras for our photography classes, this fundraiser immediately stood out,” said SMA-CPT Samantha Miller, Sarasota Military Academy photography teacher. “We are excited to help our cadets practice their skills while bringing a unique fundraiser to our community.”

The public is asked to pre-register through the SMA website and attendees are encouraged to dress up in festive attire as the background themes will be Holiday inspired; standard backdrops are available upon request. Pets are welcome and a variety of photo backdrops will be available.

“Our cadets are excited to host holiday photo sessions for families and friends throughout the community,” said SMA-MAJ C.J. Bannister, Sarasota Military Academy Foundation, Inc. Chief Development Officer. “Our cadets in our photography classes asked for new cameras and when asked about a creative way to raise money, they collaborated on ideas and came up with this fundraiser. Not only are we helping our cadets provide a service to their community, but they are also practicing their craft while learning how to raise funds and budget for tools they need to succeed.”

To register for a photography session and support the cadets at Sarasota Military Academy high school and middle school campuses, please visit https://bit.ly/2OTwHS8.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visithttp://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

Bullying Prevention Awareness Campaign

Middle school can be a difficult time for students to be different or stand out from their peers.  Yet this is exactly what SMA Prep cadets are doing by using their talents to “Rise Above” the negatively and set an example with their bullying prevention campaigns.

IMG_1274With almost 80 students submitting their ideas in a creative message, the #PreventBullying campaign is spreading across the campus.  “The intent was to get students to think about their actions and responses to each other”, explained Major Becky Morris, Assistant Head of School.

SMA Prep Cadet Jonathan Van Beuren received first place for his artwork in the anti-bullying banner contest and was congratulated for his powerful message, “Rise Above” during  #BullyingPrevention month.  His artwork will be displayed as the SMA Prep Facebook Profile picture and enlarged into a banner for display around campus.

Tying for second place were designs by Anais Zambaux and Peter Van Beuren.  Third place (shown with SMA-CPT Audrey Benitez) was #anti-bullying banner by Martha Cheno Jauregui.

Thank you to our counselors, SMA-CPT Audrey Benitez and SMA-CPT Dianne Sacchetti, for sponsoring this contest and dedicating their time to get the word out to #StopBullying.  Also, many thanks to SMA Prep teachers Laura Victore and Gregg Hermann for their support and encouragement.

You can help spread the word by sharing the post on your Facebook or Instagram accounts or making “Rise Above” your cover image.  Thanks for helping us share the #StopBullying message!

Sarasota Military Academy Cadets Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Cadets at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local public charter school, have formed organizations and planned events to recognize and honor Hispanic and Latino community, culture and heritage. The staff and high school cadets have planned a celebration on October 15 in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which began September 15 and ends October 15.

Sarasota Military Academy Prep middle school cadets and staff will host a celebration recognizing Hispanic Heritage month for cadets and families on October 18 from 6pm to 7:30pm.

“We are proud to celebrate our diverse culture every day at SMA, but we appreciate opportunities throughout the year to pay special attention to heritages that impact and strengthen the lives of our cadets and staff,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “We strive to ensure that each campus organization brings something unique to our SMA community and encourages cadets of all backgrounds to appreciate and understand the importance of unity, diversity and culture.”

The UnidosNow SMA high school chapter began last year through a partnership with UnidosNow, a local non-profit with a mission to elevate the quality of life of the growing Hispanic/Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement. UnidosNow is currently located at the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center in Sarasota.

In September, high school cadets and staff founded a second organization: Aspiring Latinos Achieving Success (ALAS) in response to a need to engage Hispanic/Latino cadets, and their families, in order to overcome barriers and connect as a school community.

“Both groups, the SMA UnidosNow chapter and the newly-formed ALAS pilot club, have been helpful in providing cadets with access to information and resources to achieve success,” said Dr. Catherine Rodriguez, Sarasota Military Academy Assistant Head of School . “In our efforts to provide opportunities for engagement and connection within our Academy, our intention is to create a culture of lifelong learning and excellence in academics and decorum in response to a growing population of cadets from a variety of cultures.”

To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

PHOTO ID: SMA-LTC Cathy Rodriguez and Luciana Meadows-Marques (back row, L to R) with Sarasota Military Academy high school cadets

 

Sarasota Military Academy IB Program Plans International Heritage Week

Sarasota Military Academy, a local public charter school, recently announced plans for the Academy’s first International Heritage Week, scheduled for December 3 through 7, 2018, at the Sarasota Military Academy high school campus.

The International Heritage Week celebration is a campus-wide event that aims to provide the academy with a unique platform to appreciate, recognize, celebrate and acknowledge diversity within the campus and the community.

“In 2015, Sarasota Military Academy was authorized as an IB Diploma Program World School. Our Prep campus is a certified IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and we are incredibly proud to be the only military academy in the state with this distinction,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “Through the IB Programmes, our staff and cadets have the ability to collaborate on events such as the International Heritage Week, which helps us celebrate and recognize the importance, creativity and vital diversity that our academy is proud to honor within our community.”

During International Heritage Week, cultures and traditions from various populations will be featured, including Latina, American Indian, Chinese, Irish, Asian and Ukrainian heritage.

“Several of the specific cultures we will be highlighting were chosen to represent the diversity we have within our very own campus, our staff and cadets,” said SMA-LTC Pamela Donehew, Sarasota Military Academy Director of Literacy and IB Program Coordinator. “Teachers are provided with materials specific to their content areas to support their curriculum while aligning with the goals of International Heritage Week. In addition, cadets will form committees to promote and design the week-long celebrations, and they will lead the daily focus of events. It is incredibly important that our cadets take an active role in understanding diversity and finding ways to appreciate and celebrate what makes our community strong.”

The Sarasota Military Academy Prep middle school campus is a full IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Academy’s high school campus enables cadets to participate in IB, dual-enrollment or additional programs of their choosing.

To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

Sarasota Military Academy Partners with Nonprofits for Hurricane Victims Donation Drive

Cadets at Sarasota Military Academy, a local public charter school, recently announced a donation drive partnership with Paws and Warriors and Camp4Heroes to collect non-perishable supplies to benefit victims of Hurricane Florence.

Beginning Wednesday, September 26 through October 4, Sarasota Military Academy’s high school and middle school campuses will be collection points for supplies that will be delivered to Camp4Heroes and Paws and Warriors to be distributed to first responders and displaced community members in North Carolina.

Donations will be collected at the Sarasota Military Academy high school campus, located at 801 N. Orange Avenue in Sarasota, during the week between the hours of 2pm and 3:30pm,  and at the Sarasota Military Academy Prep middle school campus, located at 3101 Bethel Lane in Sarasota, from 4pm until 6pm.

“As always, we are incredibly inspired by our cadets and their ability to get involved and mobilize when an important cause arises,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “SMA cadets and staff are proud to partner with Paws and Warriors, Camp4Heroes and to ease some of the burdens caused by Hurricane Florence. Our thoughts are prayers are with the victims and their families, and we are honored to have the opportunity to send relief to those who need it most.”

Cadets and staff began raising awareness of the donation drive by posting a video on social media, along with a list of non-perishable items requested for the hurricane and flooding victims.

SMA joins the efforts of organizations including Paws and Warriors, Hideaway Storage and Camp4Heroes through the “Operation Call to Action” initiative. Camp4Heroes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to create a place of tranquility, relaxation, learning and rebuilding for veterans and first responders. To learn more about Camp4Heroes and Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts, or to find a list of non-perishable supplies, visit https://camp4heroes.org/florence.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

Dr. McElheny elected to Sarasota Military Academy Board of Directors

Sarasota Military Academy, a local public charter school, recently announced the addition of Dr. Thomas J. McElheny to the Sarasota Military Academy Board of Directors.

Dr. McElheny is the founder and CEO of The ChurchPlaza Companies, a major Faith Market brand that provides capital goods and services to churches and synagogues both domestically and internationally. With a background in education and military service, Dr. McElheny brings relevant experience and a lengthy list of community involvement.

“We are proud to announce the addition of Dr. Thomas J. McElheny to our established Sarasota Military Academy Board of Directors,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “We are positive that he will have a great impact as his record in our community speaks for itself. Thank you to Dr. McElheny for your involvement and interest in having a major role in the lives of our staff, parents and future leaders.”

Dr. Mcelheny will serve alongside board members including Chairman Herb Jones, Vice Chairman F. Steven Herb, Esq., Secretary Colonel (Ret) Benjamin M. Knisely, Treasurer Kimball Bobbitt, Audit Committee Chair Carter Donovan, Linda Long, Rear Admiral (Ret) Thomas Logan Malone, Ed.D., and Dr. J. Robert Parkinson.

A captain in the United States Marine Corp, Dr. McElheny served for seven years and received the Bronze Star with valor device, Combat Action Ribbon and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for actions in Vietnam, in addition to other awards and distinctions.

Dr. McElheny previously held office as a member and chairperson of the Sarasota County School Board and as a trustee of New College, Lycoming college and numerous university and college advisory boards including Eckerd College and The University of Tampa. He received his MBA and Doctorate degrees in Education from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where he also held the title of Director for the FAU Center for Management and Professional Development.

To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

Sarasota Military Academy Announces 2018 – 2019 Inspire Project Speaker List

Sarasota Military Academy, a local public charter school, has released a list of celebrity guests and industry experts scheduled to present during the annual “Inspire Project” curriculum, a program created by Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) teacher Todd Brown, PhD.

The lineup of speakers for the 2018 – 2019 academic school year includes platinum-selling, multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning vocalist, Emmy Award-winning and Best-Selling author Trisha Yearwood, who spoke to cadets on August 16, 2018, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and Most Influential People in the World Dr. Pardis Sabeti, award-winning photographer and artist Erik Jacobs, 2nd ranked female on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior in the World Barclay Strong and Somalia refugee and critically-acclaimed author Abdi Nor Iftin, among others.

“Each year, the Inspire Project continues to bridge the gap between successful individuals and our SMA cadets, showing them what is possible and how to collaborate with others to have a positive impact,” said Sarasota Military Academy Teacher Todd Brown, PhD. “Through the Inspire Project, we can work together to empower students, foster change, and allow the future to begin now by adapting our unique experience and lay the groundwork for change together.”

Brown was recently invited to speak at the 2018 AdvancED Global Conference in Cairo, Egypt and Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, and he was nominated for the CNN Heroes award by Harvard University. He created Project Inspire in 2016 and has secured grants from L’Oréal, Voya, Florida IB, and his local school district. Brown has collaborated with Harvard, MIT, Discovery and Travel Channel, as well as multiple contacts around the world including Canada, Israel, France, Ireland, Tanzania, Uruguay, Iran, and he, was recently named to the Advisory Board to Faulu Academy in Kenya, Africa.

“There are many initiatives and programs that set Sarasota Military Academy apart in our community,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “One such program is the Inspire Project, carefully and thoughtfully created by Todd Brown. His vision has grown to not only fuel the imaginations of our cadets but also show them a world where anything is possible through collaboration, hard work and the ability to look for opportunities in every situation.”

To learn more about the Inspire Project or view a list of past or planned speakers and appearances, visit http://theinspireproject.us/. To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

Local Students Receive National Recognition in Athletic Shooting Competitions

Mary Tucker and Kinga Aletto, Sarasota Military Academy cadets from the graduating class of 2018, have recently earned recognition for their talents in national shooting competitions, including the 2018 ELEY high school All-American team and the 2018 American Legion National Championships competition.

SMA senior Mary Tucker earned a spot on both the The 2018 ELEY high school All-American smallbore team and the 2018 ELEY high school All-American air rifle team, marking her as the first and only All-American in any sport in Sarasota Military Academy history. ELEY, a leading British engineering company, hosted the top junior shooters in the US at the USA Shooting National Championships in June.

Kinga Aletto, a senior at SMA, was only one of 15 in the country to receive a spot at the 2018 American Legion National Championships in Colorado at the Olympic Training Center held in July. During the competition, she finished third overall in standing and seventh in the country. Aletto is the first SMA cadet to compete at this level and the first to receive a rifle scholarship to compete at the University of Nebraska where she will attend college.

“Since 2005, our cadets have earned various state and regional championship titles and currently, our team is in the top 5 throughout the country,” said SMA SFC Riess Pellegrino, Leadership Education Training (LET) 2 instructor and rifle team coach. “Our rifle team is incredibly talented and competitive, and our cadets use their skills as a motivator to work even harder in school. We enjoy being able to recognize our talented, hard working cadets and show them that anything is possible with patience, practice and determination.”

Over the summer, 8 cadets from SMA traveled to Camp Perry in Ohio with SMA SFC Riess Pellegrino, Leadership Education Training (LET) 2 instructor and rifle team coach, to compete in the Advanced Standing Camp, which began after the CMP National Championships. The SMA team finished in the top 10 out of 55 teams on both days of the competition, which pulls clubs and teams throughout the country.

“We are incredibly proud of our recent graduates, and these young ladies are no exception. SMA is proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our cadets and athletes – we are always impressed by their vigor, tenacity and their ability to set and exceed goals,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “Congratulations to our cadets and athletes on your well-deserved achievements; we are excited to see what great things you’ll continue to do in our community.”

To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

 

Lowe Morrison Joins Sarasota Military Academy Foundation Board

Lowe Morrison, Managing Principal for Sabal Trust, has recently joined the Sarasota Military Academy Foundation Board of Directors. Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) established the SMA Foundation in 2017 to support the academy in an effort to obtain state of the art facilities and the best technology available for cadets and staff.

“While the Sarasota Military Academy Foundation is new to our Academy, we are thrilled to have such a great board of directors involved and excited about the many opportunities for growth, development and community impact,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “Mr. Morrison is an incredible addition to the SMA Foundation Board and we are excited to have their support, passion and resources as we work towards our mission of molding our next generation of leaders and change makers.”

Members of the Sarasota Military Academy Foundation Board of Directors currently include Chairman Lieutenant General (Ret) Howard G. Crowell, Jr., Vice Chairman Herb Jones, Treasurer Captain (Ret) Frederick M. Derr, Secretary F. Steven Herb, Esq., Alexandra Quarles and Lowe Morrison.

Morrison is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Mote Marine Laboratory Board of Trustees and a trustee of the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation. He holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation and is a member of the CFA Institute.  

To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

SMA Receives $10,000 Grant from Gilbert Waters Charitable Fund

Sarasota Military Academy, a local public charter school, recently received a $10,000 grant from the Gilbert Waters Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Waters, who passed in January 2018, was involved in revitalization efforts for the Sarasota community and contributed to local efforts and foundations, including Sarasota Military Academy. Through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Yale graduate and Navy veteran planned to use his legacy to focus on and financially assist institutions and nonprofit organizations with a mission of creating positive impacts on the community and developing future leaders.

“There are many incredible ways to describe Gilbert Waters, a man who had a hand in many of the reasons Sarasota is so well-renown. Navy veteran, developer, fundraiser, volunteer, advocate, pillar of our community – these are just a few of the titles he held, and that list doesn’t begin to scratch the surface,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “We are indebted to Mr. Waters and his generous donation to Sarasota Military Academy. To be included in his legacy is a great honor, and one that will ensure our cadets continue his mission of improving our community and country.”

Gilbert Waters and his legacy included time spent as a reporter for the Sarasota Herald Tribune, owning his own public relations company and as a founder of what is now FCCI Insurance. In addition to a lengthy list of civic engagement roles, including a seat with the City Commission, the Volunteer Architects Downtown Improvement Committee, Waters was also instrumental in the development of the Ringling Bridge.

To learn more about the Gilbert Waters Charitable Fund, contact the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

Sarasota Military Academy High School Hires New Head of School

Sarasota Military Academy has recently hired Fred Fout to serve as the Head of School for the Sarasota Military Academy High School campus located at 801 North Orange Avenue in Sarasota, Florida.

“When we began the process of selecting a new Head of School for Sarasota Military Academy High School campus, we were thrilled to find many qualified candidates, and ultimately selected Fred Fout,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “Not only does Mr. Fout have an extremely diverse and extensive background in the education system, but he is also a veteran who will bring a new, fresh perspective to our Academy that will delight our cadets, parents and community partners.”

Fout recently served as the Shonto Elementary (pre-K through 8th grade) School Principal in Arizona on the Navajo Nation. Mr. Fout is also a veteran of the Afghanistan Campaign, where he worked as a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Team Sergeant rebuilding schools, health clinics, women’s economic empowerment projects, and mentoring elected and appointed host government leadership. An active member of the Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol, he is noted as the founding commander of the Bahe Ketchum Navajo Code Talker Composite Squadron 211 on the Navajo Nation.

“I am honored to begin this new journey with Sarasota Military Academy, and I am excited to join such a prestigious group of faculty, staff and cadets,” said Frederick Fout, Sarasota Military Academy Head of School. “This is the perfect opportunity  to combine my experience in the Armed Forces and knowledge gained throughout my 19-year career in education in a way that will bring even more value to this community.”

Mr. Fout has been a K-12 Principal, pre-K-8 Principal, Middle School Language Arts, and High School Language Arts teacher. An avid outdoorsman and photographer, Fout can often be found hiking, swimming, and camping with members of his family. He began his new role in June 2018 to prepare for the 2018 – 2019 school year. To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

Sarasota Military Academy enlists local veteran to head newly-formed Foundation

Sarasota Military Academy has recently hired C.J. Bannister, a local veteran, to lead the newly-formed Sarasota Military Academy Foundation, Inc. as its Chief Development Officer.

“We are extremely proud to have C.J. Bannister as a part of our team at Sarasota Military Academy,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “While our parents and students are well-aware of our mission and what we are able to do as an Academy, we are excited to have C.J.’s energy, experience and passion as she helps us develop our Foundation to solidify SMA’s legacy and longevity in this community.”

In this new role, Bannister will focus on strategy, planning and administration duties for the Foundation in addition to recognizing fundraising, major gifts and planned giving opportunities. Previously, Bannister worked for a local non-profit organization where she led efforts to provide services to veterans as they faced barriers to employment.

“It has been my honor to serve other veterans in this community through a variety of facets, and I am proud to lead the new Sarasota Military Academy Foundation,” said C.J. Bannister, Sarasota Military Academy Foundation, Inc. Chief Development Officer. “As someone who has served in the Armed Forces and in the local development community, I have a unique perspective on how we can continue to produce leaders through the academy, through our innovative programs and with the help of local partners.”  

After graduating from high school, Bannister joined the United States Air Force and served as a Crew Chief, then moved into training as a Paralegal and worked with Judge Advocate General Corps, commonly known as JAG, for the remainder of her time in the Armed Forces. She earned the rank of Staff Sergeant along with many notable awards and medals until she ended her military career in 2001. Before joining the nonprofit and development industry, Bannister worked as a financial advisor, and she has continued her community involvement and volunteers with a variety of local organizations.

To learn more about the Sarasota Military Academy Foundation, Inc., or any of the programs at Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/. To contact C.J. Bannister, email CJ.Bannister@ourSMA.org.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.