New Principal for Loggers' Run Middle: Edmund Capitano

Edmund Capitano, from his Twitter page
Edmund Capitano, from his Twitter page

The school district announced 13 new principals for schools in the county. Edmund Capitano will take over the helm of Loggers’ Run Middle School after Francis Giblin’s retirement.
Another photo of Ed Capitano from his Twitter page.
Another photo of Ed Capitano from his Twitter page.

Capitano (sometimes called Ed) was most recently principal of Galaxy E3 Elementary School in East Boynton Beach. Galaxy has received press for being environmentally conscious and having a science and engineering focus. The school’s most recent school grades were near the bottom of the county, though their student population is heavily minority and economically disadvantaged.
Ed and his wife Rachel, who is principal at Del Prado Elementary, also in West Boca.
Ed and his wife Rachel, who is principal at Del Prado Elementary, also in West Boca; from her Facebook page.

Before Galaxy, Capitano was a popular science teacher at West Boca High, at least according to His wife Rachel is principal at Del Prado Elementary. They are the proud parents of a baby girl, and own a very nice house just off the intracoastal in East Boca.
For those interested in learning and/or following him, see his Edmund Capitano Twitter page.
In other news affecting West Boca, we mentioned earlier this week on Facebook that Dianne Rivelli-Schreiber of Waters Edge Elementary (west end of Palmetto Park Road) is leaving to take over Calusa Elementary (Clint Moore just west of Military Trail). A replacement for Waters Edge has not yet been announced.
And Boca High’s Geoff McKee was recently promoted to a regional “instructional superintendent” position. He will be replaced by Vice Principal Suzanne “Susie” King. While Boca High is in East Boca, its zone extends to Powerline between Palmetto Park Road and the county line. Calusa Elementary’s Jamie Wyatt was also promoted. The Sun-Sentinel wrote about those promotions in April.

West Boca Rocks the Cappies

West Boca High celebrates the Cappies evening
West Boca High celebrates the Cappies evening

Boca High and West Boca High both did well at the South Florida Cappies Gala on Tuesday evening at the Broward Center. The Cappies is an awards program for high school theatre and theatre journalism. The South Florida chapter includes 28 high schools, mostly in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
For the biggest awards of the evening, Boca High won the Musical award and Trevor Wayne won Lead Actor for their performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, while West Boca High’s Alexia Assuncao won for Lead Actress in a Musical from their show, Chicago.
Alexia Assuncao (front)
Alexia Assuncao (front)

Other local award winners included:

  • Kayla Goldfarb, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Lead Critic
  • “Brothers”, Boca High, Ensemble in a Musical
  • Lee Alhanti, Marjory Stoneman, Creativity (Shrek)
  • Bridget Foley, Marjory Stoneman, Comic Actress in a Musical
  • Adams, Posner, Chapman and Guin, Boca High, Lighting
  • Kanterman, Morelli, Stricker and Crew, West Boca, Stage Management and Stage Crew
  • Samuel Cadieux, West Boca, Male Dancer
  • John Barnitt, Marjory Stoneman, Featured Actor in a Musical
  • Ryan Lim from West Boca for Male Vocalist

Ryan Lim
Ryan Lim

We previously wrote about the two Boca schools splitting 29 nominations.
Schools in the greater Boca area that participate include Boca High, Deerfield Beach High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High (Parkland), North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek), Saint John Paul II High (on Military Trail near Lynn University), and West Boca High.
West Boca High celebrated their evening:

Teacher Awards: Coral Sunset, Hammock Pointe & Whispering Pines

This is the second of a series of articles recognizing teacher of the year award winners in West Boca.

Teachers Nicole Scalisi, Deborah Woolsey, and Linda Josaphat
Teachers Nicole Scalisi, Deborah Woolsey, and Linda Josaphat

Thee videos below are from a recent award ceremony with Rotary and the school district. They are available in higher resolution on the West Boca News YouTube channel.
Coral Sunset Teacher of the Year – Deborah Woolsey was named Teacher of the Year at Coral Sunset Elementary School. She works with younger students.

Linda Josaphat was honored as Teacher of the Year for Hammock Pointe Elementary School both for her work with the kids and for her efforts to help other teachers.

Nicole Scalisi was recognized as Teacher of the Year for Whispering Pines Elementary School. Principal Barbara Riemer mentioned Scalisi’s skill in working with diverse students and addressing their learning needs individually.

More to come soon.

Teacher of the Year: Waters Edge, Sunrise Park & Sandpiper Shores

This is the first of a series of articles recognizing teacher of the year award winners in West Boca.
The Palm Beach County School District recently held an award ceremony with the Rotary Club of Boca Raton Sunrise to recognize outstanding teachers in Boca Raton schools. The videos are also available in higher resolution on the West Boca News YouTube channel.
Lindsay Ackerman-Conway was named Teacher of the Year at Waters Edge Elementary School, recognized in particular for her work with struggling readers.

Rachel Smith was recognized for Sunrise Park Elementary School, also for her work with the “most challenging students.”

Sandpiper Shores Elementary School chose Kristen Stern, who attended the school as a child.

Thanks to the school district for providing the videos, and our compliments for the excellent production quality of the originals.

West Boca High and Boca High Musicals Split 29 "Cappies" Nominations

The West Boca High and Boca High Drama Departments racked up a total of 29 nominations for the South Florida Cappies.

The Cappies, “Critics and Awards Program,” is a program through which high school theatre and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers …

The South Florida chapter includes schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Nominations for West Boca High’s performance of Chicago included:

    • Hair and Makeup – Cristina Cautero, Amanda Helbling, Victoria Martin, Missy Varela
    • Costumes – Jewelia Carter, Elizabeth Yarris, and Crew
    • Sets – Ryan Hartman, Cristina Rodriguez, George Said, and Crew
    • Stage Management and Crew – Heather Goughan, Mathew Kanterman, Nick Morelli, Kayla Stricker
    • Male Dance Ensemble


    • Featured Actress in a Musical – Sammi Frankenbush
    • Female Dancer – Carolyn Castillo


  • Male Dance – Sam Cadieux
  • Male Vocalist – Ryan Lim
  • Comedic Actor – Matthew Madden
  • Supporting Actress – Hillary Corniel
  • Lead Actress – Alexia Assuncao
  • Best Song – Both Reach For The Gun
  • Best Musical

The troupe is also coming off an outstanding performance at the state Thespian Festival last month.
Boca High also did well with 15 nominations for their performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

  • Marketing – Matez and Crew
  • Special Effects – Stewart, Ballarte, Piccin and Crew
  • Sound – Kachur, Lubin, Benedict
  • Props
  • Lighting – Adams, Posner, Chapman and Guin
  • Costumes – Hunsucker, Narino, Schmidt and Crew
  • Stage Management – Hunsucker and Crew
  • Ensemble in a Musical – Brothers
  • Featured Actor – Matthew Moore
  • Female Dancer – Allegra Mannarino
  • Female Vocalist – Channing Ramsey
  • Supporting Actor – Alec Taylor
  • Lead Actor – Trevor Wayne
  • Song – Those Canaan Days
  • Best Musical

Seniors from the Boca High production
Seniors from the Boca High production

Both schools are in the running for Best Musical, along with South Plantation High School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and NSU University School, all in Broward. To see the full slate, click – 2016 South Florida Cappies Nominations.
In 2015 Boca High won 5 Cappies for The Drowsy Chaperone and West Boca High won 3 for The Addams Family. West Boca High won Best Musical in 2014 with Young Frankenstein.

West Boca High Mourns Teacher's Passing

Update: The time of the service has been changed to 11 am.
This afternoon we learned that Diane Donney, a teacher in the ESE (Exceptional Student Education) department at West Boca High, passed away. It appears to have occurred suddenly, though we do not have details as to how she passed.
We will update if and when we learn more about what happened. We reached out to the school and school district and received this early response from Principal Sommer:

It is with great sadness and regret to inform you that one of our truly beloved teachers Ms. Donney, recently passed away. There will be a service at St. John’s Church in Boca Raton (on Yamato Road) this Saturday at 10am 11 am. Grief counselors will be in the Guidance office first thing in the morning for those that need additional support.
More details will follow as they are received, and please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.

Her Facebook page is lighting up with posts from fellow teachers, former students, friends and family.
From Candi Chuburu:

My heart breaks from hearing of the passing of one of the greatest teachers I have ever had, Diane Lamperti Donney. She made the world so much brighter and changed every student’s life she came in contact with. Thank you for believing in us and for making such a positive impact on the world. We will continue to Pay It Forward and make you proud! You will be truly missed – Rest in Peace Mrs. Donney heart emoticon

‎Anthony Brignola‎ wrote:

You are loved and missed by all. Thank you for asking me to speak to your senior class. You were such an amazing person. The world would be a better place if it was filled with people like you. Watch over me and please keep supporting me like you have been for all these years

From Raegan Lafferty:

Heaven truly just gained an angel, so saddened by the news of the passing of Mrs. Donney by far the kindest hearted woman I’ve ever met and who was always making the world a better place by paying it forward no matter what, rest in peace, love you

Zachary Richman:

My heart is in pieces right now…I can’t put into words how much Diane Lamperti Donney meant to me and every student she came in contact with at West Boca High. Taken from us way to soon, my heart goes out to her loving family and children. I love you Mrs. Donney! I know you’re up there looking down on us knowing we will keep paying it forward for you and making you proud!

Brianne Mielke:

I can’t believe what I just found out. One of my favorite teachers from West Boca has passed away.?? My heart breaks to hear this news. She was always such a kind teacher and I love how she stayed in contact after I graduated. She even noted how I inspired her to start living a healthier life and it encouraged me so. I am sending prayers to Mrs. Donney’s friends and family for comfort and peace during this time. ❤ She will be missed dearly

Donney was supportive of her students. In 2010 she nominated a student for a Character Counts recognition.

New Tests for School Kids

Superintendent Robert Avossa of the Palm Beach County School District; all images copyright Warren Redlich, free to use by crediting West Boca News.
Superintendent Robert Avossa of the Palm Beach County School District

Moving forward with progress on the new strategic plan, Superintendent Robert Avossa announced new tests will be added to the schedule for all schools in Palm Beach County.
Hand completing a multiple choice exam.
Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

“We found we just weren’t measuring enough,” Avossa said to a group of parents at Spanish River High School. “Parents were complaining that their kids were spending too much time learning and not enough showing that they had learned.”
He also reassured parents that there is adequate funding for all the new testing. “We’ve got a new sales tax coming, and we’ll also save in other areas by cutting down on unnecessary spending on subjects that don’t matter any more, like music, arts and foreign languages.”
Supplementing the wildly popular FSAs that replaced the nearly-as-popular FCATs, the new tests will be called the FAILs.
The full details are available at: Palm Beach Schools Strategic Plan.

West Boca High School Bulls Baseball Team Barnstorms Through Jacksonville

Story and photos by Alan Shimel, a friend of West Boca News
The WBHS Bulls varsity baseball team took advantage of the spring break vacation to travel upstate to Jacksonville where they competed in a high school baseball tournament held at the Providence School.
The Bulls led by Coach Nathan Underwood took a full squad of 23 players up to Jacksonville for the tourney. While only playing in three games, Coach Underwood was able to get just about every player into a game for some play and experience. The team went 1-2 but were competitive in every game.
Driving up on Monday the Bulls first game was Tuesday against an overmatched St John Lutheran team. The Bulls big bats came alive early and they won a mercy rule shortened game 16-5. Senior Chris Charlock went the distance for the Bulls in this game as pitcher. Lawrence Ghougasian, Cory Kuchtam Dom Iagrossi and Chris Cavallo were among the almost 20 Bulls players with hits this game.
The next day’s game had the Bulls moving up in competition against the Bozeman Bucks. Ryan Powers started as pitcher for the Bulls. The Bucks scored a run early and held the lead throughout the game. The final was 5-2. Some excellent relief pitching by Landon Shimel kept the Bulls in the game. The West Boca squad had several chances to take the game but left the bases loaded twice in the late innings.
The Bulls played their last game this morning before heading back to the confines of friendly Boca Raton. They played Ravenwood HS from Tennessee. Chris Cavallo was the starting pitcher for West Boca. The game was a nip and tuck affair throughout. The Bull lost when Ravenwood hit a walk off sacrifice fly in their last at bat 9-8.
Win or lose it was a great experience for the players on the team. They travelled, lodged and ate together as a team. Parents were present and encouraged to participate but this is about high school athletes growing up into young men. Road trips like this are important in that process.
Thanks to the coaches and administration for putting together this trip and to parents who volunteered to drive and chaperone the players. The Bulls continue their season with Senior night on March 31 at home against Iliana Christian HS. Senior night ceremonies start at 4:45 and the game starts at 6. Go Bulls!

Loggers' Run Wrestler Wins State Championship

Chase Thompson, a 7th grader at Loggers Run Middle School, wrestled for a state championship where he pinned every opponent all the way through the finals to become the Cadet 195 pound state champion. The Cadet division was made up of 9th & 10th grade wrestlers.
Chase had suffered a knee injury during practice in January, with a fractured patella (kneecap) and strained ligaments. After extensive physical therapy and cryotherapy he was able to get read for the tournament on March 13th.

Chase with his coach 2x Olympian Shawn Sheldon
Chase with his coach 2x Olympian Shawn Sheldon

Chase Thompson was initially registered to wrestle in the USA Wrestling’s Florida Amateur Athletic Association (FAWA) State Championship in his respective division/weight class “Schoolboy” 190 lb. When there was no one entered in that weight class, he was asked to move up to the next division.
Chase was also awarded the Outstanding Wrestler for that division for the most pins and fastest pins. Congratulations to Chase for his hard work and success.

Spanish River Tops School Grades for Boca

Spanish River High from Yamato; image by Google
Spanish River High from Yamato; image by Google

Spanish River had the highest numbers of high schools in Boca in the latest school grades. River edged out Boca High with slightly higher scores in English, Math, Science, and a bit more of a lead in Social Studies. Boca High made the overall score close with a strong performance in the “college and career acceleration” measure.
The top two schools in the county were Suncoast and Dreyfoos, both magnet programs. River topped the rest of the county, followed by Boca High, Jupiter, Wellington and West Boca High. Olympic Heights was not far behind in 9th place out of the 25 high schools in the county with much of the difference coming in the “acceleration” measure.
Both West Boca and Olympic trailed Spanish River and Boca High especially in the English and Math scores, while remaining closer in Science and Social Studies. Graduation rates at WBHS (87%) and OHHS (89%) also trailed the stronger two schools (94% each). The most obvious area for improvement for both West Boca and Olympic is in their math performance. West Boca High was 15 points behind Boca High even though they have similar SAT scores.
As with other data we’ve seen, schools with fewer “economically disadvantaged students” tend to score better. Olympic Heights did well considering it has the highest number in this category for Boca. Inlet Grove High, a charter school in Riviera Beach, had a very strong performance considering its population of economically challenged students.
We previously reported that West Boca and Olympic lag Boca High in AP performance. But this new data show West Boca very close to Boca High in acceleration, suggesting that WBHS is making up for APs with other areas, possibly AICE, dual enrollment, or career oriented classes.
Update: We received a comment and update from Olympic Heights Principal Dave Clark:

I read your article on school grades and thought that I would email you to correct an obvious error. In the article you listed the graduation rate for Olympic Heights as 89% and also said that we trailed both Boca and Spanish River (“stronger schools”?) that each had a 94% graduation rate. As you can see from the table below the graduation rates for the four Boca area High Schools are as follows.

  • Olympic Heights – 92.6%
  • Boca Raton – 91.6%
  • Spanish River – 90.3%
  • West Boca – 85.7%

Additionally, Olympic Heights had the highest graduation rate in the entire district for “At Risk” students with 87.5%. These are the students who enter ninth grade as a level 1 or 2 in both reading and math.
I appreciate all of the coverage that you give our kids, but please be accurate with the information that is printed.

Our data came from a spreadsheet on the Florida Department of Education school grades website. It appears that the state used 2014 graduation rates, ignoring the significant improvement demonstrated by Olympic Heights in 2015.