Update: We have a new video with both Austin Mahone and interviews with local fans from West Boca High, Spanish River High, and Olympic Heights High as well.
Lexi Segal from West Boca High sent us this picture of her with Mahone:
Thanks to readers we were tipped off that pop superstar Austin Mahone would be appearing at the Mobil and 7/11 gas station and convenience store on the corner of Glades and Boca Rio. He showed up and we caught just a bit of him on video.
There were well over 100 fans waiting to see him, mostly teenage girls. We talked to a few from local high schools including West Boca, Spanish River and Olympic Heights and we will post a video with that later on.
It appears that Mahone has done some kind of endorsement deal with 7/11 related to Slurpees, which were handed out to the fans who were waiting and you can see them in the photo at the top of the article.
When Mahone arrived the crowd did cheer loudly for him. We caught his arrival in a series of photos:
As we understand it, Mahone’s fan club member received a tweet announcing this event, along with the following image:
We will post a follow-up story with those interviews and more video later this evening or tomorrow.
Olympic Heights High School will host a “Battle of the Bands” on Wednesday, April 22nd, at 7 pm. The event will include swing bands from four county schools including Olympic Heights, Palm Beach Central High, Park Vista High, and Don Estridge Middle School.
The four bands facing off were the top finishers in competitions leading up to the finals. The event is sponsored by the Swing & Jazz Preservation Society, an organization devoted to supporting Palm Beach County public schools with swing and jazz bands.
Please note that we did not have photos of the swing bands so for this story we used other photos of the school bands.
Students of the Olympic Heights SECME team competed at the District Olympiad that was held at Santaluces High School on Saturday, March 28th. Meanwhile two Logger’s Run Middle School students won awards at the 2015 State of Florida Science and Engineering Fair.
SECME stands for “Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics and Enrichment”, though originally it was “Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering.” The Olympic Heights SECME team was the defending champion, and needed to place in almost every one of the 8 categories in order to retain their title. The team worked hard on the design and building of their projects, and they are very energized by their decisive victory at the event.
The OH SECME team is mostly comprised of students from the Engineering Academy with the majority from the class of 2015. This was a great way for the current seniors to finish their high school career, and now the team next year has a lot to live up to!
The following are the results of the competition:
Essay – 1st Place (Sarah Curtis), The winning essay will go to Nationals in summer 2015.
Banner – 1st Place (Jennifer Coelho and George Tripp with help from rest of the SECME team)
Poster – 1st Place (George Tripp)
Brain Bowl – 3rd Place (Daniel Baum, Garrett Goode, Jennifer Coelho, and Samantha Jairam)
Generator – 3rd place (Daniel Baum, Vincent Santano, and David Gebka)
Bridge – 3rd Place (Vincent Santano, Emily Lyn, and Garrett Goode)
Mouse Trap Car – 2nd AND 3rd Place (David Gebka, Ryan Dingman, Vincent Santano, Jennifer Coelho, Sarah Fine, Shayna York)
From Logger’s Run, Anam Ahmed’s project, “GMO: Yes or No?” earned her a 2nd place award at the state Science and Engineering Fair. Tesla Radulovic’s “The Goldbach Conjecture” won a 5th place award. That’s some pretty serious math per Wikipedia.
Last month we reported on the success of the Waters Edge SECME team as well.
And for all the whiners at Eagles Landing who are complaining, yes, we did cover you, on the West Boca News Facebook page.
Several students from high schools in greater Boca Raton were named as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship program and a couple were finalists in the National Achievement Scholarship program.
From West Boca High, Noah Graff was named a National Merit finalist. A resident of the Mission Bay community, Graff has his own tutoring business and has also volunteered in various ways including shaving his head for St. Baldrick’s. He’s a wrestler and he competes for the school’s academic teams as well.
From Olympic Heights, Sarah Curtis was also named a National Merit finalist. Ms. Curtis participated in the school’s Zerobotics team which traveled to MIT in 2014.
“It was an amazing experience,” said [then] junior Sarah Curtis. “Participating in this incredible conference really reinforced my love of engineering.”
Ms. Curtis is also a pretty good softball player, and plays in the school band.
Spanish River had two National Merit finalists: Ari Levin and Alexander Sugar. We couldn’t find a picture or any details on Mr. Sugar. Mr. Levin will be attending Northwestern University next year.
Boca High is not in West Boca, but some West Boca kids go there. They had the most finalists.
National Merit Finalists from Boca High:
National Achievement Finalists from Boca High:
Nigel Davis Disclosure: The founders of West Boca News are friends of the Levin family.
Another good news press release came in related to a local high school: Students at Olympic Heights High School Come Home with the Gold!
From March 6th to March 9th Olympic Heights Community High School students who are members of the Family, Career and Community, Leaders of America Club participated in the 2015 State FCCLA Competition in Orlando. FCCLA is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for students in grades 6-12. They are the only national career and technical student organization with family as its central focus.
Olympic Heights students competed in a variety of areas: Color Photography, Black & White Photography, Advocacy, Career Investigation, Culinary Arts, Entrepreneurship, Fashion Construction, Fashion Design, Food Innovations, Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation, Leadership, Life Event Planning, and Teach & Train. The students have worked throughout this school year to complete research and develop a career project in relation to their topic. This included development of a proposition, planning and implementing their project, providing community service, and developing a presentation to demonstrate their achievements. At the state competition students had to present their project to a panel of judges.
Olympic Heights would like to recognize and congratulate the following students who received Gold Medal Awards at the 2015 FCCLA State Competition: Brandon Arnone, Lauren Brito, Annie Coen, Brianna Glick and Jeneva Ontaneda.
Winning Silver Medals from Olympic Heights at the state competition were: Shelby Black-Smith, Jenna Cammarano, Anielyse Daniel, Reema Hamade, Ashley Jean-Baptiste, Allison Kraus, Cristal Rivera, and Melanie Sosa.
In addition, Olympic Heights students were awarded bronze medals. They are as follows: Leah Brand, Celeste Elkin, Damian Gonzalez, Viviana Hernandez, Natalie Marsal, Aylin Morales, Maxx Padron, Kisha Saint-Louis, Brianna Sylfont, Natalia Velez, and Shaunta Wright.
Of the twenty-four students competing from Olympic Heights High School, six students earned the highest scores in their category. Therefore, they will represent the state of Florida at the National FCCLA Competition this summer in Washington D.C.
Special recognition was given to Lauren Brito and Jeneva Ontaneda who each received a $1,000 scholarship for their Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation entry from Johnson & Wales University.
This outstanding winning FCCLA Team is sponsored by two very dedicated Olympic Heights teachers, Mrs. Kelly Hampton and Chef Eric Schlossberg. Two additional chaperones accompanied the team this year and they are both parents of FCCLA members, Ms. Phyllis Fimiani and Mrs. Jazmine Ontaneda.
Congratulations to the Olympic Heights team on their outstanding success!
Many West Boca residents are mourning the passing of Joel Deleon, who died yesterday in a Jet Ski accident in South County Regional Park. Mr. Deleon was a graduate of Olympic Heights High School.
We were alerted to the incident by a tweet from Fire Rescue:
Fire Rescue subsequently tweeted that the missing person had been found, but there were no further official statements.
There were a number of comments from readers, including comments identifying Mr. Deleon (tagging his Facebook page) and that he had passed away.
Mr. Deleon’s Facebook page is now flooded with messages from friends. We can see dozens of them and it’s likely that there are many more we can’t see due to user privacy settings.
One friend posted this picture:
Another used this as a platform for advice, though we don’t know whether or not Mr. Deleon was wearing a life jacket:
There is also a gathering planned for tonight, posted as a Facebook event and already with dozens of people going.
And there are so many more. Here are just a few:
From West Boca News, we wish comfort to the Deleon family in this difficult time. Rest in peace Mr. Deleon.
Brian Levine is a student at West Boca High.
Cross-town rivals West Boca High School and Olympic Heights High School are teaming up in order to fight against one common enemy, cancer. This year, these two high schools continue the eternal struggle against cancer by participating in St. Baldrick’s.
St. Baldrick’s is an organization that first started on March 17th, 2000. It began as a challenge Tim Kenny set forth to his colleagues John Bender and Enda McDonnell. One simple question – “How will you give back in return for your own good fortune in business?” – kicked off a massive, international program unlike anything seen before. Today, thousands of people world-wide volunteer, donate, and shave their heads in order to help put an end to children’s cancer. If you want to learn more about St. Baldrick’s, click here.
Here in Boca Raton, high school students at Olympic Heights and West Boca are shaving their heads in order to support this cause. West Boca High has been participating since 2013 while Olympic Heights is going on their eleventh year of participation. Now, both schools together have earned well over half a million dollars. Students are working hard to raise money for the event by sending mail and emails and by taking advantage of social media.
Olympic Height’s event will take place on February 26th at their gymnasium. In order to prepare for the event, students and teachers alike are selling custom dog tags ($5), wristbands ($5) and t-shirts ($10). They are being sold in room 8106 at Olympic Heights. Students here must raise a total of $100 dollars in order to get their head shaved. If you would like to help Olympic Heights, you can either write a check out to Olympic Heights, donate in cash to room 8106, or donate online to their website here. Donations can go to the entire school or to an individual student.
West Boca’s event is also taking place on February 26th at the gymnasium in their school. To participate as a ‘shavee’ in the event, students at West Boca High have to raise $50. At the school store and around campus, volunteers are selling St. Baldrick’s bracelets ($5) that must be bought in order to attend the event. To donate and help raise money for West Boca High, you can write a check out to West Boca High, donate cash to the school store, or donate online to their website here. Donations can go to the entire school or to an individual student.
A child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes world-wide. Come support schools and students alike as they work together to help save lives and put an end to cancer this St. Baldrick’s. If you have the opportunity, go bald! After all, hair grows back! Pictures provided by Joseph Marutollo and Elena McKnight.
Note: Another student wrote up last year’s St. Baldrick’s event at Olympic Heights.
The school grades are in for high schools and West Boca did well. Out of 524 high schools in the state that were graded, Spanish River High was #50 on the list with West Boca at #84 and Olympic Heights at #111. Boca High, which serves some West Boca families, did even better at #24.
The numbers for our local schools are actually better than they appear. Many of the highly ranked schools on the list are specialty magnet or charter schools, such as Suncoast (7) and Dreyfoos (10). Most or all of the students in these schools get in through a competitive process and so they have few weak students to bring their scores down. Our West Boca high schools are all open and take everyone in their zoned districts. The #1 school on the list is the Pine View School in Sarasota, which is an all-gifted program. #2 and #3 are choice programs in Brevard that only admit students who consistently meet standards on the same tests that drive the scores in this system.
Within Palm Beach County, the two schools at the top (Suncoast and Dreyfoos) are both magnet schools. Leaving such programs out, Boca High and Spanish River are the top two in the county. Other regular high schools that posted top scores in the county include Jupiter High, Park Vista (Lake Worth), West Boca and Wellington.
One interesting note is that Atlantic High ended up with a higher overall score than Olympic Heights even though OH had better test scores, particularly in reading.
Two spreadsheets are below, first for Palm Beach and Broward counties, and then for the whole state. They are based on the main spreadsheet from the state database, but with some edits to highlight Palm Beach County and West Boca schools.
West Boca youth Ricardo Tincel (18) was arrested Thursday for the fourth time in 2014. This arrest was on grand theft charges. In October he was picked up for another grand theft. These are both felony charges and are generally considered serious. The October case has not been resolved yet and remains open.
There were two other minor arrests this year. In September he was arrested in Broward accused of resisting without violence (often a bogus charge). And back in January he was arrested for marijuana along with some traffic charges.
Tincel’s reported address is in the American Homes neighborhood north of Kimberly and east of 441. We were not able to determine what high school he attended (or attends) but the address is zoned for Olympic Heights.
Mr. Tincel remains in custody at this writing, more than 24 hours after he was first booked.
An estimated 400 people showed up to the school district’s event at Olympic Heights High School on Lyons Road north of Glades. The meeting was for discussing the school board’s Resolution on Accountability. Slides from the presentation are at the bottom of this article.
The resolution has mysteriously disappeared from the school district website, and of course they ran out of English language copies of it. Plenty of Spanish language ones were available. However we were able to find a copy of it online at Diane Ravitch’s blog.
The resolution is lengthy but basically it seeks to limit the impact of testing on education. We give credit to the school district staff for keeping their presentation reasonably brief, and then allowing the audience members to speak.
Many of the audience commenters were teachers, though there were also students and parents. The group below spoke toward the end of the event.
An Olympic Heights junior, below, spoke early on.
And this 5th grader spoke well about the pressure of testing and the uncomfortable experience it has been for her.
There were other kids in the audience:
One of the teachers who spoke identified himself as the chair of West Boca High’s Language Arts Department, Noel Levin.
Generally the speakers read from prepared statements and were well received by the audience. The main complaints seemed to be about testing, curricula, and teacher pay. The “Common Core” buzzword came up repeatedly.
It seemed that a couple of things were missing. First, while the complaints were coherent, there did not seem to be a clear solution. Second, the resolution and much of the comments addressed federal and state issues beyond the power of the school board, but there was virtually no presence from state and federal officials.
There was one exception to that, as State Rep. Irving Slosberg took the microphone and gave a rousing speech encouraging people to vote out Rick Scott and the Republicans in Tallahassee and “change the management” in state government.
We spoke with Slosberg outside. We asked whether the problems people are complaining about (testing, curricula, common core, etc.) were brought about by both parties and he didn’t answer that directly. He focused on teacher pay, blaming Republicans for it being so low. We also asked about Charlie Crist’s role in the FCAT and Slosberg said that was in the past. He clearly did not like our questions and stuck to his partisan message. Regardless, we appreciate that he showed up and so did the audience.
A few other state and federal elected officials live close by but didn’t come. Early on we “tweeted” to Ted Deutch and Kevin Rader on Twitter but they did not respond.
Slides from the presentation are below: