Loggers' Run Student Wins National Journalism Recognition

Benjamin Schiller; photo provided by family.
Benjamin Schiller; photo provided by family.

Benjamin Schiller, an 8th grade student at Loggers’ Run Middle School, has been named to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, “the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program.”

For more than 15 years, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has delivered news to classrooms nationwide. Stories by the kid reporters appear in select issues of Scholastic classroom magazines, which are read by more than 25 million students nationwide and are available online at www.scholastic.com/news

Schiller is one of only three kids chosen from Florida, and the only one south of Orlando. He is currently working on his first article for Scholastic, about habitat protection issues in the Everglades. He tells us he is hopeful that this experience “will jump start my career in journalism.”
Schiller has written for West Boca News in the past, including these articles:
6 FAU Owls Drafted by MLB
Boca Raton Bowl Coming to FAU
Boca Raton Bowl Report

Lawyer-Teacher Added to Loggers' Run Pre-Law Program

Loggers’ Run Middle School’s pre-law program is adding a new teacher. Jennifer Kuczler is a past president of the St. Lucie County Bar Association. She worked as a prosecutor in the St. Lucie County State Attorney’s office and does criminal defense and family law in her own firm.
The Palm Beach County School District added pre-law academies to four middle schools only recently. It is a 3-year program that helps prepare students for high school criminology programs and perhaps law-related careers.
Ms. Kuczler expects some changes in the curriculum, with an increased focus on trial work including evidence, objections, and how to behave in a courtroom. There will be somewhat less emphasis on local laws. She would like to give the students exposure to the subjects that form the core curriculum in law school, including criminal law and torts. For the 7th graders in particular she will focus more on constitutional law as that fits well with the civics they will be doing in their social studies class.

Last year's curriculum for pre-law at Loggers' Run.
Last year’s curriculum for pre-law at Loggers’ Run.

Kuczler started at Loggers’ Run teaching 7th grade and 8th civics and US history in November. The timing fits with the school replacing a teacher who had been arrested, though Kuczler doesn’t know anything about that. Last year’s pre-law teacher, Rachael Kelly, will return to teaching social studies.
Coming from a family of teachers, Kuczler enjoys teaching and this career was always in the back of her mind. While she was in the State Attorney’s office she trained new prosecutors and liked doing that. With two small children the change from full-time law practice will give her more time with her family. She will continue to practice on a limited basis and will also continue to be close to the law as her husband does “PIP defense” in a large firm.

Chase Thompson Wins National Wrestling Tournament

Chase Thompson is a student at Loggers Run Middle School. From his family:
West Boca’s Chase Thompson wrestled in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin July 2-3 in the 2015 Asics Kids Greco Roman & Freestyle National Championship. Thompson won the 140++ Novice division (11-12 year old) National Championship in both styles.
Accompanying Chase was his coach 2x Olympian Shawn Sheldon. Chase has been in the wrestling room all summer training for this tournament and all his hard work paid off as he leaves as a double National Champion. Chase’s goal is to wrestle in the Olympics for the United States.
Here’s a video of Chase in action.

And one last picture:
From the USA Wrestling results page:

1st Place – Chase Thompson of Florida
2nd Place – Jimmy Liston of Illinois
Round 1 – Jimmy Liston (Illinois) won by decision over Chase Thompson (Florida) (Dec 8-4)
Round 2 – Chase Thompson (Florida) won by decision over Jimmy Liston (Illinois) (Dec 7-1)
Round 3 – Chase Thompson (Florida) won by fall over Jimmy Liston (Illinois) (Fall 1:17)

Guns Drawn on False Alarm in Logger's Run

Vistawood Way in Timberwalk, Logger's Run; Image from Google
Vistawood Way in Timberwalk, Logger’s Run; Image from Google

We heard from many readers this morning about an incident in the Logger’s Run community. People saw 10 or more PBSO cars, deputies with rifles and guns drawn, and a helicopter flying overhead.

Police operation happening now inside the Timberwalk Association, Loggers Run. Lots of police cars, chopper and police with guns drawn behind trees.

What is going on at Ponderosa & Winikoff? Riot police – 10 cars w automatic weapons drawn!

We contacted PBSO and received an official response:

Deputies were dispatched to a call of shots fired. When they arrived, we checked the area and all we found was some pounding noise coming from a house nearby. This was not a false 911 call per se, whoever called it in perceived they heard a shooting. It’s considered unfounded.

The incident apparently began sometime before 8 am and heated up as kids were being dropped off at Logger’s Run Middle School. The location of the incident was in the Timberwalk townhomes south of Palmetto Park Road near the southern intersection of Ponderosa and Judge Winikoff:

Other readers reported that the middle school went into lockdown and kids were scared:

My daughter was locked in the cafeteria and was scared out of her mind. She stated in her text to me that many of the kids were very nervous and huddling with their friends.

The initial report sounded very serious:

•••WEST BOCA••• BARRICADED SUSPECT — Ponderosa Dr @ Judge Winikoff Rd (Loggers Run) — Multiple PBSO units are at the scene of a male suspect possibly barricaded inside a house, wanted for questioning, reported fired shots up in the air and ran

After further investigation there was a follow-up report:

UPDATE: PBSO made entry, suspect not in the house, appears to have fled on foot unknown direction, Further investigation revealed there was no shooting or shot, the subject was just banging on a car with a hammer, units are clearing the scene now, no danger or threat any longer

Another source – a neighbor – tells us that this was a possible domestic dispute where a man was banging on a car with a hammer and a woman got angry about it and called 911 falsely indicating shots had been fired. The banging on the car part of the story appears to be accurate though the details of who the caller was and why they made the call are disputed by PBSO and another of our sources.

Olympic Heights and Loggers Run Winners

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.