Celebration Foundation honored for support of Osceola County public schools

Submitted Photo

From left are: Hershel Lyons, chancellor of Florida Department of Education K-12 Public Schools; Dave Berelsman, Celebration Foundation board member ; Gloria Niec, executive director Celebration Foundation; Tim Weisheyer, Osceola County School chairman and Tom Phelps, Osceola School District Deputy Superintendent and Celebration Foundation Board Member.

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Submitted Photo
From left are: Hershel Lyons, chancellor of Florida Department of Education K-12 Public Schools; Dave Berelsman, Celebration Foundation board member ; Gloria Niec, executive director Celebration Foundation; Tim Weisheyer, Osceola County School chairman and Tom Phelps, Osceola School District Deputy Superintendent and Celebration Foundation Board Member.
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By Dana Schafer

Osceola School District public information officer

The Osceola County School District selected The Celebration Found­ation and Wild Florida as its District Business Partners of the Year as part of the 28th Annual Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards Event held in June 2015.

Both were recognized among others across the state for building successful, innovative alliances with the School District that fostered unique learning opportunities, promoted academic achievement and addressed community needs, according to a district press release.

Chancellor Hershel Lyons was on hand at the event to present a crystal award to representatives from The Celebration Foundation, Wild Florida, and other state nominees.

“The Osceola School District has found strong supporters of student achievement and success in The Celebration Foundation and Wild Florida,” said Superintendent Melba Luciano.

The Celebration Found­ation has partnered with t­he School District on a number of programs and initiatives.

Through the Osceola Connected Learning without Hunger Program, more than 1,200 homeless children are receiving weekend food packs every week.

The Education Foundation’s Campus Express Program sponsors campus tours for more than 2,000 middle and high school students to the Technical Education Center Osceola and Valencia College Osceola Campus.

The goal is to help expose students to post-secondary opportunities and improve the college-going rate in the county.

The Celebration Foundation also has launched Campus Express Navigators, a pilot program for fifth grade students which focuses on career exploration and campus tours.

In addition, the WINGS Program (Women’s Initiative Nurturing Girls’ Strength) focuses on two successful conference workshops for young women to explore such topics as goal setting, body image, leadership skills and other issues to help them find their own authentic voices and success.

The Celebration Foundation also has worked with donors to sponsor 16 Take Stock in Children Scholarships, has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors, has sponsored prom tickets for students who are homeless or struggle financially and has purchased uniforms and school supplies for underprivileged students.

Wild Florida is a business partner with more than 20 Osceola County schools. It offers many hands-on programs, including in-class field trips and out-of-classroom eco-field trips held at the Wild Florida campus, located on the headwaters of the Everglades.

Wild Florida also provides student incentive programs that promote learning and academic achievement.  Students are rewarded for reaching specific goals designed by individual schools and classes and for showing stellar citizenship for service in family, school, and the community.

Wild Florida also hosts the Osceola School District’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Day event, where approximately 1,000 school volunteers are recognized and thanked for their service to our teachers and students.