Featured

Local Rodeo Camp Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago, Sandy Johnson, owner of Johnson & Johnson Show Horses, located in Sarasota, Florida, started the J&J Summer Youth Rodeo Camp to accomplish her dream of helping local young equestrians hone their horsemanship skills.

The week-long camp, which runs from Monday, June 29, 2020 to Friday, July 4, 2020, features events including barrel racing, pole bending, cattle sorting, roping, keyhole, jumping, goat tying and a variety of “classic” camp activities including egg and spoon and stake races. The summer camp ends with a relay race including the week’s events, followed by the legendary “Saddle Race” where every camper plays a role. After the saddle race event, the scores for the weekly events are compiled and added to the final relay and saddle race scores, and the fastest team wins. 

“This camp is made possible by an awesome group of parents and kids with a passion for rodeo, horsemanship, teamwork and improving skills,” said Sandy Johnson, founder of Johnson and Johnson Show Horses & JJ Summer Youth Rodeo Camp. “This camp is something I dreamed up and I’m so proud to see new and returning campers each year. Many of our campers return to help after they age out of the program, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see our campers progress in their confidence and ability to communicate with their horses throughout the week and beyond.”

Campers are not required but encouraged to have an understanding of rodeo, and understand the basics of working with horses and teammates. The athletes range in age from five to 18, with a variety of differing skill levels. The cost for the camp, hosted daily during the week from 9am to 2pm, is $250 per participant.

On the final day of the camp, Johnson hosts an awards ceremony for the campers where the young athletes and their horses are awarded for their hard work and dedication. This year, as an added surprise in celebration of the camp’s ten year anniversary, the campers plan to thank Johnson and her team during the final events and ceremony. Campers will share testimonials and reasons they appreciate the camp experience and the event will be followed by a potluck meal, prepared by the families of campers. The awards ceremony, following the potluck lunch, is scheduled for 2:30pm on Friday, July 3, 2020.

Johnson, along with her daughter, Jamie Lee Johnson and right hand woman, Kris Anderson, operate the camp and plan the annual events. Throughout the year, Johnson trains and shows reined cow horses for many clients and teaches upper level competitors through the Johnson & Johnson Show Horses business. To learn more about the summer camp or future events, contact Sandy Johnson at 941.809.7464. 

About Johnson and Johnson Show Horses

Located in Sarasota, Florida, Johnson & Johnson Show Horses was founded by Sandy Johnson to share the family’s love and appreciation for agriculture and rodeo lifestyle. Training beginners and advanced riders, for fun and competitive sports, Johnson and her team are proud to offer local riders the opportunity to grow their talent and relationship with their horses. To learn more about the J&J Summer Youth Rodeo Camp, or to find pricing or information on training and private lessons, contact Sandy Johnson at 941.809.7464.

Sarasota Academy Students Win Sarasota Film Festival Comedy Category

Students from Sarasota Military Academy, a local, public charter school, recently learned they have received an inaugural award from the 2020 Sarasota Film Festival. The cadets submitted a film titled, “The Fate of the Oklahoma Riders,” and won the newly-established “Comedy Appreciation” category during the festival’s virtual competition.

Traditionally, categories include “All Ages” and the “High School +” category; this year, the film festival judges and staff added two additional categories: “Courage in Storytelling,” highlighting the filmmakers tackling social issues, and “Comedy Appreciation,” showcasing filmmakers with humorous endeavors.

The recipients of the “Comedy Appreciation” categories were Layla Howard and Abel Martinez, for a film titled, “Sorry ‘Bout Your Luck,” and a team from Sarasota Military Academy with “The Fate of the Oklahoma Riders.”

“A sincere congratulations to the award-winning students at the Sarasota Military Academy for their creative and humorous film. It was a delight to our audiences, and we look forward to more shorts from the bright young minds of this school,” said Mark Famiglio, Co-Founder and President of the Sarasota Film Festival.

The film by students from Sarasota Military Academy was made during the 2019 school year, through the IB Film Program and the Academy’s Film Club, taught by SMA-CPT Hellen Harvey, Sarasota Military Academy IB Film and Media Instructor. The team of filmmakers included 2019 SMA graduates Evan Schulz, Emily Haywood, Emma Fabec, Heidi Iwansky, Nicole McKenna, Jacob Meyer, juniors Alison McKenna, Michael Burton and Anthony Habas. 

“Our cadets are so incredibly gifted and we enjoy seeing the films they create for the festival each year. We are so grateful that festival staff created a way for the films to be showcased, adapting to ensure that our cadets and all participants had an opportunity to share their work,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director. “The “Comedy Appreciation” category shows the community that we can always find light and joy, even and especially throughout this uncertain time. Congratulations to our SMA filmmakers, and thank you to the Sarasota Film Festival staff for their creative and heartfelt commitment to local art.”

Another team from SMA, consisting of seniors Noah Fischer, Noah Neitlich, Ashley Ortiz and Aeryn Sachs, produced a documentary film about the Resurrection House, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a resource center to the homeless of Sarasota County. Filming was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but students submitted the film to highlight the local nonprofit, volunteers and vital services in the community. 

Sarasota Film Festival Judges include Sarasota Judge Charles Williams, MTV’s “Siesta Key” producer Gary Kompothecras and SFF creative producer and film critic Joe Neumaier. To learn more and to view a list of films and winners of the 2020 Sarasota Film Festival, visit https://sarasotafilmfestival.com/.

About Sarasota Film Festival
Held annually in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering our 22nd year, we’re proud to bring the best new and established independent filmmakers to our Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase our idyllic Gulf Coast community. The festival is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and also offers a year-round educational program, which reaches thousands of local students through classic film showcases, film contests, summer camps and instructional workshops. To learn more, visit https://sarasotafilmfestival.com/

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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/.

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Sarasota Military Academy Teacher Wins Army Instructor of the Year Award

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Morris “Ben” Weiss, Sarasota Military Academy Senior JROTC Instructor and Commandant of Cadets, was recently named the 2020 USACC JROTC Senior Army Instructor (SAI) of the Year by the United States Army Cadet Command (USACC). 

Every year, the USACC receives submissions from ROTC Brigades nominating one Senior Army Instructor for the consideration during the annual USACC Awards for Excellence. Applications are reviewed and each nominee must meet qualifications including an extensive list of criteria, nominations from the head of school and endorsements from the superintendent. Completed applications are reviewed and winners are selected from a list of finalists by the USACC reviewing board.

“We at the JROTC headquarters congratulate LTC Weiss for this prestigious honor. Recipients of the Senior Army Instructor (SAI) of the Year Award are icons of what JROTC is all about as we motivate young people to be better citizens,” said Colonel Michael A. Stinnett, Director of the United States Army’s JROTC Program. “Not only do our instructors teach, they coach, advise, counsel, mentor and lead their Cadets on to success, both while in high school and throughout their lives. We join in celebrating LTC Weiss’ outstanding recognition.”

According to USACC documents, selection criteria includes effectiveness in the classroom and community, examples of dedication to the profession of teaching, how the nominee compares to the school’s top classroom instructor, in what other activities is the nominee involved, and the instructors’ impact on the school’s JROTC enrollment and achievements of the cadets involved in the program. 

“We are proud to know that LTC Weiss has been named with this incredible honor; it is well deserved and we appreciate the opportunity to highlight one of our most distinguished, passionate instructors,” said SMA-COL Fred Fout, Sarasota Military Academy High School Head of School. “He has significantly contributed to the achievements and success of both our school and JROTC while at the same time serving as a professional role model for both our staff and our Cadets. LTC Weiss is a highly effective and competent instructor who has greatly increased the effectiveness and capabilities of our Academy while providing our Cadets with “once in a lifetime” opportunities while motivating them to be better citizens.”

The nomination letter, submitted by SMA-COL Fout, showcases a lengthy list of career highlights and achievements of LTC (R) Weiss. In addition to school-wide accomplishments, LTC Weiss manages the program’s budget and looks for ways to create and provide greater opportunities. Each fall, LTC Weiss travels with a group of cadets and chaperones on a four-day trip to the United States Military Academy at West Point, to receive an orientation to the campus and attend an “Army” football game. Due to the successful nature of the annual trips, which now include visits to the Naval and Air Force academies, SMA currently has eight graduates attending West Point, one senior with a letter of acceptance to West Point, one waiting to hear from the admissions committee and one senior with a letter of acceptance to the Air Force Academy as a recruited athlete.

About the USACC JROTC Program
U.S. Army Cadet Command manages the Army’s Junior ROTC program, which consists of over 310,000 JROTC Cadets across the U.S., four territories, and in four countries. These young men and women routinely exhibit higher attendance, grade point average and graduation rates than their schoolmates. Collectively, they perform more than eight million hours of community service annually. To learn more, visit http://www.usarmyjrotc.com/index.php

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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/.

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Sarasota Academy Director Recognized with Rotary Vocational Service Award

The Sarasota Southside Rotary Club recently awarded Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director Christina Bowman with the Rotary Club Vocational Service Award. SMA-COL Bowman was recognized with the award as a special surprise during the Rotary Club’s monthly meeting held via a virtual video chat.

“Year after year our Rotary Club is amazed and inspired after the annual visit from the Interact students where they recount their service involvements over the school year. A substantial amount of credit for these remarkable students goes to SMA-COL Christina Bowman and the Interact Advisors – SMA-CPT Carol Pelletier, SMA-CPT Jane Clancy and SMA-CPT Lorene Baulk – because of their unwavering commitment to developing future leaders,” said Kay Yoder, Sarasota Southside Rotary Club President. “It’s clearly evident that this is not your average school. It feels much more like a family who genuinely cares for one another and is one hundred percent invested in seeing everyone succeed. This culture is not by accident but by design, beginning at the top with Christina as Executive Director modeling the way through her commitment and dedication to academic excellence and youth development.”

The Vocational Service Award, along with the club’s Service above Self Award, helps to recognize and celebrate Rotarians (Rotary Club members) and individuals demonstrating a commitment to helping others by volunteering time, talent and resources. The awards are not given on an annual basis; rather, when an individual meets the qualifications and is nominated by a club member. 

“I am truly overwhelmed and humbled by this incredible award and recognition. It was such a surprise, and I was at a loss for words during the remote meeting,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director. “We appreciate the support of our local Rotary Club and how they help shape the lives of our cadets and staff, showing a life of service and the importance of giving back to your community. I enjoy knowing that our SMA family has such an incredible support system, and I am honored to receive this award from our friends at the Sarasota Southside Rotary Club.”

The Sarasota Southside Rotary Club reserves the Vocational Service Award for individuals who have made a significant impact at their workplace and in the community. The committee identifies potential candidates who exemplify “service above self,” the Rotary Club motto, by using their vocation to mentor others, demonstrate leadership skills and improve the quality of life for people in businesses and the community. Traditionally, candidates are nominated during Rotary Club board meetings by club members, sharing thoughts about why the candidate is worthy of the prestigious award.

In addition to supporting the Interact Clubs at the Sarasota Military Academy high school and Prep middle school campuses, SMA partners with the Sarasota Southside Rotary Club through a variety of events and opportunities. The Rotary Club hosts SMA Interact Club students and staff, allowing cadets to showcase their projects and accomplishments earned throughout the school year. Currently, SMA Board Chairman Herb Jones and SMA Board Member Lt. Gen. (Retired) Howard Crowell, Jr. are active members of the Sarasota Southside Rotary Club.

About Sarasota Southside Rotary Club
The Sarasota Southside Rotary Club is a community of like-minded people from diverse backgrounds who are committed to sharing ideas, working together, and taking action to create positive change. Dedicated to Rotary’s guiding principle of “Service Above Self,” the club is involved in a wide range of local and international service projects. An annual golf tournament raises funds to support projects and organizations near and dear to the hearts of members, in addition to weekly meetings and social events which provide opportunities for personal growth and fellowship. To learn more, visit https://sarasotasouthsiderotary.org/ or email info@sarasotasouthsiderotary.org.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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 Academy Seniors Receive Scholarships, Inaugural Award from Military Foundation

Three seniors at Sarasota Military Academy, cadets Juliana Rendle, Noah Fischer and Aeryn Sachs, were recently selected to receive scholarships from the Sarasota Military Officers Foundation (SMOF). Fischer will receive the $2,000 JROTC Scholarship; Rendle will receive the $2,000 Merit Scholarship and Sachs will receive the prestigious Kay Blythe Tracy Award in the amount of $2,000. 

The Sarasota Military Officers Foundation awards JROTC and merit-based scholarships to qualified, high-achieving high school seniors in the Greater Sarasota area. In 2020, the Foundation awarded eleven scholarships; of the eleven, SMOF awarded three JROTC scholarships and eight Merit scholarships throughout the entire county. Additionally, an SMA cadet was selected to receive the inaugural Kay Blythe Tracy Award, established after Tracy’s passing in 2019.

“We are always positively overwhelmed by the quality of applicants who participate in our scholarship program. Although we are not able to host our annual banquet to recognize the incredible cadets receiving scholarships this year, we want to congratulate them for their hard work and successes,” said Claire Power, Director and Chair of the Sarasota Military Officers Foundation Scholarship Committee. 

The applications were reviewed by the scholarship committee established by SMOF. 

“Kay Tracy and her husband George volunteered as advocates with Guardian Ad Litem in Sarasota. Kay was a retired university professor, an incredible volunteer, a remarkable woman and a member of the scholarship committee for many years. Giving back to the community and creating opportunities for the next generation was one of her passions,” said Power. “After Kay’s passing in 2019, the Board authorized the creation of this scholarship. We looked for an extraordinary applicant for this award, and found it in Aeryn Sachs. Congratulations to all of our scholarship recipients, we look forward to watching you continue to succeed and positively impact the world around you.”

In addition to creating scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and cadets in the community, the Sarasota Military Officers Foundation also donates to the State College of Florida Veterans program, the University of South Florida Veterans program and the Manatee Technical College East & West campuses Veterans programs. To learn more about the scholarships or the Sarasota Military Officers Foundation, contact Claire Power at bcpower@comcast.net  or visit https://www.sarasotamoaa.com/.

About Military Officers Association of Sarasota, Inc.
Established in 2000, The Sarasota Military Officers Foundation is a charitable organization administered by the Board of the Military Officers Association of Sarasota (MOAS). MOAS, through the Foundation, strives to be an active part of the Greater Sarasota area community by aiding, on an as-needed basis, those who have served their country, including active duty and veterans. The Foundation annually awards scholarships to deserving graduating Greater Sarasota area high school seniors, sponsors and supports high school JROTC programs, and sponsors and actively participates in a Support our Troops program. To learn more, visit https://www.sarasotamoaa.com/.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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 Students Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with Virtual Environmental Partnership

Cadets and staff at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) planned to celebrate Earth Day with an in-person event, following the Academy’s annual “Project Earth Celebration” program featuring guest speakers and international environmental representatives. For the 2020 Project Earth Celebration, the Academy has received a unique opportunity to participate in a virtual “Earth Day” celebration through a partnership with Encounter Edu and Kate Brooks’ Last Animal Foundation.

“As we are practicing safe, social distancing and empowering our cadets and staff through virtual, online schooling, we know that members of our SMA family are missing out on big, important moments. Our Academy always looks forward to our Earth Day celebrations, and we knew we needed to find a way to make it a bit extra special this year, as we celebrate from our homes around the region,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director. “When Dr. Todd Brown approached us with the incredible opportunity to become involved with Encounter Edu; to offer our cadets the chance of a lifetime and to participate in the Earth Day live lessons, we knew this was the perfect way to celebrate throughout an unprecedented time.”

Through the partnership, the cadets at SMA will have an opportunity to watch “The Last Animals,” a film by Kate Brooks, followed by two live-streamed Q&A panels with experts from around the world. The panel conversations, hosted by Bella Lack, a renowned youth activist, will be held on April 22, 2020 beginning at 10 am, and cadets will have access to the film for a two-week period. 

“Throughout our Academy, the SMA Earth Day Celebration is part of our unique curriculum that seems to inspire and ignite passion for each cadet and staff member. While we are supporting our staff and cadets through this time of virtual schooling, we did not want to lose the opportunity to engage and participate in Earth Day, especially with the 50th year anniversary happening this year,” said Dr. Todd Brown, Sarasota Military Academy Outreach Director. “We decided to look for creative, educational opportunities that would align with our previous celebrations, our current curriculum and our goals for the future, and this is an ideal way to observe, recognize and celebrate Earth Day.”

The virtual Earth Day “live lessons” aim to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with live panel sessions focusing on topics including environmental impacts of the illegal wildlife trade industry, inspiring work of individuals and organizations working to protect endangered species, and more. 

According to the Encounter Edu website, Encounter Edu pioneers learning experiences and “designs and delivers sponsored STEM and global learning programs, transforming education inside and outside the classroom.” The Earth Day events planned by Encounter Edu assist schools in celebrating, recognizing and understanding important topics surrounding the environment, endangered animals and positive and negative impacts humans have on the Earth. Currently, the lessons are recommended for students and viewers eleven years of age and older, due to the nature of the content and the topics discussed.

Earth Day Live, by Encounter Edu, is sponsored and hosted by The Last Animals Foundation. To view a list of events and details, or to learn more about Encounter Edu, visit https://encounteredu.com/live-lessons/earth-day-live-2020.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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/.

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Sarasota Student Filmmakers Make Educational Video, Win State-of-the-Art Aquarium

Cadets at Sarasota Military Academy, a local, public charter school, recently won the “National Coral to Action Challenge’, hosted by the Coral Restoration Foundation. Students across the nation submitted short, educational videos; the top finalists were chosen by a panel of expert judges, and the winning team was selected by votes submitted on social media.

“We had over 240 students submit nearly 100 entries from all over the country, and every single one was a joy to watch,” said Derek Hagen, Coral Restoration Foundation Education Program Manager. “The film that Timothy, Kelly, Haley, and Dominique created really stood out for its powerful simplicity that cuts right to the heart of the issue – there really is a horror story happening in the ocean! But knowing that there are so many incredibly smart, talented, passionate, and creative young people out there gives us hope for the future!”

The winning video, submitted by Sarasota Military Academy juniors Timothy Baldwin, Kelly Fletes, Haley Coady and Dominique Storr, can be viewed by visiting https://www.coralrestoration.org/coral-to-action or the Coral Restoration Foundation Facebook page.

“When my classes discuss the current status of the health of the oceans and coral reefs, it is easy for students to feel like the problems are too big. The “Coral to Action Challenge” provides the opportunity for students to become active in protecting and raising awareness for the coral reefs,” said SMA-CPT Jeanette Marks, Sarasota Military Academy Marine Science Educator. “This was such an excellent opportunity for students across the nation to highlight the need for action, while creating something unique and helpful. I’m so proud of my students for creating such an incredible video that will inspire more people to take action in protecting coral reefs.”

Shortly after the cadets completed the video and entered the contest, the 300-gallon classroom aquarium of SMA-CPT Jeanette Marks, Sarasota Military Academy Marine Science Educator, burst, flooding the classroom, on February 21, 2020. SMA-CPT Marks, a certified Florida Master Naturalist and Florida Water Steward, and the SMA cadets were able to save the fish and hermit crabs, but were unable to repair the tank. Through this opportunity, the Academy will be able to replace the tank with a brand new, state-of-the-art aquarium, at no additional costs.

The panel of judges that selected the top three finalist videos included The Ocean Agency’s Richard Vevers from the Netflix show, “Chasing Coral”, and Angie Lassman from NBC 6. The finalists include Sarasota Military Academy, Collegiate Academy of Colorado and Mandalay Elementary School.

According to information provided by the Coral Restoration Foundation’s social media account, the winning team will receive a state-of-the-art educational aquarium for their school, sponsored by Titan Aquatic Exhibits. The winning video will be hosted on the Coral Restoration Foundation™ website and shared on social media accounts and NBC 6 will air the winning film on their network and digital platforms. 

To learn more about the Coral Restoration Foundation, visit https://www.coralrestoration.org

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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 Cadets Receive Scholarships for Conservation Efforts

Two seniors at Sarasota Military Academy, cadets Juliana Rendle and Noah Fischer, were awarded scholarships during the recent Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association annual spring cookout on March 5, 2020. Rendle and Fischer are the first cadets from Sarasota Military Academy to apply for and receive the SSA scholarships. 

The cadets are members of the Academy’s Ducks Unlimited school chapter, which partners with the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association to promote conservation efforts and enable cadets to participate in outdoor activities. 

“Every year, the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association is proud to raise money for our junior members, and for many years we have been giving out five $1,000 scholarships to students in our community,” said Dale Ream, Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association Board Member. “Two years ago, we were excited to help Sarasota Military Academy staff and cadets rebuild their conservation club; it’s incredibly important to help the next generation realize the importance of going outside, having fun and making a difference, and this partnership is a great way to do that very thing.”

Founded two years ago at Sarasota Military Academy, the revamped Ducks Unlimited club was spearheaded by cadets Rendle and Fischer and facilitated by recently-retired CSM (Ret) Mike Collis and SMA-SFC Elke Olree as the high school instructors, and SMA-CPT Jackie Sharkey-Trecartin as the SMA Prep middle school advisor. The team worked with Dale Ream, Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association board member, to organize and relaunch the club.

Currently, there are 120 cadets involved in the SMA Ducks Unlimited club; 45 cadets in the high school club and 75 cadets in the prep middle school club. While the clubs are on separate campuses of the Academy, the cadets and staff work together during camping trips, hunter safety courses and a variety of other activities and conservation efforts.

The cadets received $1,000 scholarships each; cadets Rendle and Fischer of Sarasota Military Academy, and three students from Venice High School.

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. The SMA chapter recently participated in a “campout” led by Dale & Lisa Ream and SSA members; cadets were able to camp at a local ranch and additional activities are planned as the club continues to grow.

To learn more about the Sarasota Military Academy Ducks Unlimited chapter, visit https://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/smaprep/sma-prep-clubs-activities/ducks-unlimited. To learn more about the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association, contact Dale Ream at 941.915.5811. 

 About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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/.

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Manatee Cattlemen Plan Military Appreciation Rodeo Event, Announce Winner of Inaugural ‘Patriot Award’

The Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association (MCCA) invites the public to attend the 12th Annual MCCA Ranch Rodeo on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5pm. The annual event will celebrate armed forces this year with a “Military Appreciation” theme with free entry for veterans and active-duty servicemen and women. Local cattleman and veteran Arlin Taylor will be honored during the ceremony with the inaugural “Manatee Cattlemen’s Patriot Award.”

Nominated by his fellow cattlemen, Taylor is a 90-year-old Manatee County resident who served in the Korean War as an Army Supply Sergeant. He currently lives on his family’s homestead in Duette that his father bought when prices were $1.75 per acre. As a child, Taylor’s family grew sweet potatoes, bought and sold cattle and trained horses. After years of rodeo, calf roping and farming, Taylor and his family still raise cattle and grow hay, sod and tomatoes on the same land.

In addition to the inaugural “Manatee Cattlemen’s Patriot Award,” the Manatee County Cattlemen are establishing the “Manatee Cattlemen’s Patriot Award Scholarship Fund,” with an amount earmarked for a youth member planning to serve in the military after graduating high school. This year, the scholarship will be awarded to Private First Class Walker Broxson, a 2018 graduate who is currently stationed at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Military Base in Anchorage, Alaska. PFC Broxson, who will not be in attendance as he is currently assigned to an Army cavalry unit preparing to attend the United States Army Airborne School, will send a pre-recorded video message to be played during the event.

“We are honored to recognize and thank our veterans and those in the armed forces during our Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association 12th Annual Ranch Rodeo,” said Todd Henson, Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association President. “This rodeo, along with our newly-created award and scholarship fund, is a way to honor those who have served and are currently serving and protecting our country. We are excited to award Arlin Taylor for his years of service and Walter Broxson for his commitment to serve – they are incredible examples of true patriots and we are so thankful to them.”

Gates will open at 4pm and the event will be held at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, located at 1402 14th Ave. West in Palmetto in the Mosaic Arena. Children 10 and under will receive free admission; tickets are $10 for adults and can be purchased at the gate the day of the event. and event proceeds are used to provide scholarships for the Manatee County Junior Cattlemen’s Association, along with awards and scholarships for local FFA and 4-H chapter members. The junior members will be handling concessions and there will be a raffle for prizes during the event.

This event, which features competitions based on real-life operations happening every day on ranches throughout our community and our country, will have a unique and exciting focus this year. This year, the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association has partnered with The Farm Experience to host an expanded and improved petting zoo with educational opportunities for a small fee. Local veterans resources and services teams will be featured, with displays to educate and inform veterans and their families of services existing within the community.

The ranch rodeo will begin with a grand entry followed by events that include team sorting, team doctoring, a children’s “boot race” where children ages 5 to 13 compete for prizes, calf branding, double mugging, a kid’s calf scramble, and the final event: trailer loading. The “Manatee Cattlemen’s Patriot Award” winner, Arlin Taylor, will be recognized during the “Grand Entry”. Event winners and awards will be announced following the final event. 

The presenting sponsor for this event is the Mosaic Company. Additional event sponsors include 4F Structural Concrete & Masonry, Manasota Flooring, Parrot Patio Bar & Grill, ZNS Engineering, NDC Construction, Gulf Coast Ag, Conley Buick GMC, Come See Come Sav, Olive Branch Tree Services and Mainspring Communications.

The Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association Ranch Rodeo is a qualifier for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association State Ranch Rodeo Finals held in September 2020. To learn more about this event or for sponsorship information, visit https://manateecattlemen.com/events/12th-annual-ranch-rodeo/ or contact Cassidy Jones at jonesc2511@gmail.com.

About Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association
Established in 1947 by a group of farmers and ranchers, the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association (MCCA) has a membership of nearly 150 members. With a mission to preserve and promote the beef industry for present and future generations, the MCCA provides support to local farmers, ranchers and the youth involved in agriculture and the beef industry throughout Manatee County. To learn more about the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association, visit https://manateecattlemen.com/

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Sarasota Students Sworn in During Nationwide Enlistment Ceremony; Oath Administered by NASA Astronaut and U.S. Army Colonel

On February 26, 2020, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local, public charter school, was one of 130 locations throughout the country selected as a host location for the first nationwide oath of enlistment ceremony. The oath, administered by U.S. Army Colonel and NASA Astronaut, Andrew Morgan, was streamed live across the nation to students enlisting in the Armed Forces.

“This is an incredible honor not only for our cadets and our local future soldiers, but our nation as a whole. The students who participated in this experience had the unique opportunity to be a part of the first ever enlistment ceremony conducted from space, which is an incredible reward to the commitment made by our future leaders and global citizens,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Executive Director of Schools. “While the cadets were swearing their oath to protect their country and fellow Americans, there was such an overwhelming feeling of pride from every single person in the room. We are so proud and grateful to everyone who played a role in making history through this experience, and we are honored that SMA was selected to host such a ground-breaking event.”

With more than 800 students around the nation taking the oath, 23 local students attended the ceremony at Sarasota Military Academy. Eight seniors from Sarasota Military Academy participated: Shelby Young, Jennifer Cerezo-Portillo, Jocelyn Duron-Robledo, Skye Janneman, Justin Turner, Michael Parsels, Cody Greenough and William “Blake” Wilkinson. 

The students, from local schools including Sarasota Military Academy, Venice High School, Riverview High School, Port Charlotte High School, Charlotte High School, North Port High School, New College of Florida, Fort Myers High School, South Fort Myers High School, Southeast High School and Estero High School, swore an oath through a partnership between the Space Center Houston, NASA and U.S. Army Recruiting Command. Recruiters from Sarasota Recruiting Company were on hand to assist with questions and informational requests.

During the live stream, Col. Morgan noted that the International Space Station (ISS) is currently orbiting the Earth at more than 17,000 miles per hour, with 16 orbits per day, 250 miles above the Earth. Col. Morgan gave advice regarding his military career and his experience as an astronaut and answered student questions. The ceremony was facilitated by Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USARC) Deputy Commanding General. 

Students across the nation were asked to submit questions to be answered by Col. Morgan, and a question submitted by SMA Cadet Shelby Young was asked and answered by the astronaut during the live stream. 

The enlistment ceremony was streamed via NASA TV and the Army’s official YouTube and Facebook pages. To view a stream of the video, visit https://bit.ly/32v3Cjk. To view the original release, distributed by the U.S. Army, visit https://bit.ly/2T39vkE

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) 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/.