Alpha Chapter Accepts New Members

CONGRATULATIONS!  The Alpha Chapter of Sigma Alpha Sigma accepted 169 new members to its organization Sunday afternoon.  New members were notified via email that they had been accepted into the organization based upon their high grades, spotless discipline records, and near perfect school attendance.  As new members of this organization, these students will work to complete community service hours tutoring and mentoring their peers and leading the school and community culture to empower students through academic success.

These 169 new Sigmas join an organization that is already 225 members strong.  While a membership of 394 is not the largest membership group the organization has seen, that was 406 last school year, it is a diverse membership group with the strongest application pool the organization has ever seen.

All thirteen members of the Trustee Board gathered on Saturday, September 10th to evaluate more than 220 applications for membership in order to settle on these 169 members.  Zacari Stuckey stated, "I'm proud of our Recruitment Directors, Esther Lubin and Marcus Medina, they did an excellent job of bringing in applications this year.  Trustees reviewed application after application and were wowed about the great students we were admitting."

New members are scheduled to attend Meet and Greet on Tuesday (9/13) and Thursday (9/15) from 2 to 4 pm.  Meet and Greet is an opportunity for new members to meet and convince Family Heads to adopt the new member into the Family Head's fox family.  Members are assigned to fox families for their lifetime in the organization.  The Family Head who adopts the new member becomes a role model for the new member through out their membership and alumni membership in the organization.

Teacher seeks grant for Ridge student group

By Mike Ferguson
News Chief

Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 10:34 p.m.

Last Modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 10:34 p.m.

DAVENPORT — A Ridge Community High School teacher urged the City Commission to approve a $1,000 grant for a student service organization.

The grant application and the Polk County Water Cooperative were among the topics discussed by commissioners Monday night. The commission is expected to vote on both issues at its March 28 meeting.

For this fiscal year, the city budgeted $2,500 for a community grant to assists organizations in holding events in the area. An organization applying for a grant has a list of criteria it has to meet, including hosting an event for the betterment of the city.

The maximum grant for an organization is $1,000. So far, the only application is from Ridge Community High School’s Sigma Alpha Sigma chapter for its Summer Leadership Institute.

“We teach the students leadership skills as they would need for any job,” said Ridge Community High teacher Amanda McCallister. “The success of our organization is we treat our students like colleagues and not children. They are required to attend the training to be considered for leadership within our organization.”

The organization is requesting the maximum $1,000. The city has $1,500 remaining for grant applications and has started accepting requests for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Last year, Ridge Community High students put in more than 10,000 volunteer hours in the city.

“I’m always impressed with these students and the way they conduct themselves,” McCallister said. “I can’t say enough great things; it’s been a wonderful relationship between the students of Ridge Community High School and the city.”

The commission also discussed joining the Polk Regional Water Cooperative.

“It’s an opportunity for us to not only have the availability of long-term water but it allows us to have a voice at the table,” said Commissioner Tom Fellows, who serves as Davenport’s representative with the cooperative. “Water is going to be an extremely important issue.”

The city currently accounts for a little more than 1 percent of Polk County’s total water usage, but according to City Manager Amy Arrington, the city is projected to use about 1.16 million gallons per day in 20 years based on current growth.

“Forming a partnership with the county and other cities is probably the best, most affordable option out there,” Arrington said. “It gives us a security we’ll always have water for our citizens and won’t have to hold back on potential growth.”

— Mike Ferguson can be reached at Mike.Ferguson@theledger.comor863-401-6981. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

Students at Ridge Community High School Receive Human Rights Award

Students who are a part of the Sigma Alpha Sigma organization at Ridge Community High School were honored on Tuesday with the Martin Luther King, Jr. award by Polk Education Association President Marianne Capoziello. 

Capoziello presented the award on behalf of the Florida Education Association as part of their annual recognition of individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to the advancement of Human and Civil Rights. 

Sigma Alpha Sigma is a student leadership organization founded at Ridge Community High School in 2010.  Sigma’s goal is to change school culture from one where failure, violence, and misbehavior are acceptable to a culture where success is the norm and excellence is the standard for all.  Sigma does this by creating positive peer pressure through training to lead, mentor, and tutor. 

Sigma was created by RCHS teachers Thomas Lentz and Amanda McCallister in collaboration with one of their students, Cristina Vega.  They were inspired by attending the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual convention to create a place where students can become true, credible partners in education.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García recently saw Sigma Alpha Sigma in action.

“The teachers at Ridge Community High School understood the power of giving power to their students,” she wrote. “The students of Sigma Alpha Sigma took that power and have created a family. They are brothers and sisters now. They will not allow their brothers and sisters to fail.”

Sigma was nominated for the award by Capoziello as well as Darlene Bradley, the mayor of Davenport Florida.

Bradley wrote that their involvement in the city not only makes the community better but gives them an opportunity for, “developing way beyond their teenage years.”  She went on to say that, “they are just amazing, influential and their spirit is contagious to all students at Ridge Community High School.”

Also in attendance during the presentation were students from Edgewater High School in Orlando.  These students are working on starting a second chapter of Sigma at their school.  This creation of a Beta chapter was made possible by a donation from the Terracon Foundation.