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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

School Board Recognitions
August 1, 2017

6. Student, Employee and Public Awards and Recognitions
6A. Skills USA – First Place Winners
For our first recognition, the first place winners whom you are about to meet had to prove that they not only have the academic knowledge but also the hands-on skills to be the best in their field. Hence, the name of the state competition where they won first place: SkillsUSA. It is also important to note that in addition to their home high schools, they took classes at the Advanced Technology Center where they learned the necessary skills for this competition. Let’s meet the students:

First, Tonia Rocha Garzon, a 2017 graduate of Ocean Lakes High School who was enrolled in the ATC’s Modeling and Simulation class. Tonia was part of a two-member team with Jesse Bobo, who unfortunately is not able to join us this evening. Their team competed in the Interactive Application and Video Game Development event, which tested their technical knowledge and programming skills in addition to their abilities to identify as well as solve problems to create an interactive video game. Congratulations, Tonia!

Our next honoree is Josh Rodriquez, a 2017 graduate of Green Run High School and won first place in Advertising Design. In this event, Josh was given prompts to design advertising and marketing materials which required using his artistic skill and the latest graphic design technology. These might sound like skills that only industry professionals can master but if you’re a Digital Design II student at the ATC like Josh, these are simply competences that you learn in class. He won first place in Virginia and then went on to nationals this past June where he placed third in the nation in Advertising Design.

Please join me in congratulating our two talented and award-winning honorees!

6B. Educators Rising National Competition
If a list of “Future Teachers to Watch” existed, tonight’s two honorees likely would be on it since they earned awards at the 2017 Educators Rising national competition for aspiring teachers held in June. Let’s meet them:

Our first honoree is Christina Zendzion, a 2017 graduate of Tallwood High School. Christina first won first place in Lesson Planning and Delivery at the state competition held earlier this year. Christina planned, taught and recorded a video introducing fifth-grade students to one of the Japanese alphabets, a language in which she even earned the biliteracy seal! She then advanced to the national competition where she submitted her lesson plan and video. There, judges interviewed her about the choices she made for her lesson. According to her teacher advisor 2017 Citywide Teacher of the Year Jenna Free, the feedback from the judges was that Christina demonstrated:

  • mature reflections;
  • relevant and complete justifications for instructional design; and
  • student-centered methodology.

The students Christina taught were so inspired by her that many of them signed up for Exploratory Japanese next year in sixth-grade.

Our second honoree, unfortunately, could not join us this evening, but we would like to congratulate rising Kellam High School senior Nicole Finocchio. Nicole won first place at state and second place at nationals in Education Administration Careers after shadowing one of our principals where she was able to get a glimpse of the challenging work that goes into a school administrator’s day.

Congratulations to both of our honorees!

6C. Virginia School Bus Road-e-o – First Place Winner
You’ve just heard about the tremendous skill of our students, now we would like to honor one of talented employees, school bus driver Thomas Pittman.

At the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation statewide School Bus Road-e-o held in June, Mr. Pittman won first place in the conventional bus competition. Bus drivers were judged for their safe completion of a series of events in accordance with the Virginia Department of Education’s Curriculum for school bus driver training. These events tested their skills and knowledge in everything from leaving maneuvering clearance when backing up; steering a bus in a straight line in an area of diminishing width; or transitioning across tight spaces. One event tests parallel parking that has to be accomplished without touching a curb or barrier, while another requires a driver to stop two inches or less from a designated line. Now that’s skill!

Congratulations to Mr. Pittman, a first-place winner in Virginia’s School Bus Road-e-o!

Last Modified on Monday, April 23, 2018