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Updated: High school gets ‘B’ after two straight ‘Ds’

From left: BCHS principal Tom Hill, Tyler Mobley, Jonny Lambright, Dillon Jones, Jena Sands, Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson and Robert Raulerson in the BCHS gym after the school's new grade was announced.Baker County High School made history last week by garnering its highest grade from the Florida Department of Education since the state began grading the school 13 years ago.

Superintendent of Schools Sherrie Raulerson convened teachers, faculty and students in the BCHS gym the morning of January 4 to make the announcement.

She addressed them with school principal Tom Hill alongside balloons, a large foam letter “B,” signifying the school’s new grade; all while the speakers pumped Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate Good Times.”

“It’s the first time for Baker County High School, so of course, we’re thrilled,” Ms. Raulerson said later that day.

The new grade has been pending for months and Mr. Hill was confident his school would shake its “D” grade.

He just wasn’t sure how high it would go.His optimism came from the school’s 4 percent jump in graduation and improved FCAT performance, which makes up half the state’s formula for grading high schools.

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Eight grader wins college scholarship for governor essay

From left: Principal Sherry Barton, student Shelbie Martin and Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson. Shelbie Martin, an eighth grader at Baker County Middle School, won the 2012 Governor’s Recognition Scholarship Essay contest sponsored by Florida PrePaid College Foundation.

Students in three Florida counties were asked to submit essays about one Florida governor.

Ms. Martin is the daughter of Jeni and Shawn Martin of Glen St. Mary. As the winner, she receives a full scholarship to any state college in Florida.

Only 13 years old, Ms. Martin doesn’t yet know where she will attend school but says, “It’ll be somewhere close to home.”

Ms. Martin was working as an assistant in the school’s media center December 16 when she received a surprise visit from BCMS principal Sherry Barrett and school district Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson.

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School builds special float for cancer-stricken boy

Valerie Davis rides float with son Benjamin.Seven-year-old cancer survivor Benjamin Davis was the grand marshal of the 2011 Baker County Lighted Christmas Parade on December 3.

Benjamin, along with his mother Valerie Davis, rode on a special float created just for him by the PreK/Kindergarten Center where he is a student.

“It was so wonderful,” Ms. Davis said earlier this week. “Finding out Ben was to be the Grand Marshal and then having the PreK Center build a float to celebrate his blanket project. I was so impressed at how everyone down there pulled together to do this.

“Benjamin loved it. His favorite part of the float was the lights. And when he saw the blankets he said, ‘Mom! We got even more!”’

Benjamin was diagnosed with cancer last spring and immediately began chemotherapy treatments that conclude December 23. According to his family, doctors have recently given him a “cancer free” report.

The young man, with help from family and friends, launched a community blanket drive earlier in the fall. His goal is to collect blankets this Christmas for the children on the oncology wards at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Nemours Children’s Clinic where he has been a patient.

The Davis family says the response from businesses, schools, churches and individuals in the community has been more than they could have imagined.

With the help of guidance counselor Becky Nix who acted as coordinator, the PreK Center began collecting blankets weeks ago for the cause and to date has accumulated more than 200.

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