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Keller student wins T-U writing contest

Abigayle PriceAbigayle Price of Sanderson won the young student division of The Florida Times-Unions’ 32nd annual Holiday Short Story Contest for her tale of a working-class father who nearly misses a long-standing family tradition.

The 9-year-old fourth grader in Keller Intermediate School’s gifted program wrote “Family Traditions” after studying short stories in teacher Cathy Hooper’s class.

Ms. Hooper said her students reviewed stories like Edgar Allen Poe’s A Tell Tale Heart and An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, a story by Ambrose Bierce and inspired by Poe’s most famous work.

Students then crafted their own stories.

Ms. Price’s short story is fictional, but she said it includes characters named after real people in her life, including her bus driver.

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Breakfast with Santa: Baker County Friends of the Intstrumental Arts

School band directors Mike Warren, left, and Matthew Jernigan with Vinnie Ferreira as Santa.Baker County Friends of the Instrumental Arts held its annual Breakfast with Santa event at the middle school cafeteria December 10.

It marks the fifth year of the event, according to  Steve Gaylord, who heads the group’s board of directors. The breakfast showcases the middle school and high school bands.

Breakfast With Santa is designed as a family-friendly event and this year’s program highlights included children’s photos with Santa Claus starring Vinnie Ferreira as the guy in the red suit.

A fun moment occurred when high school band director Mike Warren and middle school band director Matthew Jernigan surprised Santa by posing on his lap for a photo together.

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Making sure they can see

Dr. Mary Futch examines Jaxon Burnsed.Macclenny optometrist Dr. Mary Futch has been providing exams and glasses free of charge to a select group of students in Baker County public schools. It’s her way of giving back to the community.

“There is such a need in this county,” said Marcheta Crews, the school district’s chief nurse. “Dr. Futch didn’t want any children who truly needed vision correction to be without glasses, especially when it comes to school and learning. And being able to see properly is critical for them to adequately prepare for FCAT testing.”

A recent change in Medicaid coverage left many local children without access to vision care. Such services, once contracted to private vendors, were centralized at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville.

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McDuffie chosen Sharks cheerleader

New Sharks cheerleader Morgan McDuffie. Baker High senior Morgan McDuffie was recently selected as a member of the Attack Dance Team of the Jacksonville Sharks.

“I’ve always loved to dance and to cheer,” said Ms. McDuffie, a former member of the Baker County Bobcats cheering squad and current member of the Wildcats’ competitive cheerleading team.

She also has experience as a member of the All Stars cheerleading and competitive dance team in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Sharks play at Veterans Memorial Arena in the Arena Football League.

Her All Stars coach, Kim Newbern, also coaches the Sharks’ dance team. She encouraged Ms. McDuffie to audition.

About a month ago, aspiring Attack hopefuls were challenged with learning new material and routines at two preliminary competitions. Then came the finals on November 12.

“I liked the finals so much more than the preliminaries,” Ms. McDuffie admitted.


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