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"The Science Fair this year at FMS was a huge success!  It was a difficult process narrowing down the winners to only 3 from the entire school of 5th through 8th grade students.  After deliberation, the top three projects were as follows:  

(Left to Right)

8th grade student Madison Kysel won 1st place with her project on "Tooth Decay."

8th grade student Elissa Rodriguez-Lombardo won 2nd place with her project on "Gas Stations' Underground Secret."  

5th  grade student Shelby Cosson won 3rd place with her project on "Do Video Games Affect the Mind and Body?"  

Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who participated in the Science Fair this year at FMS!"

Submitted by Chelsea Ellison
We held our class competions over the past few weeks. Those winners were Atreya Agney, Cole Graham, Hailey Brown, Tate Bailey, Jake Ticknor, Mallie Bourgeois, Luci McDonald, Tysen Camargo, Nick Almeida, Alissa Aucoin, Ella Enkenseair, Ely Koch, Jack Smith, Carter Hollifield, Sofia Samalot, Ana Flores, Liana Emanuel, and AvaKate Bonjean. Congratulations to everybody!

FES- 4th Grade 4-H Tropicana Speech Contest Winners

Left to right:   1st Place- Savannah Smith

                     2nd Place- Hagen Marse

                     3rd Place-Destiny Toole

Submitted by Nancy Currie.

On December 2nd, Walton County Career and Technical Education teachers participated in a training to assist them in understanding the importance of creating career pathways for their students.  Walton County's middle schools, high schools and Emerald Coast Technical College participated in this training.  There were also representatives from UF/IFAS (Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences) Extension Office, Chelco, Walton County Sheriff's Office, Toy Box Child Care Center, and WMBB News Channel 13 on hand to talk about the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Maggie Solomon from WMBB News Channel 13 provided a story on this meeting which may be viewed at http://www.mypanhandle.com/news/walton-co-school-district-holds-cte-training. Pictured is Leslie Harrison from Emerald Coast Technical College presenting information to Walton County teachers on how to develop their own program advisory board.  This is the first of many community incorporated meetings that Walton County intends to hold in an attempt to make our CTE programs rigorous and relevant to current employer demands.  Submitted by Donna Honish.

Elrod Vo recently won the distinction of being an Achieve3000 WorldWide winner in Mrs. Amy Bennett's eighth grade reading class.  He won the most points by completing reading texts and tasks and receiving points for passing scores.  Two years ago, Elrod won the most points nationwide when he was a sixth grader in Mrs. Bennett's class.  This year, Elrod entered the new school year determined to advance from being the nationwide to the worldwide level winner.  Remarkably, Elrod accomplished his goal before the end of the first semester.  Walton Middle School is very proud of Elrod's accomplishments. Submitted by Kristen Rhodes.

The Algebra Nation Math tutor Chelsea Jones came to visit Mrs. Meyer’s 7th period class at Freeport High School. They made videos and posters to thank Governor Scott for funding the program. Submitted by Patty Woodard.

The Freeport High School AVID program recently toured the campuses of the University of South Alabama and the University of West Florida. Students gained insight on admissions, campus activities, housing, academic programs, dining options, social clubs and organizations, and much more for each campus. Submitted by Patty Woodard.

     Russell Hughes began his career as a teacher at Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida where he taught business law & management, math and keyboarding. Russell was identified by the principal as having excellent classroom management, discipline and instructional skill. Consequently he was appointed dean of students managing discipline for ninth and tenth grades until transferring to Richbourg Middle School in Crestview, Florida. Russell served as Assistant Principal and Head Football Coach at Richbourg from 1997-2000.

     Russell’s career with the Walton County School District began at Walton Middle School in August of 2000. He became principal in 2004 .  Under his leadership Walton Middle School earned their first “A” grade, which was maintained for two consecutive years.   Walton Middle School was selected as one of the top 20 schools in the state, having made the most year to year progress in student learning gains. Additionally, Walton Middle School was the first middle school in the county to make an “A” and achieve AYP in the same year.  In recognition of their academic achievement, the school was awarded funds for their performance from the state and congratulatory letters from former Governors Charlie Christ and Jeb Bush.

     In 2007, Mr. Hughes was assigned to Walton High School as Principal. For the following eight years, Walton High School excelled in academic performance.  The School has been awarded a “B” grade for six years from the state grading system, two of which were more than 100 points above an “A.”  Although, the School’s accumulated points were significant, an “A” eluded them by less than two points in critical areas.  For the past two years, (2014-2015) Walton High has been identified by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools.  Also, In 2015, they were named one of two schools in the state of Florida and one of fifty in the United States as “Most Inspiring Schools.”  Russell’s individual recognition includes; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Teacher of the Year Candidate every year while in classroom, Outstanding Young Americans and the completion of the first Commissioners Leadership Academy.

As a first generation college graduate, Mr. Hughes is passionate about encouraging young men and young ladies to obtain post-secondary education. Russell looks continually to uncover strategic methods that will inspire students to unlock their potential to become successful academically, behaviorally, socially and individually.  When Russell isn’t busy inspiring students he can be found inspiring those that attend the church he and his wife founded in 2000.  The church began with seven charter members and has grown to a current membership of more than 150. 

     Russell Hughes is a lifelong learner and educator. He loves his church, enjoys reading, playing golf and spending time with family and friends.  Mr. Hughes makes his home in DeFuniak Springs, Florida with his wife, Lori and daughter, Micah.