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National School Counseling Week 2021 (Feb. 1–5), sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), highlights the essential contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and the tremendous impact they have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.  School counselors help students in more ways than you realize. This week we celebrate them as a part of National School Counseling Week 2021. Learn more about the role of this essential profession: and take a moment to thank your school counselor(s).  WCSD appreciates and supports all that our school counselors do to help the students of Walton County.

In adjacent rooms at VRB we have the necessary work of teachers in the MTSS Process to make sure students are getting what they need.  In the other room we have the notorious work and extraordinary practices in classrooms exhibited by Music Teacher Mr. Browne who has created a stage of the entire classroom for students to experience their work in a self-made studio and perform at their very best; always performing at their highest level!  Superintendent Hughes enjoyed the impromptu show by the students and the enriching conversation with hard working and compassionate teachers!

On January 15, Tinsley Abbott became the first Walton High School student to receive The Taylor Haugen Trophy.  

The Trophy is awarded each winter in conjunction with the All Sports Association at the annual All Sports Association FCA breakfast. Taylor was a member of the Niceville Eagles Football and Wrestling Teams as well as being an Honor Student at Niceville High School. He was comfortably expressive about his faith in God and showed it through his commitment to volunteer work in his church and community. The Trophy is awarded to an area athlete who best demonstrates a similar balance between academics, athleticism, leadership, community service and faith. As well as exemplifying T’s character traits, the Trophy winner embodies his motto of “Don’t Quit… Never Give Up.” The Foundation hopes to recognize those well-rounded individuals who demonstrate the perseverance to improve themselves in all aspects of their life while enjoying God’s gifts to the fullest. 

The annual Trophy winner receives a $1,000 scholarship and a bronze trophy that stands 26” tall, weighs 35lbs, and is a hand sculptured eagle taking to flight on a ribbon of air as inspired by Isaiah 40: 30-32. 

In order to be nominated for this award, a student must be a senior at an Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, or Walton County high school. Each school gets 1 nominee. The nominee must be an athlete who has participated in a FHSAA sport and must have 3.5 or higher unweighted GPA. The nominee must be an active participant in community service and must be planning to attend a four year accredited college. 

Walton High School is proud of the way Tinsley models our school theme, Pride in Performance. Limitless and Relentless. She is a leader on our campus and we can not think of a more deserving student for this award! 

The Freeport Middle School Art Department has a new set of classes this semester.  Our first art project reflects all the things and people we love as well as our positive attributes.  Because we are in learning communities this year, we are displaying this project in our individual learning communities.  Way to go students!!

Freeport Elementary School:

Groundbreaking was held on January 14, 2021 for Phase One of the Freeport Elementary School new 11 Classroom Addition, new parking lot and bus/parent dropoff,

future existing school renovations, and future cafetorium/kitchen.  

West DeFuniak Elementary is pleased to announce Mrs. Jaime Ellis as Teacher of the Year and Mrs. Sandi Ingle as Educational Support Person of the Year.   

Mrs. Ellis has been teaching for 5 years.  Her positive attitude spills over to everyone around her.  She currently teaches second grade students.  Mrs. Ellis says, “I love being a teacher! I became a teacher to inspire, love, encourage, and motivate students.” Jaime is married to David and they have three kids.  Jaime stays busy outside of school with family and church ministry.  It is easy to see why she was selected for this honor.  Teachers and students at WDE love her. 

Mrs. Ingle has only been at West Defuniak for one year.  She serves as an aide in kindergarten through fifth grade classes.  She can always be found helping somewhere.  Whether taking temperatures or assisting in the office, she stays busy and does it with a smile.  Sandi is married to Alan and they have 3 children.  Mrs. Ingle says that her favorite part of being an aide is when the “light” comes on for a student who has been struggling.   

Congratulations to Mrs. Ellis and Mrs. Ingle!  WDE is proud to have you both as part of our team! 

Freeport Transportation Facility:

Groundbreaking was held on January 14, 2021 for Phase II of the Freeport Transportation Facility. This phase includes a new 21,000 SF facility, with eight maintenance bays, training room, maintenance and technology storage space.