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In recognition of Black History Month, Mrs. Smigielski's fifth grade students studied the Underground Railroad and read a book about “Freedom Quilts" which contained secret maps used by African slaves to reach freedom. Using hidden symbols and messages, students designed “quilts” that depicted a route from our school to the lakeyard. First, they created a map, then translated their map to a paper quilt, and shared their quilts with the class. Students thoroughly enjoyed this project and gained a greater appreciation for the contributions of African Americans in history.

MSE Freedom Quilts

MSE Freedom Quilts

MSE Freedom Quilts

Paxton Bobcats are State Bound

February 26, 2020

Last night, after a 65-45 win against the Graceville Tigers in the Regional Finals, the Bobcats are state bound. Next, week the varsity team will head to Lakeland for the State Championship. The Paxton Family is so proud of our team and can't wait to see them BRING their BEST at state!
Pictured (L to R): Carson Mock (manager), Nate Moore (assistant coach), Kenyon Simmons, Adam Hall, Conner Gaither, Cage Wibbing, Alonzo Wright, Jeff Bradley (head coach), Connor Varnum, Zach Willams, Latrell Sanders, Tristan Petty, Donte Williams, Reid Danner, Hunter Allen (assistant coach), and Clete Moore (manager). 

MSE staff recently participated in Professional Development provided by Canopy Behavior Solutions. The presenters shared classroom strategies to help ensure the success of students with autism, including the use of visuals, prompting, and consistency within the classroom and school. Our teachers and staff gained knowledge and confidence in meeting the needs of all students.

MSE Autism Training

The weekend of EPIC Dune Lakes Competitions continued with the Dune Lakes Odyssey of the Mind teams taking home 2nd Place!

Two Dune Lakes Odyssey of the Mind teams competed in Crestview on Saturday, February 22nd at the Emerald Coast Regional Odyssey of the Mind Competition.

Odyssey Team A, completed the "Longshot problem," where it’s believed a disastrous event is about to occur that will threaten the world and this team must stop it. To succeed the team must send materials from all corners of the world using vehicles that overcome obstacles and travel simultaneously into and out of a Reaction Area. The team created a food volcano that saved the world from food thieves and their vision won 2nd place!

Odyssey Team B, completed the "Networking problem," where networked devices act as characters to keep the world connected. Students must create a performance where communications are transmitted between locations. The catch - fight off malware and pop-ups! The B team created a stellar performance defeating the evil Victoria Virus from taking their musical network hub offline and took home 2nd place.

We are so relieved these students are on our side and the world's future is safe!

Congratulation to these talented Sandpipers! They worked hard and had a lot of fun - EPIC!

Coaches: Nancy Rentz and Ana Tomblin




Superintendent Hughes stopped in at the Academic Team meet to see our Amazingly Brilliant Students having very healthy, challenging Cognitive Competition between all of our Middle and High Schools in the WCSD. Loved the Collaboration of Braves Bistro and employees at WHS who prepared the meals as well as the many teachers, counselors, sponsors and District Personnel that joined in to make it happen. Simply EPIC!!!!! 

Academic Team Tourney

The FES Odyssey of the Mind team has qualified for the state competition. The team of third and fourth grade students will travel to Orlando on April 10th and 11th to compete in the Florida Odyssey of the Mind.

 The team competed on February 22nd in the Division 1 Competition at Shoal River Middle School in Crestview. They solved problem three, Effective Detective, without receiving any penalties or zeroes and scored the highest in the performance category.  They placed second by only three points. 

 Team members include third graders Brylee Leavins, Alyssa Graham, Kase McCullers, Sophia Barrientos, Selena Vosper, and Madison Chun. They are led by their amazing coaches Teresa Tripp and Debbie Duncan. We are very proud of the 2020 FES Odyssey team!

 Odyssey of the Mind is a program that has challenged students for over twenty-five years to think “beyond the box.” Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and world level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and about 25 other countries participate in the program.  For more information, visit

On February 22 and 23, Walton High School’s FBLA had a great turnout for Community Clean Up Days! They cleaned Wee Care Park, our school campus, and around the Lake Yard. They’ll meet again at Gene Hurley Field on Saturday, February 29, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Everyone is invited to come out and help clean up around our community.

WHS FBLA CleanUp Day

WHS FBLA CleanUp Day      

WHS FBLA CleanUp Day

WHS FBLA CleanUp Day


February 24, 2020

STEM training (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) within all levels of education is at the forefront of most education standards. Teachers and students are learning new ways to incorporate STEM training into the classroom; one of those ways is LEGO League. Don’t get too confused, this is not your typical way of using LEGOs.

FIRST® LEGO® League is the most accessible, guided, global robotics competition, helping students and teachers to build a better future together. The program is built around theme-based challenges to engage children ages 9 to 16* in research, problem solving, coding, and engineering. The foundation of the program is the FIRST® Core Values, which emphasize teamwork, discovery, and innovation. Students emerge more confident, excited, and equipped with the skills they need in a changing workforce.

When students are engaged in hands-on STEM experiences, they build confidence, grow their knowledge and develop habits of learning. When adults coach these students, they encourage them to try, fail, and try again, while connecting STEM concepts to real-world examples.

LEGO League is growing in the Walton County School District, and students are responding. While it is still relatively new our students are hitting the ground running. During this tournament season, three of our Walton County Schools had three teams receive bids to compete in the First LEGO League Championship Tournament in Tallahassee, FL. Dune Lakes Elementary (One Step Ahead), Freeport Elementary (Freeport Engineers), and Walton Middle School (Techno Warriors) competed in the regional tournament on February 22nd. The First LEGO State Championship Tournament will be held at Northwest Florida State College on March 27th and 28th. The teams are using every qualifier and tournament to get better and looking forward to a better future through LEGOs.

Article submitted by Stephen Byrd, Walton Middle School

Dune Lakes Lego Team



Freeport Elem Lego Team



Walton Middle Lego Team



The Walton County Snowbirds presented their annual scholarships to two South Walton High School seniors, Sydney Balfanz and Drake Roberts.

Sydney plans to attend the University of Florida to major in biology before attending medical school.

Drake is going west to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri to play baseball and study to be an airplane mechanic.

South Walton High School is thankful for the support from our snowbird friends every year.