IB Seniors Decision Day 2020 | Congratulations Students!

Congratulations, Seniors! We wish you the very best!

Student Creative Writing

Theme for Covid-19 

by Steven Gwaltney


my teacher gave me this poem

to show my deep disappointment

i understand why I’m stuck at home

but I don’t like solitary confinement

The virus hit us and stuck

but it didn’t stick like syrup or the honey

it stuck like poison on Romeos tongue

bringing death

as everything closes I long to leave and explore this new development

though I stay at home

so I watch and hope to see new news but everyday

every week

there’s nothing


together We’re alone

We miss Our friends Our partners and everyone else

being sad and anxious is an understatement

We hope it will stop




We wait and hope, We laugh and cry, We stand and fall…but all from Our home


Student Creative Writing

A Letter to the Workers 

by Kaylee Rasmussen

To the people who are saving our world,

Thank you for all that you are doing during this time. From firefighters and doctors to supermarket employees and teachers. People are going out daily to ensure the safety of others before themselves.

Thank you, firefighters. Firefighters are putting themselves out into a dangerous world to fight for  people who are suffering and to save them. Not only are firefighters taking sick patients to the hospital to be treated, but they are still running normal calls, such as car accidents and housefires. My dad, Nic Rasmussen, is a firefighter for South Pasadena Fire Department. The men must completely suit up before each call and take extreme precautions to make sure the virus does not spread to them or their loved ones when they arrive home.

Thank you, hospital workers. Surgeons, nurses and many other  employees in the hospital are saving and treating affected people every second. This is a very hard job to have during a time like this, so it is important to acknowledge the long, hard work they put in.

Thank you, teachers. Teachers were not prepared for something this distraught to happen. Teachers were not taught how to completely shift gears to go online and change plans for the remainder of the year. The hard work and dedication my mom and many other teachers in Florida are showing, is the reason why students are still being academically involved.

Thank you, supermarket employees. Shopping for food and necessities during a time like this is dangerous and challenging. People who work at grocery stores are being exposed to the public and the virus, just to make sure people are still getting food and what they need to survive.

Thank you to all these workers and many more who continue to fight for the community and who fight to protect their loved ones.

– Sincerely, Kaylee Rasmussen.

Now Available! 2020 Senior Celebration Tickets and More!!

The Senior Celebration Committee is pleased to announce you may now visit the International Baccalaureate (IB) Senior Celebration webpage where you’ll find details of the exciting event planned for the Class of 2020!

The IB Senior Celebration is an annual special tradition where families and guests honor the graduating seniors and faculty of the IB program. It includes dinner with entertainment from students, elected speakers, awards, and learner profiles, followed by DJ and dancing, new this year! A photographer will be on site, as well as the popular IB photo booth.

We encourage you to visit the website where you can find information about …  

  • Tickets! You can purchase your dinner tickets and order a keepsake advertisement of your senior that will appear in the program! Click on the ‘IB Booster Square Payment Page’ for details.
  • Sponsorship! You may also purchase a business sponsorship
  • Senior Dues! Pay your IB senior dues.
  • T-shirt Design Contest!  Students are encouraged to enter the IB T-shirt design contest.  The winning design, as decided by the students, will be printed on the Class of 2020 t-shirt.  The winner will be recognized at the Senior Celebration, and each 2020 senior will receive a free t-shirt with the winning design.
  • Student Talent! We are seeking student talent for the night’s program.  Information on how to audition is on our website.   
  • Legacy Table!  We are in search of SPHS family graduates for display at our legacy table. It’s a wonderful tradition that everyone enjoys.


Additional Information about Tickets

For your convenience, you can pay for tickets online (via the “IB Booster Square Payment Page’ link on the website), with cash, or by check made out to SPHS IB Boosters. 

*Regardless of how you pay, please complete the Senior IB Graduation Activities form (available online) and return to the IB office or via email (ibcelebration2020@gmail.com). 


We hope all our wonderful IB students and faculty, families, and guests will join us for an amazing evening together!

Any questions please contact ibcelebration2020@gmail.com

CAS Projects Encourage Giving from Students

The CAS Project, a required component for graduation in the IB Diploma Program, encourages students to be involved in Creative thinking, Action that contributes to a healthy lifestyle and Service that is a voluntary exchange with learning benefits for the student.  Students complete activities that allow their learning to extend beyond the classroom.  Many students fulfill their CAS requirements through service projects.   

Mrs. Torres recent shared these two stories of giving with the Advocate.

Gratitude Abounds Amongst IB Seniors 

Seniors in the IB Program at SPHS extended their sincere gratitude to teachers and administrators in appreciation for the hard work they do to ensure that students are successful in their academic pursuits. Mrs. Torres, coordinator of this CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) Activity, selected seniors to write personal thank-you notes to a teacher or administrator who had made an impact in their education.  The notes of appreciation, accompanied by a pair of fun socks, were presented to the teachers at Thanksgiving. 

Knots of Love 

St. Pete High students in 10th, 11th, and 12th  grades, from both the Traditional and the IB Programs, made 32 knot blankets to donate to the Wimauma Refugee Center. The project, initiated by Mrs. Torres as her own personal ‘CAS’ project, was designed in the spirit of motivating students to help their community.  The Rojans, Interact, and Key clubs also got involved, donating their time to make blankets and earning service hours for their members’ participation.

Blankets are handed out at the Wimauma Refugee Center. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Torres




Once Upon a Time at Saint Petersburg High – Prom 2020!

Saint Petersburg High will celebrate Prom on April 3, 2020 at the Coliseum from 8 P.M. – 12 A.M. The theme is “Once Upon a Time” and tickets will go on sale Monday, March 2nd in room 120-A and the Main Hallway.

Ticket information

  • Presale Tickets (March 2nd – March 27th) $45.00
  • Tickets the week of Prom (March 30th – April 3rd) $50.00

Guests who do not attend SPHS must have Guest form completed and signed by administrator PRIOR to purchasing tickets. Pick up forms in the Main office, School Website, and online.

Prom Court
Students running for Prom Court will be posted on March 4, 2020. Voting will take place in English classes March 10-12. Prom Court will be announced on March 24.

SPHS IB Class of 2019 Honored in Special Diploma Ceremony

The SPHS IB Class of 2019 was honored for their achievements in the International Baccalaureate Program during a special ceremony hosted on campus December 16, 2019.  Former students reconnected over a catered breakfast and then were presented with their IB diplomas in a program-wide ceremony. Following the presentation, a panel of 2019 graduates answered questions from current students about life after high school, including tips on preparing for, succeeding in, and enjoying your first semester of college.  Congratulations again to our IB Class of 2019!

Photo courtesy of Dana Gwaltney





Photo courtesy of Dana Gwaltney

 2019 Holiday Lunch Celebrating IB Faculty and Staff – THANK YOU!

Thank you for your donations!

The SPHS IB Boosters hosted a holiday lunch for the IB faculty and staff in appreciation for all of their hard work.  The event, hosted at Paul’s Landing at the Vinoy Hotel, was a huge success. Lunch was delicious, and each teacher received a generous gift card.  Thank you to the IB families for their kind donations!!  With your help, staff and teachers were honored for everything they do to help our students succeed. Thank you!

Hospitality News

Please mark your calendars, Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4th-8th, and we are planning a week of surprises for our teachers!  Please email Cindee at cconnon@tampabay.rr.com if you are interested in helping with this event. 

Hospitality is continually collecting items for our IB teachers and classrooms. Hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and tissues are always needed in the classrooms this time of year! We are also restocking the teacher snack cabinets and fridge. Items most needed are individually wrapped snacks, coffee k-cups, water bottles and soft drinks! The teachers are truly grateful for these donations and really appreciate being able to run to the office to grab a handful of snacks, especially on those days they forget their lunch or need an extra boost of energy.  Donations can be dropped off in the front office, please mark them IB office. 

Class of 2019 IB Diploma Breakfast and Ceremony

The SPHS IB Class of 2019 is invited to campus Monday, December 16, 2019 for a special ceremony recognizing their achievements in the International Baccalaureate Program. 

At 8:00 am,  students from the Class of 2019 will have a chance to reconnect over a catered breakfast in the cafeteria.  At 9:15 am, the IB Diplomas will be presented in the auditorium during a program-wide ceremony. Parents are invited to attend the ceremony and join SPHS staff and students in honoring and celebrating our recent grads!

Save the Date for the 2020 Senior Celebration!

Mark your Calendar for May 26, 2020 for the IB Senior Celebration!

Graduating SPHS IB seniors are invited to the IB Senior Celebration, one of two special events scheduled in May to honor our graduates.

The Senior Celebration for 2020 SPHS IB graduates will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at The Coliseum, 535 4th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. 

The graduation ceremony and procession for all SPHS seniors will occur May 23, 2020 at Tropicana Field. 

What is the Senior Celebration?

The IB Senior Celebration Dinner is an exciting evening of events that honors graduating seniors of the IB program. It typically is held in the historic Coliseum and includes awards, student talent, elected senior member speakers, and live music.  New this year will be a DJ and dancing! All of our wonderful students, IB faculty, family members, and guests are invited to attend and join in the party.

Interested in Volunteering?

The IB Senior Celebration Committee invites parents to join in planning this event.  The volunteers meet once per month.  There are several sub-committees that need the support of new volunteers to join those who have served in previous years and will mentor new volunteers. Our next meeting is Monday January 13 at 6pm (location TBA on the IB Boosters Facebook page).  Please join us! We look forward to seeing new faces. Bring a friend!

Questions? Please contact committee chairs Janice Andoniades (janiceandon@yahoo.com) and Cathy McKyton (cmckyton@msn.com).

SPHS Students and Staff join the 2019 St. Pete Santa Parade!

The SPHS community – students, staff, and families – are invited to participate in the Downtown St. Pete Illuminated Santa Parade.  Please join our school band, cheerleaders, and service clubs on Saturday November 30 to welcome the holiday season and enjoy the festivities and lights in our beautiful city.  

The parade will start at 6 pm at Albert Whitted Park and run along Bayshore Dr.  Participants are asked to gather at 5:00 pm. The Tree Lighting in North Straub Park will immediately follow the parade, approximately at  7pm. 

Additional details on meeting spot and timing will be provided as they become available. Questions or ideas?  Please contact Curt Miller at Curt@michellemillerdesign.com

What a Night! IB Pinning Ceremony

The September 26, 2019 IB Pinning Ceremony commemorated the transition of IB juniors from the pre-diploma program to their official entry into the IB Diploma Program at the start of their junior year.

The Pinning Ceremony and refreshments were sponsored by the IB Boosters.   A special appreciation to the IB Pinning Committee chair Dana Gwaltney, all the volunteers, and our speaker Elliot Bedinghaus for this memorable evening.

Thank you to our volunteers: Marion Rawls, Kelly Ewert, Rachel Agustines, Silvia Hoyt, Jennifer Lindley, Cheryl Shaughnessy, Kellie Ranalli, Dan and Alicia Farber, Elizabeth Boyce, Mary Dunham-Giglio, Emily Giglio (student), Mia Moore (student), Steven Gwaltney (student), Payton Ratkiewicz (student), Alexandra Boyce (student), Cindee Connon & hospitality committee, Suzanne Verhulst, Mrs. Derrickson, Mrs. Lane and two very talented student keyboardists who provided the musical accompaniment.

Memories in the gallery below:

Student News

Student News

SPHS IB students are involved in a wide variety of activities in addition to rigorous academics, such as arts, music, volunteering, sports, community activism, and more. The IB Advocate seeks to highlight stories of students’ creativity, activities, and achievement – both in school and in the community.

Please email the SPSHIBAdvocate@gmail.com with news you’d like to share. 



The women’s volleyball team had a strong and successful season, finishing 25-4 and earning a spot in the regional semi-finals.  

Caption:  Nicole Robison, SPHS IB class of 2021 and member of the SPHS women’s volleyball team, delivers a serve in a recent game. [Photo and news submitted by Tom Robison.]


Soccer season has started!  Look out for game dates/times on the SPHS website and in the principal’s weekly messages and come out to support all of the teams!

2019-2020 SPHS boy’s varsity soccer team. [Photos and news submitted by Jennifer Bond.]

National Honor Society 

The SPHS chapter of the National Honor Society recently inducted its new members on the evening of October 23, 2019 in the school auditorium. Among the larger group of inductees were eight longtime friends (photo below) who have gone through many years of milestones and fellowship. Congratulations to all!

A group of SPHS IB juniors, friends since kindergarten at Lakeview Fundamental Elementary, gathers for a photo after the NHS induction ceremony.  [Photo and news submitted by Wendy Fruland.]


Seb Newell, SPHS IB senior, is a member of two bands-the Part-Time Models (photo below) and Burning Days.  Burning Days recently played at the Meadowlawn Festival. You can catch them at their next show at Shopapolooza on Nov 30 at 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM.

Seb Newell, SPHS IB 2020, singing with the Part-Time Models.  [Photo and news submitted by Bridget Newell.]

Hospitality News

Hospitality News

The IB Hospitality Committee is still collecting boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes for the classrooms. We are also asking for individual grab-and-go snacks and drinks for our teachers. Donations can be dropped off in the front office, please mark them IB office. 


Looking Ahead

Once again our Hospitality committee is excited to continue the IB parent tradition of Holiday Cookie Boxes for the teachers! For the past 8 years we have filled gift boxes of home-baked and handpicked cookies for our teachers to enjoy with their families over the holiday break. They absolutely LOVE these boxed treats and look forward to them every year! The packed cookie boxes will be given to the teachers during their holiday luncheon at the Vinoy.  

If you are interested in helping our Hospitality committee fill these boxes with some of your favorite family holiday sweets, please email Cindee at cconnon@tampabay.rr.com for more details.

2019-2020 First Semester Important Dates

Important dates and events are found below.

The Pinellas County School District 2019-2020 calendar can be viewed here.

The IB Advocate calendar can be viewed here.

Please note that all dates are subject to change.

  • Nov 25 – Nov 29 – Thanksgiving Break
  • Nov 30 – SPHS walks in the Santa Parade, downtown St. Pete, 6pm
  • Dec 5 – Pinellas County Schools Discovery Night @ SPHS, 6pm
  • Dec 16 – Class of 2019 IB Breakfast (8am) and IB Diploma Ceremony (9:15am)
  • Dec 18 – SPHS IB Faculty Holiday Breakfast (details TBA)
  • Dec 20 – First semester ends
  • Dec 23 – Jan 6 – Winter break
  • Jan 7, 2020 – School resumes
  • May 26, 2020 – Save the Date – Class of 2020 Senior Celebration!

Introducing the 2019|2020 IB Boosters Board


A new school year also means a new IB Booster Board

The mission of the IB Boosters is to support the students, their families, faculty, and administration of the St. Petersburg High School International Baccalaureate program by providing financial and administrative support, disseminating information about this program, maintaining the IB Booster website, sponsoring social and study events, and performing alumni outreach.

Please welcome the following volunteers as they begin their new roles:

IB Boosters Board President: Amy Seeks 

IB Boosters Board Vice President: Curt Miller 

Secretary: Chris Klemawesch

Treasurer: David Pinto 

Membership Chair & Tee Shirt Coordinator: Beth Forys  

Senior Celebration co-Chairs: Janice Andoniades & Cathy McKytton 

Pinning Chair: Dana Gwaltney

Hospitality Chair: Cindee Connon

Advocate Editors: Hilary Stockdon & Emily Green 

If you would like to be a part of the IB Boosters or participate in related events, please contact us: sphsibadvocate@gmail.com

Volunteer Information

Welcome Back Volunteers!

There are many opportunities to volunteer at SPHS and within the IB Program. Examples include Mentor, Tutor, Speakers, PTSA, School Advisory Council, Business & Community Partnerships and Family Engagement. The students and the school benefit from the involvement of our families. Thank you for giving you time. We all appreciate and value your contribution.

Please don’t forget to use the online system to log hours you spend volunteering.

Returning Volunteers

Because PCS Volunteer profiles are marked “INACTIVE” during summer break, all returning volunteers must re-activate in the Volunteer System prior to volunteering.

To reactivate your account, sign into the Volunteer System (preferably using Google Chrome) and go to:  https://focus.pcsb.org/volunteer  

Enter your username and password: 

User ID: V. Last name, first initial

Example: Charkm

Password: Your Last name (Capitalize the first letter only) followed by the 4-digit Birth YEAR Example: Chark1990

Common last names may have additional characters or symbols as part of the user ID. If your user ID and password has not been confirmed to you by email, please contact Suzanne Pace, our school’s Family & Community Liaison. 

Please answer the criminal offense questions and be sure to click I AGREE with the confidentiality statement in order to SAVE your answers. You can update your personal information and log out in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Do NOT re-activate using any mobile device.  To do so may inadvertently answer the criminal offense questions incorrectly, which would delay your clearance. 

New Volunteers

Please visit www.pcsb.org/volunteerregistration to complete the online registration and upload your driver’s license or a photo legal ID. If you cannot upload your driver’s license, please complete the application and contact Ms. Pace, who will scan and upload it for you. After your application is processed, you will receive an email with your User ID and password, which you will use to log your volunteer hours. 

   For questions please contact Suzanne Pace, Family and Community Liaison

727-893-1842 ext. 2045 or pacet@pcsb.org

IB Pinning Ceremony

The IB Pinning Ceremony commemorates the transition of IB juniors from the pre-diploma program to their official entry into the IB Diploma Program.  The IB Pinning Ceremony is scheduled for September 26th, 2019, at 7pm in the St. Pete High School Auditorium. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for the class of 2021 to get to this point, and the best is yet to come!  

Please join us this memorable ceremony to honor our students on this wonderful success. Light refreshments will follow immediately afterwards. 

For questions or if you would like to volunteer, please contact our Pinning Chair, Dana Gwaltney 727-656-4850.


Green Devil Closet

Now in its 14th year of operation, The Green Devil’s Pantry and Closet serves any member of the SPHS family by providing students and families in need with school shirts, various clothing, undergarments, toiletries, cleaning supplies, food, and school supplies.  

For questions about what donations would be most helpful, please contact Tracey Keim at Keimt@pcsb.org or call 727-709-9841. She can share a list of current needs.

Drop off donations in the main office after school starts.  You may also have items shipped directly to Mrs. Keim at SPHS.  Follow on FB @GDPantry

Homecoming Week 2019

Homecoming week starts on September 30!

The fun begins with a week of costumes and fun outfits.  Each day carries a different theme where students are invited to dress the part and show their school spirit. Details on the themes will be released soon.

The football game is Friday night, Oct 4, at 7:30 pm vs. Tarpon Springs. We hope you can come to the game to support our team and see the recent renovations to Stewart Field. Finally, the festivities end on Saturday night with the Homecoming Dance which will be held at the school. 

 Go Green Devils!!

IB Friendly Faces

A special contribution by Makenna Myrick, SPHS IB Class of 2021 

The statement “next year I will make a change” is a quotidian declaration. It waltzes right out of the mouths of teenagers and adults alike, and just like a dancer with two left feet, it often ends up leaving the stage without any follow through. Last April, that same idea surfaced and spun around in my brain like a prima ballerina, but I was determined to give it a true opening night. 

The notion of IB Friendly Faces (IBFF) was born in an IB Student Leadership Team Meeting, which is a program headed by our IB coordinator, Mrs. Lane, in an attempt to tackle issues the IB student body deems truly important. It is no secret that the transition between eight grade and ninth grade in the IB curriculum can be a jolting experience. After I heard the anecdotes of the then-freshman representatives concerning their first few months, I realized a helping hand was imperative. My own personal adjustment to high school included many drastic mental and lifestyle changes (whether that be keeping up with my planner or working up the nerve to ask an administrator a question), and I hoped that through IBFFs those extra anxieties and moments of confusion could be reduced.

Freshman in the IB program face multi-faceted and unique problems, as they are presented with a heavier course-load, more confusing schedule, and a heightened level of responsibility compared to their traditional counterparts. In the past, there have been individuals who rose to the challenge, and others who struggled without asking for help. The purpose of IB Friendly Faces is to provide incoming freshman with immediate access to scholarly guidance, navigation information, possible tutoring opportunities, and a source of advice concerning the program or even specific assignments. Rather than the student receiving a tutor when a sub-par grade is earned, the implementation of a friendly voice to suggest tutoring or a new study approach at the onset of the year proactively creates an easy outlet for student success. Not only does this program harness the potential to decrease dropout rates, it hopefully will lead to increased interconnectedness between grades and a more amiable environment for the newcomers.

Each Freshman is assigned a Junior Mentor, who communicates with them at least once a week through email and who meets with them once a month in person. In addition, there are two optional activities on the agenda: a picnic in October and a school cleanup in November. As this program is largely self-directed, the freshman can receive as much or as little guidance as they need, but their Mentor will always be available. The optional activities also play into the social networking aspect of IBFFs. 

The principal goal is to maximize the potential for successful completion of the IB program, and we are hoping to make a difference early! Our Freshman are connected through Managebac, courtesy of our teacher liaison Marsha Carlson, and our Juniors are connected through a Facebook group as well as a planning application called Remind. Parents, if you have any questions concerning the program or would like to get involved, please join “IBFFs (IB Bffs)” on Facebook!

Announcing New Advocate Editors!

Hilary Stockdon and Emily Green

With our just-graduated IB daughter Meara O’Connor soon heading away to college, we will take off our Editor hats after publishing this most recent set of Advocate articles.  One of the rewards of four years of editing The Advocate has been learning about SPHS’ rich environment and traditions, especially its venerable IB program. We enjoyed working with many staff, faculty, and parents, and appreciate their news and photographs which help us all feel more connected with the school.  We are glad to have created the Advocate website and managed the transition to the Advocate‘s online format. It has greatly simplified the production efforts and newsletter costs, and allows us to share more and exciting pictures of our students and their activities. (more…)

Pre-IB English 2 Summer Assignment

1. Read The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang (ISBN: 978-0-14-312320- 0)

2. Write a one-page personal response to the text. Your response might include the answer to one or more of the following questions:

  • Which character in the novel are you most like? Why?
  • Were there any parts of the novel that surprised you? Explain.
  • Did the novel remind you of any other book(s) you have read? Which one(s)? Explain.
  • The acacia tree is important to Sprout. What do you think it represents? Explain.

3. Turn in your response on the first day of your freshmen English class.