A Farewell Interview with IB Coordinator Susan Farias (gallery)

Mrs. Farias at March IB Freshman Registration

After 25 years at St. Petersburg High School including 12 years as SPHS IB Coordinator, Susan Farias will retire on June 6, 2018.  At the IB Boosters General Membership Meeting and the Senior Celebration gathering, Ms. Farias received an outpouring of gifts and appreciation for her tireless, caring and expert leadership.  During her tenure here, approximately 2,100 students started the IB program with 1,406 seniors graduating. (more…)

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Summer Assignments for IB Chemistry for Juniors & Seniors

Class 2020 – Rising Juniors: IB Chemistry 1

Students should review rules for writing chemical names and formulas, including brushing up on ions.  There will be a quiz during the first class meeting.

Class 2019 – Rising Seniors: IB Chemistry 2

Background, safety, materials list and procedure for individual investigation will be due, uploaded to Manage Bac, prior to the start of school.  Check the class calendar in Manage Bac for the exact deadline.

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July 25 Athletic Physical Exams & Notary

Many SPHS sports and some extra curricula activities require physical examinations and at least one school district form that has to be notarized by parents.

For parent and student convenience, physical exams will be conducted on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 5-7 pm in the SPHS Media Center. All athletic paperwork can be completed and notarized on this date.

Parents please plan to attend with your student.   The cost of the physical exam is $20.00 … CASH ONLY!

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Victory at the Great Debate…Yet Again! 5 Years in a Row.

Congratulations to the IB students who represented SPHS as both 1st Place Winners and 1st Runners Up at the April 25th Great Debate sponsored by the Clearwater Bar Association.   This event was a follow-up to the preliminary Great Debate that occurred in April 20 and reported here.

This is the fifth year in a row that SPHS has won the Fogle Trophy, which is like the Stanley Cup of Debate.  All the students won cash prizes and plaques. The winning team has a newly engraved plaque on the Fogle Trophy. (more…)

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Sophomores Connect with Spanish Pen Pals in Galicia, Spain (gallery)

Ms. Gisela Torres’ sophomores enjoyed a Pen Pal project this year.  After an HL Spanish student had been pen pals with someone in Ireland for CAS, she reached out to Ms. Torres to attempt to add someone from a Spanish-speaking school.  They tried for months without success to establish correspondence with various schools in Spain, Argentina, and Chile.  They finally found a school in Galicia, Spain that was willing to correspond. (more…)

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Two IB Students Nab State NHD Competition Awards

Sophia HIrst at the state contest.

Congratulations to IB sophomores Sophia Hirst and Sophia Vesely for winning awards in the very competitive state-level National History Day (NHD) event held in Tallahassee on May 8.  Sophia Hirst won 2nd place in the Research Paper division and Sophia Vesely placed 3rd in the Individual Website division.



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Angeline Friel Wins Mayor’s Youth Showcase Award

Angeline Friel

Angeline Friel was awarded first place in the 2018 Mayor’s Youth Showcase of Achievement held on May 17, 2018.  This annual event highlights Pinellas County’s most talented students at the Mahaffey Theater with performances, accolades, visuals, and awards given for eight different categories.  (more…)

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Band Banquet includes Awards, Announcements, and Farewells

Band Seniors & Mr. Vaadi at Band Banquet

The annual Band Banquet on May 4, 2018, commemorated this year’s marching band season and concert band performances.  At the banquet, Mr. Cameron Vaadi, Director of Bands, said farewell to the SPHS band community.  He is leaving SPHS and will start advanced graduate studies in French Horn performance at the University of Florida next Fall.


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Two McCormacks Win Two Emily Lester Awards

At the annual Awards Ceremony, there is both an award and a scholarship provided in memory of former IB student, Emily Lester: the Emily Lester Memorial Scholarship, awarded to an IB senior, and the Emily Lester Award, awarded to one or two IB freshmen.

At this year’s May 11 Awards Ceremony, IB senior Caolifhinn McCormack won the Emily Lester Memorial Scholarship.  Tricia Previtera Lester, Emily Lester’s mother, presented the scholarship to Caolifhinn and was unaware that Caolifhinn had been the 9th grade winner of the Emily Lester Award.  This was the first time a student had won both awards!

The family story gets better:  Caolifhinn’s younger brother, IB freshman Shane McCormack, was one of the two winners of the Emily Lester Award this year too! (Hannah Arthur was the other freshman winner.) (more…)

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Alumnus Amani Holder (’14) Heads for Doctoral Studies

Amani Holder (’14) share her graduate school plans and other exciting news in a note to IB Guidance Counselor Ms. La’Tina Johnson:

April 20, 2018

Hello Mrs. Johnson,

I know you may not remember me, but my name is Amani Holder, and I was a graduate of the IB program in 2014. As I get closer to graduating from Spelman College, I have been reflecting on people who have been instrumental in my success, and you are one of those individuals. I want to thank you for advocating for me when I was in high school, for pushing me to apply to as many places as I wanted and helping me get into Spelman. Without you, I would not have made it to college, and for that, I will be forever grateful. (more…)

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Introducing Your 2018-2019 IB Boosters Board

2018-2019 IB Booster Board

For those who came to the Annual General Membership Meeting on Wednesday May 16, 2018 – thank you for taking part and we hope you enjoyed it.

Meet your Board for the 2018/2019 academic year! Please feel free to reach out directly to any IB Boosters Board Member if you want to get involved. There are always exciting projects available if you want to help our IB Program at SPHS!

Thank you for all your support!

Maria Kast-Ondraczek, President





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WSJ Article Review: The Decision that Hurts Your Chances of Getting into Harvard

The Wall Street Journal recently published “The Decision That Hurts Your Chances of Getting into Harvard” (3/28/2018).  The article describes how early decision applicants are accepted at a rate two to three times higher than students who apply for admission later in the general admissions pool. Some schools accept as many as 40% to 50% of their admissions through early acceptance.  (more…)

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Caoilfhinn McCormack Organizes Event for Clean Water Charity (gallery)

Senior Caoilfhinn McCormack organized “Words for Water,” an evening program in February that raised funds for charity: water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.  The event raised $260 to bring clean drinking water to two families.  (gallery below) (more…)

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World Languages Showcase: Student & Teacher Recognition (gallery)

Pam Benton, Pinellas County’s PreK-12 World Languages Specialist, recognized teachers and student participants in the 2018 World Languages Showcase held on April 23.   She wrote, “We enjoyed everything from French skits and poetry declamations to an explanation of mate tea and its origins.  A highlight of the evening was “What I’ve Learned” from the students at Morgan Fitzgerald, and St. Petersburg High School students explaining their projects in fluent Spanish.”  (more…)

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