District honors three students for academic achievements

Three Gulf District Schools students received recognition for academic achievements during the district’s Feb. 1 school board meeting.

Luke Lentz, a junior from Port St. Joe High School, was awarded the Sunshine State Scholar Program’s award, which is presented to the state’s top 11th graders in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.

To be considered for the award, students must have junior class standing, be on track to qualify for the Florida Academic Scholars Award, have a weighted GPA of 3.9 or higher and have demonstrated interest in pursuing STEM-related postsecondary studies.

Lentz hopes to pursue a career in structural engineering so he can work to design structures better suited to survive natural disasters.

“I know firsthand that our communities are not designed with proper mitigation technologies to reduce the impact of rising seas and stronger winds,” he said at the meeting.“My mission is to provide safety and security for generations to come.”

The school board also celebrated the accomplishments of two Wewahitchka High School students, James Taylor Cozart and Braxton Durden, who achieved simultaneous dual industry certification in carpentry and welding.

In order to receive both certifications, the boys had to pass 29 online tests and corresponding performance tasks and complete over 500 hours of instruction and work.

“The program is very unique in that it is a blended program, with both carpentry and welding under the same roof. And that’s possible because the overseeing agency governs both of those crafts and the core curriculum for both crafts is the same,” said Lori Price, the district’s assistant superintendent for instruction. “Most students either opt to take the welding route or the carpentry route, and these fellows chose to tackle both.”

All of the honored students were called to the front of the room, where they were presented with their awards and congratulated by school board members.



Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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