Collier County Public Schools New Beginnings Celebrates Memorial Day
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Strong, young voices rang out in song and poetry, honoring veterans during a pre-Memorial Day Celebration Friday.
Precision marching and straight backs in an aura of pride and smiles marked this honors day at New Beginnings, the partnership alternative school between the Collier County Public Schools and the E. T. Brisson Detachment of the Marine Corps League.
The U. S. Flag waved in the slight breeze under the morning sun for the outdoor event attended by parents, school personnel, military personnel, police officers and community dignitaries.
A bitter sweet moment honored Principal Bill Spano’s foresight over a decade ago when he started the New Beginnings schools; it was his last celebration before retirement. Captain Eric Peltz presented him with an engraved, memorial Marine Corps sword from the New Beginnings staff.
“This is a phenomenal program” said James Ivy, parent to New Beginnings student, John Ivy, age 14. “His academics just shot way up. I work long hours, and the extra support from the captain over the summer was an additional help. The discipline and classroom structure made up for early years of missed basics. I just can’t say enough positive about the program.” Collier County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kamala Patton, confirmed her support for New Beginnings. “Definitely, no budget cuts will end this program. These are special kids who learn a new approach to making positive choices, not only changing their lives but also those of other students when they return to the regular classrooms – students remember how they were and notice the changes. Benefits to the community outweigh costs.”
Collier Commissioner Jim Coletta was “amazed at New Beginning’s success stories and the integral role of the Marine Corps League. It’s remarkable how previously troubled youth become responsible adults who will one day learn the skills needed by businesses in their community. As we grow jobs, we need all the skilled workers, not just the privileged but also those from troubled backgrounds that will be a credit to employers one day because they experienced New Beginnings. Corporations might want to look at New Beginnings as a program deserving their sponsorship.”
The Marine Corps League supports New Beginnings with staff, Marine Corps Esprit guidelines, rewards for exceptional performance and one on one tutoring. They recently took on the challenge to sponsor the purchase of iPads for all New Beginnings instructors.
Additional corporate sponsorships will help them provide each student with an IPad, piggy backing on research by local private schools that also provide iPads to students. New Beginnings students will not be last in technology thanks to the generosity of their Marine Corps partners and the community.
This technology is intended to fill education gaps efficiently so students mainstream back to regular classrooms sooner.
Myra Daniels, founder and former CEO of the Naples Philharmonic, participated in the IPAD seminar that followed the Memorial Day ceremony. She recently took three deserving New Beginnings students to a Philharmonic presentation.
She studied her first IPAD with the New Beginnings Science teacher. “I’m hooked on New Beginnings after my recent contact with teachers and students. I have a background in teaching; but I’m taking one day at a time as I determine how involved I might become. I was telling my attorney about the program and he said, ‘you’re addicted – a good addiction.’”
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