Thank You COMPACT Mentors!

May 2015
UCF Legacy mentors with TCHS COMPACT Mentor of the Year
Jordan Charles (3rd from right, back row) pose with
some of the TCHS COMPACT students.
We want to recognize the many COMPACT mentors from the University of Central Florida who served our COMPACT students with valuable advice, academic tutoring, and moral support throughout the school year.  Mentors came from two programs, the UCF Legacy Leadership and Mentoring Program and the UCF chapter of I am That Girl.

Students from I Am That Girl led an inter-active workshop that focused on building positive attitude and self-esteem.

Jordan Charles, a former TCHS student and COMPACT Washington, DC Trip winner, was the one mentor who went above and beyond this year.  Jordan acted as an inspiration to her mentee who demonstrated an improvement in grades and attitude as a result of Jordan's guidance. Jordan provided support not only for her mentee, but for the entire COMPACT class.

In February Jordan brought in the UCF Legacy Leadership and Mentoring Program team to give an outstanding workshop for the students. They provided inspirational stories, valuable college information and even had t-shirts and prizes for the girls.

We are pleased to announce that Jordan Charles was selected as the Mentor of the Year for TCHS! She will receive recognition at the COMPACT Banquet in September 2014.

Thank you to every mentor who gave of their time and opened their hearts to TCHS COMPACT students this school year.

Additionally, we want to thank Mr. Tony Bolyard, UCF graduate Dana Ahmad and Mrs. JoLynn Schall for their dedication and support of the COMPACT and Service Learning Academy classes.

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and 

a push in the right direction." - John Crosby

Earth Day Every Day!

April 2014

Student-made platform shoes (size 6) made from 
denim jeans, cardboard, styrofoam layers, bottle 
caps, and aluminum sprite cans.

Ecological Footprint
Service Learning Council students conduct two major environmental service projects each year –Green Holiday in December and Earth Day in April.

This year students connected the projects through 'before and after' Ecological Footprint Calculations.

In December, after immersion in an environmental unit, students calculated their ecological footprints. (You can too! Go to this link: ) Students' calculations indicated a high usage of planetary resources, so they brainstormed and explored ways that they could reduce their individual footprints in four categories: food, shelter, mobility and goods and services. Students estimated how many planets they could reduce their footprints if they followed an ecological plan.

Students committed to eating locally produced food, less meat, gardening, and not using plastic water bottles. They took steps to conserve water and energy and to use green cleaning products. Instead of driving every day, they carpooled, biked, and walked. They recycled, composted, up-cycled, bought items with less packaging and made ecological consumer decisions. In weekly logs students recorded and reflected on their daily ecological actions.

Finally, in April students recalculated their ecological footprints to see if their plan worked in reducing their ecological footprint. Every student was successful in reducing his/her ecological footprint. Some exceeded their predictions.

Not only did students make a conscious effort to reduce their ecological footprints, they got their families and friends involved too!

Calculate your ecological footprint and then take steps to reduce it. Use this log to record your progress:
(click to enlarge)

Some student reflections on their ecological footprint reduction:
"I feel my personal plan was successful in reducing my ecological footprint because it helped me organize ways of how I was going to reduce my resources on a daily basis. I went down two Earths like I hypothesized on my planning sheet."
"I started eating less meat and my food footprint went down by 40%!" 
"For mobility I generally took my bike for short distances and car pooled for longer distances."  
"I can conclude from my new calculations that my personal planning sheet helped me to reduce my ecological footprint. I am now a greener human being." 
"I would tell others trying to reduce their footprints to stop using paper plates and paper towels. Get a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water."  
"Some advice I would give to other students trying to reduce their footprints is to start off small when you are completing your green activities. Do at least one or two activities the same each day and then after a week add more so you are not overwhelmed with too many activities. Soon it becomes habit."
Earth Day

Earth Day featured demonstrations, games, activities, up-cycled products, an ecological footprint booth and the 4th Annual Trash-In Fashion Show.  Students designed fashion and accessories from trash. A beach bag made from a kite, skirts from newspaper, trash bags and magazine pages, a purse made from a plastic dog food bag, a backpack woven from Target bags, and other original designs.

We made  posters and bulletin boards advocating environmental stewardship: water and energy conservation tips, habitat protection, recycling tips, specifics about aluminum and plastic recycling, how to calculate your ecological footprint, and more.

Students enjoyed the life-size environmental board game and face painting booth. Our environmental partner, the YAYAs joined us to promote environmental stewardship in the fields and justice for our farm workers.

The life size environmental game. Go back if
you land on  a space that wastes resources and
move ahead if you land on space to conserve!
Ashley modeled Kara's beautiful vest
made from plastic bags and wrappers

Ashley models a paper bag shirt made by
Christian (Center)
poses with Trash-in Fashion
Show MCs Jordan (left) and Adrian.

Lots of up-cycled things for sale
Sara (left ) and Paula rock newspaper and
magazine skirts on the
green carpet while Matt looks on.

Signing up at the YAYA booth

Our friends the YAYAs!

CANtastic: You CAN end hunger!

February 2014

During a month of activities that focused on migrant farm workers who put the food on our tables and hunger in Central Florida, service learning students sponsored the Fourth Annual CANtastic food drive and sculpture contest in February. Seven TCHS clubs participated to collect over 2,400 cans of food. The donations were divided between the migrant farm worker families, Health Care Center for the Homeless and the TCHS Food Pantry.

PacMan eating hunger by SLC students
Teams work on their can designs

Asian Club
Cans ready to sculpt
Skeleton by Mrs. Cestero's Art Class
The Beta Club's Homeless Group's Design
Students also hosted farm workers and advocates from the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers and YAYA, the Youth and Adult Farmworker Ministry. The groups spoke to 7 classes. Over 180 service learning students learned about the need for laws regulating child labor in the agricultural industry, and the economic, social and political plight of the state’s migrant farm workers.

The advocates from the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers shared clips from a film, Food Chains, that is scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2014. The film depicts the conditions in Florida fields and outlines the tenets of the Fair Food Program.

Lifting a 30 lb. bucket of tomatoes is not easy.
Migrant workers earn over $.50 per bucket. They
would have to pick over 2 tons of tomatoes in a
day to earn minimum wage.

YAYA's presented a lesson that
outlined the plight of the farm workers and
what can be done to improve working conditions.

YAYAs shared their experiences in advocating for
migrant workers' rights.
Some service learning students and their families also participated in the Fair Food and March for Justice rally in Lakeland, Florida to support fair wages for farm workers. Over 1,000 marcher called for justice in the fields.

All service learning students participated in the 2nd Harvest Food Bank Hunger simulation. The students selected an avatar and went through various scenarios to try to get enough food for themselves and their families with limited funds.

Green Holiday!

December 2013

Up-cycle, recycle and conserve energy during the holiday season!

The 6th Annual Green Holiday event was fun and educational! We set up booths for TCHS students to create ornaments and holiday decorations out of aluminum soda cans, plastic bottles and paper from magazines. We showed fellow students how to up-cycle maps, paper bags and newspaper to wrap gifts. We also had displays that taught about recycling aluminum, conserving energy with LED lights, how to compute your ecological footprint, and how to make ornaments from aluminum, paper, and plastic items like drinking straws, water bottles and spoons.

During December service learning students made ornaments from magazines, Capri Sun pouches, plastic products, cardboard, bottle caps and more. We sponsored a contest to see who could make the most creative and appealing ornament or decoration from up-cycled materials. Students made reindeer from cork stoppers and wire; gifts bags from woven plastic coke bottle labels; paper stars from magazines; and snow globes from glass jars and up-cycled decorations.

A gift bag made from up-cycled  plastic Coke labels and
a reindeer from corks and wire.
We updated our life-size board game that teaches how to have an environmentally friendly holiday. What's the best way to recycle a Christmas tree? What are the most environmentally friendly holiday lights? What can you up-cycle to make holiday decorations, gift tags, wrapping paper and presents?

The American Sign Language students added to the festivities by signing holiday songs. The SGA provided the sound system and DJ attracting more students to the event.

ASL students signed holiday songs.
What's Your Ecological Footprint?
During our studies, as service learning students we got to determine our ecological footprints. An ecological footprint determines your individual impact on the environment. How much land and sea do you use to sustain your life style? How does your waste impact the environment? You can find out by taking the Ecological Footprint Quiz at

Service Learning Council students analyzed their ecological footprints and created a plan to reduce them. We will be car pooling more, developing recycling plans for our households, bicycling instead of driving, and making a conscious effort to turn off lights and reduce water consumption. A few of us are even starting small gardens. Every week we will be logging our environmental efforts and activities. On Earth Day in April 2014, we will retake the ecological footprint quiz to see if our efforts had an impact on reducing our footprints. We invite you to join us in this activity!

Farm Worker Advocates Bring Life to Curriculum

November 2013

Students created this paper quilt after seeing the Apopka Farmworker's quilt.
The service learning classes were selected to pilot the curriculum created by the  Farmworker Association of Apopka and their Americorps Vista workers. Students took a look at farmworker issues studying Cesar Chavez, the founder of the United Farm Worker's union and current issues impacting migrant farmworkers. We were surprised to learn that the people who put food on our tables do not have enough to eat.

To conclude our unit, for two amazing days we had several farm worker advocates share interactive lessons to teach the plight and issues of Central Florida's farmworkers. The lessons were overseen by Jeannie Economos who is involved in social justice aspects of the farmworkers, as well as, the impact of pesticides on farm workers. Caroline St. Clair from the Farmworker Association of Apopka led the first day of lessons.

We learned that chemicals and pesticides not only poisoned Lake Apopka, but harmed many of the farmworkers who were exposed to them. We learned how low the wages are too low for the difficult work that farmworkers do. Minimum wage and child labor laws do not apply to the agricultural industry. We also got to experience first hand how difficult it is to pick oranges. Ms. Economos brought a sack that holds 135 pounds of oranges. Try to carry that on a ladder!

The Service Learning Council thanks all of the great teachers and advocates who came to share their curriculum with us. It was educational and fun!

SLC students look at the beautiful memorial quilt that was
created by Apopka farmworkers to tell their story.
Learn more at the
Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilt site.

Posing with the quilt.

Ms. Economos, Caroline St. Clair and Mrs. D.
look at student surveys.

Food Drives

November 2013

Nancy Martinez loads some of the food collected
for the Health Care Center for the Homeless.

Hunger is an issue that service learning students address throughout the year. This year we studied hunger in Central Florida and then sponsored a food drive to replenish the TCHS Food Pantry, which was empty at the beginning of the year. Parents and students donated over 2,500 nonperishable food items.

The H.O.P.E. Team from the Health Care Center for the Homeless contacted the Service Learning Council to request that we collect Ensure, Boost, Gatorade and easy open canned food for homeless cancer patients. Once again students and parents stepped up to donate boxes upon boxes of drinks and food.

In October Ms. Schall told the Service Learning Council that the food pantry was almost empty again. Once again, the service learning students held a food drive to fill the pantry. Some of the food that we collected was used to make Thanksgiving baskets for needy families. We also adopted a family to provide a food basket for Thanksgiving.

In February we will be sponsoring CANtastic, a school-wide food drive and can sculpturing contest to collect food for the pantry and for the Health Care Center for the Homeless. We hope you'll donate so that no family goes hungry!

SLC Sponsors Red Ribbon Events

October 2013

SLC students pose at the Red Ribbon Day event

Service learning students sponsored a host of activities in October to promote a safe and drug free school. Students worked in team to create dozens of bulletin boards to post around the campus. They also wrote 20 public service announcements for the Grim Reaper to read to Wolf TV. The announcements warned of the dangers of using drugs including cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs and Molly.

The Service Learning Council sponsored Celebrate My Drive, an initiative by State Farm Insurance aimed at teaching students safe driving habits. Letters home to parents and a school-wide call by Mr. Bolyard got more parents and students to participate. The Grim Reaper also announced Celebrate My Drive on WOLF TV.

Guest speakers,including Melissa Hall from M.A.D.D. spoke to students about the dangers of drinking and driving. She also set up a booth at Red Ribbon Day and handed out bracelets and pamphlets to students.

Red Ribbon Day featured the drunk driving simulation. Over 160 service learning students made buildings to scale to create a mock city. Students drove remote control cars through the city with and without drunk driving goggles to see how difficult it is to drive under the influence.

Students also set up displays to teach about cigarette and tobacco use and other drugs.

A celebrity cemetery featured tombstones of celebrities who died from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Teachers and classes were invited to participate in a door decorating contest to teach the dangers of drug use. Ms. Cestero's art class took first place!

Ms. Cestero' students pose by the door that they decorated.

Students set up a tables of informational displays and invited
students to sign drug-free pledges.

The celebrity cemetery 
Melissa Hall and Jesus manned the M.A.D.D. booth
The Grim Reaper promotes
Celebrate My Drive

Students take turns driving with drunk simulation goggles

SLC Students Take Top Awards in OCPS Red Ribbon Contests

October 2013

Seven service learning students won top prizes in the county-wide Red Ribbon Day Contest!

Poster Contest:   Jocelyn Moreno –first place, Sarah Marriott- second place, Andrea Lazzo - third place. The students' posters will be included in next year's drug-free calendar.

Essay Contest: Brandon Salazar –first place.

Pubic Service Announcement Contest: – Nhu Duong, Elina Chinfatt, and Paula Campensino – first place. The three students who won the PSA contest will be recording their public service announcement in the Clear Channel radio studio for broadcast in Orlando.

The winning students received trophies, certificates from Mayor Jacobs, Target gift certificates and other prizes. Mrs. Sharon Warner and Ms. Eileen Bond came to TCHS to present the prizes to the winners.

Nhu with Ms,. Warner (left) and Mrs, Bond
Congratulations to the students for spreading the drug-free message to the student body and community!

Green School Award

Mrs. D. ,Jesus M. and Jessica G. received the Green School Award for the class division at the October 2013 Banquet in Orlando. They received a beautiful plaque and $500.

The Service Learning Council promotes environmental stewardship throughout the year at TCHS, feeder schools and across the district. From the program:
"The Service Learning Council of Timber Creek High School's goals were to expand their green curriculum to encourage recycling and up-cycling, and to promote a culture of environmental sustainability. Students sponsored a life-size board game, school-wide telephone book recycling drive, taught up-cycling to students and community members, organized a Trash-In Fashion Show, sold up-cycled products, created 24 k-12 activities for the Orange County Public Schools Green Day event, collected funds to build a well in the Sudan, partnered with the global Peace Film Festival and educated nearly 1,00o students about water scarcity in Florida and the U.S."
The Service Learning Council is proud to be affiliated with the Florida Green School Network.

It Can Wait -Don't Text and Drive!

September 2013

Chris hold up one of the bulletin boards created to discourage texting and driving.

The Service Learning Council promoted AT&T's It Can Wait campaign at TCHS. Service learning students participated in a series of lessons about texting and driving then brought  the message of the dangers to the student body through bulletin boards and an event in the courtyard.

Students signed the It Can Wait Pledge and received stickers to place on their dashboards to remind them not to text and drive.

SLC students pose with our deputy by the It Can Wait pledge table.

Students try to bounce a balloon while texting to
demonstrate how difficult it is to text and drive.
Learn more about the dangers of texting and driving at It Can Wait!