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Diplomat Elementary students celebrate another ‘A’ year

By Staff | Nov 26, 2014

The kids at Diplomat Elementary School dressed up in pirate garb as they spent a couple hours playing games, having fun, and celebrating yet another successful year.

The school celebrated another “A” ranking by the Lee County school system with a special celebration on Monday, where students were allowed to take their hair down share in the success of the school.

The ranking or celebration is nothing new, as Diplomat has earned “A” status 11 years running. And this time, rather than a spring celebration, they did it in the fall, with the theme being pirates

“We call them Bookaneers, and they’re wearing pirate hats and clothes.” said Mara Vertress, principal. “It’s just a day to celebrate being a part of the Diplomat family. It’s a thank you for everyone for working so hard.”

Donna Lauricella, a third-grade teacher, said it takes a lot of work from the teachers to make it happen.

“Diplomat is a very integrated school where we pull together like family. My students are another teacher’s students and vice-versa. We share in the success of the students. That’s the secret,” Lauricella said. “Our families are also very involved in the children and very supportive.”

Students K-5 went out in waves, spending 30 minutes apiece at the four play stations set up by the teachers, administration and the more than 100 parent volunteers who helped put the event on.

“We believe in parent involvement. We think it’s an important part of making a successful school, so we get them out here,” Vertress said. “We all work together and communicate and that helps us to maintain our rating.”

Crystal Tortosa, a volunteer who has two children at Diplomat, manned the snow cone station, said it was important to support the kids and reward them for all the work they do.

“It’s nice to sit back, relax and watch them enjoy their day and good work. The kids look forward to this day and all the activities going on. They work hard for it,” Tortosa said.

There were bounce houses, a dunking booth and a pirate DJ who let the students sing karaoke, and that was just one station.

There was also limbo, flag football, an obstacle course, face painting and much more.

The biggest line was at the dunking booth, where students got the rare opportunity to get a measure of revenge on their teachers for giving them too much homework or other things.

Joel Martin, a fifth-grader, stood in line, eager to get her wet. He also knew what the day meant.

“I’m proud of us. We and the teachers work hard,” Martin said.

After the celebration, the students (in keeping with their status) went back to class and, among other things, learned about pirates.

Perhaps Mya McDonald, third-grader, said it best about why they get to celebrate every year.

“The teachers are nice and helpful and love the students and work together. My parents make me work hard,” McDonald said. “I glad we have this because it gives us two things to remember; to work hard and the love each other.”