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On Terrapin Day, every Tampa Prep student participated in a service project with classmates by taking on a cause and donating their time to that specific organization. From serving meals to the homeless to helping children of migrant workers, students learned the value of volunteering their time and the impact it has on others.

Students work together to clean
the kitchen at Metropolitan Ministries.
After cleaning, the students took
over the kitchen to prepare food for the clients.

Each ninth grader spent half of the day making a difference in the Tampa Bay community by volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries. Students prepared food and cleaned in the kitchen, worked on the environmental services team beautifying the campus, sorted clothing and food donations, organized the outreach department's clothing store and helped out in the daycare.

During the second part of the day, ninth graders watched the film, The Good Lie, which provides an example of how everyday people can become "heroes" by deciding to be upstanders in their community. This film complements the "History for Global Change" project that ninth graders are currently working on in class this semester. Students are researching a current global social or environmental issue and documenting their own action plan on how they can make an impact in support of the issue they selected.

Stephanie R. works with a student from RCMA
to create a friendship bracelet.
Varsity Basketball player Jaren P. helps
RCMA students with their basketball shots.

On Terrapin Day, the sophomore class and advisors welcomed 121 visiting students (and seven teachers) from Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) with smiles, activities, and even some Spanish conversation. The second-, third- and fifth-grade RCMA students travelled to Tampa Prep to spend a few hours getting to know their Upper School buddies. The kids were impressed that we have to use the stairs every day because our school building is more than one floor high. The students rotated through an eight-station activity schedule, learning about robotics, playing basketball and tug-of-war, writing stories about their favorite animals, and making friendship bracelets and getting their faces painted. Four sophomore girls choreographed a short dance that all RCMA students learned, and after lunch, they led the full group in performing the dance in the gym for all their new Tampa Prep friends. It was an incredibly fun and energetic day, and a lot of students - both the young visitors and their teenage guides - made friends whom they will remember for a long time. Many thanks to TPPA for providing lunch for RCMA as well as to all who helped plan the activities! Check out this incredible video created by Owen C., Zach R. and Alex R. about the sophomores' experience on Terrapin Day!

Working together, juniors sort through
over 10,600 pounds of food.
After sorting through a lot of donations, students
were excited to learn that it will provide
almost 9,000 meals to people in need!

Fifty-one juniors and their advisors actively volunteered in two shifts at Feeding Tampa Bay during Terrapin Day 2017. Feeding Tampa Bay, part the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the more than 700,000 hungry in the 10-county area of West Central Florida. Our students made an immediate impact in our local community by sorting, loading, and stocking over 10,600 pounds of food which will lead to nearly 9,000 meals for our hungry neighbors.

Allie H. conducts an Erosion Lab with Frost Elementary students.

The other half of the Junior class volunteered at Frost Elementary where alumna Amanda Steel, '09 currently works as a 4th grade Science teacher. Our students were spread throughout the K-5 classrooms, with each Tampa Prep Terrapin doing something slightly different. For example, some students made shrinky dinks with the kindergarten art students. Others worked individually with students on math problems or reading work. Still others helped a teacher create a bright new bulletin board for her classroom. The students in Ms. Steel's room helped setup, run and debrief a science laboratory experiment. While each experience was unique, across the board our Juniors made a difference at Frost Elementary School on Terrapin Day.

Student drivers head off
on their routes to deliver food.
After delivering food, students returned
to help make the next delivery in the kitchen.

Seniors who volunteered at Meals on Wheels met with Executive Director Steve King and Volunteer Manager Ida Pagan to learn how to deliver the meals. After learning the basics, the students headed off on the nine different delivery routes assigned to each vehicle - these routes went from the north west area of Hillsborough County near the Veterans Expressway, south to the MacDill AFB area, east of Ybor, and south into Riverview. The cars returned to the Meals on Wheels office where the students were treated to the meal that they had delivered. They then took a tour of the kitchen and met the chef. Some students were fascinated by the process of packing the food - so Julianne R., Allie B., Julianne H., and Aaron M. replaced the MOW kitchen staff and got a truly hands-on experience. The finale of the day was to help Meals On Wheels prepare for their upcoming fundraiser by getting the mailed invitations ready, cleaning up the outside of the office, or making "just because" cards for the recipients. This Terrapin Day experience is truly a special opportunity for students to make a difference in others' lives.

With the help from their teachers, students
created a volcano to showcase
to the children at Just Elementary.
Students throw a big party
for the students complete
with fun outdoor games.

On Terrapin Day, thirty seniors attended Just Elementary. While there, our seniors ran a Field Day with stations with multiple erupting volcanos, basketball, reading and more! Over the course of the day, 300 students from head start to fifth grade were able to play and learn from Tampa Prep students and staff. In addition to the Field Day, Just Elementary unveiled its new Monthly Birthday Club. This program celebrates all students who have had a birthday over the past month. While at Terrapin Day, over 180 birthdays (August-January) were celebrated. Each student received a handmade birthday card and gift bag. We had a wonderful time and look forward to building the relationship between Just Elementary and Tampa Prep.

Natalie F. delivers her Declamation to the residents.

Seniors who visited Brookdale Bayshore - Senior Living had a lot of fun spending time with the residents playing card games, noodle ball and sharing stories about their lives. A few students presented their Declamations and left the residents incredibly impressed with their amazing presence and poise. After a pizza lunch, the students continued to talk to the residents about their lives and shared stories about what it is like to be a teenager today. A few students offered technology help to the residents in need of assistance with their computers. Volunteering at Brookdale Bayshore gives our seniors the opportunity to broaden their outlook by meeting people with very different life experiences.

Three senior advising groups spent Terrapin Day with third, fourth and fifth graders at St. Peter Claver Catholic School. The day began with an iPad activity in basic coding. Each Terrapin was teamed with two Lions, and the students created different mini games that reinforced coding concepts. All of the classes then enjoyed a lunch together, followed by an afternoon of field activities, including basketball games, dancing, and soccer. The day closed with plenty of goodbye hugs and a group picture under the pavilion.

David C., Jeycob M., Henry M., Connor W. and Ryan C. make final adjustments
on their robot before the competition begins.

The Middle School VEX team 727E competed in the VEX States Championships along with 24 other teams. This is the first time Tampa Prep has fielded a Middle School team and that team qualified for states in their first year!

It was a tough competition with many close matches, but the team consisting of Connor White, Jeycob Mason-Diaz, Henry Matthews, Ryan Curtis, David Collison, Zachary Carlson and Jorge Rodriguez was ultimately defeated in the quarterfinals. These students have worked very hard. In this competition, the strategy was to perform a high hang with the robot, which was to hook onto a corner tube and pull the robot up 12 inches. In the end, the team did manage to do a high hang in the quarterfinal, but they lost by 3 points in the final match.

Congratulations to the Middle School team for a strong first showing at VEX States! We look forward to seeing the Middle School program continue to grow in the coming years.

Connor W., Zach C. and Jorge R. are ready to take on the competition!


Middle School students walked along Tampa's Riverwalk after raising money
for The Rosa Valdez Early Childhood Learning Center.

In the Middle School, students kicked off Terrapin Day with a Book Drive to collect materials for The Rosa Valdez Early Childhood Learning Center. Middle School students collected many books, raised money to sponsor children at Rosa Valdez and participated in their own version of the Wonder Walk along Riverwalk! All together, Tampa Prep raised $3,451 for The Rosa Valdez Early Childhood Learning Center, which will pay for 3.4 scholarships for students in need.

Sixth graders had a long line of cars
throughout their entire car wash!
Students get serious about getting the cars clean.

Sixth grade students hosted a car wash at Tampa Prep to benefit The Rosa Valdez Early Childhood Learning Center. Throughout their entire car wash, there was a line of dirty cars waiting to be cleaned. These students were busy all morning!

After a great morning volunteering, the
Tampa Prep 7th graders gathered
for a group picture.
Students prepare fun activities
for the students of A Brighter
Community.

Some seventh grade students visited A Brighter Community Preschool where they participated in fun activities with the young students. Our students facilitated crafts and educational activities.

Seventh and eighth graders worked hard
completing gardening projects on the playground.
On the playground, Tampa Prep students put together
a variety of fun projects for the younger children.

The rest of the seventh graders and some eighth graders volunteered at The Rosa Valdez Early Childhood Learning Center. At Rosa Valdez, students rotated through the preschool classrooms to work with children and complete garden projects on the playground.

Eighth graders work together to prepare
meals for Metropolitan Ministries.
Diego C. organizes bacon to be
cooked for the clients' meals.

Students volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries and Feeding America Tampa Bay restocked food pantry shelves and organize donations, as well as assist the chefs in creating a few prepared meals for clients.

At Feeding America Tampa Bay, eighth graders
organized donated food.
After organizing the donations into boxes,
students hauled the donations to a new area.

To wrap up a great Terrapin Day, Middle School students enjoyed a fun-filled Field Day. They participated in a variety of friendly competitions. In the end, the Red team ultimately won, but all participants had a great time!

Ms. Embry's team competes
in a fun leap frog competition.
Student pass a wet sponge
over their heads to a bucket in the back.
STEM students meet Dr. Mathias to discuss his research on genetic algorithms.

Students enrolled in the STEM Concentration visited Florida Southern College to meet with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Dr. David Mathias. The Computer Science Department has recently added 15 new courses which are housed in three major areas of concentration (Web and Cloud, Supercomputers and Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence). He proceeded to explain in further detail his specific research with genetic algorithms, Optimization and P vs. NP problems. This was a wonderful demonstration of what awaits these students if they continue to pursue a STEM career.

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