Students rave about summer internship program, utility easement granted to city of Palm Coast
At the start of each Flagler County School board meeting one member is tasked with giving “Thought of the Day.” On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Andy Dance had not only ‘done his homework,’ he also included some extra credit.
Dance presented the board with a video taken at Flagler Palm Coast High School where he asked students and teachers what inspires and motivates them.
“The bar has been raised,” chairwoman Coleen Conklin told the other members.
Student science intern training program
Two Flagler Palm Coast High School students, Nicole Fuller and Garrett Monroe, told the board members about their experiences at the University of Florida’s Student Science Training Program. They were two of 90 students chosen nationwide to attend the 7-week intern program this past summer.
“They have relentlessly pursued perfection and distinguished themselves from their peers,” said FPC Principal Dusty Sims. “Not many get accepted into this program.”
Garrett told the board his participation in the UF summer program totally changed his outlook concerning his university choices and a career.
“I experienced something I would never have been able to do otherwise,” he said. “I saw what it was like to be surrounded by 90 other students determined and dedicated to do what hasn’t been done.”
Nicole gave the board a glimpse of what a typical day was like.
“We worked 9:30 to 5, Monday through Thursday,” she said. “I didn’t have any research experience and I was given a $15,000 microscope to use. I was afraid I was going to break it.”
The board was notably impressed with the students, even if they may not have understood all of the scientific description.
“I am so incredibly inspired by your comment. It leaves one very hopeful for the future,” Conklin said. “What way can we support a high school environment so students at the high school level can have some of these in depth experiences?”
Garrett responded, pointing out that the cost of the equipment they were using, some costing millions of dollars, was obviously not in the school district budget, but said there were ways to encourage students by giving them a basic and fundamental thirst for knowledge.
“Give someone a situation where they want and need to find an answer,” he said.
Utility Easement for Palm Coast
Jim Landon, the city of Palm Coast’s city manager approached the board with a “housekeeping item,” a utility easement for a reclaimed water line that was installed under the sidewalk. The city was granted the easement for the sidewalk in April, 2015 but that did not include the easement for the water line, a job that was completed without additional input from the school board.
“Why was the work done without being approved by the board?” asked board member Janet McDonald.
Landon explained that he made the decision in an attempt to get the work completed before school started.
“Yes, I made the decision, a common sense decision from my standpoint,” Landon said.
The board approved the easement, after the fact, and Landon apologized for not contacting the board for approval.
“The process should have been reviewed and handled differently,” Conklin said. “Even though it looks like common sense, there is still a process and procedure we have to follow. It’s all part of building that community. Please know in the future that if we need to hold an emergency board meeting that is something we would do.”