Soaring Above the Horizon

Soaring Above the Horizon

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Soaring Above The Horizon

BIG East Coast Adventure 2018

Some of you may know that I love to cycle. I’ve ridden from Grand Falls, Canada to Daytona International Speedway, Florida. That’s about 2300 miles on my bicycle. Through these miles I’ve raise a lot of money for Annie’s Angels. This year I decided I would finish riding the eastern seaboard by riding from Key West to Daytona Beach, Florida. This was to be strictly a personal challenge and to be able to say, “I rode a bicycle from Route 1 mile 0 into Canada.” Somehow it just didn’t feel right. Riding for no reason at all when I could be helping even if its not seacoast New Hampshire.

Diane and I have personally supported our niece Jenny, who is a teacher at Horizon Elementary for years, sending supplies and clothing. This is a very special school helping many special families including homeless children and children with special needs get an education and they help parents get into a better situation. So, for this reason I’ve decided to ride this final BIG East Coast Adventure to help support Horizons Elementary School.

Please learn more about Horizons Elementary in the About the School section below. Please consider making your tax deductible contribution today.

About the School

Horizons Elementary is the largest elementary school in Polk County Public School District. We serve 1,378 students which is a 69% population growth over the past five years. Minority enrollment in our school is 76% of the student body which is greater than the state average of 61%. This population is comprised of mainly Hispanic students which accounts for 435 of our students learning English as their second language. We have 153 students with exceptionalities as well. Overall, 985 of our students are considered economically disadvantaged. In spite of the obstacles which our students’ face, their performance has raised our school grade from a D in the 2015-2016 school year to a B for both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school year.

Our school resides within Polk County School District which is the seventh largest in Florida and thirty largest in the United States. It is more than 1,850 square miles and uses approximately 511 school buses. Buses transport 49,000 students traveling 41,667 miles daily. Polk County has identified 954 students who are homeless with two percent of the homeless students classified as wanderers who sleep in cars and empty lots. The HEARTH program, a Florida initiative, began in 1991 to help our homeless students in Florida. As of 2014, the average age of a homeless person in Florida was 9 years old. There were over 3,793 homeless students in the state of Florida.

Our students receive assistance in the form of free breakfasts and lunches daily during the school year and summer. In addition, select students take home food bags for the weekend with nonperishables to assist with families who are considered economically disadvantaged. In spite of this assistance, many of our students’ families struggle to meet their educational needs. This includes being able to send in crayons, pencils, and other necessary supplies as well as being able to provide clean uniform clothes. Our teachers provide these necessary materials so that the students can complete their work at home and at school. In addition, our students are in most need of clean socks, underwear, pants, shirts, and personal hygiene items which we rely on community donations to fulfill.