All posts by Cory Skeates


Kathleen Middle School Students Win Top Honors, Travel to National Conference

Kathleen Middle School is proud to let you know that two FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) members, Veronica Puma and Clayton Cox, competed recently at State Competitive Events and earned a gold medal and took first place.  This award earns them the honor and opportunity to represent Kathleen Middle School and the state of Florida at the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California this July.

The Category they earned this award in is Chapter Service Display for their Community Service Project—Pack a Santa Sack (PASS).  This project brought awareness throughout the school about domestic violence and its effect on children and families displaced by domestic abuse.  The chapter “adopted” three families, 11 kids and three moms who with the help of the school and community were provided with gifts, food, pampering and a night out.  It was a very fulfilling project.

FCCLA Advisor Vikki Jackson will also be honored at the National Conference with the FCCLA National Spirit of Advising Award. This award is a great honor to receive. She is also representing the entire state of Florida for FCCLA.

To compete this summer, students need to raise $3,300 for registration, hotel, transportation, fees and meals for the July 8-14 Conference. Due to the amount of money we need and the timeframe we have to raise the money we are reaching out to local businesses for help. To show our appreciation for your help any company donating money will be on our banner on the side of the school designated for car riders. This will show our families who helped us and free advertising for your business.

KMS would appreciate any assistance your organization would be able to donate.  Please contact Advisor, Mrs. Vikki Jackson at (863) 815-6555 or Kathleen Middle School Principal, Mr. Brett Butler at (86) 853-6040.


Tonight, PSC Commencement Hosts FL College System Chancellor, Recognizes Local Golf Course Designer

Polk State College will hold its 104th Commencement on May 5, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lakeland Center Arena in Lakeland, Florida. According to College officials, this event will be among Polk State’s largest in history and include an address by the Chancellor of the Florida College System and the presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus Award to a world-famous golf course designer.

Over 700 students will be eligible to march at the Commencement. Most of those (about 73%) will receive associate in arts (AA) degrees, which are parallel and transferable to state universities or for continuing in Polk State’s Bachelor of Applied Science programs. Another 20% will receive associate in science (AS) and associate in applied science (AAS) degrees, while about 3% will receive bachelor of applied science (BAS) degrees. The remaining graduates will receive various workforce-related program certificates.

The Commencement Address will be delivered by Dr. Willis N. Holcombe, who has served as Chancellor of The Florida College System since October 2007. The Florida College System is the primary access point to higher education in the state and serves more than 887,000 students.

During Holcombe’s tenure, the state system has achieved national recognition for both the scale of its service and the advances that have been made in academic quality and community engagement. According to Dr. Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College, the Chancellor has also worked to focus attention on Florida’s need for strategic planning and comprehensive reform in the state’s public education model, while also exploring expanded partnerships with the state’s public and private universities, even as many of the state’s public colleges have developed their own four-year degree programs.

Holcombe’s distinguished career has included 17 years as President of Broward Community College, as well as service as Vice President of Brevard Community College, provost and academic dean for Broward’s Central Campus and assistant to the President for Broward Community College.

A former U.S. Marine, Holcombe completed his undergraduate studies at Baldwin-Wallace College and earned both his Master’s in Education and Ph.D. in College Administration from the University of Florida.

Polk State College’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2011 is Ron Garl, who received an AA in 1966 as a member of the college’s first graduating class. He subsequently obtained his bachelor’s degree in turf grass science from the University of Florida in 1967 and has become a highly regarded golf course architect. He founded Ron Garl Golf Design in 1973 and has served global clients from the firm’s Lakeland offices.

Garl has designed more than 250 courses worldwide, including more than 100 in Florida. He owns golf courses in several countries and is currently building golf courses in 15 countries, including course designs for the kings of Thailand and Morocco. On numerous occasions his designs have been selected as sites for the PGA, Senior PGA, and Canadian and European tours. While most firms never have the opportunity to design an oceanfront golf course, the Polk State graduate is currently designing five oceanfront courses.

Garl is president of the Florida Golf Alliance and is one of the founding board members of the International Network of Golf. He also co-authored the Urban Land Institute’s book Golf Course Development in Residential Communities. Garl gained acclaim for his environmental work at the Indian River Club in Vero Beach, Florida, the first course to be awarded Audubon International’s highest award: the Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary Status.

In 2003, Garl received the University of Florida’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and was inducted into the Polk County Schools Hall of Fame in 2009.

Polk State College has awarded over 35,000 degrees since its inception in 1964, and Holden is proud to note that more than half of those graduates continue to live and work in Polk County.

This graduating class ranges in age from 17 to 59 and hails from Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maryland, and Illinois.

This Commencement will be held in the Lakeland Center’s arena space because the number of graduates and guests is so large. The event is open to the public.


Tiger Town to Host Junior College State Championships

Some of the best baseball players in the state of Florida will be in Lakeland May 7-11 as Tigertown hosts the 2011 Florida Community College Activities Association (FCCAA) State Tournament.

The tournament begins at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. as Chipola (33-19) takes on Lake-Sumter (26-20).  The action continues at 1:00 p.m. when State College of Florida (33-18) takes on Broward (26-16).  At 4:00 p.m. Santa Fe (35-9-1), currently ranked #1 in the country, battles Northwest Florida State (36-13) ranked #9 in the country.  The last game on day one has Polk State College (40-10-1), currently ranked #2 in the state and #6 in the country taking on Indian River (28-20-1) at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets to the FCCAA tournament will be available as follows:
Tournament Pass – $25
Daily Pass – $10 ($9 for children 14 and under)
Championship Game Ticket Only – $5
Parking is Free

The winner of the tournament will advance to the National Junior College Activities Association (JUCO) 54th Annual World Series to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado at Suplizio Field May 28-June 4.
The full FCCAA schedule is listed below.  For more information please visit or contact the Tigers at (863) 686-8075.

Saturday, May 7
10:00 a.m.        Chipola vs. Lake-Sumter
1:00 p.m.        Broward vs. State College of Florida
4:00 p.m.        Santa Fe vs. Northwest Florida State
7:00 p.m.        Polk State College vs. Indian River

Sunday, May 8

10:00 a.m.        Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
1:00 p.m.        Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser
4:00 p.m.        Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
7:00 p.m.        Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner

Monday, May 9

1:00 p.m.        Game 9
4:00 p.m.        Game 10
7:00 p.m.              Game 11

Tuesday, May 10

1:00 p.m.        Game 12
4:00 p.m.        Game 13

Wednesday, May 11

10:00 a.m.             Game 14 (Championship)
1:00 p.m.              Game 15 (If necessary)


Touchton to receive Distinguished Service Award at USFP Commencement

David M. Touchton will receive the Distinguished Service Award from the University of South Florida Polytechnic at its spring commencement May 9 at the Lakeland Center’s Youkey Theatre. This award is presented to community members who have been strong supporters of the community, education and of the USF Polytechnic campus.

“David Touchton is a dynamic business leader, a visionary, a community booster, and a true friend of USF Polytechnic,” says Regional Chancellor Marshall Goodman. “Through his generous volunteerism he has made a tremendous impact throughout Polk County and demonstrates a steadfast dedication to see this community thrive. For that, we are appreciative. David is an inspiration to us and provides the levels of support necessary to make the polytechnic vision become reality.”

Touchton is the development and client services partner for The NCT Group CPA’s, where he was also managing partner of the firm for 28 years.  He is also a graduate of the University of South Florida. A long-time resident of Lakeland, Touchton is a past president of the Central Florida Development Council, a member of the Board of the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland, the Lakeland Chamber Foundation executive committee, Lakeland Vision, Polk Vision, the Young Patriots Foundation and a voting Board Member of Citizens Bank & Trust.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Service Award include Dr. Gail McKenzie (fall 2010), Carl J. “Bud” Strang III (spring 2010), Ralph L. “Buddy” Fletcher (spring 2009), Sherrill Tomasino (fall 2008), Jack Myers (fall 2007), John Ramil (fall 2006), Myrtice Young (spring 2006), Steve Scruggs (spring 2005), Gene Engle (spring 2003), and Paul Cate, Duane McConnell and David Ellsworth (spring 2002).


D’Zire International Salon & Spa Celebrates 10 Years

D’Zire International Salon & Spa, LLC

3123 Hwy 98 N

Lakeland, FL  33805

(863) 816-5832

Craig & Misha met in 1998. They were joined in business, marriage, & ministry in 2001. Their dreams of being entrepreneurs came true, and they became the proud owners of D’zire Beauty Palace.

After 8yrs in business they decided to expand their vision. Craig & Misha wanted to create a more professional atmosphere for the clients and team members. So they re-tooled & renamed their salon to D’zire International Salon & Spa LLC.

Their goal and motto is no matter what walk of life their clients are from everyone that enters D’zire is to be treated like royalty.