Category Archives: Announcements


Polk State College to Kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with U.S. Congressman Soto

Winter Haven, September 10, 2019 — Polk State College is kicking off its annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in September with U.S. Congressman Darren Soto.

The Hispanic Heritage Kick-off event will take place noon Monday, September 16, in the Polk State Winter Haven Campus Student Center, where students, faculty, staff, and members of the community will become immersed in Hispanic culture, cuisine, history, music, and dance with this year’s theme, La Cultura.

The public is invited and asked to RSVP to by September 10.
Congressman Soto will provide inspiring remarks about his journey and guests will enjoy a presentation by the Polk State International Circle organization and Spanish students. Lunch is also provided.

“We are honored to kick off Polk State’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with Congressman Soto, who continues to influence positive change in the Hispanic community and for all constituents of Polk County,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said.

The College’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion partners with the Polk State College Foundation, Student Activities and Leadership Office (SALO), The Arts, the Creative Writing Club, Educational Talent Search, the Honors Program, International Circle, the Únete Club, Club Hispano de Lakeland, and Events by Violet to bring cultural events to Polk State’s campuses for Hispanic Heritage Month.

The celebration culminates with the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fiesta held October 16 in the Polk State Lakeland Campus Student Center, where students are awarded for their academic achievements and service to the community. Students may apply for the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship by 11:59 p.m. September 10. The application is available online at

The College is also an active participant in the Annual Hispanic Festival hosted by Club Hispano de Lakeland. This year’s festival is October 26.

Events are free unless otherwise noted. This year’s events are as follows.

Hispanic Heritage Month Gallery Exhibit: Juan Miranda
September 9 – October 10 | Monday – Thursday | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Polk State Winter Haven Campus Fine Arts Gallery

Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-off
Monday, September 16 | Noon
Polk State Winter Haven Campus Student Center

Creative Writing Club Visiting Writers Program:
Polk State District Board of Trustees Vice Chair Teresa V. Martinez
Thursday, September 26 | Noon
Polk State Lakeland Campus Student Center Dining Hall

Artist Reception featuring Juan Miranda
Tuesday, October 1 | 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Polk State Winter Haven Campus Fine Arts Gallery

Hispanic Heritage Celebration: La Cultura
Wednesday, October 2 | Noon
Polk State JD Alexander Center Lobby

Café con Leche: The Importance of Education and Getting Involved
Thursday, October 10 | 9 a.m.
Polk State Lakeland Campus Student Center Lobby

Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fiesta
Wednesday, October 16 | Noon
Polk State Lakeland Campus Student Center Dining Hall

Annual Hispanic Festival
Presented by Club Hispano de Lakeland
Saturday, October 26 | 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Lake Mirror Promenade/Barnett Park
$5 for adults | Free for children younger than 12

About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a
multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied
Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts, and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also
operates three charter high schools.

Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts oppor


U.S. News & World Report Ranks FSC in Top 10 Best Regional Universities in The South


LAKELAND (Sept. 9, 2019) – U.S. News & World Report, in the latest edition of its prestigious annual college guide, has ranked Florida Southern College among the top 10 regional universities in the South, reflecting the College’s long and continuing commitment to academic excellence. The magazine’s updated guide, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings 2020, was released today.

“Florida Southern is consistently included among the most elite colleges and universities, and we are extremely thankful to be at the top of the U.S. News & World Report rankings,” said FSC President Anne Kerr. “This is an important confirmation that Florida Southern is among the best academic institutions in the nation.”

FSC is the only university in Polk County to be listed in the top 10 tier among regional universities or colleges in the South, and is one of just four schools in the State of Florida with a top 10 regional ranking.

The college guide also shows Florida Southern climbing to No. 13 among the top 20 Best Value Universities in the South and rising to No. 13 in the Best Undergraduate Teaching category. For the second year, the College appears in the ranking list for Undergraduate Business Programs.

U.S. News & World Report uses academic survey data and third-party sources to calculate rankings based on school groupings established by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and determined by each school’s academic mission. Regional universities, offering a wide range of undergraduate degrees and some master’s programs but limited doctoral programs, are ranked against peer-group schools in four geographical regions: North, South, Midwest and West.

For the tenth consecutive year, Florida Southern was recognized in August by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, ranked as the No. 7 Most Beautiful Campus in their 2020 edition of The Best 385 Colleges. Only about 13 percent of America’s 3,000 four-year colleges are profiled in the guidebook. In 2019, FSC was designated a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, and a biochemistry and molecular biology major was awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year. FSC also currently has 23 Hollingsworth Scholars.


About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, and nursing. Florida Southern has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; and is included in The Princeton Review’s 385 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


Lakeland Welcomes Techstars Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend Comes to Lakeland

Lakeland Host’s First Ever Techstars Startup Weekend- Lakeland SW TEAM 2019 DEMO LIST!

Here are the demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend CITY NAME ON 09/16/2019. * Interested in watching the pitches? Watch the live stream on Startup Weekend Lakeland Facebook page.

Techstars Startup Weekend brings together designers, developers, marketers and startup enthusiasts from across the State and beyond to share ideas, form teams and launch business ventures. Participants select ideas with the most promise and make as much progress on the business as possible over the course of three days. In addition, business leaders and mentors are on hand to share insights and experience.

“Education empowers, the entrepreneur mindset fortifies, and pursuing passion sets you free. Startup Weekend is an event that educates you on the entrepreneur mindset, empowering you to pursue your passion.” – Robert Blacklidge Startup weekend Lead Organizer

Entrepreneurship is not a feat that is accomplished alone, it takes a community to truly thrive. Startup weekend is an event where the community comes together to celebrate and create. Learn from seasoned entrepreneurs, some who started their companies at Startup Weekend, industry experts, and community members.

“Education empowers, the entrepreneur mindset fortifies, and pursuing passion sets you free. Startup Weekend is an event that educates you on the entrepreneur mindset, empowering you to pursue your passion.” – Robert Blacklidge Startup weekend Lead Organizer.

Startup Weekend is a brought to Lakeland through a community collaboration with Catapult Lakeland, Polytechnic University, and Qgiv to promote local businesses.


There are so many things in this world we can be grateful for. Things we sometimes take for granted; people that created these things that we can be grateful to. Because they worked hard to figure things out and make things better for the rest of us.

Take a simple wooden pencil. Can any single person even create a wooden pencil from scratch?

22 Zero

Our mission is to reduce the number of suicides in the active military, military veteran, and first responder communities through education and connection. We envision a future where members of these communities seek and receive user-friendly treatment, without any stigma attached, enabling them to live healthy, productive lives with their families and in their communities.

Study Buddies

Study Buddies is an online community where students are able to publicly share their notes, study materials, and educational videos regarding a certain course or topic with others. The focus of Study Buddies is to encourage our note takers to continually share and improve their notes, as well as provide study materials for students struggling to keep up with their peers.

Lakeland Lights

“We want to diminish the homelessness population over the course of the next coming years. Our Candlelight project aims to aid those whom may have become homeless, with an opportunity to make a positive step forward through creative and interpersonal outlets. ”

Imaginations Creation

At Imaginations Creation, we strive for each child to have a strong imagination that is built through hands-on learning without the distraction of technology. We plan to build the most interactive fort in order to promote a strong imagination, creativity, and various skill sets.


Vlavor is a company that sells vaping products. Through innovative ideas and technologies, we aim to improve your overall vaping experience. We believe that life should be exciting – life is a party. Party Your Way.

Worship Now

Worship Now is a company that facilitates Christian community by connecting people to prayer groups, praise events, and bible studies taking place throughout the week.  We offer a solution for those seekers that are unable to attend the regular church service due to reasons such as scheduling conflicts as well as those looking for more flexibility letting them engage spiritually on their terms.

Calamity Crates

Taking the Stress Out of Storm Preparation


An estimated 39.7 Million Americans live below the poverty line. the average retirement age for millennial’s is 62-75 and you’ll need any were for a million to two million to retire off of. this scares a lot of people especially if your not looking ahead to the future. As well as with the prices in america getting more and more expensive were looking to help you earn the money you need. TradingWay is here to help you with your investments making the money you thought might not be attainable before. With our community and knowledgeable teachers we are here to help you set up your investments and teach you what you will need to do to be successful in the market nowadays. Take your life in your own hands, getting on the path to success by signing up with us and we well make sure to help you learn; guiding you to success as well as confidence in yourself to manage your money.

Get This

Get This specializes in eCommerce AI and API solutions.

What used to take weeks, months and even years, we can do in hours.  Our A.I. Algorithms find, create, prioritize, categorize and optimize products better than any human could ever hope to.

We have analyzed millions of products using multiple different data points.  These data points include performance indicators like monthly search volume, Amazon Seller Rankings, Reviews and many more.  We use this data to create product pages with the best titles, descriptions, attributes, images and videos ensuring maximum SEO rankings, traffic and sales.  Our technology does not stop there.  We are even able to blog with AI.

Social Bear

Many students have the same problems as myself, and there are plenty of resources and sites online that provide lecture notes and textbook solutions to struggling students. This made me think, rather than provide students with notes and solutions, why don’t we instead incentivize them to take more coherent and well-organized notes? That’s why we’re creating Study Buddies. Study Buddies is an online community where students can upload their notes, study guides, study plans, and even lecture videos, and earn revenue depending on how well received their content is.


SW Lakeland TEAM


About Techstars Startup Weekend


Techstars Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where attendees learn how to build a company in a weekend. Since 2007, Techstars Startup Weekend has taken place in over 150 countries with more than 200,000 alumni. Participants take their product or business idea to the next level and join in a huge worldwide network of entrepreneurs.

To learn more visit


About Catapult Lakeland


Catapult is a community-centered coworking space located in Lakeland, FL. We aim to foster the growth of startups in Central Florida through affordable membership, thoughtful education, and funding to drive local business forward. Whether you are looking to replace your home office, trying to scale your business appropriately, or pursuing a dream, Catapult is here to help you get there.

To learn more visit


About Polytechnic University


Florida Polytechnic University is the state’s newest and most innovative university, engineered from the ground up to push the boundaries of education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Located in Lakeland, the heart of Florida’s High-Tech Corridor, Florida Poly provides cutting-edge degree programs that prepare graduates to take on today’s fastest-growing fields.

To learn more visit


About Qgiv


Qgiv was born from a desire to offer user-friendly, easy-to-use services that could process charitable donations, event registrations, pledges, and more. Nonprofit organizations have enough work to do, and the online donations industry was a source of confusion for the very organizations that most needed online fundraising help.

To learn more visit


SPCA Florida Hosts FL SARC Disaster Training Class

SPCA Florida Hosts FL SARC Disaster Training Class

Lakeland, FL—SPCA Florida and Florida State Animal Response Coalition is offering an opportunity to take the Awareness Level Small Animal Emergency Sheltering class on Saturday, 10/5/19.The Awareness Level (Level 1) class will provide the knowledge and skills needed to work in an emergency animal shelter as a trained professional disaster animal responder.

When a national disaster strikes, only trained and certified responders are allowed into the disaster areas.  Should Polk County or areas of Florida be affected we will need your help.

Class is open to anyone interested in being trained to help companion animals during a disaster.To register for Awareness (Level 1) training class go to


About SPCA Florida

Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Lakeland. Dedicated to improving the lives of pets and people in the community, SPCA Florida provides caring, compassion and hope to more than 6,000 homeless animals entering our doors each year. Open to the public, our McClurg Animal Medical Center is a state-of-the-art veterinary facility that heals and helps 50,000 patients annually. Thousands more pets and people are served through our community outreach and education programs.


Home2 Suites by Hilton Grand Opening Celebration – Oct 3rd



Grand Opening Celebration Home2 Suites by Hilton Lakeland
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony marks official opening of the newest hotel in Lakeland
Lakeland is now home to the Home2 Suites by Hilton Lakeland. Home2 Suites Lakeland
is a modern design hotel feature all guest room suites. Each suite features an in-room
kitchen, free WiFi, choice of king or two queen beds, microwave, refrigerator, cook-tops
available upon request, dishwasher, flatware and a 42-inch HDTV. Every guest can
enjoy the onsite amenities which include complimentary WiFi, outdoor pool, onsite
fitness center, Spin 2 Cycle laundry and free breakfast daily. A meeting boardroom is
onsite to cater to business guests. Hotel is also pet-friendly.
The property is located at 3610 Lakeside Village Boulevard, near Lakeside Village
shopping center and entertainment district. The grand opening celebration will be held
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 at the hotel. The celebration is scheduled for 3pm to 6pm
with a ribbon cutting at 4pm by the Mayor of Lakeland, FL. The gathering will feature
complimentary drinks and light fare.
“Lakeland is home for Publix headquarters, RP Funding Center, Publix Field at Joker
Marchant Stadium and Lakeland Linder International Airport, all minutes from the hotel.”
said Steve Colkett, General Manager, Home2 Suites by Hilton Lakeland. We are excited
to add more accommodations to Lakeland as the city has seen steady growth.
For more information, or to make a reservation, travelers may visit
or call 863-500-6870. The property is owned and managed by BAYWOOD HOTELS.
About BaywoodHotels Inc.

Established in 1975, Baywood Hotels, Inc. is a fast-growing hospitality management
and development company , operating $1 billion in assets and employing over 3,000
associates nationwide. The company is headquartered in Columbia, MD and has
regional offices in Denver, CO; Miami, FL; Rochester, NY, San Antonio, TX and
Northern VA. In each of its regions, the private hotel ownership company is consistently recognized as an innovative leader in the hotel industry, focusing on product concept and development and the outstanding management of its assets. The focused vision, strong values and aggressive long-range strategy of Baywood Hotels has helped the company develop reputable and well-branded hotels in areas where Baywood has competitive expertise and partnerships. Baywood Hotels’ portfolio includes well-known brands, such as Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group, as well as several independent brands. Contact us through Facebook or our website or connect with us on LinkedIn .