When we think of state championships brought home by Collier County high school sports teams, performance on the field of play or on the court is the first thing that comes to mind.
But each year, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) declares champions – honoring teamwork – and performance by student athletes in the classroom. The FHSAA fall academic championship award rankings are out, and we have results to share with you today.
A new category was added to the FHSAA awards program just last year, that of Florida Overall Academic Team Champion. This designation reflects a school’s cumulative team grade point average, or GPA, across all sports for the respective season.
We congratulate Barron Collier High School for grabbing the top spot for a second year in a row. Barron Collier’s Cougars are overall Class 6A Fall Academic State Champions for all fall varsity sports: boys and girls golf, boys and girls swimming and diving, volleyball, boys and girls cross country, and football.
Now, if that isn’t enough, the Barron Collier boys cross country team placed first within their Class 3A individual sports division with a team GPA of 3.782. In high school football, the Gulf Coast High School Sharks, with a team GPA of 3.076, are the Class 7A State of Florida Academic Team Champions.
Both schools were recognized Tuesday by the Collier County School Board. While we only recognize “first in the state” or “championship” accomplishments at School Board meetings, we do have an honorable mention to share. The Palmetto Ridge High School football team ranked second in the state in Class 6A with a 3.178 team GPA, which is the highest football team GPA in all of Collier and Lee counties. We say way to go Cougars, Sharks and Bears! We love watching you play your games and hold your meets, but we’re especially proud of what you do in the classroom.
The school district also takes great pride in our teachers. You may have heard that 42-year teaching veteran Janet Glancy was recently recognized by the University of Florida as a Distinguished Educator, one of only five in the state. Did you know that this Naples High School teacher has taught debate and advanced placement English literature there for 23 years?
She was a founder of the district’s Advanced Placement Laureate Program, was honored in 2004 as a top-five finalist in the state for the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year competition, and she received a Golden Apple from the Education Foundation in 2007. As you might expect, Glancy is well-respected by her fellow teachers and well-loved by her current students and hundreds of former students.
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Joe Landon is the executive director of the Communications Services department for the Collier County School District.