University of Florida wins the Gold Level award

BELLE GLADE — The astonishing commitment of Dr. Raid and his crew at the University of Florida Extension Office to the Glades community is evident from the numerous accolades he has collected in his two decades of service, during which he has performed an average total of 1,000 volunteer hours. The University of Florida Extension Office has been instrumental in providing resources, volunteers and equipment to further the Gove Elementary goal to be the best Green School in the state.

Through the combined efforts of Dr. Raid and the University of Florida Extension Office and the Gove Green team, they were fortunate to be selected as a Green School of Excellence and have received the national honor as a Green Ribbon School. It is the only school in the Glades Region to have achieved this so far. They also added the Gold in Everglades Champion School to their achievements this year due to their efforts and successes in their Green projects.

The Project SOAR was one of the first programs started at Gove Elementary twenty years ago which has been supported by the University of Florida and Dr. Raid’s educated staff and students, and has provided ESE vocational opportunities. This was the first step to utilizing its farming community to develop bonds with school and community. Their tradition of providing services and educational workshops has substantiated through the years. Recently, they supported a “Florida Agriculture in the Classroom” workshop of which six of Gove Elementary teachers attended in order to keep the “Green fires” burning at Gove Elementary.

Another example of one of Gove projects led by Dr. Raid and his team, was their owl home to provide pest control for their gardens. Dr. Raid brought hands-on learning in its truest sense to Gove students with actual baby owls living in a nest and owl pellets to dissect. The resources and displays of their life cycle, as well as the benefits of owls to local farming was priceless. In addition, he had students assist with building owl homes, and then installed one of the owl houses on the campus.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Dr. Richard N. Raid, associate center director and professor at the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Office, wins the Gold Level Award.

Gove Elementary is very thankful for the volunteer hours that the international intern students from the University of Florida have given Gove students. The interns’ expertise and enthusiasm are perfect for group sessions with the students as they develop the Guzman garden project. Gove students benefit from their knowledge of agriculture and mentorship. Although the interns have an intense schedule, they manage to come to Gove at least once a week.

Through the University of Florida Extension Office, volunteers and Dr. Raid’s willingness to provide tutorship, these projects and programs were a contribution to these successes. The support given to the school is the reason why Gove proudly nominated the university as the most outstanding business partner at Gove Elementary. Gove Elementary is pleased to announce that Dr. Raid and his team won the gold level award for their commitment to the school.

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