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Creativity in the Time of Covid–Nov. 7, 2021

Booker High Teacher Named District High School Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Urquiza is treated to a surprise celebration of this achievement.

Booker High School Spanish teacher Loridia Urquiza was surprised on Thursday with the announcement that she was named Sarasota County’s high school teacher of the year. Mrs. Urquiza teaches Spanish and has led several initiations to increase visibility and appreciation of Hispanic students at Booker and in the larger community.

In her touching acceptance speech, Mrs. Urquiza thanks her mother (left), who she calls “the best teacher I ever had.”

Originally from Cuba, Mrs. Urquiza infuses love of Spanish culture into her lessons, igniting her students’ passion for Hispanic heritage as well as the language. The largest demographic at BHS is the Hispanic community, with about 40% Hispanic learners. Mrs. Urquiza has worked tirelessly to foster schoolwide understanding of this culture to maximize student achievement among this population.

Leading such causes as the celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month, Mrs. Urquiza has brought positive awareness of Hispanic heritage. This year, she organized a coffee and pastry tasting, lunchtime dance and music celebrations and more.

The celebration included remarks from Dr. Shelley, with the Whirlwind Brigade playing a festive march and Vocal Vortex serenading Mrs. Urquiza in her native language.

Along with all she’s accomplished for the culture of BHS, Mrs. Urquiza has consistently produced students who have mastered the Spanish language. According to Dr. Shelley, Mrs. Urquiza is the only teacher in the nation to have a 100% passing rate on the AICE Spanish Language exam.

Booker High relishes this recognition; this is the second consecutive year the district’s high school teacher of the year has been a BHS teacher. Last year, BHS’s Becky Satterly earned this award.

Fabulous Forecast Festival

Booker VPA hosted the second annual Forecast Festival on Nov. 6. The festival showcased all the VPA disciplines, inviting guests into classrooms to observe rehearsals and studio sessions, and culminating in a performance and exhibit.

Huge special thanks to Superintendent Dr. Brennan Asplen and Executive Director of High Schools Steve Cantees for spending Saturday morning with us.

Check out these pics!

Whirlwind Brigade is SNN’s Marching Band of the Week

Booker’s Whirlwind Brigade Marching Band was featured this week on SNN. Check out the video here!

The Whirlwind Brigade ends its season with a competition Nov. 13 at Riverview High School in Hillsborough County.

Band Concert Displays Talents

The week began with an intimate outdoor Band concert featuring our jazz and wind ensembles. The occasion marked the debut performance of the VPA’s newest combo, Storm Surge, a jazz combo directed by Tim Eaton.

Classroom Focus: Musical Theatre

We all know “Hamilton” and “West Side Story,” but did you know that there is such a thing as “Big: The Musical”? Neither did the VPA Theatre classes, but they learned about “Big” and other deeply buried gems and flops of musical theatre history.

Exuberance: Students present from “Contact: A Dance Musical”

They researched the musicals’ choreographies and histories, learning about aesthetics and trends through Broadway history. This week they presented their findings in dance, music and spoken word.

Upcoming Events!

VPA Dance will proudly present an evening of dance highlighting the myriad touchpoints we have with one another in “Six Degrees of Separation,” coming up Nov. 18 & 19. The concert will feature modern, ballet, Flamenco, African dance, hip hop and more. Get your tickets today here!

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2 comments on “Creativity in the Time of Covid–Nov. 7, 2021

Enjoyed this newsletter. Will be at the show Joseph – I enjoy catching up with Booker happenings.

[…] you’re a fan of this newsletter, you may recall the story in the Nov. 7 newsletter highlighting a Theatre lesson. Students were assigned obscure musicals to research and present to […]

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