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</head> Courson finishes Marine training
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Updated: 10/25/2012 08:00:41AM

Courson finishes Marine training

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Christine Roslow

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Marine Corps Pfc. Tyler J. Courson, son of Jaqueline A. Becker of Bartow and Tommie J. Courson, of Orange Park, earned the title of United States Marine after graduating from recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.

For 13 weeks, Courson stayed committed during some of the world’s most demanding entry-level military training in order to be transformed from civilian to Marine instilled with pride, discipline and the core values of honor, courage and commitment. Training subjects included close-order drill, marksmanship with an M-16A4 rifle, physical fitness, martial arts, swimming, military history, customs and courtesies.

One week prior to graduation, Courson endured The Crucible, a 54-hour final test of recruits’ minds and bodies. Upon completion, recruits are presented the Marine Corps emblem and called Marines for the first time.

BHS ag teachers recognized by Farm Bureau

Polk County Farm Bureau honored three agriculture teachers at the event and that included Bartow High School Agriculture Program directed by teachers Marie Fussell and Douglas Welliver who were recognized as the PCFB Agriculture Program of the Year.

Ridge Community High School teacher Harry Lyon was presented with the 2012 Outstanding Agriculture Teacher of the Year award.

“We feel very strongly about the importance of agriculture education in our county and the role these teachers play in developing future leaders of our industry,” said PCFB President Les Dunson.

Florida Farm Bureau executives presented Carey Lightsey, owner of XL Ranch and Brahma Island Ranch in Lake Wales with a County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) award, honoring him for his environmental stewardship. The CARES program was established by Florida Farm Bureau and the Suwannee River Partnership in 2001 to recognize superior natural resources conservation by agricultural producers.

District expanding transition programs for students
with special needs

Polk County Public Schools’ students who graduate with a special diploma now have an opportunity to learn employable skills on site at The Lakeland Center.

Students with special needs will be introduced to every job aspect of The Lakeland Center and will have an opportunity to learn janitorial, customer service and culinary skills. This program becomes the first to have a classroom located in a business the District has partnered with.

“There is such a lack of value of these types of students. Once they are given an opportunity to showcase what they can do, our clients love our kids and they want them to stay,” Senior Manager of Polk Transition Services Karen Toppin.

The goal of Transition Services is to provide a continuous process that begins by the time a student turns 14 or is in the eighth grade, whichever comes first, and continues until the student graduates from high school. For students graduating with a special diploma, transition services continue until the school year the student turns 22.

The county has five off-site transition programs locations and they are Warner University, University of South Florida, Traviss Career Center, Ridge Career Center and The Lakeland Center. On-site transition programs are at Mulberry High, Lake Region High, George Jenkins High, Lake Gibson High and Tenoroc High.

Christine Roslow can be reached at