SharK News for December 27

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Cedar Key FFA competes in Sub-Districts 

By Sarah Bartholemy

Shark Correspondent

Last week, the Cedar Key FFA Chapter participated in sub-districts. Secretary Mikayla Pope said, “Everyone really put their all into their events on Thursday. Even though we didn’t win, everybody had an awesome experience.” 

The senior chapter had three competitors: Lauren Bartholemy, who placed third in prepared public speaking; Taylor Davison, who placed second in creed; and Sarah Bartholemy, who placed second in extemporaneous public speaking.

The middle school had six competitors: MacKenzie Kirkbride, Wyatt Carswell, Nathaneal Brinkman, Cassie Lozier, Ashlyn Allen and Savannah Howard did not place in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies contest. MacKenzie Kirkbride also participated in prepared public speaking and did not place. 


Students look foward to

Christmas break?

By Rebecca Russo

Shark Correspondent

Christmas break is right around the corner. The students at Cedar Key School are excited about winter break.

Elementary student Joann Smart said, “I’m really excited about winter break, because I get to spend it with my family and look forward to gifts on Christmas morning”.  

High School student Mady Riley is excited as well, adding, “I am stoked about winter break because I will be spending it with all the ones I love and get to open gifts on Christmas morning.”   


Cedar Key School goes green

By Lauren Bartholemy

Shark Correspondent

Cedar Key School is participating in the Interactive Sustainable Styrofoam Recycling Program. This program is based in the lunch room to separate the food and the Styrofoam trays.

The program reduces the flow of trash, means less labor, less trash bags, it is healthier as well as safer, reduces the amount of trash placed in the dumpster – and in the long term – decreases the amount of trash in the landfill. 

Students scrape the food from their trays and then place it in a special stacker that keeps them out of the waste stream.  

There is also a small incinerator at the back of the cafeteria that the Styrofoam is melted down into blocks anywhere from two weeks to once a month. From there the “blocks” of Styrofoam are sent to recycling plants all over the world to be used for lawn furniture, fuels and various other useful items.

This system has reduced the flash flow 75-percent. The system at the school on a pilot program, and it will be free for two months to record data on the savings. 


Cedar Key School’s FFA has

impact nationwide

By Mikayla Pope

Shark Correspondent

The Cedar Key FFA chapter used its Food For All program to touch lives in their community – but the impact reached beyond the island. 

The Senior Vice President of Bunge North America, David G. Kabbes, wrote a letter to the chapter expressing his excitement about the involvement of the kids toward agriculture.

“Obviously, the FFA is blessed to have such fantastic ambassadors who are living the FFA Motto to the fullest,” Kabbes stated. 

The chapter was introduced to the Senior Vice President and many more CEOs and business leaders during their trip to the World Food Prize, spreading the news about their part in the worldwide rally to fight hunger. The FFA chapter is starting new projects and will continue on with their part in fighting hunger.   



Freshwater prawns:

a Cedar Key School

aquaponics project

By Molly Gordon and Haley Simpson

Shark Correspondents

Macrobachium rosenbergii, or, what most people call them, freshwater prawn (freshwater shrimp), are one of the many fascinating “creatures” that have swam their way into our small ecosystem in Cedar Key School’s marine science lab where tanks full of various types of fish are cared for by high school students that are involved in the Marine Science class. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and YES students CAN be trusted with the lives of dozens of little fish.

 The freshwater prawn project started last May and since day one, the students have been involved: transporting them to their tanks, building their habitat, and making sure they’re fed and healthy. In the process of building the prawns’ habitat, the students learned the way a true water ecosystem works by constructing a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) which are typically indoor systems that allow farmers to control environmental conditions year-round. These systems are closed-loop and are an effective way to grow prawn, or any other type of fish for that matter, all while continually conserving water. Our system was funded by a SPLASH grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and also by the sales of clam chowder at this year’s seafood festival.   

 When Raymond Powers, science teacher at CKHS, was asked what inspired him to choose this project, he replied, “I chose the prawns as our CKS aquaculture species because I had some experience with them at Bronson High School and found them to be fascinating animals.”

What makes them so fascinating, you ask? There are many species of Macrobrachium in the world, but the freshwater prawn is most suitable for culture due to its large size and its less aggressive nature under culture conditions. Hence the reason they’re happy as a clam (ha, get it? Clam? Shellfish?) in our small, yet, apparently comfortable, living space we have provided for them in our science lab. Also, these prawns aren’t just your average shrimp. They’re shrimp on steroids. In an interview with Mr. Powers, he stated, “The largest prawn that I have grown had a total length of about 16 inches. That includes the long slender claws which are too small to eat. The edible body of the shrimp, head to tail, can be about eight inches long.” Wow!  Imagine biting into a plump and juicy eight inches of shrimp. Can you say “yum”?

 “I think the prawns do make an impact,” Powers commented, and I couldn’t agree more. I believe it’s safe to say that all of the students that have participated in helping raise the freshwater prawn have picked up some sort of new knowledge along the way. Believe it or not, there’s more to raising these prawns than just feeding them. We, as students, get to experience the way everything really works, and why.

All in all, these prawns,  or freshwater shrimp,  or shrimp on steroids, or Macrobachium rosenbergii, or whatever people may choose to call them, are obviously very interesting creatures. We all know first-hand from being on the front lines in the lab that they have most definitely spiced up our year in marine science and will continue to do so. Learning more and more from the shrimp each day, watching them grow along the way and converting our lab into their habitat is not something that everyone can say they have done. I think this project has allowed us to gain responsibility and knowledge of species most people find “boring”. In my opinion, if you’re interested in an animal, take the time to do something like us. It’s a whole new world.