The City of Sopchoppy welcomed two new city council members at their April 11 meeting. Council members Lara Edwards, Roger McKenzie and Fred McClendon appointed Michele Harden and Glenn Rudd to replace Richard Harden and Nathan Lewis.
Both Richard Harden and Lewis resigned recently because Florida law will not allow state retirees to work for the state for a year after they retire, and this includes serving holding public office.
Before they made the appointments, Sopchoppy Council members heard from Michele Harden, Glenn Rudd and two other Sopchoppy residents interested in serving on the council.
Samantha Isaac said she wasn’t a Sopchoppy native and moved here six years ago from San Diego, and she is happy to have moved from a big city to a small town.
“I adore it,” she said.
She said she enjoys the sense of family the community offers, “no matter who you are or where you come from.”
She has volunteered with 4-H, coached at the middle school level and teaches Sunday school teacher at a local church. She said she is very invested in the youth of the community and noted that the population growing up there, and not just transplants, would be affected by city council decision.
Nancy Paul said she loves Sopchoppy.
“I love everything about it,” she said.
She said she is impressed with the way the council is being proactive in planning for future growth rather than being reactionary.
“It’s inevitable; it’s going to grow, so let’s make it what we want it to be.”
Her community involvement includes volunteering for the Fourth of July Parade, being a member of the Friends of the Sopchoppy River and helping out with community markets including the mullet and oyster festival.
“I want to be a voice of the community on this council to listen, to educate, and to make decisions that are in the common good for all of Sopchoppy.”
Rudd said he served on the council before and he had reasons for resigning but it was a decision he regretted.
As a lifelong Sopchoppy resident, he said he believes the council is headed in the right direction. but he doesn’t want the city to lose its Sopchoppy look and feel.
Michele Harden said her family has lived in the area for generations. and her family is a pioneer family in the Smith Creek area.
“My roots run deep in this part of the country,” she said.
She said she has lived in the Sopchoppy area for seven years and now lives in the city limits, so she walks her dog daily and has opportunities to talk with residents.
“I think Sopchoppy has a lot of potential,” she said. She has attended several city council meetings and is excited about the city’s plans for the future and the decisions yet to be made that could affect Sopchoppy for decades. She said she would “love to be part of those decisions.”
After discussion, council members voted on the applicants.
Edwards made a motion to appoint Nancy Paul and Michele Harden; her motion failed. McClendon made the motion to appoint Rudd and Harden. McKenzie seconded the motion. The vote was 2-1 to appoint Rudd and Harden. Edwards cast the dissenting vote.
Dawn Svetozara Moody has been announced as Wakulla High School’s 2022 Sunshine State Scholar. She is the daughter of Natalia Barrington and Andrew Moody, and is an exceptional student with an interest in entering the medical field.
Every year, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation request each Florida school district to recommend one high achieving eleventh grade STEM student to join this prestigious group of peers. Each of Florida’s school districts selects their top 11th grade students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM).
Each scholar travels to Orlando for a two-day program designed to bring together scholars from around the state, connect them with employers that specialize in the STEM fields, and create a networking opportunity between the scholars and schools from Florida’s College and State University System.
Moody was chosen by a WHS committee for her outstanding academic record, her interest in STEM fields, and stellar work in any classroom. As a junior she boasts an impressive, weighted grade point average of 4.33. She is a member of Wakulla High School’s Medical Academy, a member of the National Honor Society, and a cashier at Winn Dixie.
Moody challenges herself with not only some of the most difficult math and science courses offered here at Wakulla High School, but she is also a highly decorated member of our NJROTC program. Moody holds the rank of Senior Chief Petty Office, one of the two highest ranking officer positions at WHS. She has the aspirations to be the top-ranking officer, Master Chief Petty Officer, in her senior year.
Capt. Bradley Martin said of Moody, “Cadet Moody is an incredibly talented young woman who constantly amazes me with her maturity, intelligence, and exceptional leadership skills. She has been an invaluable member of the Wakulla NJROTC for three years, and during that time she has risen to the highest levels of leadership within our organization. She was selected to attend a very prestigious leadership academy this past summer in St. Petersburg, Florida. This leadership academy is only offered to the top 1 percent of all cadets from 53 South Florida NJROTC units. Dawn is a hard worker who is extremely focused and driven to succeed. I have absolutely no doubt she will have a very bright future!”
Dawn is planning to obtain an ROTC scholarship and join a four-year ROTC program at university and become a nurse in the Navy, with the ultimate end goal of going through medical school and becoming a pediatrician.
Dr. Harold Short, one of Moody’s former AP teachers said, “Dawn is a remarkably driven student, but not the annoying kind. When she wants to excel at something, she does not try to adapt the world to her goals. She works harder and gets better. I would say that drive for self-improvement is her defining characteristic.”
“Having attended Crawfordville Elementary, Wakulla Middle, and now Wakulla High School, we are all incredibly proud of Dawn. We look forward to following her accomplishments as she continues to be successful in the STEM fields,” said Superintendent Bobby Pearce.
The Wakulla County Local Mitigation Strategy Working Group will have a public meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, April 25, at the Wakulla County Community Center (Crawfordville Room), 318 Shadeville Road, Crawfordville. For information, call 850-926-3695. The meeting is to discuss updates to the Local Mitigation Strategy, which is a comprehensive, coordinated planning document utilized to decrease the County’s vulnerabilities to natural and man-made hazards.
The Wakulla County Historic Preservation Committee will have a public meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, April 25, in the Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners Administration Conference Room, 3093 Crawfordville Hwy., Crawfordville. For information, call 850-926-3695. This meeting is to review and make recommendations to the BOCC on matters related to the designation, regulation, and administration of historical, cultural, and architectural resources in the county.
The Wakulla County Parks Advisory Committee will have a public meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, April 25, at the Wakulla County Community Center, Sopchoppy Room, 322 Shadeville Road, Crawfordville. For information, call 850-745-7780. This meeting is to advise and make recommendations to the BOCC about the county’s parks, and activities in the parks.
There will be a Free Grant Writing Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 21, at the UF/IFAS Extension Office, 84 Cedar Ave., Crawfordville. This event is geared toward artists, cultural organizations and nonprofits to learn about funding sources and how to successfully apply for funding with the goal of gaining a practical understanding of the process, creating an outline for an application and building the confidence to apply for a grant. For information and to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line type “Arts Grants Workshop in Wakulla County. This is presented by the Florida Cultural Alliance.
2022 Celebration of the Arts will bring talented youth under one roof Saturday, April 23, at Wakulla High School. Elementary and middle-school performances start at 3:30 p.m. and high-schoolers perform at 6 p.m. The event will showcase the various art programs in the county from pre-K to high school. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. There will also be a silent auction. All proceeds from this event will fund scholarships for Wakulla High School seniors pursuing a major or minor in visual or performing arts. Come out and support the arts in Wakulla County!
The Wakulla County Commission is seeking two volunteers to serve a 4-year term on the Tourist Development Council (TDC). Members must be an elector of Wakulla County and:
One Owner or Operator of Tourist Accommodations; and
One Owner or Operator of Tourist Accommodations; or Owner or Operator of a Tourist Related Business.
The TDC was established for the purpose of promoting and facilitating travel to and within Wakulla County for the benefit of its economy, residents, and the travel and tourism industry. The TDC meets quarterly, and meetings typically occur on the second Thursday of the month at 9 a.m.
Interested persons should submit a completed Membership Application via email to therndon@my wakulla.com or by mail to Wakulla County BOCC, Attn: Thomas Herndon, 3093 Crawfordville Highway, Crawfordville, FL 32327, no later than April 28, 2022.
The 2022 Annual Miss Wakulla County Scholarship Pageant will start at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Wakulla High School Auditorium. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.
Crowning will take place for Tiny Miss Division (kindergarten and first), Little Miss Division (second and third), Young Miss Division (fourth and fifth), Junior Miss Division (sixth to eighth) and Miss Division (ninth to 12th).
The winner of the Miss Division will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
All ticket proceeds and donations help fund the annual scholarship. If you would like the 2022 Miss Wakulla to attend a local business or non-profit event, email misswakulla email@example.com or call 850-510-4897.