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SRQ DAILY Jan 9, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"For students in Sarasota and Manatee, the state of Florida's honors college is literally in their backyard."

- Damon Wade, Ph.D., New College's Vice President

[Under The Hood]  The Pillars of Democracy Stand Strong
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

When this week began, Rep. Vern Buchanan was one of the only Republicans representing Florida who had referred to Joe Biden as President-elect and had not signed onto any effort to throw out electoral votes providing the Democrat his win. But a statement issued ahead of the vote certification on Wednesday suggested the Republican might be open to it.

 “Pelosi supported fellow Democrats who were challenging George W. Bush's certification, saying, ‘The representatives of the American people in this House are standing up for three fundamental American beliefs: the right to vote is sacred; that a representative has a duty to represent his or her constituents, and that the rule of law is the hallmark of our nation,’” Buchanan said. “I intend to follow Wednesday's debate in Congress with Nancy's Pelosi's words in mind.”

But we all saw how Wednesday’s debate played out. Anarchy struck the U.S. Capitol as Donald Trump zealots stormed the building. This resulted in a five-hour delay in deliberations— and five deaths including a Capitol Police officer. But if the desired outcome for rioters had been to overturn the election, the result of their behavior was to dash that already slim hope. Buchanan issued a statement affirming his commitment to certifying the election results.

He acknowledged concerns voiced about how other states conducted election and left disappointing wiggle room for legal interpretations Congress may overturn results of presidential elections in the future. “But after witnessing the sad spectacle that occurred today, I voted to certify the results of the Electoral College because it’s time to move past this election.”

It proved more disappointing watching Sarasota’s other member of Congress. Rep. Greg Steube announced ahead of time he would object to multiple slates of electors and did so every chance he got. But he too condemned rioters who overtook his hallowed place of work. “I witnessed our law enforcement officers being injured, gassed from their own tear gas and afraid for their lives as they attempted to hold the line,” Steube said in a statement. “I and three other Members were barricaded in a room surrounded by demonstrators until the hallway was clear for us to get out.”

Notably, unlike other members of Congress, Steube from that point forward never took any opportunity to grandstand about election integrity or spin conspiracy theories about the riots. That’s a win, and a sign Sarasota’s representatives universally see the value in progressing to a new administration, even one led by another party and where they will hold less influence.

Ultimately, the only concrete result from the chaos in the Capitol was to put on display the fact those seeking to overthrow democracy cared little for America’s ideals, and thus appeasing their attempted insurrection only served to shake the nation’s foundations.

Most important, at the end of the day and in the face of a violent attack on the nation’s government, the pillars of democracy stood. That’s more than a silver lining. It’s affirmation of national principles that set us apart from those places where elections serve only as window dressing to corrupt power structures.

To those who long viewed Donald Trump’s antics as an existential threat to democracy, this week proved his pursuits to be futile. Within 48 hours of the riots, the president released a video conceding he will leave office soon, there will be a peaceful transfer of power, and the election is over.

While many now long to his resignation, impeachment or removal, it’s the certification of legitimate election results that already guarantees his departure in a matter of days. That’s how democracy should work, and it did.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

Photo from Shutterstock

[Higher Education]  New College Connects Through Outreach and Scholarships
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

Finding the ideal college can be a daunting task for high school students, especially in an economic climate marked by financial uncertainty. So, this year, we at New College have taken extra steps to let Sarasota-Manatee’s students know they don’t have to travel far (or spend more) for a world-class education.

Just this fall, our enrollment team launched a guaranteed admission program for qualified students enrolled at six area high schools (Booker, Lakewood Ranch, North Port, Riverview, Sarasota and Southeast). Students who met the GPA, test score and course requirements were invited to apply to New College by December for the Fall 2021 semester. We can’t wait to introduce new local scholars to an exceptional college experience right in their hometown.

“New College is eager to attract more students from our surrounding communities who seek an affordable, highly individualized college education that integrates superb academics with career-building experience,” says Damon Wade, Ph.D., New College’s vice president for enrollment management. “For students in Sarasota and Manatee, the state of Florida’s honors college is literally in their backyard.”

We know that the rigorous academics at New College are a major draw for prospective applicants, but affordability can often be a hurdle. And we want students to be aware that we offer numerous financial aid programs at the federal and state levels, as well as scholarships that are unique to New College (such as the Four Winds Scholarship program and the Barancik Access Leadership Scholarship).

“Access Leadership is a New College program created to engage and support high-potential young leaders,” says Bill Woodson, Ph.D., dean of outreach and engagement and chief diversity officer at New College. “It is intended to reduce or eliminate financial barriers that might otherwise prevent a Manatee or Sarasota County high school student from benefitting from the exceptional preparation and leadership development opportunities that a New College education can provide.”

Woodson, who developed the College’s guaranteed admission partnerships, envisioned them as “a concrete commitment to accessibility to an all-honors education for qualified Manasota students.” The program is also open to State College of Florida students.

In November and December, as part of an effort to spread the word about these opportunities communitywide, New College joined a collaborative initiative called Choosing the College That’s Right for You (CCR4U).

During three CCR4U panel-style discussions, leaders from New College, SCF, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Ringling College of Art + Design teamed up to connect with more than 100 Sarasota-Manatee high school students.

As members of the Cross College Alliance, all four colleges offer cross-registration, allowing students at any CCA school to sample classes from the other three institutions at no additional cost. This is a truly magnificent partnership that gives students access to more than 400 full-time faculty members and hundreds of courses, so that they can gain the skills they need for their future career goals.  

Not only did the CCR4U panels give students information about their local higher education options, but they also introduced them to area youth leadership and scholarship programs, including UnidosNow (which focuses on the mentorship of Hispanic youth), the A. Jean Battie Scholarship Fund and the Sarasota YMCA Achievers.

From these panels, the young scholars in our area were able to learn more about New College and the incredible opportunities our institution provides.

They learned about how New College is known for its small class sizes and one-on-one mentorships with professors, and for having one of the highest proportions of future master’s and doctoral degree seekers of any school in the country. They heard about the remarkable success our alumni enjoy in their careers and graduate school programs (for example, within four months of graduation, 86 percent of students in the class of 2019 reported that they were employed, enrolled in graduate school or completing internships).

The CCR4U and guaranteed admission programs are just facets of a much larger goal—to continue connecting high school students with New College. We look forward to guiding them, welcoming them and showing them that the college of their dreams may be just around the corner.

Dr. Donald O’Shea is president of New College of Florida. 

[SOON]  GALA: Virtual: Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation: The Hospital Gala , January 9, 6:30pm-7:30pm

This year, the spotlight will be on the SMH healthcare heroes. Their commitment and compassion during one of the most challenging years in the hospital’s history has been extraordinary. Proceeds from the gala on January 9, 2021 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm will also support the hospital’s areas of greatest need helping to ensure that SMH retains its ranking as one of the nation’s top hospitals. 

[SOON]  GALLERY: Florida CraftArt: The Artists of ArtLofts , January 7 – January 23, 11am-4pm

Florida CraftArt will present The Artists of ArtLofts in its Exhibition Gallery from January 7 to January 23. The 16 award-winning and emerging artists will present recent artwork which includes drawings, encaustic, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography and sculpture. Artists in the exhibition are Javier Dones, Julie Dye, Mavis Gibson, Susan Hess, Brian James, Gilbert Johnson, Beth Kauffman, Betsy Lester, Karen Porter, Rebecca Skelton, Brandy Stark, Kas Turner, Joe Walles, Lee West, Rick Whalen and Donna Winchester. ArtLofts is on the second floor of Florida CraftArt and has working artists’ studios. The studios are usually open to the public wearing masks for the Saturday ArtWalks or by appointment. Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call 727-821-7391. Admission is free. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 4pm.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Speaking of the Arts with Francisco Serrano , January 12, 1pm

Arts Advocates continues its Speaking of the Arts series with Francisco Serrano, a member of England's Royal Ballet. Serrano will share his star-studded journey from Sarasota to London via New York and Havana, as well as video clips of him performing and rehearsing. "Speaking of the Arts... Meet Francisco Serrano, Artist with England's Royal Ballet” is on January 12, at 1pm and is free via Zoom. Registration, which is limited, is required. Arts Advocates is pleased to offer this Speaking of the Arts program in collaboration with the award-winning Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (SCBS), led by Serrano's parents, Cuban-born Ariel Serrano, artistic director, and Wilmian Hernandez, managing director.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Bookstore 1 Sarasota: The Poetry Zoom Book Club led by Doug Knowlton , January 13, 2pm

This month we're discussing A Map of the Lost World by Rick Hilles on January 13, 2021 at 2pm. A fee of $23 is required for participation. This includes a copy of A Map of the Lost World and the Zoom book club meeting. The fee is $28.50 to have the book shipped. The poems that make up A Map of the Lost World range from tightly-wrought shorter lyrics to longer autobiographical narratives to patterns of homage (in several forms) of poets that Hilles admires and emulates (including Richard Hugo, James Wright, James Merrill and Larry Levis) to extended voice-driven meditations, one in the voice of a German Jewish woman, a prisoner who would escape a French concentration camp and go on to fight in the French resistance, to other efforts to confront history and not be devoured by history, and to locate, even resuscitate, friends lost to death, if only provisionally. Ticket purchase required for Zoom link.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Bookstore 1 Sarasota: The Mysteries to Die For Zoom Book Club led by Elsie Souza , January 12, 2pm

This month we're discussing Open Season by C.J. Box on January 12, 2021 at 2pm. A fee of $22 is required for participation. This includes a copy of Open Season and the Zoom book club meeting. The fee is $27.50 to have the book shipped. The first novel in the thrilling series featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett from #1 New York Times bestselling author C. J. Box. Ticket purchase required for Zoom link.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Center for Architecture: Designing Sarasota an Architectural History , January 12 – April 17, Gallery hours.

In collaboration with the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation and the AIA Gulf Coast Chapter, this exhibit will examine the unique history of architecture in Sarasota from the time of Native Americans to the present and will run from January 12 until April 17, 2021. Timed reservation information will be available soon.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Friends of Osprey Junction Trailhead: TreeJuvenation Florida , January 13, 11am-12pm

Join Friends of Osprey Junction Trailhead (FOJT) for their “TreeJuvenation Florida” webinar, a 1-hour workshop on January 13, 2021 from 11am to noon. A grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation is underwriting this webinar. We're celebrating Florida Arbor Day by offering a workshop on the importance of trees. By attending this session you’ll learn about and discover the many benefits you and your community derive from trees. These benefits include improved physical and mental wellness, reducing carbon dioxide, lowering temperatures, mitigating heat-island effects, and how trees contribute to cleaner water and cleaner air.  This presentation will answer the many questions you might have about why adding trees to your landscape is important and how they add more life to your yard. 

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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