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March 2023

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Orange County West HSHT Defends Championship as 2023 Project Venture Finalists Excel

Three teams of tomorrow's entrepreneurs delivered outstanding presentations of their ideas for new technology and services at the 2023 Project Venture finals, held at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando on Wednesday, March 1.

The team from Windermere High School in Orlando, representing Orange County West HSHT, repeated as Project Venture champions for the second year in a row. Second- and third-place honors went respectively to the teams from Union County High School (Lake Butler) and Chautauqua Charter School (Panama City), representing the Union County and Bay County HSHT sites.

Continue reading this month's newsletter to learn more about each site and their terrific business plans. Click below to visit our 2023 Project Venture webpage for all the details about this year's event.

Special thanks to our emcee, Greg Angel; keynote speaker, Dr. Albert Manero of Limbitless Solutions; final round judges Dr. Jason Eichenholz, LaTarsha Melvin, Brent McNeal, and Angela Perez; and all our sponsors.

Congratulations to all of the finalists on a fantastic showing!

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Vote Daily for The Able Trust to Support High School High Tech

The CareSource Foundation has named The Able Trust as one of 11 finalists in the Florida Northwest Grant Challenge. The public voting phase running March 1-15 will determine which organization receives a $30,000 grant, which The Able Trust will use to support High School High Tech programs.

Voting is as simple as clicking the button below, following the two-step instructions and submitting your vote. You can vote once per day, every day through March 15, using your email address. We encourage you to share this link with your coworkers, students, family and friends. Let's show our HSHT students how much they mean to us all!

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Ability Week a Fulfilling Success

What a rewarding, all-encompassing experience so many of us had together in Orlando! From the first moment we arrived for the annual High School High Tech Conference at the Margaritaville Resort last week, it was clear that this would be a gathering for the ages.

At the HSHT conference, Tiffany Vause provided a great presentation on the Florida Ready to Work career and technical education program. Focused on employability skills and soft skills training, this program gives students pathways to become better qualified for their future careers. We also discussed the importance of networking as it pertains to our HSHT Guidepost of communications skills. Networking is a great way to teach students how to communicate in professional settings, with the added bonus of potentially creating long-lasting connections for life after graduation. These conversations were just two of many highlights throughout the time we shared.

Of course, we had plenty going on beyond these discussions--Ability Week was full of great opportunities to celebrate all things High School High Tech! Our 2022 awards ceremony Tuesday night recognized nine of our terrific sites and coordinators. Of special note, Robyn Rennick of Gulf County HSHT was honored with the Donna Mundy Award of Distinction. Robyn has served hundreds of students over the years, and has always embraced the core of what Donna, our dearly departed founder, friend and mentor, envisioned High School High Tech to be. My heartfelt congratulations to Robyn and all our award recipients.

And who could forget the 2023 Project Venture finals? The presenting teams from our Bay, Orange West and Union sites faced insightful questions from a top-tier panel of judges and intrigued audience members--some of whom are reading this right now!--and as anyone who was in the room can tell you, the students passed with flying colors. Congratulations to the teams and site coordinators!

It is truly an honor to serve as your State Director. Coming together with so many of you in Orlando, hearing your stories, discussing how we can continue to make this program stronger as we look toward the future--all of it served as a tangible reminder of what we each know: What we do every day matters.

You all have made the commitment to your students to provide them with opportunities for success as they prepare to embark on their post-high school lives, whether that takes them to a college or university, a trade school, an apprenticeship program, or straight into a career you helped them discover and explore. I'm hard-pressed to think of a nobler quest than the one you all chose, and continue to choose, to take on.

Thank you for making it such a pleasure to be your director. I can't wait to see you all at next year's conference!

Coleen Agner

High School High Tech State Director


Our three teams advancing to the 2023 Project Venture finals performed with exceptional poise and professionalism, expertly answering questions posed by the final-round judging panel and audience members of the well over 100 people in attendance. These innovative students truly showed they know their products and plans inside and out! Here are the detailed results:

First Place: Orange County West HSHT

HSHT Partner: Foundation for Orange County Public Schools

Product: Baby Buddy, an electronic bracelet set that uses SONAR to alert a parent or guardian when their child is out of close physical range.

Second Place: Union County HSHT

HSHT Partner: CareerSource Florida Crown Workforce Board, Inc.

Product: A+ Homework, a tutoring service that connects struggling K-12 students with peers of or relatively close to their own age who are experts in a variety of core academic subjects.

Third Place: Bay County HSHT

HSHT Partner: Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School

Product: CHQ Moves, a decluttering and moving service that removes unwanted items from residences and donates them to charity or sells them to raise money for the community.


It was a privilege to recognize the 2022 High School High Tech and Guidepost Award winners at our celebration Tuesday evening at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando. Each of these sites continues to show outstanding commitment to preparing students for postsecondary success.

Congratulations to this year's honorees!

Donna Mundy Award of Distinction:

Robyn Rennick

Gulf County HSHT

HSHT Site of the Year:

Orange County HSHT

HSHT Rookie of the Year:

Lauren Marshall

Flagler County HSHT

Guidepost Award for School-Based Preparatory Experiences:

Nassau County HSHT

Guidepost Award for Career Preparation and Work-Based Learning Experiences:

Pasco County HSHT

Guidepost Award for Youth Development and Leadership:

Bay County HSHT

Guidepost Award for Connecting Activities:

Leon County HSHT

Guidepost Award for Family Engagement and Support:

Miami-Dade County HSHT

Guidepost Award for Communication Skills:

St. Johns County HSHT

We can't wait to see you all at next year's awards ceremony!

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The Able Trust, also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, is a 501(c)(3) public charity established by the Florida Legislature in 1990 as a direct support organization for the 

Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Its mission is to be a key leader in providing

Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment.

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