5th Graders Recognized for Perfect F-CAT Scores - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

5th Graders Recognized for Perfect F-CAT Scores; Senate President Don Gaetz Surprises Them WIth Special Plaque

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"I wasn't sure at all, I saw my parents here, and i had no idea," says 5th grader Jonathon Elkins at Emerald Coast Middle School.

Kids are curious enough. But, try keeping a secret from dozens of 5th graders.

"It was very very hard to keep the secret yesterday," says Elkin's mother, Joanna Elkins.

Elkins and other parents got a phone call Monday informing them their child was to be recognized for their high score on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or F-CAT. 

"We have a large group of students in our 5th grade who had perfect scores on their F-CAT," says Assistant Principal, Meredith Spence.

That group of 5th graders were called into the library Tuesday afternoon but had no idea why.

However, the answer became clear when Senate President Don Gaetz arrived. He was there to recognize their achievement...personally.

"The reason why this school is an 'A' school is because of you," says Senate President Don Gaetz to the group of students. "It's not because of anyone else."

This is the 7th consecutive year Emerald Coast Middle School has received an "A." Senator Gaetz says less than one percent of schools in Florida have been able to achieve an a grade for 7 years in a row.

Tuesday, 5th graders who helped contribute to that success were presented with an award from the senator.

"A very small amount of students do this well," says Senate President Don Gaetz.
And a large number of students at this school are among the small number of students in our state that are the best."

It was a proud moment for all...staff, parents, and Senator Gaetz.

Senator Gaetz also says Emerald Coast Middle School is one of the highest performing schools in Florida's history.

"This has to be probably the most thrilling things I do as member of the Senate and as President, says Sen. Gaetz.

Tuesday was also a treat for students who got called out of class for this special recognition.

"We got the school an A plus school because we're doing a great job," says 5th grader Jonathon Elkins. "We worked hard and we got paid off to meet the senator."