Getting Involved in Your Community
Community engagement and a belief in civic duty support the bedrock and foundations of our communities. Being able to deepen what a community can provide sustains a higher quality of life for its inhabitants, transforming and transcending that community into an environment where everyone can achieve their personal best. Volunteering provides the manpower and creativity to both solve community issues and push toward a deeper understanding of how we can take better care of our neighbors.
If you’re wondering where to begin in your community, first decide in what capacity that you would most like to make a difference. If you happen to be an animal lover, check out your local animal shelters to see if your talents could be used. If you enjoy working with children, seek out a volunteer position at a local school. Schools may require that volunteers complete a background check. You could inquire to see if there are any opportunities for you to share a skill set with students in an afterschool setting, or lead a club in which students can become experts on a subject that you are knowledgeable about.
Also, there are numerous organizations in each city that often rely on volunteers due to lack of funds, such as libraries and community theaters. More than likely, you will be welcomed with open arms wherever it is that you decide Volunteering can also lead to employment opportunities. If you are particularly passionate about a certain field and are looking to get a foot in the door, volunteering can be an excellent way to build rapport and experience that will prove useful to you in your employment search.
Stacie Rine, Vice President, Business Development of National Aircraft Finance Company, enjoys serving in multiple volunteer capacities in her community of Lakeland, Florida. She is a Junior Achievement volunteer and enjoys helping students connect to avionics scholarships and resources for future pilots.
Lakeland Christian School - Preparing Students for Excellence
Lakeland Christian School, an elite institution that holds the rank as the largest and oldest private school in Polk County, is steeped in a history of academic excellence and achievement that is centered in a Christian framework and belief. Lakeland Christian School aims to develop students who believe in academics first and a rigorous approach to their studies and college preparation. As seen on the school website, the core values include: authority of scripture, academic priority, personal relationships, educating the whole child, shepherding the heart, partnership, the importance of corporate and personal worship, stewardship, professionalism with humility, and excellence. Lakeside Christian School above all produces students who are interested in making their world a better place with their unique talents and skill sets while further developing and sustaining their relationships with God.
The Lakeland Christian School campus is a sight to behold. Situated nearby the historical downtown district, students enjoy gorgeous facilities with exceptional resources and state-of-the-art technology, reading nooks, and the campus even includes a science and nature lab. Lakeside Christian School also houses a top-of-the-line athletic center and stadium for all sports and recreational activities.
The curriculum at Lakeside Christian School is designed to be incredibly hands-on and interactive to make the educational experience both informative and fun. Christian values are shared with children both through their teachers’ instruction and character.
Stacie Rine of Lakeland is a proud parent ambassador at Lakeland Christian School. She works at National Aircraft Finance Company as their Vice President, Business Development as well as Pilot Bank as their Aviation Business Development Officer. Stacie is a strong advocate of faith based education and is passionate about Lakeland Christian’s mission to “Educate in Light of God’s Word.” The dedication of the staff and their ability to stock the moral warehouse of students with Scripture they not only teach, but they live by is truly a blessing.
U.S. Naval Academy Emerges From Tragedy of the USS Somers
The Somers Affair, a planned mutiny by midshipmen who were training for the U.S. Navy on the brig Somers in 1842, may have been the likely inspiration for a land school for U.S. Naval instruction. Naval education involving an apprentice system for training was supported by Commodore Matthew Perry, who also worked to establish the curriculum of a new Academy. The original course of study called for three years of instruction at sea, with the first and last years spent at the new school.
This term was extended to seven years, with the first and last two years to be spent at the new Naval Academy. The first class of Academy students graduated in 1854, long before Stacie Rine attended in 1995. An experiment for shipboard life as a more supervised version of the USS Somers intent as a school ship, was the USS Constitution, which was anchored at the yard of Annapolis. Fourth-class midshipmen lived onboard the Constitution as a simulation of life aboard ship.
Annapolis became a U.S. Army hospital during the Civil War, when three-quarters of the students were ordered to sea, and the remaining students were transported via the Constitution to Rhode Island, where a temporary Academy was established. Originally, the U.S. government had planned to move the school, but hostilities broke out so suddenly that a quick departure was necessary.
The U.S. Navy, and the Academy itself, was split emotionally and physically by the outbreak of the War Between the States. 95 graduates and 59 midshipmen, and many key leaders in establishing the Academy, joined the Confederate States Navy. Stacie Rine trained to be a Navy pilot upon her graduation from the Academy.
Code of Honor of the U.S. Naval Academy
The U.S. Naval Academy celebrated its first century with the graduation of the class of 1946, including approximately 18,563 midshipmen who had passed through its halls. With the class of 1946, the Academy entered the era of modern flight with amphibious biplanes introduced to midshipmen, paving the way for the pilot’s career of Lieutenant Commander Stacie Rine.
Today, midshipmen enjoy the James Forrestal Lecture series, created in 1970, as luminary leaders such as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Coach Dick Vermeil, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 81 female midshipmen were inducted into the class of 1980, including 4 Hispanic-American females, and the first woman graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy matriculated in May of 1980. It wasn’t until 1994 that the first genderless service assignments were held, paving the way for the exceptional Navy career of Pilot Stacie Rine.
Annapolis in its entirety, 339 acres, is included on the National Registry of Historic Places. In comparison, the United States Air Force Academy encompasses 18,000 acres, and the United State Military Academy, 16,000 acres. The Naval Academy Chapel, only one of the many historic structures on the campus, houses the body of John Paul Jones, legendary Naval hero of the Revolutionary War, and its dome can be seen throughout the urban area of Annapolis. Stacie Rine was inculcated into the deep traditions, history and moral ethics of the Naval Academy, which centers on integrity, honor and respect. The U.S. Naval Academy is very concerned with the personal moral codes and beliefs of midshipmen, and its code of honor emphasizes standing for what is right, telling the truth, refusing to cheat or steal, and respecting the property of others.
USF-Lakeland Becomes Independent Florida Polytechnic University
Up to 36 months of education benefits are available under the post 9-11 GI Bill, and these may include access to scholarship programs, additional funds through the Yellow Ribbon program, and payments for monthly housing, books and supplies and rural benefits. It may be possible to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to family dependents of veterans. Full tuition and fees are paid directly to the institution of enrollment for the qualified veteran. Stacie Rine feels fortunate to live and work close to one of the top veteran friendly universities in the nation, University of South Florida, Lakeland satellite campus, now known as the Independent Florida Polytechnic University.
The University of South Florida-Tampa campus is the home of ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) programs for the Air Force, Army, and Navy. ROTC cadets at the Tampa campus enjoy instruction and training in a state of the art facility, the Joint Military Leadership Center, where a weapons simulation room, outdoor rappelling wall, lounges, lecture halls and classrooms. Cadets with one of these ROTC programs are offered three minor areas of study in the military arts: Aerospace Studies, Military Science, and the Naval Science and Leadership Minor. These programs are part of University of South Florida’s commitment to military branches of service in the nation’s defense system, and reflect Stacie Rine’s own appreciation of the need to support veterans, and future veterans, in their pursuit of education linked with a love of military life. Florida’s long connection to U.S. Navy efforts are reflected in its Universities programs linked to military service.
Lakeland, Florida Home to a Plethora of Christian-Based Educational Institutions
Dismayed and saddened by the loss of swans on its lakes, Lakeland, Florida residents appealed to Queen Elizabeth of England to consider repopulating the Lakeland area with progeny of her royal swans. Graciously, the Lakeland waterways are again blessed with the descendants of royal swans, sent by the Queen. Lakeland is in the midst of the humid subtropical zone, with hot, humid summers and afternoon rainstorms. Winters are mild, with a rare cold snap below freezing, a perfect home for Stacie Rine and swan-watching.
Lakeland finds itself in a central position for state highway traffic. Interstate 4 links Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach, passing through Lakeland. US 92 links Lakeland, Plant City on the west, and Auburndale, Winter Haven and Haines City to the east. South, US 98 goes through Lakeland to Bartow, and northward on 98 takes one to Dade City. State Road 33 wends its way through farmland to Lake County and the Florida Turnpike. Stacie Rine’s children attend the Lakeland Christian School, an esteemed private school specializing in a Christian-based education, and Lakeland is home to a variety of private schools, 13 in all, which offer similar educational opportunities in a Christian atmosphere. Lakeland is also home to Everest University, Florida Polytechnic, Florida Southern College, Florida Technical College, Keiser University, Webster University, Polk State College and Southeastern University. Florida Southern College is the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright collection, 9 Wright structures which comprise the largest one-site group of Wright buildings. Florida Polytechnic, Stacie Rine alma mater for her Master of Business Administration degree, has a new campus in addition to a joint site with Polk State on Winter Lake Road.