Natalie Flechas – Vanguard High School, Ocala, FL

Natalie Flechas is a Senior at Vanguard High School in Ocala, FL, where she is Co-President of the Senior class and National Honor Society. Natalie makes everyone who walks into the school feel welcome. She leads with compassion and is liked and respected by all, because she leads by example.

Natalie is a counselor at the Royal Family Kids Camp, which is a camp for abused and neglected foster children. Natalie was nervous to be a counselor because she knew she could have a big impact on children’s lives. What she didn’t expect was that these kids would impact her life in the significant way that it did. She says she learned so much about how just one person’s actions and one person’s love could change the way these kids not only thought about themselves but what their life is worth. For some of these kids, camp was the only place where love and affection were shown to them.

In a year when nothing was ‘normal’ Natalie really stepped up. From her club adopting 30+ foster kids (and getting enough donations to get almost everything on their Christmas wish lists), to sending snacks to all of the essential workers at all three local hospitals, City and County Fire Department, the Health Department, and all seven City Fire Departments, to making homemade Valentines for every resident at three different nursing homes, to keeping Vanguard’s Positivity Wall filled with Positivity Posters, to collecting warm socks for nursing homes. Natalie was instrumental in every one of these projects as well as keeping track of volunteer hours, paperwork, agendas, and so much more behind the scenes duties.

Natalie organized and led Warm Ocala’s Soles. The purpose of this project was to collect socks for the homeless in Ocala. She was able to organize and set up collection boxes at various local businesses throughout Ocala and even advertised through local radio stations. Through much hard work She was able to collect over 2,000 pairs of socks. Natalie Flechas is a true “Silent Servant” helping to make this world a much better place to live.

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About Jim Warford

Jim Warford is the author of, The Chemistry of Culture: Strategies You Can Use to Create a Culture of Learning. For 15 years Jim Warford was Senior Advisor and Keynote Speaker for the International Center for Leadership in Education. Jim is an author, speaker, Leadership and Instructional Coach. He was named in March 2003 as Florida’s first Chancellor of K12 Public Schools. He stepped down in September, 2005 to become Executive Director of the Florida Association of School Administrators, representing over 10,000 Florida school leaders. As a Senior Advisor for the International Center for Leadership in Education, he works with states, districts and schools to provide coaching and executive training and support to school leaders and their staffs. As Florida’s Chancellor, he led the creation and state-wide implementation of Florida’s Continuous Improvement Model, FCIM, which resulted in that state’s dramatic gains in student achievement and an 80% reduction in the number low-performing schools. FCIM remains Florida’s required intervention for all low-performing schools. As Superintendent of the Marion County, Florida Public Schools, he first implemented the Continuous Improvement Model district-wide. As a result, school grades went from three “F”, eight “D” and only one “A” school in 1999 to twenty “A”, 16 “B” and no “F” schools in 2003. Under his leadership the high school dropout rate was cut in half. He taught applied technology courses at the high school level for 17 years and created a Computer Graphics/Video Production program that won many national and state awards. He was named Vanguard High School Teacher of the Year three separate times.
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