AVON PARK, Fla. – Nov. 28, 2017 – South Florida State College (SFSC), in partnership with the DeSoto County Historical Society (DCHS), will provide an online mobile-friendly, self-guided walking tour of historic downtown Arcadia, Fla., on Dec. 6 to celebrate the anniversary of the town’s incorporation on Dec. 6, 1886.

“SFSC has a DeSoto Campus with a branch library,” said Claire A. Miller, SFSC librarian. “People have always sought history in libraries, especially local history. So, it makes sense for the college library to make this information accessible.”

The tour includes Google map directions and GPS coordinates as well as analog maps. “We’ve combined historic information with digital technology,” Miller said. “We’ve mixed the old and the new.”

A QR or Quick Response Code will help people partake in the tour and will be posted throughout downtown Arcadia. A QR code can be scanned like a UPC by a cell phone or other mobile device.

Although the first pioneers settled the area that is now Arcadia in 1856, they did not apply for a post office until 1883. A settlement grew on the banks of the Peace River because it served as the main means of transportation.

About a mile east of the river, the Florida Southern Railway laid tracks, and the first train arrived on March 4, 1886. Business owners constructed businesses near the train depot and stores on the riverbank moved “uptown.” The train depot, today a storefront, is one of the first stops on the walking tour.

In 1901, the city of Arcadia was incorporated, and on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 30, 1905, fire destroyed the business district. The city council decreed all future construction of block or brick, and so the handsome masonry commercial buildings standing today were built between 1906 and 1926. Most of the structures on the tour date from this period of construction. The Arcadia Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and in 1985, Arcadia began its revitalization as a Main Street city. Although well-known for its wealth of antique shops, the city also offers specialty boutiques, offices, and restaurants.           

To learn more about Arcadia, its history, and its historic commercial structures, access the online self-guided walking tour at http://libguides.southflorida.edu/florida/desoto_walking_tour.           

“The self-guided walking tour allows people to ‘read’ the downtown buildings like a history book,” said Carol Mahler, volunteer coordinator of the DCHS’s Research Library and Museum in Arcadia. “If only those buildings could talk,” she said. “I bet they’d have some tales to tell.”

From left: Erik Christensen, dean, Applied Sciences and Technologies; Jamie Bateman, executive director, Institutional Advancement; student Joseph Hines; and Jerry Donna, director, Financial Aid

AVON PARK, Fla. – Nov. 9, 2017 – Joseph Hines, a student in South Florida State College’s Automotive Service Technology program, recently received a $500 scholarship made possible by the VW Club of Highlands County through a donation to the SFSC Foundation.

In early 2016, after 15 years of retail and management experience, Hines decided to re-enter college to provide a better future for his family.  He plans to enter the automotive industry with a “can do” attitude, no matter where he begins his career and hopes to become a lead technician or even enter management if the opportunity becomes available. 

“Years from now, I will be able to show my children that hard work, determination, and perseverance will always build you up and make you a better person,” Hines said. “I plan to teach my family what I have learned and show them the importance of continuing higher education after graduation. They don’t need to go through the struggles I endured after originally leaving college after only a few classes over a decade and a half ago.”

“We are so grateful to the VW Club of Highlands County for its generous donation to our Automotive Service Technology program at SFSC,” said Jamie Bateman, executive director, SFSC Institutional Advancement, who oversees the SFSC Foundation. “We have so many amazing students like Joseph. When an organization like this donates toward a student’s education, it makes a huge impact in their life. We’re proud of Joseph and know that with his drive and determination, he will be successful in this industry.”

The SFSC Foundation, Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation that encourages individuals and organizations to make gifts and grants to SFSC. Each year, the SFSC Foundation transfers gift and investment income to SFSC to support campus priorities, such as scholarships, building projects, and the initiatives of specific programs. To donate to the SFSC Foundation, call 863-453-3133.

AVON PARK, Fla. – Nov. 2, 2017 – President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the nation’s obligation to veterans in his second inaugural address when he issued the call to “care for him who has borne the battle.” South Florida State College will honor those who gave all or part of their lives to military service at a Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 10, at 10:45 a.m., in front of the flagpoles on the Highlands Campus, Avon Park. The public is welcome.

Tim Backer, chair of the college’s District Board of Trustees, will open the ceremony with a welcome message, and Air Force veteran Jennifer Groves will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Reflections on military service will be delivered by two SFSC students: Air Force veteran Kaelyn Fort and Marine Corps veteran Christopher Wingate. Student Services advising and retention specialist Robert Hampton, a Marine Corps veteran, will conduct the Veteran Celebration formation, and official remarks will be delivered by State Rep. Cary Pigman, M.D., a veteran of the Navy and Army. Army veteran Ben Carter, director of outreach and student support, will deliver the benediction.

After the ceremony, everyone is welcome to join veterans and military service members in the annual remembrance walk around the Highlands Campus.

Erik Christensen, dean of Applied Sciences and Technologies, is organizing the ceremony with sponsorship from the SFSC Chapter of the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC). Other participants include the Avon Park High School Air Force Junior ROTC, Assembly #3203 of the Knights of Columbus, RSVP of Highlands County, the SFSC Criminal Justice Academy, and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1097.