March 2019

SJR State students named to 2019 All-Florida Academic Team

St. Johns River State College students Dante Downie, Steven Middlebrook, James Price and Andrew Vaughn have been named to the Florida College System’s 2019 All-Florida Academic Team, which recognizes students for academic achievement, leadership and service to the community. Students are nominated by their colleges for the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today and the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society.

In a letter to the students about this achievement, Florida College System Chancellor Kathryn Hebda wrote, “It is my privilege to congratulate you on this important accomplishment. Because of your hard work and dedication to both academics and community service, you are counted among Florida’s very best students. Each year, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society recognizes the academic achievements of this select group of two-year college students and provides each member of the team with opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership, service and fellowship programs.”

Students will be recognized and receive a special medallion at an awards ceremony in April hosted by the Florida Department of Education in conjunction with the Florida College System Foundation.

Middlebrook, who currently serves as the President of Scholarship of the PTK Chi Tau Chapter on the Palatka campus, plans to graduate in the fall with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management with a Healthcare Administration focus, followed by enrolling in the Physician Assistant master’s degree program at the University of Florida.

“I have been actively involved in student outreach and a community-centered Honors in Action research project,” said Middlebrook. The PTK Honors in Action program is “designed to engage students in informed action that fosters student success and helps fulfill our (PTK) mission to provide college students opportunities to grow as scholars and leaders.”

“Over the last year, I have taken six classes per semester without making less than an A,” said Middlebrook. “My cumulative GPA is a 3.96. I have remained on the SJR State President’s List, and I recently completed my Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services.”

Vaughn, a full-time dual-enrollment student at Allen D. Nease High School plans to graduate in May with both his Associate in Arts degree as well as his high school diploma. He will then pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida.

“My goal is to obtain a Doctorate in Medicine and become a pediatric clinical geneticist,” said Vaughn, a Dean’s List student at SJR State who has also kept busy volunteering with highway cleanup efforts. Vaughn’s Honors in Action involvement has been affiliated with the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project.

Downie and Price also plan to graduate with their A.A. degrees from SJR State in May and continue their studies at the University of North Florida. Downie will pursue a degree in computing and information sciences. Price’s goal is to become a registered dietician.

SJR State has a PTK Chapter on each campus. Like, Middlebrook, Price is a member of the Palatka campus PTK Honor Society, where Professors Jill Leggett and Kim Van Vliet are the co-advisors. Downie and Vaughn are from the St. Augustine campus’ Chapter, where Professor James McCaughern-Carucci serves as the advisor.

To join PTK, members must have completed 12 credit hours at a two-year institution and hold a 3.5 grade point average. The organization also promotes scholarships. To learn more, visit



Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020