SARASOTA, Jan. 18, 2017 – Booker
High School graduate Dana Buckhoy has been awarded the Cambridge Learner “Top
in Country” distinction on the Cambridge AICE English Literature exam. Buckhoy was
one of only two students in the U.S. to achieve the award.
is the Advanced International Certificate of Education, an international
educational program developed and administered by the University of Cambridge,
an 800-year old institution based in Cambridge, England. In Sarasota County,
the AICE program is offered to students at Booker, Sarasota and North Port high
schools; a middle-school program is offered at Heron Creek Middle in North Port.
High AICE Coordinator Chris Hutchinson said he is thrilled about Buckhoy’s
accomplishment and what it reflects about the quality of AICE instruction at
Booker. “I’m very proud of Dana. Her achievement shows what hard work and
dedication can do, and it reflects well on the program.”
who now studies Fine Art on a full scholarship at Santa Fe College in
Gainesville, said she was “shocked” to learn that she won this honor. “I knew I
passed the test, but I didn’t know what score I got until I learned about
this,” Buckhoy said. “I really struggled with the class, so to achieve
something like this makes it worth it.”
AICE Literature teacher, Rebecca Prozzo, said she is not surprised that Buckhoy
earned this honor. Prozzo describes her former student as a flexible thinker
with the insight to move beyond the structure of analysis and mechanical
writing. “She had that perception and sensitivity that not all learners have,”
Prozzo said. “I think she was born with it. It was an honor to teach her.”
said English has always been her strongest subject in school, and she earned As
on both the AICE General Paper and the AICE English Language exams. However, by
senior year, she was juggling so much in her life — balancing two jobs with
attending school, where she carried a rigorous course load — she said attending
class became a struggle. She said she was exhausted from the long hours she
kept and credits Prozzo’s nurturing guidance with helping her navigate the
difficulties of both her life and the class. Prozzo has been teaching English
at Booker High for 23 years.
it wasn’t for Ms. Prozzo, I would have had a much harder time with the class
and with the entire year. She sat down and cornered me about coming to school,”
Buckhoy said, adding, “the way she taught her class made it understandable. She
made what we were reading come to life.”
acknowledged that helping her student prioritize and pare down her
extracurricular obligations was challenging, but was key to Buckhoy’s ultimate
achievement. “She really had to struggle to find balance,” Prozzo said.
Buckhoy is not enrolled in English classes at Santa Fe, she said the award has
opened her mind to the possibilities of what she could do. Prozzo echoed this
“I think what’s important is that Dana has
that sense of self-affirmation now, and that will help propel her forward,”
said she feels that coming to Booker High School was “fate.” She moved to
Sarasota in her sophomore year and happened to be districted to Booker. She
applied for both AICE and the school’s Visual and Performing Arts programs and
was accepted into both.
High School is located at 3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota.