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Tavares Middle School earns top recognition

Tavares Middle School was recently named the 2015 Best Buddies Middle School Chapter of the Year for Florida and the top Overall School Friendship Walk Team!

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We are so excited to spread the mission for social inclusion,’’ said Michelle Metheny, a Tavares Middle School teacher who works with the chapter. “Our fundraising efforts has helped Best Buddies so Central Florida could open five new chapters in Lake County. Best Buddies not only positively impacts my students with autism, but their peer buddies, too.”

Statewide, Best Buddies Florida operates 160 chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges. The chapter at Tavares Middle School raised $18,497 in support of the Best Buddies Friendship Walk, which has drawn more than 55,000 participants in more than 26 states and raised more than $5 million since it started in 2009.

The Tavares Middle School chapter was recognized for its fundraising accomplishments at the Best Buddies 2015 Leadership Conference at Indiana University this summer.