Boyette Springs students, parents, past and present staff members and the community had a lot to celebrate and a quarter century of memories to reflect upon at the school’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.
“I’m excited for the wonderful celebration that we have planned for today to commemorate our 25 years of excellence,” said Assistant Principal Elisa Walker.
To mark the occasion, the school held a dedication ceremony and winter carnival and welcomed the entire community.
“This is a neighborhood school. It’s so important to open it up to the community. 25 years! We’ve had grandparents here, children here, and their children are here,” said Principal Tamethea Simmons.
The school opened in 1992 under the leadership of Principal Shirley Trujillo.
“Boyette Springs’ story started 25 years ago, with Mrs. Shirley Trujillo and her vision to make Boyette Springs the first year-round school in Hillsborough County,” said fifth grade teacher Danielle Murphy.
Trujillo is enjoying retirement and couldn’t attend the celebration. Former Principals Nancy Dukes (2005-2012) and Kelly McMillian (2012-2015) joined current Principal Tamethea Simmons.
“It’s great to have three out of four of the principals here joining this exciting moment with us,” Simmons said.
“This was the first and the only school that I was the principal of, so my heart is here. Many, many people I considered family. So, coming back here is a joy and delight,” said Dukes, who is also now enjoying retirement.
“Through the years, each one of you have contributed to creating such a special culture here that continues to thrive today. I have many special memories that have shaped me as a leader that I’m going to carry with me,” said McMillian. McMillian is now the principal of Apollo Beach Elementary School.
“Part of Boyette Springs great history are the years we spent as the first and only school in Hillsborough County to use a modified calendar – truly embracing the pioneer spirit,” explained a staff member.
The school also launched the district’s first full-time program for gifted students in 2016.
“This community was such a pleasure to work with. Supportive parents and respectful students helped to make teaching such an enjoyable experience,” said Melody Murphy, who was a teacher at Boyette Springs from 1992-1999. Murphy is now the principal at Riverview Elementary School.
Dukes reflected on the changes and improvements that she’s seen at the school, including new classrooms.
“It’s beautiful, it was always a beautiful school. People used to tease me that I worked in that ‘hotel on the hill.’ Beautiful school setting, but even more so now,” said Dukes.
Former Assistant Principal (2008-2010) Christopher Fonteyn shared funny memories of helping students work through the everyday dramas of elementary school, but summarized that the staff always made the students feel protected.
“You’re safe here. You’re going to be taken care of, because this is our family,” said Fonteyn, who is the current principal at Citrus Park Elementary School.
Principal Simmons sang the school’s former song: “We are the Pioneers of Boyette Springs. We are here to Learn, Explore and Grow. Climbing mountains, fording streams, learning from the past, building on our father’s dreams, foundations that will last…”
The ceremony included music from show choir members who sang, “Seasons of Love” and “I’m Still Standing.”
“Twenty-five years – and still going strong. It’s very important to celebrate,” said Dukes.
“As we reflect on the past, we are not afraid to embrace the future and welcome new endeavors,” said a staff member.
After the program, staff and families participated in games and activities that raised money for the school’s PTA (Parent Teacher Association).
Principal Simmons said she’s looking forward to seeing what the next 25 years will bring for the Bobcats.
“Twenty-five years is a wonderful accomplishment! I’ve been here for three years now, and it’s been an honor to represent the school of Boyette Springs Elementary – the Best School Ever,” Simmons said.
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