Business Partner Kicks Off Community Outreach with New Shoes for Homeless Students


Hundreds of homeless students in Manatee County will receive a brand new pair of shoes and socks thanks to the generosity of Regions Bank and it’s customers. Bank associates delivered several boxes of donations to the District’s School Support Center on Thursday, as part of a community outreach program called Share the Good.



“Share the Good is about finding meaningful ways we can give back to the communities where we live and work,” said Marty Lanahan, West Florida Area President for Regions Bank. “The difference these donations make for students is truly incredible, and our goal is to build on this outreach and help even more students.” The program is in its eighth year.


(L-to-R) Dennise Berger, Jo Johnson, Melissa Brady, Dr. Diana Greene and Lissette Fernandez with donations


Bank associates presented 376 new pairs of shoes and 102 new pairs of socks to Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene and Lissette Fernandez, a school social worker, on behalf of Project HEART. Customers and employees of six different Regions Bank locations in Manatee County participated in the donation drive.

Project HEART is the School District of Manatee County’s Title X Homeless Education Program, providing education-related support services for students who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. According to Fernandez, there were more than 1,900 students who qualified for Project HEART during the 2016-17 school year. That’s an increase of 400 students from the previous school year.

Regions Bank associates also provided financial education to students at Southeast High School; and donated finance-related books to school libraries, as part of the Share the Good campaign. Together with our business partners… #WeManatee.

#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.

Former Astronaut, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Spends Solar Eclipse at Buffalo Creek Middle School


The students and staff at Buffalo Creek Middle School in Palmetto won’t soon forget where they were for #SolarEclipse2017. While students from the School District of Manatee County were limited to watching the event safely indoors, this group had a guest speaker that was “out of this world!”


Florida Senator Bill Nelson thanking school nurses and the Cafeteria Manager for all they do at Buffalo Creek Middle


U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, made a stop at the school while visiting the area. He was joined by his son, Bill Nelson, Jr., staff and deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene attended the event, along with School Board Chair Charlie Kennedy, Vice-Chair John Colon, and Board Member Scott Hopes. After greeting Buffalo Creek’s Cafeteria Manager and two school nurses in the hallway, the U.S. Senator made his way into the cafeteria amid cheers and clapping.


Photo: School District of Manatee County


With two giant screens playing out the historical event on television, the former astronaut used a lamp and a globe to teach a science lesson about the Solar Eclipse. Afterwards, he took questions from an audience of approximately 300 students, such as “How do you go to the bathroom in space?” “Very carefully,” joked the Florida Senator.


Photo: School District of Manatee County


In January 1986, Sen. Nelson became the first sitting member of the United States House of Representatives to fly in space. He flew as a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia. The Senator also shared his experiences eating in space, how it feels to be weightless, when he thinks an American will travel to Mars, and what tragic events led to the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia disasters.


An eighth grade student, who is a member of the yearbook staff, joins veteran reporters to capture the special event


About an hour after speaking to students and staff, Eleanor, an eighth grader, found herself in the middle of a press junket — surrounded by television, radio, and newspaper reporters.  When Sen. Nelson was finished answering questions, he looked around for the young woman. “I promised her a photo,” he said, “She mentioned that she was taking them for the school yearbook.”


Principal Dustin Dahlquist accepts a signed poster from Senator Bill Nelson, who flew in space aboard STS-61-C Columbia


Senator Nelson left a lasting impression on the Hawks. Students got a science lesson from a prominent figure on a day that will appear in future history books. The next time you’re at Buffalo Creek Middle School check out their newest gift, a signed poster from a former astronaut.



#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.

Braden River High School Graduate Brings It Home for the Gators



“Every opportunity you get is another opportunity to succeed, so you might as well get out there and try to do what you can.”

-Tyler Dyson, College Student

Braden River High School Alumni


It didn’t take Tyler Dyson long to find his way around a baseball field. He’s been playing with his father and older brother since he was two years old. The best night of his life? He says it’s June 27, 2017.

That’s when the 2016 Braden River High School graduate would become a part of history. Dyson started the game for the Florida Gators on the pitcher’s mound, helping them claim victory in the College World Series – the first time ever for the University of Florida baseball team.

We recently met up with Dyson and a member of the Pirates’ coaching staff on the baseball field at Braden River High School. The win, or ‘W’ as he calls it, is something that the 18-year old won’t soon forget.

“To play in the National Championship game, especially as a freshman — it was an amazing feeling,” said Dyson to his former coach as he tossed a ball, “I don’t think that there’s anything that can top it.”

The feeling was mutual for Associate Head Coach Matthew Bowling. He boasted, “It was a joy as your former coach to watch you; that was pretty incredible. You don’t get much of an opportunity as a high school coach to see that.”


Tyler Dyson (2nd from left) and classmates on Spirit Day (Photo: Your Observer, Nov. 2015)


Coach Bowling isn’t the only one closely watching Dyson’s career. He had text messages, emails, and messages on social media from hundreds of friends, family, and fans including Pirates’ Head Baseball Coach Craig Page.

“Tyler is a true scholar and athlete. Not only is he an amazing baseball player, but also a great student — and an even better person,” wrote Page in a text message, “We know this is just the beginning.”

Dyson says his fondest memories from Braden River High School are the relationships that he built. They are strong — much like the support of Dyson’s parents — who he thanks for being there through all of the ups and downs in school and sports.


BRHS Alumni Tyler Dyson started Game 2 of the CWS (Photo: Tim Casey/UAA Communications)


After winning on college baseball’s biggest stage, Dyson only has one regret. “That I could never bring a District Title here,” he said to Bowling. The Pirates went on to win the District Championship in 2017, one year after Dyson graduated.

Bowling laughed and said, “We won the District Championship; you won the National Championship. Which one do you want?” Dyson replied, “I’ll take the National Championship.”

Tyler Dyson dreams of being in the big leagues, but his heart won’t ever be far from home. On a hot summer day on a ball field in Florida, the humble young man wipes his brow and gives autographed baseballs to the children of his former coach; a man he now calls “a close friend.”

“There’s [sic] a lot of great athletes, a lot of great people that come through this area,” said Dyson. “What comes to my mind about living in Manatee County? Hopefully I’m creating a legacy of how to pave the way out here.”


Fast Facts about Tyler Dyson: 

  • Attended Freedom Elementary & Haile Middle School
  • Played baseball and basketball for Braden River High
  • Graduated – Science Technology and Health Academy
  • Participated in Student Government Association


WE are the School District of Manatee County