Friday the 13th is a lucky day for Dr. Mona Jain.
On the same day she was hired by the school district more than 50 years ago, she attended the groundbreaking of a brand new school which will bear her name.
Dr. Mona Jain Middle School is located on a 27-acre site adjacent to Gullett Elementary School, near 44th Avenue East and White Eagle Blvd. in Lakewood Ranch.
Born in India, Dr. Jain is both a medical doctor and an educator. She came to America in 1964 and taught at Bayshore Middle School and Bayshore High School in Manatee County.
“She was a mentor to students, teachers and staff members,” said Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, “She is a strong advocate for inspiring young women to be interested in science and math.”
Florida Governor Lawton Chiles appointed her to serve on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and after leaving education, she served as the Director of Family Health Services for Manatee County’s Head Start program.
Dr. Jain is a Fulbright scholar and a winner of the University of South Florida’s Distinguished Alumna Award.
“This school is not dedicated to one person,” said Dr. Mona Jain during the ceremony, “I am dedicating to everybody who believes in education and especially to the educators of the past, present and future.”
Other guest speakers spoke on behalf of Dr. Mona Jain, including School Board Chairman, Dr. Scott Hopes. “When the students of this soon-to-be built middle school go through orientation and learn the story of Dr. Mona Jain,” Hopes said. “They will know that they too can achieve great things through knowledge attainment and the American dream can be achieved through the doors of Dr. Mona Jain Middle School.”
One of the project’s architects also spoke to how it will benefit the community. “Not only is this school going to be a safe and secure environment for students, parents and the community at-large,” said Stephen Johnson of Harvard Jolly Architecture. “It will also be a gleaming, 21st-century modern, technology-rich environment for all of these students over the years to enjoy.”
Dr. Jain Middle School is being built to house approximately 1,100 students and is expected to open in August 2019.
A woman from India is serving as the Project Manager for the new school.
“We’re particularly honored to be building this school in Dr. Jain’s name,” said Nate Carr, Vice President of Willis Smith Construction. “What resonates most with us is her attention to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects and careers and how she’s helped young ladies reach higher in their careers and lives.”
Dr. Mona Jain Middle School will alleviate overcrowding at other east county middle schools such as Haile, Nolan, Buffalo Creek and Braden River – and will be the first new middle school opened by the district since 2007.
The total projected budget for Dr. Mona Jain Middle is $45 million.
#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.