A powerful lesson in giving: Lee Middle School students provide relief for Bahamas


The 8th grade hallway at Lee Middle School is clear again, for now. Large boxes from The Home Depot have lined the walls outside of the school’s business classroom for the last few weeks. Written on the boxes in black marker are words like: kids clothes, toilet paper, diapers, bleach, canned fruit and veggies. For Richard Daenell and his students, this scenario is nothing new.



Mr. Daenell and his students, mostly members of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), frequently jump into action following natural disasters. They have taken much-needed items to areas ravaged by storms including Key West and Florida’s Panhandle. This time, the students are collecting supplies for people impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Students have been busy, during and after-school, sorting and packing the donations.



After Mr. Daenell sent out a call-to-action, items came pouring in from local businesses, students and staff, community members and even other schools, like Miller Elementary. Last Friday, approximately 10,000 pounds of donations were loaded into Lee Middle School’s travel trailer and taken to a warehouse, set up as a hurricane relief staging area in Bradenton.



The effort is being spearheaded by Yellowfin Yachts and Haulin Grass Fishing Team. Mr. Daenell and his students delivered the items on Saturday morning, where they would be loaded onto a truck headed for South Florida. From there, the items will be flown to the Bahamas. Shallow water barges carrying the supplies could make it to the hardest hit islands this week, according to Daenell.



“This is only the beginning,” said Richard Daenell. “We will continue to collect donations as long as we have a direct connection to the people who need it most in the Bahamas.” They can be dropped off at Lee Middle School, located at 4000 53rd Avenue West in Bradenton, during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Monetary donations will be used to purchase items, such as generators.



WeManatee stands for “We are the School District of Manatee County” and celebrates people in our community who make a difference in public education – and those who benefit from it.

Oneco Elementary Celebrates New Community Garden



The NUBS hosted a beautiful garden party on Friday, October 27, 2017 at Oneco Elementary School in Bradenton, Florida. NUBS stands for Never Underestimate Brave Students, a group focused on volunteerism. Their motto: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”



The garden is a community project. An old garden was torn out and re-planted by Enza Zaden – and new supplies including soil were donated by Manasota Elks #2734 and several local churches including Oneco United Methodist, Living Lord Lutheran and Woodland Community Church.



Some of those community members joined students for the luncheon, which included soup, salad, cobbler and ice cream. Other guests included representatives from Keep Manatee Beautiful, Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, and Annette Codelia, one of the District’s Executive Directors of Elementary Education.



Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene was the special guest speaker at the event. She spoke of the importance of working together to strengthen our community. Dr. Greene also praised the students for their hard work – and reminded them to be thankful to those who help them succeed.



Assistant Technology Teacher, Marie Mueller, is one of the NUBS’ co-advisors. She and fellow teacher, Gretchen Hatton, have led the NUBS throughout the growth of their garden project. Later this year, the NUBS will host a group of disabled veterans for an event called “Blankets for Veterans” in which they assemble no-sew blankets for residents of Bay Pines Healthcare System.



To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow. -Audrey Hepburn



New Principal Ronnie King thanked all of the NUBS and members of the school’s Garden Club for their hard work. He also showed his appreciation to volunteers who give their valued time to the school and his students. Oneco Elementary was recently named a “Green School” by Keep Manatee Beautiful for their environmental efforts.



After the luncheon, Dr. Greene, guests and students gathered together for an official ribbon cutting at Oneco Elementary’s new garden.



ABC 7 reporter Bobeth Yates also featured the new garden for a story which aired on the evening news. To watch, please click the photo below.



#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.