Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-June 10, 2015
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By B.C. Manionbcmanion@lakerlutznews.com
In her 38 years as an educator, MaryFernandez relied on this simple guidingprinciple: Is it whats best for children?
In sorting through the myriad issues andcompeting interests that a principal faces inthe day-to-day work of running a school, thatprinciple provided clarity when making de-cisions, Fernandez said.
Fernandez joined Lutz ElementarySchools staff in 1993, as an assistant princi-pal.
She took over the schools top post 11years ago, becoming only just the third prin-cipal to lead the school during the past 40years.
Fernandez took the reins from GloriaKolka, who succeeded Eulah McWilliams.
The decision to become an educatorcame early for Fernandez.
She vividly recalls sitting in her fourth-grade classroom at St. Patricks CatholicSchool in South Tampa, looking at herteacher Rebecca Thomas, and thinking: Iwant to be her.
She never wavered from that desire.Fernandez attended the University of
South Florida, graduating in three years, andbegan her teaching career at St. LawrenceCatholic School, when she was 21.
I worked there for seven years. It is ab-solutely amazing the number of children,
By Michael Murillommurillo@lakerlutznews.com
Cheryl Lynn Ayres decided topursue the ceremonial title of LutzGuvna in a very modern way.
She was on Facebook.She is friends with previous
Lutz Guvnas on the social mediawebsite, and a few of them werediscussing their efforts to recruitcandidates for this years cam-paign. Ayres posted that it mightbe time for her to give it a shot.
And that was about all it took.Within 30 minutes, I had a
couple of phone calls saying yes,you should do that, Ayres recalled.If things happened this fast in realpolitics, stuff would get done.
The Guvna race isnt real poli-tics, of course. Its a lightheartedfundraiser for local organizations.The person who raises the mostmoney during the campaign,which runs until the Fourth of Julyweekend, is declared the winnerand receives the coveted Guvnasash.
And after nearly 30 years in Lutz, Ayres isfinally throwing her hat in the ring.
A native of Minnesota, Ayres moved toFlorida in the early 80s, and settled in Lutzin 1987.
It didnt take long for her to feel comfort-able here.
At the communitys annual Fourth of July
celebration, Ayres found herself near the li-brary with the Boy Scouts. A fewminutes later, she felt like she was home.
As a community, we said the Pledge ofAllegiance together, and then we sang theStar Spangled Banner. And at that moment, Isaid I am part of this community. And what-ever it needs, I will do what I can to help.
Ayres has kept her word, participating in
several groups and associa-tions, including serving on theboard of directors for theWilson Lakes NeighborhoodAssociation. She doesnt wantto be the neighbor who sitsback and waits for other peo-ple to get things done, Ayressaid. She wants to be involved.
And with the Guvnasrace, she has plenty of oppor-tunities to be involved inraising money for Lutz.
She kicked things off at thedebate at the Old Lutz Schoolby singing what else theStar Spangled Banner. Andshes got a slate of fundraisersscheduled to bring in thecash.
On June 11, starting at 5p.m., shell receive a portionof the sales from those whomention her name atBrewTown Burgers, 19255 N.Dale Mabry Highway. On June18, shell benefit from a trivianight at Jans Wine & Boos II at
19233 N. Dale Mabry Highway. And on June24, from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m., shell get aportion of the sales for those who declaretheir support for her campaign at ElsasMexican Restaurant, 18450 U.S. 41.
If those (and other) fundraising effortsget her the Guvna title, shes earmarked a
By Kathy Steeleksteele@lakerlutznews.com
The Boy Scouts of America Troop 12 isknown in Lutz for its many good deeds.
Every year, troop members are highly vis-ible at the Fourth of July parade in Lutz, anevent that draws thousands of spectators.
But well before the parade begins, troopmembers are doing work behind thescenes.
They stay overnight on the eve of the pa-rade, near the Lutz Branch Library, so theycan keep an eye on the vendor and ex-hibitor displays.
And, hours before the parade begins, thescouts help the GFWC Lutz-Land O LakesWomans Club prepare for the festivities.
They also post dozens of American flagsto help celebrate the nations IndependenceDay.
Pitching in for the Fourth of July celebra-tion is just one example of the helpfulnature of this group.
The troops community roots go deep.Founded in 1933, the troop is one of theoldest in the country.
From its inception (the troop) has beeninvolved in the community in many ways,said Scoutmaster Jeff Potvin.
In recent years, the troop has experi-enced a spurt in membership and hasoutgrown its scout hut, near Lutz LakeFern Road, off U.S. 41.
If youre having a regular meeting, it fitseverything. But when they have ceremonieswhere parents come, it doesnt, said BillAnderson, whose 14-year-old son, Jackson, isa member of Troop 12.
The troop has 57 members, includingabout 25 who joined just this year.
Part of the troops growth is due to CubScouts moving up. Despite that, member-ship ranks exceeded expectations, saidAnderson, a former Cub Scout master.
To address the space shortage, the scoutshope to add a new room to the existingstructure that was built in 1997.
The expansion would provide additionalstorage space and a meeting room for troopleaders. It also would free up space for activ-ities in the main room.
The estimated cost of the addition is$12,000 to $14,000, Anderson said.
The boys are working to raise money.They have collected more than $1,000
from a buy a brick program and sales ofpopcorn at community events. Those effortswill continue. This year the troop also willsell food at the July 4 celebration, Andersonsaid.
To help raise more money, Anderson haslaunched a Give Em Room to Growfundraising campaign.
He started things off with a $250 person-al donation.
The hope is that local residents and busi-nesses will join the effort, Anderson said.
Goodbye, Mrs. Fernandez
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHERYL LYNN AYRESCheryl Lynn Ayres isnt afraid of donning a costume, as she provedat a western-themed client appreciation picnic earlier this year withher husband, Kris. And if she wins the race for Lutz Guvna, shellhave a sash to wear as well.
See AYRES, page 9A
KATHY STEELE/STAFF PHOTOU.S. Boy Scouts of America Troop 12 haveoutgrown the existing scout hut at 205Second Ave., S.E., off U.S. 41, and want toadd a new room.
See TROOP 12, page 9A
B.C. MANION/STAFF PHOTOMary Fernandez, principal at LutzElementary for the past 11 years, retired thisweek. She was an educator for 38 years.See FERNANDEZ, page 9A
Ayres aims for the Lutz Guvna sash
INSIDE, PAGE 1B
COURTESY OF MIKE RITCHIE Troop 12 often does community projects, including this cleanup at Lutz Elementary School.
Troop 12 needs growing room
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2A www.LakerLutzNews.comJune 10, 2015
Celebrating a half-century of danceBy Kathy Steeleksteele@lakerlutznews.com
Sally Blackwood was just meant todance.
And at age 79, she is celebrating the50th anniversary of the Blackwood Studiosin Dade City with a recital of The Wizard ofOz.
The journey down the yellow brick roadis a tradition begun in 1965 and has beenrepeated every decade since.
It is our signature piece, said Blackwoodwho teaches up to five hours a day.
The faces of many of her students have afamiliar look, because often they are thechildren or grandchildren of students shetaught in the past.
We really are a studio family, Blackwoodsaid.
Her own family is where her passion fordance began.
Her fathers orchestra traveled throughFlorida at the height of the swing bandcraze in the 1940s. Ben Atwood and his mu-sical troupe played the swanky Vinoy Hotelin St. Petersburg. Her mother, GenevieveAtwood, played violin in the orchestra. Itwas a love match.
Blackwood would find her own lovematch, too. But first there would be a child-hood of un