BROOKSVILLE — Hernando High School has been around for a long time. Established in 1889, it has had a parade of notable graduates, including Jerome Brown, a former member of the Philadelphia Eagles football team; Dr. Paul Farmer, who helped found Partners in Health, and even Hernando High principal Leechele Booker's husband, Ygenio Booker.
The school's assistant principal, Angela Miller-Royal, is a 1988 Hernando High graduate. Her husband, their children and her in-laws are grads, too.
"The line goes way back," she said.
Miller-Royal is always looking for fundraisers for Hernando High and has been the driving force behind the effort to sell bricks for the school's new legacy wall. She got the idea after visiting Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics and saw its program to sell bricks to raise money for another computer lab.
"We're always trying to highlight that Hernando High is … the first high school (in the county), and I think that's what separates it from the other high schools, that long history," she said.
Interestingly, Miller-Royal mentioned that about one-third of the school's current staff graduated from Hernando High, and that number goes up when school employees who are related to graduates are included.
"We have a lot of spouses of grads," she said.
The legacy wall will spotlight, she said, "the numbers of generations that have walked the halls of Hernando High School. It's been a long time."
A brick may simply have a graduate's name and year of graduation. Some graduating classes have bought bricks. The Class of 1959 bought one that was inscribed with "Honoring Our Teachers … 1955-1959."
From the Class of 1966, "Love, Faith, Friendships. Go Leopards." The Class of 1958's brick reads: "Hernando High School … Leopards Forever … Go Leopards."
A memorial brick to Jerome Brown lists his graduation year from Hernando High, as well as his years at the University of Miami (1983-1987) and his time with the Eagles (1987-1991).
There have been 25 to 30 bricks sold so far. Miller-Royal sends in orders in bunches to save on shipping costs. She also pointed out that community members and nongraduates are welcome to buy bricks, perhaps as a tribute or memorial. She said a brick would make a good birthday gift for a graduate.
The bricks may be ordered at the school or online at brickrus.com/order/hhs. They are available at $50 for a 4- by 8-inch brick with up to three lines of engraving and up to 18 characters per line; $75 for an 8- by 8-inch brick with up to six lines and 18 characters per line, and $125 for a 12- by 12-inch brick with up to 10 lines of engraving with up to 23 characters per line.
The fundraising does have an additional purpose.
"We're trying to raise money to purchase a sound system for our gymnasium," Miller-Royal said. "It needs updating."