Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Southside Fundamental

Southside Fundamental Middle: 'Like losing something you love very much'

For months this past school year, Lorenzo Bright was the go-to guy at Southside.

Whenever students or teachers wanted an update on the district's ongoing discussions about school closings, he was the one they sought.

After all, he was the student body president. He was the one who organized the petition drive, who wrote letters to school officials, who attended School Board meetings.

Once the word spread that Southside definitely was closing, the seventh-grader became even more popular — and more stressed.

"There was so much extra pressure because people knew it was our last year," said Lorenzo, 13. "People were saying, 'We want a dance, we want a talent show.' It was hard because I wanted to make everybody happy."

Like all Southside students, Lorenzo has formed a special bond with the 82-year-old school. But for him, the ties go deeper.

His grandfather, Luke C. Williams Sr., was a plant operator at the school before Lorenzo was born.

"He died when I was 3 months old, but it warmed my heart to know I was walking the same halls he walked. I was proud to be able to say my granddaddy worked there."

It pained Lorenzo to see his teachers and fellow students upset and uncertain about their futures. He tried his best to cheer them up, telling them that change can be good.

But deep down, he has mourned along with them. It was a sensation he felt only once before in his young life.

"I lost my dog a few years ago," he said. "That's kind of what this feels like. It's like losing something that you love very much."

Southside Fundamental Middle: 'Like losing something you love very much' 05/23/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 25, 2009 5:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours