Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Students' first day at Pinellas' Forest Lakes Elementary School is smooth

OLDSMAR — At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, the staff at Forest Lakes Elementary School huddled in the front office.

It was the first day of school and principal Karen Aspen wanted to be ready for 730 students about to descend on the facility.

She didn't need to worry.

With all the preparation and safety patrols acting as valets for the kids in the car circle, there didn't seem to be one screaming kindergartner or upset parent on campus.

Only a few buses got stuck in traffic and pulled in after the tardy bell rang.

"I think things went great,'' Aspen said. "Everyone was very cooperative.''

One reason for the calm was the dramatic drop in the number of buses that serve Forest Lakes Elementary, from 16 last year to three this year, all from the East Lake area.

"Normally this would be a zoo,'' said physical education teacher Tom Mullins, standing at the bus drop off.

One new arrival was Carson Pemberton, 5.

His mom, Monica Kelly, was holding a bag of snacks in her hand but not for Carson's enjoyment.

"He has diabetes,'' she said. "It's a little nerve-racking today.''

Because of Carson's disease, she said the school's entire front office staff became certified to test for glucose levels. They will test Carson's blood sugar twice a day and that seems to be okay with Carson.

"I feel happy,'' he said.

Kindergarten teacher Karen Gums was happily awaiting the arrival of her young students, many of whom will be reading and writing their own stories by the time they leave her class.

"The orientation was yesterday,'' she said. "They were all looking at me with their big eyes. (It's like) okay, you're in charge of me now. I've got 17 little darlings expecting the world from me.''

Eileen Schulte can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

Students' first day at Pinellas' Forest Lakes Elementary School is smooth 08/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump hails the fallen and their families at Arlington


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed his nation's "boundless and undying" gratitude Monday to Americans who have fallen in battle and to the families they left behind, hailing as heroes the hundreds of thousands buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    President Donald Trump participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. [Photo by Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images]
  2. Tiger Woods arrested in Florida on DUI charge, released

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  3. Review: The Underwoods bring the political terror in 'House of Cards' Season 5


    The ruthless Frank and Claire Underwood are back, continuing their own form of terror inside and outside of the White House.

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards Season 5 on Netflix.
  4. French president attacks Russian media outlets; Putin says Moscow didn't try to influence French election


    VERSAILLES, France — UPDATE, 11:57 A.M.: French President Emmanuel Macron has made an extraordinary attack on two Russian media outlets, saying they acted as "propaganda" organs during France's election campaign.

    French President Emmanuel Macron, right, speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Galerie des Batailles (Gallery of Battles) at the Versailles Palace as they arrive for a joint press conference following their meeting in Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. [Stephane de Sakutin/Pool Photo via AP]
  5. In this Dec. 4, 2016, file photo, Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in Nassau, Bahamas. Woods has been arrested on a drunken driving charge in Palm Beach County , various media outlets are reporting. [AP photo]