Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Education

Student's persistence results in traffic signal at Crews Lake Middle School

SPRING HILL — Crews Lake Middle School alumnus Makayla Trowell returned to her old school recently and was honored for helping her school and community to "see the light."

As a student at Crews Lake last year, Trowell harbored a serious concern about the safety of an intersection that fronted her school on Shady Hills Road.

"We were the only school without a flashing light and no 15 mph school zone sign out front," said the 14-year-old Trowell, now a freshman at Springstead High in Hernando County. "I saw cars speeding through places where school buses drove and children walked."

Upon further research, Trowell learned that no fewer than 14 car wrecks had occurred at the intersection during the school year. She was determined to take action — to see the installation of a traffic signal in front of her school.

"A lot of people have great ideas, but they don't fight for these ideas," the Spring Hill resident said. "I believe in fighting for my ideas, to prove people wrong and make things happen."

In her Crews Lake Middle civics class, taught by Michael Smith, Trowell studied up on her rights as a citizen, drawing further inspiration from supportive administrators, including then-principal Adam Kennedy. Putting this knowledge and inspiration to work, she contacted WFLA-Ch. 8 about her concerns. When reporter Leslee Lacey came out to the school to investigate the traffic situation, she made a disturbing finding.

"She clocked drivers going as many as 30 miles over the speed limit," said Trowell.

When Trowell approached the Pasco County School District about the possibility of installing a light in front of the school, she was told it might take three to four years.

"I was not okay with that," she said.

She launched the petition to expedite the installation, sitting in front of the school and at a nearby Sunoco gas station, where the owners encouraged her efforts, and collected nearly 500 signatures. She also met with county Commissioner Jack Mariano, who, after researching the matter, supported her cause.

On Aug. 8, Mariano joined Trowell for a ceremony at Crews Lake, one at which she most literally "saw the light" that she had fought so hard to attain. She stood proudly beside it.

"It was a very amazing feeling, knowing that I was able to use my voice," she said. "I was very happy."

One person not present at the ceremony was Kennedy, the former Crews Lake principal who was killed in a car wreck in January. Yet Trowell said she felt his presence.

Current principal David Huyck had words of praise and encouragement for Trowell.

"I'm a fan of Makayla. She is a principal's dream," Huyck said. "She had an idea, and she followed it through. Then she put it into action. She did it."

Comments
How will Douglas High students go back to class? There’s now a plan in place.

How will Douglas High students go back to class? There’s now a plan in place.

When students return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High for the first time next Tuesday, they will be greeted by additional counselors and law enforcement."There will be a plethora of counselors and services at the school," Broward Schools Superintende...
Updated: 4 hours ago
School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears to have been in line for a sizable inheritance. He’ll never get to spend it — except perhaps on defense attorneys.The amount could be enough to compel a judge to order him to hire a private lawyer, rather ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

DADE CITY — A Pasco High School student was taken into custody Tuesday amid accusations of threatening violence against the school. The campus was not at risk, school district officials said. But they made clear they take each threat seriously, and t...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

LARGO — An Illinois teacher used confrontation. A campus safety monitor in Seattle attacked with pepper spray and physical force. An assistant football coach in Indiana shouted as he chased him into the woods.All were civilians who took down an activ...
Published: 02/20/18
Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

LARGO — Pinellas County School Board members are not happy about the prospect of having to hand over academic control at three struggling schools to a private company, and paying the firm up to $2 million on top of it. But that’s the course they must...
Published: 02/20/18
Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

The parents of Andrew Coffey, the Florida State University student who died from alcohol poisoning after an apparent hazing episode last year, have sued the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and nine of its members for their son’s death.Coffey, who wa...
Published: 02/20/18
Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Schools nationwide are on heightened alert in the wake of last week’s fatal shootings in Broward County, and in the Tampa area, that means official warnings about social media posts and more calls for police action.Two Tampa boys, one 15 and one 16, ...
Published: 02/20/18
Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

TAMPA — During a news conference Tuesday morning, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan warned against misleading investigators with reports about school security."Spread the word," the school said in a t...
Published: 02/20/18
‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

TAMARAC — The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County in Florida packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields."Last night I tol...
Published: 02/20/18
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Published: 02/20/18