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New principal has high hopes for Forest Lakes

(ran EO edition)

During the second week of June, not long after school let out for the summer and principal Greg Walker left Forest Lakes Elementary to take over at Anona Elementary in Largo, a new principal took his place.

Robert P. Evers, who previously was at Sawgrass Lake Elementary School in St. Petersburg, said he is looking forward to the Aug. 25 start of the school year and will welcome students and their parents at the bus drop-off point.

But in a way, the students have already met him, although not face-to-face.

"I came up at the end of last year and spoke on TV," Evers said, referring to the school's in-house broadcasting system.

Evers began his career as a teacher in Pennsylvania. He moved to Pinellas County 25 years ago and taught high school and middle school American history and social studies.

Over 15 years, he has been a principal at several Pinellas schools. For three years he headed up Gulfport Elementary School. Later he moved to Blanton Elementary School in Kenneth City, where he served as principal for four years. He then moved on to Sawgrass Elementary School in St. Petersburg _ a school he helped open _ for an eight-year stint.

When asked why he took the Forest Lakes job, Evers, who has known Walker for years, said he thought he needed a change.

"It's an excellent facility," he said. "I'm very enthusiastic about working in this community."

Evers said that he has had an opportunity to work with parents and teachers connected to the school and called them "a good group."

He lives in Tampa, 25 minutes from the school, and has two sons, Albert, 21, and Robbie, 17, a student at Seminole High School.

New students or those who did not see Evers on the television program will have the opportunity to meet him at an evening visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 23 at the school. New students will have an orientation at 7 p.m. that evening in the cafeteria. The incoming kindergarten students will have their orientation at 3 p.m. Aug. 24.

"The teachers will be there," Evers said.

Last year, when all public schools were graded on their performance, Forest Lakes Elementary scored a B. One of Evers' goals is to maintain that score, or bump it up to an A under his leadership.

Oldsmar teen gets lesson

from Cal Ripken Jr.

To be out on the field throwing and hitting with your favorite baseball player is truly a dream come true.

Frank Gross' hero and mentor is Cal Ripken Jr. The 13-year-old Oldsmar boy got to play recently with Ripken during the Ripken Baseball Camp at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays spring training complex in St. Petersburg.

Gross was one of 50 boys from throughout the United States coached by Ripken and his brother, Billy. Assisting them was Mark Mussina, younger brother of Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina.

From 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the boys trained. Batting practice was held in the mornings, games in the afternoons.

"Cal Ripken pitched to Frankie," said Toni Gross, Frank's mother. "That was very exciting for him." The camp ended Thursday.

Frank, who is home schooled, was able to attend the camp by submitting a written essay for which he was awarded a partial scholarship. Each of the boys received a full uniform as well as detailed and personalized baseball instruction.

Frank will use his new skills and methods, known as the "Ripken Way," on the field when he plays for the Oldsmar Little League and Forest Hills Youth Baseball.

Optimists help prepare

kids identification kits

Members of the Noon Optimist Club of Oldsmar recently met with the Safety Harbor/Oldsmar Mom's Club in an effort to help make children safer.

The program was held just in time for the start of the school year. The children were fingerprinted and photographed, and their vital information was recorded. If any of the children is lost or kidnapped, this information can be used by law enforcement.

Don Klinger of the Optimist Club helped take pictures of the kids. He says the identification kits should be updated every three years because although fingerprints don't change, weight and height do.

Fingerprinting kits were provided by the Oldsmar Fire Department and Allstate Insurance.

_ If you have news about Oldsmar organizations, churches, schools, neighborhoods or residents, please contact Eileen Schulte at the North Pinellas Times. You may call her at (727) 445-4229, fax material to her at (727) 445-4206 or mail it to the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.