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Published Sep. 1, 2005

By Joseph Swett, Valrico

I have lived in Valrico since July of 1999. My family and I moved here from Orlando to be closer to my family who also live in Valrico, including my grandparents, my sister and her family, and two uncles and their families.

We are known as the "big family" to others but to me, it's my "little family" and we all live together in our "little town."

Even though I have only lived in Valrico for about four years, I have adjusted, thanks to my family. I had lived in one house on one block in a suburb of Orlando for all of my life and was distressed when I heard we were moving. My uncle is a physician at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and my sister had brain surgery four years ago which started the chain of events that led us to move here. (She is doing well now.)

It has been interesting to see the growth of Valrico and also quite exciting to see the major changes that have been happening. It is sad to see some people in the Valrico area complain about the growth, like the new library that is going to be built next to Bloomingdale High School and the cutting down of trees to widen roads, but the growth is needed and will add to the convenient way of living here in Valrico.

I love the scenery around our own little Tampa, especially the trees and the wide variety of wildlife, from families of sand hill cranes to beavers in the many lakes. All in all, Valrico is a nice change from Orlando and the setting of a little town that is in the process of becoming a big city is something neat and interesting to watch and be a part of.

Even though I am only a senior in high school, I look forward to spending my life here in the Brandon/Valrico area and hopefully one day raising a family here in this great town.

_ Joseph Swett, who lives on Lukow Place, worked in the Brandon Times bureau in June as part of the High School/High Tech summer internship program.