My sons, Jared and Jake, are now 28- and 25-year-old grown men, respectively, but I can still clearly remember the excitement they both felt every year when they went back to school, even through high school.
They’d be armed with new notebooks, pencils and calculators, some new clothes and would look forward to making new friends and catching up with old ones as they returned from whatever summertime activities or family vacations they had enjoyed.
And, although they both grew up in and went to public schools in nearby New Tampa, both of them always had friends who lived and went to school in Wesley Chapel, often through the many sports they both played. “The Chap” didn’t have nearly as many organized sports programs as New Tampa at that time, so the kids who lived in Meadow Pointe and even Lexington Oaks often had to cross the county line to play competitive soccer or baseball.
And, even though it wasn’t that long ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that it was a simpler time, especially in light of the truly frightening craziness going on throughout the world today, even though both of them were old enough then to still remember 9-11.
And yes, I’m proud to say that Jared, Jake and I are all products of public schools, although I grew up in Long Island, NY, and they spent their formative years here in Florida.
Today, Jared, who graduated, as I did, from the University of Florida in Gainesville, is the vice president of business development for the Orlando office of USA Solar, Inc., a solar energy installation company, while he is getting close to rolling out a new cell phone app that he has worked on for almost two years now.
Jake, who graduated cum laude from that other big state school in Tallahassee, is now a sales rep for Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, sitting in on operations with doctors in Milwaukee, WI.
In other words, both are doing great and proof positive that school is what you make of it, whether public, private or home-schooled. If your kids have been coming home since school started here in Pasco County on August 14 excited about their teachers, their friends and their school and you remain involved in the education process with them, it doesn’t matter how overcrowded their school might be. Both of my boys attended Hunter’s Green Elementary when it was at about twice its capacity of 900 students — bigger than many high schools today, including the new Cypress Creek Middle High on Old Pasco Rd. — and there’s no doubt in my mind that they both loved it there.
I’ll be honest that I’m glad that there was no Facebook, social media or smartphones when my kids were young, but seeing so many families I know and love posting their back-to-school pics recently got me feeling pretty nostalgic for those fun, albeit trying, days gone by.
I definitely don’t miss the long car lines, the homework help I often had to provide or the multiple trips to the emergency room with them, but my experience was definitely a positive one, so I hope it’ll be the same for you.
And, for those of you, like me, who no longer have young’ns, please remember that school is back in session, so put down those cell phones while driving, sit back, relax and enjoy all of the new restaurants now open and still to come in our area.
The Latest News About WCNT-tv!
Now just a couple of months into its second year as the only YouTube- and Facebook-based video webcast for New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, I’m proud to say that WCNT-tv — Wesley Chapel and New Tampa Television — is fast approaching a total reach of one million people and 500,000 total views between Facebook and YouTube.
We have changed the format of the “show” quite a bit, with more and shorter news, dining, Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) Featured Business and entertainment segments that always seem to get people talking.
And, that is the primary reason I co-founded the show nearly 15 months ago. With my degree, training and background in broadcasting, I simply could no longer allow this publication to be the only way I could reach out to the people in the communities I have served for the last 23-1/2 years.
During our most recent news segments, we’ve updated our map of the State Road 56 area near the Tampa Premium Outlets, previewed U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis and Pasco Commissioner Mike Moore’s transportation meeting on Aug. 21 (which we will recap in our next issue), and told you about not only Noble Crust and Irish 31 here in Wesley Chapel, but also the new Fat Rabbit Pub and Precinct Pizza in New Tampa.
If you’ve been reading this publication for any period of time, you know how much I love telling you about the new places to eat in our distribution areas and I’m not going to lie about how proud I am when the WCNT-tv “Neighborhood Dining News” segments get so many reactions like “Let’s Go!” anytime I’m the first to tell you about a new eatery.
My WCNT-tv co-anchor Susanna Martinez, WCCC Featured Business host Mollyana Ward, production assistant/video editor Gavin Olsen, cameraman Eric Cupps and I will have multiple new news, dining and business items to share with you on the show before the next issue of this publication reaches your mailbox, so please, subscribe to our Neighborhood News Facebook page and remember to View, Like & Share every episode of WCNT-tv!