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Allen Park Elementary prepares campus, staff for new school year

Posted at 12:36 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 12:36:44-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lee County students go back to school on Wednesday, and Allen Park Elementary School has done a lot to get the campus ready and make sure students and staff feel welcome.

The light house is Allen Park Elementary School's logo.

"With the tagline of 'Illuminating Minds,'" Melissa Booth, the school's new Principal, said.

She said the lighthouse has also inspired the school to adopt the word 'shine' into their Behavior Support Plan.

"That stands for being Safe, Helpful, In control, Nice and Engaged. So we're going to encourage our students to shine. We're going to encourage our teachers to shine," Booth said.

So the campus at Allen Park Elementary needed to shine, too.

"This campus is huge. And Allen Park is a very old school. It's been here for over 65 years," Booth said.

She recruited some help from the community to brighten the place up.

"Melissa is one of our members at Burn," Craig Toggweiler, one of the owners of Burn Boot Camp Fort Myers said. "So she came to us probably about a month ago and said, 'We got a lot of work to do around the school.'"

Given how many members are teachers, Toggweiler said it was only natural to jump in and help.

"Probably 40-50 people are teachers that we see every day," he said.

Burn Boot Camp Fort Myers hosted a free workout at Allen Park Elementary on Saturday, open to school staff and anyone who wanted to come out, followed by a campus beautification day.

"Do the finishing touches for landscaping, laying mulch," Booth said.

"Everybody's walking around with paint brushes, and paint in their hands. Mulching a lot, raking a lot of leaves," Toggweiler said.

Bob Blanchard brought some students from Fort Myers High School to pitch in.

"My wife's been here 21 years. And we live right down the street. And Allen Park is dear to our hearts. I went here as a kid, and both my boys went here. It's just great to see the community to get involved in such a wonderful school," he said.

Jacqulyn Ali, a Kindergarten teacher at Allen Park Elementary, said she was touched by all the support.

"It's just overwhelming. I mean, we've never been able to come on campus and help, so it's really nice to have the community and all of the teachers here helping," she said.

The community came together to do all of this work to make sure students feel welcome and ready to start the school year on a bright note.

"As the new Principal, I can't wait to meet my new students. I can't wait to meet my new families. And we're going to just get ready to shine. It's going to be a great year," Booth said.

The teamwork of the community to brighten up the Allen Park Elementary School campus is a theme Booth hopes will carry into the new school year.

"We've gone with a team theme this year," she said. "Just to get that 'we're a team, we're family' kind of positive school culture going."

Booth said the pandemic years in schools have been isolating, with school staff and students feeling new pressures. This year, she wants to remind everyone they're all in this together.

"That's really the message, that we can lean on each other. We're one team. We're one family," Booth said. "We're excited to have you. We're excited to welcome you back. We're excited to have you on campus"

With the inspiration of their lighthouse, they've also added a new tagline:

"Team Allen Park, work hard shine bright," Booth said.