Dr. Eric Cantrell, Principal of Summerfield CrossingsSummerfield Crossings Elementary celebrated the end of its inaugural school year with a celebratory dedication of its $11 million, 78,860-square foot building. The school, designed to house up to 960 students, is named for the Riverview community where it’s located: Summerfield Crossings.

Summerfield is considered a “prototype” school – one of the first new schools in Hillsborough County designed and constructed as an “environmentally friendly” complex. The school uses “smart” control technologies that detect humans’ presence and movements in each room, and then regulates air-conditioning, heating and light accordingly.

During the dedication ceremonies, Hillsborough County School Area Director Sherrie Sikes praised the faculty and staff at Summerfield Crossings, saying, “They are dedicated, visionary leaders who believe students come first.”

Brandie Jackson and Megan Wink – Summerfield PTA board members – were proud of the successful launch of the new school and pleased with the first year’s successes.  “We expected some minor difficulties during the first year of a new school,” Jackson said, “but everything, this year, went very well.”

Students, parents, teachers and community dignitaries listened attentively as Principal Dr. Eric Cantrell explained that the school’s motto – “Whatever It Takes” – became a guiding light and professional mantra for Summerfield’s faculty and staff.  And although the school opened a year later than originally planned, Cantrell considered the 2007-08 school year a success on every level.

Cantrell went on to explain that a large part of the school’s success is attributable to the F.I.S.H. philosophy (Fun In School Happens), which is derived from the book with the same name.  Schools across the nation are using the F.I.S.H. philosophy as pilot programs to promote a positive school atmosphere.

“Some say the opening of a school is a labor of love, where sometimes you laugh and sometimes you cry,” said Cantrell. “And we mostly had laughter.”

For more information, call 672-5621 or visit the school’s Website at summerfieldcrossings.mysdhc.org.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.