Photos and story by Tamas Mondavics

New Board Members Sworn In To Hillsborough County School Board

The Hillsborough County School Board welcomed two new School Board Members and two returning School Board Members during the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, November 22.
Lynn Gray was sworn in to represent District 7 Countywide.

Gray was a teacher and instructional leader for 26 years in Hillsborough County and has been a local business owner for 16 years.

Gray was elected in the November General Election representing all of Hillsborough County.

The school board also welcomed Tamara Shamburger, who was also elected in the November General Election and sworn in to represent District 5.

Shamburger was born and raised in Tampa and is a graduate of Bloomingdale High School, and received her Master of Business Administration from St. Leo University.

Shamburger has worked in the insurance industry for 19 years and as a Mortgage Broker.

The third member on the list was Susan Valdes, who represents District 1 and was re-elected in the Primary election in August. Valdes was first elected to the School Board in 2004.

The second returning board member is Cindy Stuart represents District 3. Stuart was first elected to the School Board in 2012, and also re-elected in the Primary election in August.

To complete the officials ceremony, the Hillsborough County School Board elected Stuart a new School Board chair. Sally Harris was selected as vice chair.

For information about Hillsborough County Public Schools please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.

Durant Marching Band Performs At 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Durant High School’s “Cougar Pride” instrumental music program had the opportunity this month to join a list of local bands to demonstrate their skills and talent during a special event.

On Wednesday, December 7, about three dozen of the more than 120-member band participated in a ceremony commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Led by band director Bruce Herrmann, the group joined a Pearl Harbor Mass Band of nearly 1,200 students from all over the United States and Japan to perform in Hawaii on Remembrance Day.

“I am thrilled that we have a chance to attend,” Hermann said during practice, just days before the event. “This extraordinary and historic event was offered to us by Music Celebrations International, which serves both an eye-opener, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Hermann added that event itself is a cultural exchange, which demonstrates in a truly remarkable manner how cultures once opposed can work together through the gift of music.

To prepare for the trip, which school officials said cost nearly $3,000 per student, the Durant Music Boosters, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, has reached out to corporations, local businesses, and private individuals to provide financial assistance to its students in the form of sponsorships or donations.

The Band achieved numerous personal and ensemble awards from their hard work and commitment to excellence and has represented the State of Florida at several local and national events over the last 19 years. Herrmann was appointed Director of Instrumental Music at Durant High School in June, 2014. Interested donors to the Cougar Pride band can visit the Facebook page at

Hillsborough County Public Schools Boasts of Annual Great American Teach-In Success

Hillsborough County Public Schools welcome hundreds of local residents, business owners, and community leaders as speakers into classrooms to learn about careers and hobbies they may not have known about previously, said Tanya Arja with HCPS communications.

On Thursday, November 17, guests to area schools spoke with students about the benefits of getting a good education as well as demonstrated their skills and discussed opportunities available for students.
Speakers included helicopter pilots, artists, active members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, ballroom dancers, nurses, wedding planners, auto mechanics, police, firefighters and paramedics, School Board members and school district staff, just to name a few.

For more information please visit

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