Buckhorn Elementary School is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. When the school first opened in August of 1979, it was surrounded by orange groves and cow pastures. Many things have changed in the area, but Buckhorn has remained a safe and successful place for learning.
The school’s principal is Tamara Brooks. She has been with the school since February of 2009.
Brooks said, “We are a hidden gem. Thanks to the local community who supports our school, they have made it an exceptional place for students to learn and teachers to teach.”
Elizabeth Belcher and Terry Henderson have been teaching at Buckhorn for 27 years. The school has 60 teachers and 47 of them have eight or more years of experience. There are no teachers with less than three years of experience.
Brooks added, “Our community support is a huge factor to Buckhorn’s success. Teachers want to teach here, families want to send their children here and students never seem to want to leave. There is a wonderful inclusive and safe atmosphere that exists. The students are committed to their learning and continually try their best.”
Former principals, including Ann Huntley (1979-1982), Eileen Duval (1982-1986), Evelyn Clites (1986-1989), Donna St. Peter (1996-2002), Lou Cerreta (2002-2005) and Amy Zilbar (2005-2009), will be recognized.
As part of the school’s celebration of its 40th Anniversary, it has moved its 20th Annual Carnival to the fall. The carnival will be held on Friday, November 15 from 3:30 to 7 p.m.
Christine Beisiegel, a parent, longtime member of the Buckhorn PTA and the Carnival Chair, said, “The entire area community is welcome to attend this fabulous, family fun event hosted by the Buckhorn PTA.” Beisiegel added, “This year, in celebration of our anniversary, we will be presenting the findings from a time capsule dating back to 1989 and creating a new time capsule for students to participate in for the 2019-2020 school year. We are also thrilled to announce that speaking at this event will be Abby Boyce, PTA president; Tamara Brooks, Buckhorn’s principal; and Dr. Dakeyan Cha Dre Graham, Florida’s Teacher of the Year for 2020.”
Admission to the carnival includes access to over five giant inflatables, mini golf and carnival games with unlimited prizes. Families can enjoy a day of music from area school bands, face painting, crafts and a fire truck demonstration from Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue, Station 7.
Tickets or wristbands will go on sale beginning on Monday, October 16. The $15 wristband gets you unlimited inflatables, games, prizes and all you can eat pizza, salad, one soda, a photo in the picture booth, one snow cone, one popcorn and one cotton candy. The $12 wristband gets you unlimited inflatables, games and prizes. The $6 wristband, for parents, gets you all you can eat pizza, salad and one soda.
Funds raised at the event will be used to fund beautification projects, equipment and art supplies for the school.
Beisiegel said, “The carnival is our biggest event we host as a PTA. As we are celebrating Buckhorn’s 40th Anniversary, we felt it is important for us to bring the entire community together to join in the festivities. Our hope is that past students will bring their families, friends, children and grandchildren to celebrate with us.”