Former Bloomingdale High School teacher Bev Sutherland, pictured here with her daughter, Kelly McRae, is battling cancer.

With more than 30 years of teaching in Hillsborough County, including at Bloomingdale High School, Brandon resident Bev Sutherland created numerous memories and left a valuable impact on the thousands of students she taught throughout her career.

A few years ago, Sutherland was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and unfortunately it returned. One of her former students, Kellie Harmon, who also resides in Brandon, organized a GoFundMe for Sutherland.

The fund has raised more than $25,000 with the goal of providing assistance for Sutherland’s 17-year-old daughter and helping with other expenses.

Harmon explained her reasoning behind the GoFundMe.

“We learned about Mrs. Sutherland’s current situation and thought this would be a way for us to give back to the person who gave us so much all these years,” Harmon said.

Sutherland’s love for music began in the sixth grade band. She played at the World’s Fair in New York City. Her time spent practicing nonstop and her dedication led Sutherland to advancing to the top.

In college, she started out as a clarinet player with a scholarship and in the second semester Sutherland switched to voice. She also participated in a show choir and performed songs from musicals. She attended the University of Tampa and earned a Bachelor of Music degree with education.

In 1975, Sutherland began teaching and she retired from Bloomingdale High School in 2011. Once she retired, Sutherland taught part-time off and on at Bloomingdale High School and the University of South Florida’s Tones of Gold.

“Words cannot express the joy that I had while teaching and hopefully my students know how much they blessed me as I attended work everyday,” Sutherland said.

Many consider Sutherland a person who saved their lives as Harmon mentions how she was a proverbial lighthouse in the storm.

“Overall, this has brought my classmates and I closer together as we continue to help Sutherland keep her legacy, which is us,” Harmon said.

To donate, visit the GoFundMe at

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.