Mulrennan Middle School teachers Barbie White, Brandi Herrera and Sam Lyons act as fairies supporting their fellow teachers as they work hard during the pandemic.

Teachers and school staff all around the country have adapted to many challenges over the last few months and a group of Valrico residents have found a way to recognize them for it.

Mulrennan Middle School teachers Barbie White, Brandi Herrera and Sam Lyons have formed a staff morale committee to boost the spirits of the staff members who are working in-person at Mulrennan Middle School in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The three teachers act as ‘fairies’ who ‘sprinkle’ cheer upon the staff in various ways to lift their spirits.

“Opting into the so-called ‘brick and mortar’ option at the school was not an easy decision for some of these staff members, but their love of the students drove them to roll up their sleeves and be there for these kids at a time when they need it the most,” said White. “This staff morale committee was formed as a way to offer a small ‘thank you’ and lift the spirits of these staff members.”

Each Wednesday, the committee makes a cart of drinks and snacks available to aid staff in “getting over the hump.” Each Friday, the three committee members play the role of fairies who sprinkle the school’s staff with cheer in some way.

Tokens of appreciation provided to the staff members have been made possible by generous donations from several local businesses, including Coldwell Banker Realtor Carol Romeo, Hungry Howie’s, Jersey Mike’s and Topper’s Creamery.

On several Fridays, the staff has received things such as breakfast or coffee provided on-site or a coupon good for a free dinner or ice cream after school. On other Fridays, the staff have been sprinkled with a treat such as candy.

“We are so thankful for the outpouring of support from our local business community,” added Lyons and Herrera. “Our community has a strong track record of supporting our schools and this effort simply wouldn’t be possible without them. These businesses have decided to support this mission, even in tough times.”

The group hopes that attention drawn to this effort will inspire staff at other schools to emulate their efforts. Additionally, they hope to draw the attention of other local businesses that might like to support their effort. Donations of goods can be delivered to the school if arrangements are made in advance. Monetary donations can be made payable to Mulrennan PTSA, which is partnering with the committee, and mailed to the school.

Mulrennan Middle School is located at 4215 Durant Rd. in Valrico and can be reached at 651-2100.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.