Robin Hughes, special education teacher (left), and Amy Sams, principal at Southshore Charter Academy (right), holding Lucky the snowman.

Going that extra mile can surely make a difference in one’s life, especially when it comes to education.

Seffner resident Robin Hughes, a special education teacher at Southshore Charter Academy in Riverview, had taught a lesson about weather to her students and realized that many of them did not have relevant knowledge when it came to the concept of snow. Hughes went home to Danville, Kentucky for Thanksgiving to see her sister, Amber Estes. Through a conversation with her sister, Hughes presented a challenge to Estes and asked to build a snowman and mail it for her students if it snowed in their area.

On January 8, that challenge became a reality as Estes got 10 inches of snow and built a snowman that she named Lucky. Due to the amount of snowfall, Estes waited to mail him until after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Prior to his arrival, Hughes recalls feeling anxious since she did not know if he would still be intact. As Hughes opened the box, she noticed that Lucky was still in good shape with his carrot nose, buttons and eyes made of blueberries.

“I literally got tears seeing the joy on the students faces when they saw and felt Lucky,” Hughes said.

When Lucky is not in the classroom, he can be found inside the school’s cafeteria freezer. The cafeteria staff as well as the entire school had welcomed him with open arms.

Amy Sams, principal at Southshore Charter Academy and a Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce member, stated how her school has transformed since the arrival of Lucky: “I see that the arrival of Lucky has piqued the curiosity of our students to a greater depth than you would normally see on the topic of weather.”

On Earth Day, Friday, April 22, Lucky will be melted. The water from Lucky will be used for the new plants at Southshore Charter Academy.

“The thought of melting him will be bittersweet since this will be the end of his chapter,” Hughes said.

For more information about the school, visit

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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.