From left to right: Principal Dr. Rebecca Valdes, elementary art teacher Heather Adkins, middle school art teacher Samantha Patterson and vice principal Danielle Blaxton.

On April 27, students and families from Navigator Academy of Leadership stepped out of the doldrums of life and into an Under the Sea Art Show experience.

The Under the Sea Art Show, spearheaded by Navigator’s elementary art teacher, Heather Adkins, featured artwork from every grade level (K-8), art-based activities in the cafeteria, local student-focused vendors and food trucks. The main feature of the night was the Glow Room that took over two months to create.

The Glow Room highlighted the unique animals in the oceans. Neon mediums — paint, crayons, oil pastels and markers — made the room come to life. Grade levels learned about various sea animals, such as sea turtles, jellyfish, pufferfish and stingrays. Mixed-media art, made of everyday materials found at home and recycled materials, such as CDs, paper towel rolls and plastic bottles, were used to create the display.

Principal Rebecca Valdes said the art show provided a way to showcase the students’ art and allow them to be proud of their work.

“The art show is always a success and could not be possible without our teacher leaders guiding the way. This year, the showcase [of] the show was the Glow Room. It was an amazing room where all K-8 students joined together to create one work of art.” Valdes said.

According to Adkins, the inspiration of the art show was multifaceted. She teaches a love of art and how science and math can be part of it.

“Art is everywhere. My goal every day is to make art fun and engaging for my students as well as to see them see art in even the smallest things,” Adkins said. “My background is in math and science, so if there is any way to incorporate it, I do.”

Part of the mission of the Navigator Academy of Leadership is a cross-curricular integration of science, math, art, reading and technology. For the Under the Sea Art Show, students spent weeks reading and learning about maritime science and math elements like shapes, lines and symmetry.

The Navigator Academy of Leadership is located at 1101 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. For more information, visit

Previous articleSamantha Walz Named Hillsborough County Player Of The Year With Newsome’s Softball Team
Next articleBloomingdale’s Track Team Breaks A Dozen School Records