R.B. Cox Elementary celebrates 90 years

A lot of notable things happened during 1926.

Queen Elizabeth was born. A.A. Milne published Winnie-the-Pooh, and Tampa Theatre opened Tampa’s first air-conditioned building, in downtown Tampa.

Calvin Coolidge was in the White House at the time, and people could buy a dozen of eggs for 56 cents, a dozen oranges for 34 cents, or a porterhouse steak for 29 cents a pound.

It’s also the year that Dade City Grammar School opened.

The structure, built in the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture, was later renamed to honor Superintendent R.B. Cox, a former principal, who lost his battle with cancer in 1973.

With its Collegiate Gothic architectural style, R.B. Cox Elementary has offered a dignified presence in Dade City for nine decades.
(B.C. Manion)

The school, at 37615 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Dade City, is hosting a 90th birthday celebration on March 5.

The event features a dinner of baked ziti, salad and dessert, with tickets selling for $7 each.

Besides the meal, there will be music by the Pasco County High School jazz band, and a video of interviews of students and teachers, with connections to the elementary school, said Principal Claudia Steinacker.

Visitors also will be able to walk down memory lane, perusing historic photographs and reading “Did you know?” factoids, gathered from people associated with the school through the years.

The event will serve as a fundraiser to help pay for some projects at the school, which serves 465 children from Early Head Start through fifth grade.

For instance, the school would like to makeover a space between the main building and the media center — converting it into a courtyard where students and families can gather, Steinacker said. Other ideas include purchasing picnic tables, to give visiting parents a place to eat lunch, and buddy benches out near the playground.

The school also would like to turn a space near the primary classrooms into a play area for the children.

“We’ll prioritize what we want to start with, based upon the funds, and then we’ll just continue moving forward as we try to raise those funds,” the principal said.

Besides the dinner, the school will be raising money through a baked goods auction, and it has sold vendor spaces to vendors who will be selling items at the event.

“We chose to do it on a Sunday, so we could make it a little bit special,” Steinacker said, noting she didn’t want people to feel rushed.

The idea is to give people a chance to gather, to reminisce and to recognize the school’s special role in the community — where it has been the focus of education for generations of children, she said.

“Even if they don’t want to come necessarily to eat, even if they just want to come to be able to walk, and see and visit — we just really want everyone to have the opportunity to see our amazing school and learn about the history that this school has,” Steinacker said.

“It’s a great opportunity to say, ‘Come celebrate.’

“If you have time and you want to support us, you want to volunteer, the door is open. We need that.”

“This is a special place. We want people to be able to celebrate what a special place it is,” Steinacker said.

Dade City’s motto is “Proud Heritage, Promising Future,” the principal said.  “We definitely are striving to give our kids that promising future,” she added.

This will be the school’s second celebration to mark its ninth decade of operation. It had a celebration in the beginning of the school year, and it plans to have another one at the end of the school year, when it plans to bury a time capsule.

R.B. Cox Elementary 90th birthday party
37615 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dade City
When: March 5, 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $7 per plate for lunch of baked ziti, salad and dessert (To-go containers will be available)
Details: R.B. Cox Elementary is hosting a party to celebrate the school’s rich heritage in Dade City. The event includes a luncheon, music, a baked goods auction and a chance to see historic photographs,
More information: Call (352) 524-5100, or visit the school’s website, RBCES.Pasco.k12.Fl.us.

Published March 1, 2017


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