Threat of COVID-19 disrupts rhythms of daily life

Health and economic threats loom large in light of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), but there have been great costs, as well, on a personal level. Life as we knew it, just a few weeks ago, has been turned upside down. Recommendations to limit gatherings to 10 people are killing plans for personal celebrations — such as weddings, graduations and retirements, as well as birthday and … [Read more...]

Lutz families will have more middle school options

Lutz, Maniscalco and Pizzo elementary schools will begin converting to pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade schools beginning this fall. The change will start with each of the elementary schools adding sixth grade in the fall. The following year, seventh grade will be added, and the following year, eighth grade. The idea is to make the transition gradually. Students living in those … [Read more...]

Local dancer gets big break in ‘The Greatest Showman’

When Chelsea Caso recently went to watch “The Greatest Showman” at Cobb Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel, she wasn’t going to watch just any movie. She was going to watch a movie that she is in. And, the young woman who grew up in Lutz, didn’t go to the viewing alone. She joined 115 of her favorite people for a private screening. Her family was there. Her neighbors were there. Dancing … [Read more...]

Hillsborough heads back to school this week

Hillsborough County public school students are heading back to school this week, and their counterparts in Pasco County public schools begin next week. Whether they’re streaming to Lutz Elementary School, Steinbrenner High, Liberty Middle, an area charter school or to a private school — the beginning of a new school is a time that’s always marked with fresh starts and new … [Read more...]

Lutz church hits three-quarter century mark

There was just a smattering of businesses along U.S. 41, when the Rev. Heard T. Burnette began the First Baptist Church of Lutz, in the community north of Tampa. The first meeting was in the home of J. B. and Maude Laurence, which was on the ground where Lutz Elementary School now sits. Joan Fletcher recalls the church’s first meeting, held in the living room of her grandparents’ … [Read more...]

Fourth of July sparkles with patriotism

Patriotism was on full display at the Independence Day festivities in Lutz. Whether they were part of the parade, or on the sidelines watching, people came wearing red, white and blue — and were ready to celebrate. The nation’s colors showed up everywhere. They were on flags, in hair ribbons, on cowboy boots and emblazoned on the front of semi-trucks. The parade, a community … [Read more...]

Goodbye, Mrs. Fernandez

In her 38 years as an educator, Mary Fernandez relied on this simple guiding principle: Is it what’s best for children? In sorting through the myriad issues and competing interests that a principal faces in the day-to-day work of running a school, that principle provided clarity when making decisions, Fernandez said. Fernandez joined Lutz Elementary School’s staff in 1993, as an assistant … [Read more...]

Educator says caring is key to helping others learn

It doesn’t take a detective to figure out Julie Hiltz’s philosophy of education. The media specialist spells it out, quite literally, on a sign displayed in the media center at Lutz Elementary School. Students coming into her domain will see a sign listing six declarations. “I believe in you. I trust in you. I will listen to you. I care for you. You are important. You will succeed,” … [Read more...]