Notifications went out last week to parents of students who have been accepted for the inaugural year of Sanders Memorial Elementary STEAM Magnet School.
Sanders’ roots in Land O’ Lakes date back to 1948.
The school was closed for a few years, pending reconstruction, but the crash of the housing market stalled that redevelopment.
In August, the school now made up of a combination of new structures and redeveloped buildings will open as Pasco County’s first magnet program.
It will focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.
Sanders received 1,690 applications from across Pasco County. The school will serve kindergarten through fifth grade and can accommodate 762 students.
While students streaming into the school this fall will be greeted by the latest in technology and new approaches to learning, the school’s history also will be honored through a special display.
Some people don’t need a special display to remind them how the school used to be.
Andrea Macomber Frank is one of five grandchildren of Gertrude Godwin, who taught at Sanders for about five decades.
“Of course, her children, our mother, aunt and uncle went there also,” said Frank, who now lives in Daytona Beach.
Long-time residents of Land O’ Lakes likely recall her grandmother, who was known as a strict disciplinarian, said Frank, who was in the area during the holidays with her brothers, Bruce and Mike Macomber.
“She used to thump people,” Bruce Macomber said.
“She could pinch you,” Mike Macomber added.
Her approach to discipline wouldn’t fit in today, they said, but her devotion to teaching would.
Because she was their grandmother, they had the benefit of learning from her at home and at school.
“She taught me to read when I was 3 years old,” Bruce Macomber said.
Their grandmother had high expectations, especially of them, they said.
“You were always expected to be a little better than everybody else because if you weren’t, the principal didn’t come to you, they went to your grandmother.
“In the ninth-grade, we all went on strike one day because we wanted to have a school dance and they wouldn’t let us have a school dance. So we all sat out by this huge pine tree. There were only about 20-some kids in our class.
“And, all of a sudden I hear yelling out the window: ‘Bruce Macomber, you and those kids get up right now and get back in your class,’ ” he said.
She commanded respect.
“The kids would listen to her,” he said.
She taught generations of families, and when she died, the church was packed with people who came to pay their respects, they said.
They don’t know what she would make of the new approaches that will be used at Sanders when it opens, but they know she would support efforts to provide a quality education for children.
During a news conference, announcing that applications were being accepted for Sanders, Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning said that the district’s first magnet school makes it clear that the district recognizes the need to offer more educational choices.
“As a district, we know we need to compete for the students we serve,” Browning said, at the time.
Published February 11, 2015