Dover Shores: Thanks for the Memories

On May 31, the last dismissal bell of the school year will signal the end of an era for  Dover Shores Elementary. Soon the buildings of Dover Shores  will be demolished to make way for new construction. As the fateful day approaches it is met with mixed emotions by students, parents, and staff.

Certainly everyone will benefit from an updated facility.  The school, located in Orlando and built in 1960, shows many signs of wear and tear. But there has always been something special about this place. It exhibits a character all its own.

I taught third grade at Dover Shores for seven years and still return weekly as a volunteer. I love the outdoor open concept of this quaint school. Walkways connect the various sections of campus. Beautiful oak trees provide shady areas for parents to meet their child for lunch.

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I spoke with Mrs. Jessica Green, who attended Dover Shores as a child, and returned as a teacher in 2005.  When I asked Mrs. Green if anything about education has remained the same, she smiled and said, “until now, only the buildings of Dover Shores.”

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Next year DSE students and staff will be housed at the neighboring campus of Englewood Elementary. In August of 2018 they  return to a new facility where all grade levels and administrative offices are under one roof.  “I’ll miss the outdoor concept,” Mrs. Green stated, “but we need upgraded technology and better air conditioning.” She plans to stay in education and enjoys seeing her students’ confidence and abilities grow during each school year.

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Mrs. Green is one example of the many fine teachers at Dover Shores. Principal, Dr. Randall Hart, values the commitment of his staff who continue to be relationship driven and put the needs of students first. “Forty percent of the instructional staff has taught at this school for ten years or longer,” Dr. Hart commented. He believes a community built on caring for one another helps retain teachers year after year.

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Mr. Bob Bragg taught at Dover Shores for thirty-four years until retiring in 2013. Recently he organized a small library to help others remember the history of the school. Actress Delta Burke,  St. Louis pitcher Cody Allen, and Paul Wilson of the NY Mets are among many successful Americans educated at Dover Shores. The historical information he collected will be preserved in the new building.  Mr.  Bragg saw many changes take place during his long career. When asked what he enjoyed most he responded, “teaching cursive handwriting.”

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Parents have contributed much to the success of the school. Every year for the past thirty years Dover Shores received the Golden School Award.  Each year DSE volunteers log over 8,000 hours of service.  PTA President Mrs. Michella Johnson, and Vice President Mr. Paul Messermith, are pictured as they prepare for staff appreciation week.  Mrs. Johnson has a favorite memory of helping kindergartners on field day. She encouraged a child to overcome the fear of participating in a new game.

A parent designed and painted the kid friendly murals on the exterior walls of various buildings. A sea life mural welcomes students to the second grade “pod.”

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Second grade classrooms extend off a central garden patio, in continuation of the outdoor theme.

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Fifth grade student, Isabella Johnson,  attended Dover Shores since kindergarten. “I feel sad about the school being torn down because my great uncle helped build it,” Isabella shared. She has special memories of her school as a place where the “teachers are always nice and help the kids understand.”

 

 

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Author: thepoetonblueberrystreet

Debra Burton is a poet and free lance writer. She is a member of Word Weavers International.

42 thoughts on “Dover Shores: Thanks for the Memories”

  1. Boy, am I feeling nostalgic now, Debbie. I definitely want to come back and walk around before demolition.

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    1. I have been at Dover Shores for 3 years now. My son has been there since kindergarten and he is in 5th grade now. I never thought I would have this opportunity, but THANK YOU!! More than half of my classroom library books say Mary Peoples on them!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad you’re getting use out of them, Victoria. Are you teaching 3rd grade? That’s where I left them in Room 78.

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  2. Thank you for sharing such sweet sentiments about Dover Shores. It is old, but when a school has the same teachers for extended years, you know it is genuine, valuable and enhancing the lives of countless children. I hope the tradition can extend with a new facility and a “new generation.”

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  3. There is magic going on at that school. You feel the family and loving atmosphere the minute you walk in. I love working with those kids and being a part of something truly special.

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  4. Thank you for sharing!!! I worked there and my children went there. “beautiful campus” is what I said to Mrs Moss when I was interviewing. Sad to see it go.

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  5. It was my honor to serve as principal of Dover Shores when the beautiful murals were painted. A friend of mine, Donna McGuire did the work. It will be sad to see this old building fall.
    We must look forward with hope to what the future will bring!
    Irma Moss

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    1. I loved Dover Shores. Working as a teachers aide, I met some really nice people. I am grateful to you Mrs. MOSS for always guiding me, and for your understanding and patience.
      Marilyn Abreu
      2001-2005

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    2. My daughter and granddaughter went to Dover Shores. My wife, Brenda Baker, worked in the front office for 18 years. She retired in 2003 and passed way in 2012. Lots of memories. GARY BAKER.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was a 2nd grade student at Dover Shores the year it opened. We watched the launches of Alan Shephard, Gus Grissom and John Glenn from the school yard.

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  7. Many many great memories in the 70’s and 80’s. Loved Mrs. Cain, Mr. Bragg, Mrs.Fulton….. I hope they save the shuttle walk and pull up the time capsule we placed. Loved the open concept and adjoining facilities for swimming lessons every year. Wish my kids in 2017 could have been blessed with such a super cool school as my brother and I had.

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      1. Several members of my class members that placed the time capsule have conferred and reached a consensus. The time capsule is at the flag pole!! Hi, Mr. Bragg! We’ll meet you with our shovels on May 20th!!

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  8. Four children and eight of my ten grandchildren have attended Dover Shores. My home also backs up to the school and we have been neighbors for 32 years! So many wonderful memories! We will definitely miss you! Thank you!

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  9. I went to dover shores way in the past. I remember starting there in 2nd grade from another school. I loved it there to be honest. I loved all my teachers i had since i went. I had Mrs. Radtke for 2nd grade. Ms.Pike(now know as Mrs. Bayer) for 3rd grade. Ms. Williams for 4th and Mr. Bragg and Mrs. Veloz for 5th. I wish i could walk these halls once more before demo but I’m now located in Ga and its a long drive to Orlando. And i can’t forget the wonderful Mrs. Moss always giving out Orlando magic tickets before Dr. Hart came in. I feel so nostalgic right now. Im sad to see it go!!!

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  10. I was only there for a year before going on maternity leave, but I loved Dover Shores ES! The staff and students were wonderful. Great memories!

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  11. My years at Dover Shores Elementary were very special. 1984 to 1995, I have many dear friends from my years there. I do treasure every one of them.

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  12. I went to Dover Shores Elementary back in the day. Had great memories here. I’ll miss the old Dover Shores School.

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  13. I attended Dover Shores in the mid 60’s all 6 years! I loved every year I was there. I remember every teacher I had back then. I remember Ms. Fullalove, the music teacher. She would have us square dancing in the hallways. So much fun! Does anyone know if we can make arrangements to actually walk the school ONE LAST TIME before its torn down? I know quite a few former students that live here locally that would probably love to do it.

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  14. I taught at Dover for a number of years and have so many fond memories! It was a wonderful place to teach! My students loved eating lunch outdoors under the tree.

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  15. Thank you for this lovely tribute. My 3 kids went to DSE and we’ll be back again next year, albeit at Englewood. We’ve loved all the teachers especially Ms Case, Ms Mcclosky (I think it’s Mrs Fleming now), and Mrs Baldwin. Great school!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Our two oldest kids went to Dover Shores in the 80s. I volunteered in the computer lab and for swimming lessons. My husband was the first ever Room Dad at Dover Shores. What great memories! I’m sorry to hear that the buildings will be torn down but happy the school will live on! The school song that one of the teAchers wrote pops into my brain and gets stuck there sometimes and I find myself singing “green and white” and “through the halls of Dover Shores”.

    Liked by 1 person

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