Studio 55: Mike Davis Elementary
NAPLES — Some students at Mike Davis Elementary School got the royal treatment on their first day of school.
Not only were they shown the way to their new classrooms, they were taken there by Principal Bob Spano.
Spano and other staff members stood in the entrance of the school Wednesday morning to help students and parents get to the right classrooms.
“It’s the first day in the first year of a new school,” Spano said. “I guarantee you it won’t be this hectic next year.”
Mike Davis Elementary School was one of three new Collier County elementary schools opened Wednesday. More than 430 students at the Lorenzo Walker Career and Technical High School also got to take classes in a new building, moving from portables on the campus to their permanent site.
For Spano, who spent the past four years as principal at Golden Gate High School, the grand opening marks his return to elementary school.
“I really enjoyed elementary school,” he said of his decision to return.
Before becoming principal at Golden Gate High School, Spano was an elementary school principal at Vineyards, Sea Gate and Tommie Barfield elementary schools.
There have been some changes since he was last the head of an elementary school, he admitted. But they are mostly curriculum changes. The new school will also provide students in grades three to five with a laptop and there will be tutoring available for at-risk students, he said.
And if he ever misses Golden Gate High School, he doesn’t have to go far to visit. Mike Davis Elementary School, which is named after the late state representative, is next door to Golden Gate High School.
Cary Llorente stopped to introduce her daughter, Nabeste, to Spano on Wednesday morning. Spano knew Nabeste’s sister, Genesis, when she was a student at Golden Gate High School.
Llorente said she was impressed with the new school.
“It’s beautiful. I love it,” she said. “I haven’t seen the inside. Her dad came with her to meet her teacher, but I can’t wait to see it.”
Nabeste, who will be a fifth-grader, said she also liked her new school.
“It’s cool,” she said.
The lobby of Mike Davis Elementary School was buzzing Wednesday morning as students and parents stopped to ask where classrooms were. There were a few tears, but more smiles as they headed off to class.
Fifth-grader Esther Ramirez, 10, said she liked her new school.
“It’s big. It’s nice,” she said. “I like the cafeteria.”
Esther said being the oldest in a new school is “neat,” but it also makes her nervous.
“I was at my old school for four years. This is just different,” she said.
Music teacher Patty Sandick was eager to get started. She said she has plans for students to learn how to play African drums. She also raved about her classroom.
“It’s so beautiful — all that new equipment,” she said. “It’s the nicest room I have ever had.”
About 15 minutes after the first bell rang, Spano was on the intercom, reminding students that the people at Mike Davis were on their side.
“You are essential to America’s future. We can’t afford to waste any of your special talents and abilities. Today, remember that we want you to be a productive, successful student,” he said. “This is Principal Mr. Spano. Make it a great day.”
Jakella and Jakia Davis, both 12, came to school to drop off their little brother, who will be in fifth grade. The fraternal twins approved of their brother’s new school, but were equally anxious to get to East Naples Middle School and their sixth grade classes.
“We have lockers,” Jakia said. “And new teachers and new friends. I’m excited.”