By Paula Detwiller
When LaDeshia Brooks attended fifth grade at Galaxy Elementary School in 1989, the school didn’t seem old to her.
“I just remember my classroom was in a portable,” she says.
But by the time Brooks grew up, earned an elementary education degree from the University of South Florida and began her teaching career at her old school, it was definitely looking old.
“Some rooms had really bad water leaks. The building smelled musty. Possums would come in overnight and tip over garbage cans, and the custodians would have to clean it up.”
Brooks was not heartbroken when Galaxy was torn down. It was time, she says. And when folks in her old neighborhood pushed for a replacement school to be built, she was impressed.
“It showed the community could come together for something they believed in.”
“The school they actually built is beyond anything I could imagine,” says Brooks, 36, who lives in Greenacres. She is excited to begin her 14th year of teaching at the new, all-green Galaxy. “It’s a new concept for our district, and it’s really going to give the kids something different.” A reading specialist, Brooks will plan her fourth-grade lessons in accordance with the school’s E3 (energy, environment and engineering) curriculum focus.
“We’ll still be covering our standards. Other teachers will be teaching the E3 subjects, but I will be incorporating them into my reading materials.”
“The whole thing is amazing,” she says, referring to the school’s large size and modern, green-technology composition. “It’s truly a learning facility, not just a school.”