TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – After a massive fire Tuesday night destroyed the historic building that housed Lee Magnet School of Technology on Columbus Ave. in Tampa Heights, teachers came together for an emotional goodbye with students, alumni and the community.
“I got engaged here, I got married here, I got pregnant here and I had a baby here. All my memories,” one teacher recalled.
Generations of families of all backgrounds have attended the school, and despite recent controversy over the name, those with connections to the school say everyone there was like family.
“This is not about the name. There are real students here. All races, all diversities,” said teacher Roxanne Williams. “This school has a lot of history. [Just] thinking about the students, the teachers, like what are we going to do?”
School officials said in order to keep most of the students and staff together, Lee students and staff will share a building with Lockhart Elementary School, which is less than two miles away from the school’s current location.
All full-time staff will also get a $1,000 emergency stipend from the district to help replenish supplies and personal items they lost in the fire.
The Hillsborough Education Foundation has set up an account and will be collecting and distributing supplies for Lee classes. The address to donate to the foundation is 2306 N. Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33607