Stories from your neighbors.
A Marine's thanks
For 11 years, the students at B.D. Gullett Elementary have written letters of thanks to veterans at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. They usually receive a nice letter back from the hospital.
This year, retired U.S. Marine John Botelho took it upon himself to send Gullett teacher Barbara Pfeiffer a box of gifts and a heartfelt letter of appreciation to give to all the students who wrote letters to him. Among the gifts were spinners that were given to the students, such as Rihanna Williams and Ben Gillespie.
Pfeiffer said the students were "so excited to hear from someone who enjoyed the letters they wrote."
First lady's adventure
As part of the Literacy Week celebration Jan. 22-26, Florida's First Lady Ann Scott made visits to eight schools across the state, including three in East County.
On Jan. 23, Scott read her new book "Ally & Jorid's Adventures Through Florida" to students at Gilbert W. McNeal, Robert Willis and Tara Elementary schools.
"It was exciting," Tara Principal Laura Campbell said of her distinguished guest's visit.
The age of learning
Mason Durfee may only be 5 years old, but wearing suspenders, gray-haired eyebrows and a mustache and glasses Jan. 25, seemed much older.
“It feels more like I’m 88 or something,” he said, grinning.
Mason and fellow kindergarteners at Braden River Elementary celebrated the 100th day of school by dressing like they were 100 years old.