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Class act at Mona Jain Middle School in Lakewood Ranch

Eighth grader at Dr. Mona Jain Middle School receives surprise award.

  • By
  • | 11:00 a.m. June 2, 2021
Angela Lindsey and Shriya Balu. Photo by Liz Ramos.
Angela Lindsey and Shriya Balu. Photo by Liz Ramos.
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Shriya Balu, an eighth grader at Dr. Mona Jain Middle School, jumped out of her car during the school's drive-thru eighth grade celebration May 26 when she was approached by Principal Angela Lindsey (above with Balu).

Balu was surprised to learn she was being given a plaque as one of the top students in her class.

She said being a full-time e-learning student this year was difficult, but it was made easier with the help of the teachers and staff at Mona Jain Middle. 

"I feel proud of myself," Balu said. "I'm excited for high school, but I'm going to miss this school."

Mari Iza. Photo by Brendan Lavell.
Mari Iza. Photo by Brendan Lavell.

Cup of Joe leads to G.I. Joes

Kahwa Coffee at 8317 Market St. in Lakewood Ranch is accepting donations for Christmas in July, a toy drive for hospitalized, abused and neglected children, through July 6. The drive was organized by the FBI Tampa Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

The manager of the store, Willowbrook resident Mari Iza (above), said a box for donations will be located at the front of the store. Toys must be new. Accepted donations include stuffed animals, blankets, teething toys, board games, handheld games and much more.

"Lakewood Ranch is a community of people who care," Iza said. "These kids need something to know that there are good people out there, and there are people that care."