Cape Coral Charter Schools are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony this Thursday. Officials only realized a few days ago that the anniversary was approaching.
The fourth Charter Schools Superintendent in the history of the system, Nelson Stephenson, has only been on the job for a few months, but has been busy pulling together some kind of celebration.
"It's a bit hard for me to fill in the gaps, but it is a milestone that needs to be recognized," said Stephenson. "I think it is a big deal because the schools have provided a viable opportunity for our students. Our issues are growth. We have a waiting list for every grade level."
The Charter Schools broke ground on Jan. 15, 2005, on the site of the Oasis Elementary School, which opened its doors in August. The school was built to serve 600+ students in grades K-5 at a cost of $9.5 million. There were about 500 requests for application packets from parents for the first session.
A second elementary school, Christa McAuliffe Elementary, and Oasis Middle School were constructed and opened 2006 with Oasis High School opening in 2009.
All four schools have grown over the years to a total enrollment of about 3,200 with a 2015 operating budget of $23 million.
"I've asked our board members and principals to gather items for a time capsule to be opened in 2025," said Stephenson. "They've come up with shirts, photos, letters and binders of items. One even offered one of the shovels used."
Stephenson has written a letter to be put in the capsule outlining what the schools might be like in 10 years.
"I'm looking forward to 10 years of continued growth and hope I'm the one opening that box in 10 years," he said. "I'm just trying to get the capsule completed and have our art department create and decorate the box."
Stephenson said the box will not be buried in the ground like most time capsules. It will be kept under lock and key in the superintendent's office.
"It will have some kind of lock on it," he said. "It will be a visual reminder. My role in all of this is being a cheerleader for the school and the students."