tampabay.com

Spoto juniors step in to help Chamberlain seniors

By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS
Published March 9, 2007


Cassandra Fernandez saw something appalling last month on the evening news. Her classmate, Maria Gonzalez, called it an atrocity.

A Chamberlain High School teacher was accused of embezzling almost $10,000 from the north Tampa school's senior class prom fund.

"It broke my heart that their own teacher would do something like that," said Fernandez, 16, a junior at Spoto High School. "You really don't know who to trust anymore."

The Spoto junior class realizes the importance of the senior prom. They have decided to forego their junior prom to save money for next year's senior prom. Spoto opened in August and has no graduating class this year.

Lindsay Landram, a Spoto teacher and the junior-class adviser, called Chamberlain with one question: What can we do to help?

Despite the help that came from the Chamberlain community, the high school still lacked money for prom souvenirs, the engraved trinkets that commemorate the students' big night.

Landram suggested that Spoto students hold a yard sale and buy Chamberlain's prom souvenirs with the proceeds.

The students trolled homerooms, imploring their peers to bring clothes, furniture, and other items that could be sold to raise money for strangers in a high school across the county.

A Tampa custom logo company, Image Depot, will supply and imprint the prom souvenirs. The company offered to split the cost with Spoto.

The Spoto junior class could use the money from the yard sale for their own purposes. They'll need prom souvenirs next year.

But their senior prom can wait, said Maria Gonzalez, 16.

Right now, her focus is on a group of students, miles away, who she feels were wronged by a situation they had no control over.

"We're here to help and to let them know that not everyone's like that," she said.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at 661-2439 or htravis@sptimes.com.

Fast Facts:

 

Yard sale

Spoto High School students will hold a yard sale from 7:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at Steak * Shake, 10181 Bloomingdale Ave., Riverview. Proceeds will benefit the Chamberlain High School senior class.