Grady Elementary School's media center has been renamed the Kay Hance Media Center in honor of the longtime volunteer who died unexpectedly in February.
"This is a wonderful legacy that will live on," said Doretha Edgecomb, a member of the Hillsborough County School Board.
"What we will never know is how many children she touched with her quiet example," added school board Chairwoman Candy Olson.
Hance read to children, taught them to read and donated hundreds of books to the school. She also worked to help Grady receive a covered play court and the school district's first playground that is accessible to children with and without disabilities.
"When I retired, I thought I'd be bored," Hance told The Tampa Tribune in 2004. "I'm anything but bored at Grady."
Hance was "a champion for students with disabilities," engaged businesses to partner with Grady and was dedicated to the media center, wrote Valerie Orihuela, area leadership director for the school district.
"Knowing that the media center is the hub of the school, Mrs. Hance demonstrated her passion and love for reading by tutoring and reading to children at Grady every day for the past 18 years," Orihuela wrote. "She instilled in the students the same appreciation of reading and thus contributing to their love of learning and knowing that reading was the key to success."
Hance's four daughters and granddaughter attended Grady, said Melanie Bottini, the school's former principal.
Hance's daughter, Kristine Dosal, is the principal at Grady, 3910 Morrison Ave. Dosal was unaware when people within the district recommended the media center be named in her mother's honor.
"The students love talking about Kay and the wonderful books she enjoyed reading to them," wrote Alberta Ward, a first-grade teacher at Grady. "She introduced students to stories they may not have heard otherwise, such as 'Hansel and Gretel' by Brothers Grimm. Naming our school library after Kay Hance would be [a] wonderful reminder of how she loved books and how she worked hard to inspire our students to love reading. I can still hear her say, 'Without reading, what else is there?' "