For many longtime residents, Greco Middle School played a vital role in their upbringing.
It remains an important part of the life of Temple Terrace City Councilwoman Alison Fernandez.
In addition to being the school's PTSA president, Fernandez is member of a group of residents planning a celebration of Greco Middle School's 50th anniversary on Oct. 27.
The following day, Oct. 28, members of the Temple Terrace Elementary School Class of 1962-63 plan to return to their campus on Flotto Avenue for a similar salute. Their tribute will include a visit with a former teacher.
The weekend of school events begins at 11 a.m. Saturday the 27th with Greco's golden anniversary celebration on the campus, 6925 E. Fowler Ave. The festivities end at 2 p.m.
Greco Middle, nestled beneath towering oaks at the northeast corner of East Fowler and Gillette avenues, looks much as it did when Fernandez was a student there in the early 1980s.
"The school is physically bigger," Fernandez said. "There are more hallways and classrooms.
"The biggest difference for me: It was a junior high school."
When Fernandez was a student, Greco was a school for eighth- and ninth-graders, she said.
"It was different when I went there because (we) didn't have all the choices they (student and parents) do now," Fernandez said.
Greco is undergoing an education renaissance led by new Principal Yinka Alege. Since arriving in April, Alege has launched a move to improve the school's culture and increase student grades.
"When I think of my focus I think of establishing a positive school culture, (a campus) where students and staff want to be," Alege said.
Greco parents and community leaders are embracing Alege's plans.
Julie Nipp, the mother of seventh-grader Chandler, is thrilled her son is in the school's STEM program, which provides a science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum.
"It is a wonderful program that is perfect for him, as he loves hands-on engineering projects," Nipps said.
She also is pleased Alege has instituted a school uniform policy.
Fernandez has been involved with the Greco Parent Teacher Student Association for several years. Her two eldest boys attended the school; a third son is a sixth-grader there.
"My goal for Greco is for it to become a school that is supported by our (entire) community," Fernandez said.
Anniversary plans include a family carnival-style event featuring food, music, games, a fire truck display and school tours.
Organizers are encouraging area residents, despite whether they attended Greco, to drop by the school to participate in the festivities and to see how Greco has changed.
A Greco recognition ceremony will be held from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the school cafeteria.
On Sunday the 28th, members of the Temple Terrace Elementary School class of 1962-63 will return to the campus at 124 Flotto Ave. for a 50-year reunion.
The event begins at 12:30 p.m., with a visit with former sixth-grade teacher Frank J. Pucciarelli.
More than 25 former students are expected to attend, Grant Rimbey of the Temple Terrace Preservation Society said in a news release.
After the school event, attendees are encouraged to dine together Carrabba's Italian Grill, 5515 E. Fowler Ave.