School News

Stay tuned for the latest ongoings within our School community! To be notified by email or text each time a story is posted, sign up using the ALERTS feature below.

Search our NEWS ARCHIVE:

Thirty-eight years after graduating from Tampa Preparatory School in 1979 — in the fledgling years of what would become a local institution — Matt Danahy still sees the same culture that made the School special when he was a student.

"Inclusiveness and acceptance," he says, recalling a hallmark of his alma mater. "You can always march to the beat of your own drum."


Matt Danahy is the first alumnus to serve as President of the Board of Trustees.

Now an accomplished Florida attorney, Danahy excitedly engages the Tampa Prep community in a new, historic context as the first graduate to serve as President of the Board of Trustees.

"It's a tremendous honor," he says. "I'm excited and thrilled to have a chance to give back to the School."

Danahy remembers starting at Prep in 1976 as a 16-year-old sophomore. At that time, the School was in its almost exceedingly humble original state as a renovated cattle barn located on Florida State Fairgrounds' turf at The University of Tampa.

"It was basically just drywall down each side of where you would normally walk the livestock and the stalls were made into classrooms," he recalls.

Although he had previously walked through the same barn as a kid attending the fair, Danahy wasn't distracted by the surroundings when starting as a student at Prep.

"It felt like a school," he says, crediting faculty and administrators for creating a familiar educational environment out of the former stable.

After graduating from Tampa Prep, Danahy went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Florida in 1983 and subsequently graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1986. Throughout his legal career, he has received commendations and recognition from sources such as Florida Trend's Legal Elite, Florida Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers Florida.

As Danahy steps into his new role as Board President, Head of School Kevin Plummer commends his involvement with the School to date and has faith in his leadership. Danahy's commitment to Prep is reflected in his service on the Alumni Board since the mid-90s; his service on the Board of Trustees; and his longstanding involvement with the School's golf outing, including chairing the event. In 2011, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award.

"Naming our first alumnus as board president is a milestone in the evolution of our institution," Plummer says. "In our 43rd year, this demonstrates the maturity of a school that has come full circle to inspire some of our earliest graduates."

Matt Danahy's senior
yearbook photo

As Plummer puts it, Danahy graduated in a different era. But from '70s disco days to the tech-infused culture of 2017, Tampa Prep remains a progressive marvel committed to providing the best education for its students.

The fact that both of his children are Terrapins confirms Danahy's faith in the vision and mission of the School. Conor was the first to follow in his father's footsteps, graduating with the Class of 2017. His daughter, Lauren, will graduate with the Class of 2018.

"To me, Tampa Prep was just a natural fit," Danahy says when thinking about his children's education. "I knew the School had integrity and instills an important curiosity about learning."

John "Bump" Fahey ('90), one of Danahy's colleagues on the Board of Trustees and the proud father of two young Terrapins, as well as Prep graduate Lane Fahey '16, says it wouldn't be accurate to state Danahy is "coming back" to Prep with his new position.

"He never left," Fahey assures. "I couldn't imagine a better example of a 'Terrapin For Life.' The guy just lives Tampa Prep and bleeds red and gold."

Echoing Plummer, Fahey says that Danahy's appointment as President of the Board of Trustees goes beyond symbolism — it displays how the dedication of key individuals has helped transform Prep from a few classrooms housed in a cattle barn to Tampa's most prestigious college preparatory school.

"The little school that dreamed big," Danahy says.

With the support of his colleagues and experience as alumnus, parent, volunteer and benefactor, Danahy is eager to keep that dream alive and continue the hard work of all those invested in the Tampa Prep community.

Tune in to www.tampaprep.org/media/live to see Mr. Danahy's first address as
Board President during Opening Convocation Monday, August 21, at 8:50 a.m.

On June 4, 2017, 15 students and two faculty members departed Tampa International Airport for Guatemala. This group of trailblazers participated in Tampa Prep's first ever Public Health course—a unique science elective that combined classroom learning with a two-week GPSA Health service trip to Xela, Guatemala.

Blake B. takies a local woman's blood pressure
at a health fair.

The Public Health course began in January when Tampa Prep faculty members Mrs. Ginger Chapman and Mrs. Stacia Hottle held eight after-school sessions and a week of summer classes to prepare participants for the trip. The group learned about cultural awareness, public health concerns and travel tips for the trip. In addition, four University South Florida (USF) nursing students and a USF nursing instructor taught Tampa Prep students basic nursing skills like taking blood pressure and measuring blood glucose levels.

Once in Guatemala, our students confidently applied their new heath screening skills. Tampa Prep students worked with locals and other visiting volunteers in four pueblo's health clinics around the larger town of Xela, taught public health seminars on hygiene in local elementary schools and participated in multiple health fairs throughout the community. At one health fair, students took blood pressure and blood glucose measurements of the entire police force as well as the mayor. Throughout the trip, community members were very receptive and thankful for the help this program offered.

Blake B., Aidan M. and a Duke University Student
working a local health fair.
Sarah M. and Bella D. speak to local
elementary students about the importance of hygiene.

In addition to their public health work, students lived with host families to experience Guatemalan culture and work towards becoming fluent in Spanish. Each afternoon, students traveled to Xela for one-on-one Spanish language classes and essential introductory cultural training.

This trip was a life-changing experience where students were able to make a real difference in the lives of others and witness the importance of early detection through health screening in the developing world. It offered them global insight and a chance to go beyond in a rewarding way.

Regan C. and Santo C. enjoy time with
local elementary students.

If you are interested in participating in an experience like this, keep your eyes open for future announcements in the Connections newsletter or contact Mrs. Laura Pereira.

This summer Tampa Prep's faculty was very busy, experiencing new and old places; some for professional development while others enjoyed some well-deserved time off. Check out the adventures of Mr. Scott Sandoval, Ms. Elle Ashworth, Ms. Diana Rendina, Mr. Brian Williams, Mr. John Seary and Mrs. Rosa Harwell.



Mr. Scott Sandoval

English teacher Mr. Scott Sandoval returned to Scotland to work as the Dean of Students at the Oxbridge Academic Programs. This is an educational program for students in grades 9-12 held at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He enjoyed his time back in Scotland and got a chance to attend a cèilidh dance, which he found very exciting.






Ms. Elle Ashworth

Art Teacher Ms. Elle Ashworth, took a breathtaking trip to Oregon. She and her partner Tracy packed up their car and drove along the coast for eleven days. They got to see some spectacular sites and experience many new places on a fantastic trip.





Mrs. Diana Rendina

Tampa Prep's new Media Specialist, Mrs. Diana Rendina went to San Antonio, Texas, to present at the International Society for Technology in Education conference. While there, she took a break to do some sightseeing and biking along the San Antonio Mission Trail. Here she was able to see the culture, history and architecture that San Antonio has to offer in a unique way.





Mr. Brain Williams

Math and Science teacher Mr. Brian Williams spent a week with his wife in the mountains of Utah. They enjoyed beautiful scenery as well as moose and reindeer sightings. Mr. Williams said the highlight of his trip was their few days exploring Sundance Mountain.







Mr. John Seary

History teacher Mr. John Seary traveled to Utah to hike various canyons and the ever alluring "Narrows" in Zion National Park. He also visited family in Draper and explored downtown Salt Lake City, where he saw the 23,000-year-old Lake Bonneville. He ended his trip with some high school friends stationed at Hill Air Force Base. "I had a much better experience than I thought I would, and I look forward to going back soon!"






Mrs. Rosa Harwell

Math Teacher Mrs. Rosa Harwell and her family traveled to Ontario, Canada. She and her family experienced Niagara Falls in an adventurous way by soaring over it on a zip line!


Seventh Graders watch their robots complete exciting missions.

This summer, STEM teacher Mr. KK Quah has been working hard with campers ages nine and up. Over the past three weeks, Mr. Quah has taught three different camps, Introduction to Robotics using NXT, Arduino and C Programming and VEX IQ.

The Introduction to Robotics campers had a great week learning how to build circuits and how to control them through C programing. In the middle of the week camper ran a teamwork exercise and split into two groups of nine kids. The goal was to make a "humanoid" robot less than a foot tall that could stand. Both groups brainstormed and worked hard but after the time limit was up, it was the younger team that came together and made an impressive model. Also, at the end of camp, both the younger and the older groups met the goal of finishing all the missions on the table.

At the Arduino camp, young engineers had a great time learning how to make the Arduino work with LED lights, ultrasonic sensors and light sensors. In the final project, they ran an Arduino robot through a maze and made it follow a line to the end point.

The final week was a programming camp using VEX IQ robots. Students entering grades 7 and up learned how to program and move the robots around using "C" language. Throughout the week, campers became comfortable with the software and were able to solve exciting missions. The week ended with campers completing a maze-solving mission.

Want to receive our weekly eNewsletter with details about these stories and more? Sign up here: Subscribe