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Don the cap and gown, TIS Class of 2023

June 1, 2023
By Staff Report

There are many defining moments in a parent’s life when it comes to their children. Their first steps, their first words, their first day of school and their last day of elementary school. It’s at that time one realizes their children are coming of age and will soon stop playing on the playground and start driving. The last vestiges of childhood start to fall away and parents start getting a glimpse of what their children are soon to become … young men and women. 

The graduating class of 2023 yielded 11 students – all with such unique personalities. We wanted to give you a glimpse into each of their lives as they leave our little school and head out into the world, with the greatest hope that one day, when they’re all grown, they will look back at these childhood memories and realize they are exactly where they wanted to be.

Let us introduce you to The Island School Class of 2023, in their own words …


Hi, I am Austin and I have lived in Florida for my whole life. I have three dogs named Nala, Layla, and Ella. We take our dogs in our backyard and let them run around and chase a tennis ball.  

One of my favorite things is when my family and I go to River Ranch. We have a camper out there, and we love to camp and trail ride on the weekends. Our dogs love it, too!

This summer, my brother and I are going to summer camp on Boca Grande for a few weeks, and we will also be spending the rest of the time with my Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Papa. When we are with our grandparents we go swimming in their pool a lot. 

  A few of my favorite memories from The Island School are when we made Gingerbread cookies in kindergarten and our parents came to see them. In fourth grade we made bread with Miss. Rahal like people did in the old days. 

Another thing I will remember forever is my 5th grade year, this was one of my favorite years in school. We had celebrations and got to pick what type of meal we wanted. I would like to say thank you to every one of my teachers, from preschool all the way to 5th grade. I would like to say thank you to my mom and dad for always pushing me to be the greatest student I can be. I also want to say thank you to my grandma and papa for getting me started on the piano.  

When I am older I would like to work with my dad. My dad is a painter and I enjoy doing things with my dad. I also like painting with my dad. So,I think it would be amazing to work with him … and maybe one day I could take over the family business.

My advice for next year’s 5th graders is to pay attention to your teachers and respect your classmates. Then you will earn trust and respect from your teachers and friends. I will miss The Island School, but am looking forward to new adventures. I also would like to say thank you to every one of my teachers, from preschool all the way to 5th grade. 


My name is Hudson Coleman and I am 10 years old. I was born June 22, 2012 in Florida. I’m in 5th grade and have attended The Island School since kindergarten. Also, my twin brothers Lucas and Jacob went to The Island School. Next year they will be going to Lemon Bay High School. I love fishing and hunting.

We have a hunting lease in Arcadia. There are wild boar, sows and deer on the property. I shot a six point deer there. The biggest fish I ever caught was a 190 pound tarpon and my biggest deer was a 14 point buck. My Dad is Charlie Coleman. He taught me everything I needed to know about fishing.

My favorite subject is math. It is challenging but it’s also fun. My favorite football team is Alabama. Coach Saban let us hang out in the VIP seats in their stadium. He has let us go swim at his house in Alabama. It was a very special experience. 

This summer my brothers and I are going to go surfing, fishing and helping our dad with charters. My favorite sport is basketball, 

One thing for the next fifth grade class – respect your teacher and your classmates, have fun, and work hard. I will be going to middle school at L.A. Ainger next year. 


Hi, my name is Jaden and I was born on February 14, 2012 in Connecticut. When I was a baby I moved to Florida with my family. I have been a student at The Island School since kindergarten. I got pretty good grades and that is mostly because of the great teachers I had. In my free time I like to draw cartoons. I want to be a professional  basketball player and an engineer for NASA when I grow up. 

Some of my favorite memories at The Island School are when we were making apple pie in kindergarten and I cut my finger with a peeler. Also, the celebrations the fifth grade teachers put on for us were amazing and delicious. You get to choose what you want to eat!

The next school I am going to is L.A. AInger. Since I did so well on the F.A.S.T. I will be in advanced math. That is something that I’m really looking forward to. I’m going to try out for a basketball team. And I’m going to be in the band and hopefully I’m going to learn to play the guitar. So I will try my hardest every day to be successful

This summer I am doing summer camp at Boca Grande. Also, I might go to Honduras with my mom to visit relatives. I’m going to relax a lot and probably play a lot of video games. I will practice the guitar, ride my bike, have sleepovers and just have fun overall. I will miss my friends that are in a younger grade.  

Some advice for the next fifth grade group is to listen as much as you can and try your best everyday. Respect the teachers and don’t do anything that will get you in trouble. Because they do a lot for you, birthday parties, celebrations, and more. So if you listen, respect the teachers and try your best everyday you should be fine so don’t worry. 


My name is Kaleb. I am 11 years old and I was born on January 13, 2012. I have lived in Florida for my whole life. I have two cats, and one dog and their names are Harley, Azrael, and Ruger.             

My hobbies are riding my bike, swimming, mudding at River Ranch, hanging out with my friends, playing video games, and playing fetch with my dog. I like pizza, ice cream,  fried chicken, alfredo noodles with shrimp, ranch dressing, and cookies.

When I grow up I want to do tile work and follow in my dad’s footsteps. 

My favorite subject is math because our math teacher is amazing. I loved fifth grade because our teachers put in so much time for us. Also, our teachers reward us with celebrations when we behave. I also will not ever forget how cool Mrs Catanzarite’s classes were.

I am going to SKY Academy but I will never forget all the memories from The Island School, like the time we made gingerbread cookies in kindergarten, but my gingerbread cookie was burnt and I was so mad. One of my favorite days of school is field day because we play outside with water balloons and stuff like that.

My advice to the new fifth graders is to listen to your teachers. Do your work and do your homework on time. You should also respect your classmates and teachers, if you do this you will earn trust and respect.


Hi, my name is Penny Barger. I am 11 years old and I am nervous and excited to graduate from The Island School. I moved here from Philadelphia when I was 2. My older brother started here and two years later I came to the school.

I love music, especially metal. My favorite band would probably have to be Black Sabbath. I also like watching horror movies. I like other movies too like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. I also watch a lot of TV shows. The Office is my favorite, but I also like Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and The Muppets.

I like playing ice hockey but there aren’t that many ice skating rinks near me, so I don’t get to practice a lot, but it’s fun when I go. The last time I went I broke my wrist. I’ve broken a lot of bones during the school year, about 3 or 4. My best friend broke two of them, but we are closer than ever. While writing this I’m wearing a boot from my latest injury.

This summer I’m going to Philly and maybe Harrisburg, PA. I’m also going to the Boca Grande summer camp. It will be the last time I will be young enough to go to camp, so I’m going to make the most of it. This summer my dad and I are going to build a treehouse so I’m excited.

Next year I’m going to L.A. Ainger for middle school. I’m going to join the band program. I play the trumpet. One of my favorite memories at The Island School was when I was in kindergarten when I fell off a golf cart on a field trip, and golf carts got banned from school. I cried a bit but I was fine.

Here is some advice for the future fifth graders. Be nice to your classmates, respect your teachers, and don’t talk when the light is off at lunch. 


Hi, my name is Piper Shortuse. I am 10 years old and I was born on August 2, 2012. I like fishing, hanging out with my friend Penny and playing video games. I am good at some things, like skateboarding, swimming, and catching frogs. My favorite thing to do is catch bugs, frogs, and snakes. When I grow up I want to be a biologist because they help save animals. 

I have loved my time here at The Island school. I have a lot of memories here, like our Royal Gala in kindergarten, going to Big Cat Habitat and accidentally breaking my best friend’s pinky. I love that it is such a small school, because you know almost everybody. I am also grateful  for the teachers because they taught me so much and gave us birthday celebrations.

I will have a lot to do over the summer break. I will go to summer camp on weekdays and on the weekend I will stay at my friend’s house. In summer camp we will go roller skating and we will go to Big Cat habitat. I also plan on going to Sky Zone over the summer for my birthday. 

 My favorite subject is science because we got to do many hands-on science projects. I also think that math and reading is fun because they teach us a lot every single day. 

My advice to the next year’s fifth graders is to be nice to the teachers and do not be bad or mean to anybody. 


Hello, my name is Ryder. I finally turned 12 on May 21.This is my first year here at The Island School. My family moved to Florida from Cannon Falls, Minnesota just in time for Hurricane Ian!  I have had so much fun living in Florida. My family has a boat and we enjoy boating to the beaches.  

My favorite class is science because we do so much fun stuff. The moon shoes were the best and I even got the chance to take them home. I love math too. When I first started at The Island School I was bad, now, I’m great at math. During English Language Arts I loved all the books we read. Mrs. Brown is my grandma, too. 

I love to play soccer, and I hope to play on a team again this summer. I will have swimming lessons this summer. I’m  practicing how to fish in Florida. Which is so different from Minnesota. This summer I’m going to go camping with the Boy Scouts. My family will be going to Minnesota to visit. I am enjoying listening to the book A Land Remembered.

I advise the next fifth graders to do your homework and listen to your teachers. Next year I will be attending Sky Academy in Englewood.  


My name is Syreniti Wesley, and my birthday is May 15, 2012.  I’m 11 years old. My family moved to a new home in the West Port neighborhood this year. Our new house is much bigger and we have a community pool. 

 I like art, math, and football. My favorite football team is the Kansas City Chiefs. I am really good at drawing and basketball. My favorite book is The New Kid. My favorite things to eat are fish sticks, mac and cheese, and french fries.

My plans for the summer are going to Las Vegas and Jamaica with my dad and godparents. I am looking forward to going to see friends in Las Vegas.

One of my memories from The Island School is in kindergarten when we went on a field trip to the library and had parties. My favorite subject is math because I’m really good at solving problems. My big dream is to grow up and be a rapper and a famous basketball player. 

My advice for fourth grade is to be on your best behavior, be a good listener, and don’t follow behind bad people.  The next school I’m going to is Murdock Middle in Port Charlotte.


Hi, l’m Tucker Cera. l am 11 years old and I was born in Florida on May 1, 2012. I love hunting, fishing, boating and playing sports. I have 3 dogs, 2 snakes, 11 chickens, and 2 baby chicks. I am going to go to L.A. Ainger next year. My favorite memory of The Island School is Kindergarten when I made an apple pie with all of my friends. My whole class is like a family. The parents are the teachers and my brothers and sisters are the students, especially my friend Hudson. He is like a little brother to me since we have known each other most of our lives. 

This summer, I am going to our family cabin in North Carolina. There I catch rainbow trout, ride 4×4’s and go hunting for squirrels. 

Here is some advice- listen to your teachers and peers when they try to give you advice .One thing I will miss is all the traditions of The Island School.


I am William Hahn and I’m 11 years old. I was born April 17 2012 in Washington D.C.  When I was young my family moved to Michigan. Our next move was to Florida when I was nine years old. My first year at The Island School I was in fourth grade. 

I like to play basketball and love drawing. My favorite things to draw are robots and my own creations. My family likes to travel together. This summer I am going to Arizona and Utah for mountain biking and hiking. I am also going to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park.

I have two brothers and they are funny. Henry is in second grade and James is in kindergarten at The Island School. 

My favorite memory of The Island School is kind of funny. I was in science class where we were learning about germs and a classmate was swinging their hands. I bent down to tie my shoe and hand sanitizer got in my eye! Trust me it hurts like crazy.

Fifth grade was a different experience than fourth grade. There are three teachers who teach math, ELA, and science. My advice for the incoming fifth graders is to pay attention and get your homework done on time. Next year I will be attending Pineview for middle school. I am looking forward to trying out for the basketball team and the golf team. 


My name is Xyonna Daniels,I was born in Arcadia on February 9, 2011,I am 12 years old. I have been a student at The Island School since second grade. What I want to be when I grow up is a doctor.

 I am going to miss my favorite math teacher Ms. Bengtson, she has helped me a lot and I have learned so much from her. My favorite book from ELA is A Land Remembered, it was a funny book about Florida history. At home I like to read comic books. One of my favorite things I did in science was the rock collection. That was really fun. I learned a lot about rocks that I never knew were real like the lava rock.  

My next school I am going to is called Murdock Middle. This summer I am going to Orlando and I might go to SeaWorld or Aquatica.