St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa is celebrating 107 years of educating students. It is the oldest parish school in the entire St. Petersburg Diocese, and the oldest African American School in the State of Florida.
There are a lot of happy children there, thanks in part to smaller class sizes -- students like 13-year-old Kevontay White.
"You get more one on one time with the teacher," he says.
Sister Maria Babatunde is the principal here.
"I think it's a tradition. The history and how the school was founded, that has kept us going. People believed in the mission while the school was founded, and they still believe in what we do today," she says.
St. Peter Claver educates children from Pre K through the 8th grade. The overwhelming majority of the student body comes from economically challenged backgrounds, but there is a long tradition of graduating leaders and achievers in our community.
"We build ourselves on the pride of our past, but we are also stepping up into the future with what is current," Sister Maria says.
For students like Keionne House, St. Peter Claver has made a world of difference in learning.
"My teachers help me when I need help," he said.
Over the years, the school has struggled to keep enrollment strong and pay the bills, but today they are thriving.
"We want to be one of the top schools academically and socially, everything that we can be in the State of Florida and the country," Sister Maria said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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