Back-to-school photos make community 'feel like family'


Manatee Elementary School PTO president Nicki Hensley had fun with the fact that her son, Cooper, got the same teacher as older sister Lily did in a previous year. He wore a shirt specially made that read: “Hensley, The Sequel.”

“We have a lot of fun, both as a family and as a school family with teachers, staff, students and their families,” said Hensley, who deemed the teacher meet-and-greet the day before as “hat day.” “If I had thought of it, I could have included one of mom doing the back-to-school happy dance right about 8 a.m.”

Families from across the Viera/Suntree area sent in photos from their child's first day to and many were posted to the Viera Voice Facebook page.

April Murray captured three generations in her Suntree Elementary back-to-school photos, if you count behind the camera as well as in front. Grandma Kitty Hatton posed with daughter Allie, while son Cole greeted teacher Holly Keesecker in the classroom.

For the first time in the short history of social media, it became “the thing” to post said photos on Facebook. The trend makes it possible to share with family members and friends outside the area.

“I just love seeing all the pictures of the first day of school from my Florida family,” said Athena Bauerle, who moved this past year to Philadelphia for her husband's job, which meant she had to leave her Suntree community and Quest Elementary school. Her son, Andrew started at a new school in the North later in the month, but her son, Robert, returned to Florida as a freshman at the University of Central Florida, and he'll stay locally with his grandmother, Joyce Keesey.

“Seeing these pictures from near and far make it seem like we are all a part of one big family,” Bauerle said.

Administrators and teachers at DeLaura Middle School in Satellite Beach, which serves students from Suntree and parts of Viera, started the first day of school by welcoming Bobby Pruett as principal and Jud Kaminisky as the new vice principal. Pruett, second from right rear, moved up from vice principal and Kaminsky, far right rear, moved over from Eau Gallie High School.

To submit photos, send them with the first and last name of the student, state that Viera Voice has permission to use the photo and that you are authorized to give it, and send with your name by email to To see the photos, click below, go to the Viera Voice Photos page or view the Viera Voice Facebook page.