Dr. Fenske paves the way for Essrig Elementary shade pavilion

Students at Essrig Elementary School in Tampa now have a covered play court that will provide year-round protection from the sun’s harmful rays, thanks in part to USF Health’s Neil Fenske, MD.

Dr. Fenske helped secure the seed money from the American Academy of Dermatology for the fundraising effort to build the school’s Proud Panther Pavilion, which provides students and staff with year-round shade protection and reduced sun exposure while participating in activities on the school’s existing outdoor courts.

Dr. Neil Fenske stands under the Proud Panther Pavilion with Jamie Dietrich, parent of an Essrig Elementary student.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the pavilion was held Oct. 30 at Essrig Elementary to thank all of the supporters and donors who made the pavilion possible. Dr. Fenske presented information to the students about the importance of sun protection and acknowledged the AAD grant award and the school’s efforts to protect the students.

In addition to the AAD grant, provided in June 2008 and called the 2008 Shade Structure Program Grant, funding for the pavilion came from events and activities supported by the school, the students and their families, the PTA, and the School Advisory Council. Additional grants and donations came from St. Lucy’s Vision, SAMS Club Giving Program, Dr. Nalin Patel, and Library Interior Signage. The Hillsborough County Public School System provided matching funds, as well.

Story by Sarah A. Worth, USF Health Communications