Morsani College of Medicine

Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery

Local elementary school partnered with USF Health Dermatologist Neil Alan Fenske, MD


Essrig Elementary School PTA    NEWS




Essrig Elementary School

Covered Court Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Fall Festival


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2009, 5:00 to 8:00 pm.



Tampa, Florida – (October 27, 2009) – The Cecile Essrig Elementary School and the School Parent Teacher Association will host a community Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on October 30, 2009, at 5:00 pm, at Essrig Elementary School’s Proud Panther Pavilion in Tampa, at 13131 Lynn Road.  The ribbon cutting ceremony is free and open to current and former Essrig Elementary School students and families and the community.


The event is the culmination of over three years of hard work and fundraising among a variety of partners, all for sun safety and protection and the benefit of the school children, staff and their families.  The newly constructed Proud Panther Pavilion provides students and staff with shade protection and reduced sun exposure while participating in activities on the existing outdoor courts.  The purpose of the event is to acknowledge its installation, thank many of the donors and publicly open the covered court for use. 


Funding for the Proud Panther Pavilion has come from many events and activities supported by the school, the students and their families, the PTA, and the School Advisory Council (SAC).  Grants and donations have come from St. Lucy’s Vision, SAMS Club’s Shade Foundation Grant, Dr. Nalin Patel, Library Interior Signage, and The American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) Shade Grant, sponsored by USF Health and AAD Dermatologist, Neil A. Fenske, MD.  In addition, the Hillsborough County Public School System provided nearly $50,000 in matching funds.


Children love playing outdoors but usually are not aware of the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.  The covered court provides year-round protection from UVA and UVB radiation for students during physical education and other outdoor activities, after-school and summer programs as well as special events –many of which occur during the peak sun hours of 10am to 4pm.  Dr. Fenske will conduct a presentation during school hours prior to the ribbon cutting to acknowledging the grant award and reiterating the importance of sun protection.



Immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony, the PTA will host its annual Fall Festival event until 8 pm.  This fun-filled family event features a sun safety education and protection booth, Karaoke booth, a bounce house, a football obstacle course, games, activities, food and drinks, and the opportunity to dunk school staff in a dunk tank.  Tickets to the Fall Festival may be purchased at the door for $7.00 for adults and $6.00 for youth.






About Cecile Essrig Elementary School:  Essrig Elementary School is a Hillsborough County Public School and is located in the Carrollwood community.  The school is named for Cecile Waterman Essrig, an outstanding educational leader, and the first woman elected to serve on the Hillsborough County School Board, in 1967.  The school serves children in Pre K through 5th grades and currently has 860 students enrolled.  Mrs. Teresa Campbell is the school principal.


About PTAs: The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation.  From universal kindergarten to a juvenile justice system—National PTA advocates have been at the heart of our nation’s greatest advances for youth.  Local PTAs work to provide parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child, while providing the best tools for parents to help their children be successful students.  Elementary School PTAs serve as a type of forum where parents, teachers, administrators, and other concerned adults discuss ways to promote quality education, strive to expand the arts, encourage community involvement, and work for a healthy environment and safe neighborhoods.




FROM USF Website, May 2008

Grant from American Academy of Dermatology will help build shade structure –

A local elementary school that partnered with USF Health dermatologist Neil Alan Fenske, MD, is one of 37 organizations nationwide to receive a 2008 Shade Structure Program Grant from the American Academy of Dermatology.

The $8,000 grant will support Cecile B. Essrig Elementary School’s fundraising initiative to build a pavilion that will cover the school’s existing outdoor basketball court. Essrig was one of only three schools in Florida receiving the AAD grant this year, and the only one in Hillsborough County.

The Proud Panther Pavilion is intended to help protect the school’s 800 students and their families and faculty from the damaging ultraviolet rays of Florida’s sun. The school currently has no gymnasium and all recreational activities are outdoors. The pavilion will be used during physical education and other outdoor classes, after-school recreational activities and school-wide events – many which occur during the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dr. Fenske, endowed chair of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery and a long-time fellow of ADD, wrote the letter in support of Essrig’s Shade Structure Program grant. Grant applicants must be sponsored by an AAD dermatologist.

Over the last two years the school and its Parent Teacher Association (PTA) have raised more than $80,000 toward the $130,000 pavilion, and Essrig expects to break ground for the structure sometime this fall, said Kathy Murphy, PTA board member and grant writer.

“Dr. Fenske and his team at the USF Department of Dermatology have been very responsive and supportive of our sun safety protection program,” Murphy said. “Having a local academic dermatologist who is internationally known as a sponsor definitely adds credibility to our educational initiative.”

“The grant is a real tribute to this PTA and school, which have been so proactive in demonstrating their commitment to sun safety,” Dr. Fenske said.

“It’s easier to persuade younger kids to use sunscreen, hats and other measures to protect their skin from sun overexposure than to try to convince teenagers,” he added. “Intervening early in life is best, because 80 percent of lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before age 18, and most skin cancers are caused by skin damaged in childhood.”

In late May, Dr. Fenske was interviewed about sun protection and skin cancer prevention by two elementary school students from Essrig – brothers Matthew, 10, and Daniel, 7, Lydon. The videotaped interview aired over the school’s closed circuit TV system the last week of school and will be rebroadcast for new students this fall.

Dr. Fenske also spoke with parents at the school’s end-of-the-year PTA family night on June 3, encouraging them to incorporate sun safety into their children’s outdoor activities and providing AAD brochures and bookmarks on the ABCs of safe fun in the sun. The Dermatology Department also plans to disseminate information to community sports programs frequented by Essrig students.

The AAD’s Shade Structure Program is supported by Johnson & Johnson. It is open to non-profit organizations or educational institutions serving children and teens under age 18, for permanent shade structures over outdoor locations not protected from the sun, such as playgrounds, pools, and other recreational areas.

This year more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. The American Cancer Society ranks Florida second in the country for incidents of skin cancer.

– Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications