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A Place We Call Home: Bay Haven Elementary School

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BAY HAVEN, Fla. (WWSB) - Bay Haven Elementary school students are celebrating their school's 90th anniversary by dancing the Charleston; the most popular dance back when the school was founded.

Principal Chad Erickson says Bay Haven was built during the boom years following World War I by architect, Leo Elliot.

"He built our school due to the roaring 20's population boom in Florida," says Erickson. "We needed a north side school and a south side school and Bay Haven is the north side school."

The school was built for 600 students at a cost of $77,000 thousand dollars.

"Six years into Bay Haven's history, the great depression hit Florida and completely decimated the economy."

In 1933, Sarasota public schools closed due to lack of funds, but Bay Haven stayed open. Parents and volunteers held fund raisers to keep the school open.

"They worked in the kitchen, they solicited money from neighbors and they tried to have parents bring in tuition money."

Bay Haven has had a number of firsts in Sarasota's history.

"Starting the first kindergarten in Sarasota county, we're the first school to be segregated in Sarasota county."

And they had the first school library. Bay Haven is a magnet school .

"We are a magnet school because we require our students, parents and teachers to sign a contract saying that we will be engaged, make good behavioral choices and we will try out best academically each and every day."

Students and staff say Bay Haven is like their second family.

"Everybody is so nice to each other and they act like they are your family."

And they are thrilled to celebrate 90 years of serving Sarasota county students.