Florida's last one-room schoolhouse to close

- Traveling along State Road 62 in Manatee County, you could very well miss a landmark: The Duette School is the last operating one-room schoolhouse in Florida.

"They look at it in a blink because they don't even realize what they are looking at," said Betty Glassburn.
"They are looking at history when they come through Duette."

Generations of Glassburn's family has attended the school since it opened in 1930.

"My mom and dad met at this school," she continued.

Inside you will find Miss Donna King.  She teaches 11 students, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade.
She started in 1993.

"It was my dream to come to Duette. As a teacher I wanted to do something different," she explained.

Back then, she taught a class of 30 plus students.

"The class then becomes a family. It becomes a unit. How, in real life, we do team building, in our professions. That is what happens here these children form a team," said King.

After 23 years of teaching at the Duette school, Miss.Donna will retire in June.  Once she walks out of the schoolhouse, it will close permanently.

"I love teaching and I would teach till I was a 100 if I could, but physically I'm not able to do what I used do and I don't want to do half a job. I want to give my all," she said.

The school is run as a non-profit organization.  Without the funding or another teacher, the Manatee School Board does not see a future for it. 

The community is now working to make sure it won't be forgotten.

"We are pushing so hard to get the school board to give us the land and the building so we can maintain our heritage through this building," said Glassburn.

They hope to keep it open as a museum or a community center.  That way no one forgets where they came from.

"Everybody had a story, everybody had a special story of something that happened to them here," King added.

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