- February 24, 2022
Orange County Public School families came together for a dedication ceremony at the new Panther Lake Elementary School on Friday, Nov. 4.
Students, staff, community members and parents gathered in the school's cafeteria for the morning program.
The dedication began with the presentation of colors by the Horizon High School Army Cadet Guard and was followed by the National Anthem performed by the Panther Lake Elementary Chorus.
Principal Dr. Christine Szymanski welcomed attendees and introduced the following guest speakers: School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, District 4 School Board Member Pam Gould and Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez.
"While opening a new school is not an easy task, I can honestly say it has been the most rewarding experience of my career," Szymanski said. "The staff members that have been assembled to Panther Lake are some of the most dedicated, thoughtful and talented individuals that I have had the pleasure to work with."
Vazquez said there is nothing like having the opportunity to be part of a brand new school.
"The administration, the teachers, the children and the families are all transforming the halls of this beautiful school into a very special place of learning," she said.
Vazquez presented a special gift to Szymanski in the form of a key to "remind you and all those that follow you in the decades to come of this very special year where you unlock the doors of opportunity for the Panther Lake community."
The event also included words from Emerson Pozek, student speaker, a musical performance by the Panther Lake Elementary Chorus and Orchestra, and a ribbon cutting.
Panther Lake relieved Castleview, Summerlake and Water Spring elementaries, each of which opened in 2019 or 2020.
The school cost $28.2 million to build and is one of five new OCPS schools this year, bringing the district total to 210 schools.
The new elementary school is located at 10151 Summerlake Groves St. in Horizon West.
Read about Panther Lake Elementary's first day of opening here.