Some Of Our Schools Are Still Devastated By Hurricane Irma…

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Hurricane Irma Hits Florida Schools

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Lower Keys on September 10, 2017. Irma hit Florida as a fierce Category 4 storm. Irma brought storm surges, flooding, tornadoes and high winds that battered the state. While the true financial impact to the Sunshine State will not be known for years to come, researchers at Florida International University estimate wind damages alone could reach as high as $19 billion.Unfortunately, some of Step Up’s partner schools were devastated, and damages from the storm continue to impact student learning. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are resilient, and work has begun to mitigate the damages, but there is still a tremendous amount of repairs needed to be done at several schools.Step Up’s Office of Student Learning Team has identified four severely damaged schools: Temple Christian School in North Fort Myers; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Naples; Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West; and Saint James Christian Academy in Fort Pierce. 

Schools Affected:

  • Temple Christian School, North Fort Myers, Fl
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, Naples, Fl
  • Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Key West, Fl
  • Saint James Christian Academy, Fort Pierce, FL

Temple Christian School, North Fort Myers, FL

Temple Christian School is an accredited K through 12th grade school founded in 1976 as an outreach ministry of the Temple Baptist Church. The school’s motto is “Building Champions for Christ.” More than 50 of Temple Christian’s 105 students are Step Up scholars.Below are pictures of the damage at Temple Christian. You’ll notice many students working together in the cafeteria since most classrooms were destroyed by flooding. The school sustained about $240,000 in damages, not all of which will be covered by insurance. The school also must cover a $35,000 deductible. Donors like you can help get Temple Christian students back in their classrooms.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, Naples, FL

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School is a private, PreK-3 through eighth grade school with over 70 students participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for lower-income families. Winds from Hurricane Irma whipped through the school’s courtyard, blowing out windows and making the music room uninhabitable. Significant flooding caused extensive damages to classrooms and offices. In all, Irma caused over $1 million in damages. Donors like you can help St. Elizabeth raise its $100,000 deductible to start rebuilding. Below are pictures of damage at the school.

Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Key West, FL

The Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea is a PreK through eighth grade Catholic school for children of all faiths. The school serves nearly 300 students, more than 50 of which are Step Up scholars.

Of the eight buildings on the school’s property, two roofs need major repairs and three roofs have to be completely replaced due to the high winds sustained in Key West surrounding the eye of the storm. The schools deductible is four percent of each building’s value. As estimates continue to come in, the school is looking at out-of-pocket expenses around $300,000 to cover the deductible.

Saint James Christian Academy, Fort Pierce, FL

Saint James Christian Academy, located in Fort Pierce, Florida, serves more than 400 Step Up scholars in grades K-12th, and has been unable to open their doors since Hurricane Irma struck in September 2017. Due to severe flooding and plumbing back up, the entire school was under water for several days. This caused damage to practically every aspect of the school including administration areas, classrooms, buses and the playground. The schools parking lot was flooded approximately 4 feet deep and administrators were unable to enter this building for several days. This allowed for damages to compound. The building has been deemed uninhabitable due to FEMA regulations and the building’s landlord is still considered to be non-compliant. Therefore no work permits can be obtained. The school is in desperate need of help to purchase school modular building. The cost of building and setup is $206,000.00.

Questions: Please contact Heidie Nesset, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Step Up For Students:, 678-772-0437