Lili Yang has dedicated her career to giving back to her community. She is a Clinical Nutrition Specialist at Tampa General Hospital. Every day she sees people with illnesses like diabetes who need help regulating their insulin, or she educates people who have had a stroke about how to prevent another one.
“I do a lot of education, a lot of disease prevention, a lot of identifying the needs of my patients and then I follow through with them when they leave the hospital,” Yang said. “I feel we equip our patients for when they leave here, especially through education”.
And it was her education, at Lennard High School in Ruskin, that prepared her for a successful career giving back to others.
Yang graduated from Lennard back in 2009. She was co-captain of the Varsity Tennis Team, Marching Captain for 2 years and heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “Lennard helped get me where I am now. I did a lot of AP classes that helped quite a bit, my teachers were amazing, it was a good environment and a great school”.
But now Lennard, like many other schools in Hillsborough County, need help. Lennard was built to alleviate the overcrowding at East Bay High school, but now, it’s overcrowded itself. Over the next ten years it will also need its air conditioning replaced, a new public address system – and those courts that Yang loved to play tennis on 12 years ago, need to be completely redone.
Those are all projects that would be completed if the half-penny Education Referendum passes on the November 6 ballot. The money would go toward 1,785 specific projects including 203 air conditioner replacements, 63 aging roof replacements, $23 million in safety and security improvements and $25 million classroom technology upgrades to prepare students for careers in the modern workforce.
The money would also help build new schools. Hillsborough County will need at least 32 new schools, mostly in the southern part of the county, to accommodate growth over the next 15 years. If the Referendum passes, $155 million will be earmarked for that construction. A complete list of the school-by-school projects can be found on hillsboroughschools.org – As well as information about the Citizen Oversight Committee strictly policing the money.
Back in 2009, Yang graduated in the top 3% of her class at Lennard. She now lives here, with her family, working at Tampa General Hospital, using her education to care for her community.
She hopes that community will now give back to its students, so the cycle of success can continue.
She says she supports the Education Referendum.
“I love my school,” Yang said, “I’ll do anything I can to help it”.