It’s the first word that comes to mind when parent Christi Reinhart reflects on her family’s experience at Academy at the Lakes.
For Christi, husband Joel, and their children, Lauren ’20 and Jack ’24, community means being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Christi, who previously worked as a counselor in public schools, saw first-hand the impact a school culture can have on its students.
“The big thing for me was realizing how many kids fell through the cracks and how many kids were nameless,” said Christi. “No one said ‘hi’ to them or smiled at them. It just seemed these kids could go throughout an entire day without adults really engaging with them.”
“At Academy, there is a feeling of community. My children don’t feel like another nameless face walking the hallways. The teachers and the administration really know my kids. They know them academically but also socially. You could ask any of their teachers what my children like to do outside of school, and they would know that Lauren rides horses and Jack plays basketball. They know we have two dogs, and I bet they know their names too! They just know these things because they care and because they have the opportunity to get to know my kids. That’s really important to us.”
Last school year, Joel and Christi decided to dig deep to give Academy a tangible symbol of community. And in recognition of the family’s generosity, the new deck on the Wendlek Campus will soon be named in the Reinharts’ honor.
“We weren’t even planning to make the gift,” said Christi. “But the deck kind of jumped out as something we wanted to support. For the Lower Division, the deck symbolizes that coming together and community and that tugged at our hearts.”
After many years of seeing their children and other students huddle around the playground for meetings and assemblies, the Reinharts were thrilled when the new, covered deck was unveiled last fall.
“It’s long overdue and it’s what the kids and teachers deserve,” said Christi.
While the Reinharts also support the Leukemia Society and the Hillsborough and Pasco Animal Shelters, they have chosen to make Academy at the Lakes their philanthropic priority.
“Our gifts as parents, grandparents, and alumni make an enormous impact here. You can see it just in the last year with how the facilities have improved. We believe it what Academy at the Lakes is doing and we know that we can play a part in continuing the success of the school so it can serve the community now and in the future.”