Fishery dedicated to Carpenter, Neal

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 30, 2012

Jacob Long uses the net to catch some tilapia. Kendra Bolling/ Star-News



Red Level Elementary School “officially” opened the doors to its new fisheries building and dedicated it to the memory of Levi Neal and Evan Carpenter.

Neal and Carpenter were teenage Red Level students who lost their lives in a tragic automobile accident last May near Baker, Fla.

RLES Principal Rodney Drish said “it was amazing how God works.”

“Back when the building was being built, I was thinking of a name,” he said. “God got all over me about naming it after these two boys. So, I talked to their parents and they agreed. When you think of fish you think of life. We want to honor these boys.”

The new building is aptly named the Red Level Elementary Levi and Evan Aquascience Greenhouse.

Carpenter and Neal’s mothers, Donna Neal and Dena Padgett, said they were both honored the school chose to remember their sons this way.

“It means a lot to us as parents that they will always be remembered,” Donna Neal said. “They can look down from heaven and see this. They said there is a crystal river in heaven and they are probably fishing right now. We love and miss them. We thank everyone here for what they do, and we thank God for the yeas we had with them.”

Drish said that through the fisheries program students of all ages are learning science and business skills that will follow them through their lives.

“The skills will help us on the ARMT plus exam,” he said. “Some say they are too young to learn the things they are learning, but I disagree. We have second and third graders learning a lot of the things I didn’t learn until the sixth grade.”

Drish said the project is paid for through a 21st Century Learning Grant and the PACERS program and local donations.

“These grants are designed to help small rural schools do things they wouldn’t normally be able to do,” he said. “The students are learning about warm and cold water fish. We have rainbow trout, tilapia, koi and catfish. And the children are responsible for keeping them alive.”

Drish said once the program is established he hopes to generate money for the school.”