Guy Harvey visits AME to dedicate academy

Dr. Guy Harvey visits AME to dedicate Arts and Science Academy
AME fifth grader Penny Elizabeth Payne shows Dr. Guy Harvey some charts the students made showing how long it takes different materials to break down once they enter the ocean ecosystem. - Jason Schaffer | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – Prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year, Anna Maria Elementary School (AME) announced it would be home to the world’s first Guy Harvey Academy of Arts and Science, and Dr. Harvey dedicated the academy in person on Friday.

The academy, which focuses on marine sciences, conservation and the arts, is a collaboration between the School District of Manatee County and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF).

With the academy up and running and students and staff beyond enthusiastic, Harvey met students and staff and saw the academy’s progress on dedication day.

Dr. Guy Harvey visits AME to dedicate Arts and Science Academy
From left, Executive Director of Elementary Schools Annette Codelia, Manatee County School Board member Gina Messenger, School Board Chairman Chad Choate, AME Principal Mike Masiello, Dr. Guy Harvey, School Superintendent Cynthia Saunders, Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes, School Board member Mary Foreman and School Board member Richard Tatem cut the ribbon for Guy Harvey Academy of Arts and Science at Anna Maria Elementary School. – Jason Schaffer | Sun

Harvey has devoted his talent, time and resources to protect oceans, fish populations and reef systems through the development of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University and the GHOF. Those institutions have made numerous contributions to protecting fish resources and biodiversity in the world’s oceans.

Harvey is also an internationally known artist, and his artwork is regularly featured in galleries, on his hugely successful line of apparel and many other products. He holds a degree in marine biology from Aberdeen University in Scotland and a doctorate in fisheries management from the University of West Indies.

“This is really a template, we’re just getting started on a very long journey of educating kids about the value of marine science and the value of conserving our marine environments,” Harvey said. “I’m not a tree hugger, I love to fish and I eat fish. I’m a normal human being, but I do see the devastation that people have caused in not only Florida, but the Caribbean where I live and other countries and I know that we can do better.”

The collaboration happened quickly after School Superintendent Cynthia Saunders met representatives from GHOF at a conference. The school’s waterfront location on Anna Maria Island made AME the perfect place to launch the academy, and it didn’t take long before both parties agreed to move forward with the project, which began at the start of the 2022-23 school year.

Dr. Guy Harvey visits AME to dedicate Arts and Science Academy
Dr. Guy Harvey speaks to students and staff at Anna Maria Elementary School before taking a tour of the school, including the new Guy Harvey Academy of Arts and Science. – Jason Schaffer | Sun

“Today is an exciting day for Anna Maria Elementary School and the School District of Manatee County to be able to formalize the establishment of the first-ever Guy Harvey Academy of Arts & Science at Anna Maria Elementary School,” AME Principal Mike Masiello said. “Having this innovative program in Manatee County in partnership with such a well-respected name as Dr. Guy Harvey is an amazing opportunity. Students will be able to participate in lessons that support a true STEAM approach, learning math and science through an art lens. The lessons also take learning about our marine environment and conservation to a deeper level.”

The program will benefit students from other schools as well with field trips and summer camps and will eventually expand to all elementary schools in the district as well as to complementary programs at King Middle and Manatee High, he said.

“I would like to acknowledge our teachers, staff, parents and the community here at Anna Maria Elementary for embracing this new initiative. Thank you to Superintendent Saunders, school district staff and The Guy Harvey Foundation for all of their hard work in creating a program which will have a positive impact on our students and our community for generations to come.”

Dr. Guy Harvey visits AME to dedicate Arts and Science Academy
Not a bad view from the schoolyard,” joked Dr. Guy Harvey, while talking to AME Principal Mike Masiello about the school’s unique location on the bay. – Jason Schaffer | Sun

After a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony with school officials, Harvey toured the school and the grounds before meeting several students participating in the program who showed him some of the projects they had completed in the academy.

“I love how excited they are about this, it’s incredible, and they’ve done some really good work,” Harvey said. “I really enjoyed getting to speak with them.”