Johnny realized that he was very fortunate attending the Manatee Bay Elementary School. He loved his teachers, Ms. Veronese (kindergarten), Ms. Smith (1st and 2nd grade), and Ms. Couch (3rd grade), the staff and administrators and his classmates. This boy understood that there were advantages going to this Weston school vs. Other Fort Lauderdale area schools. He often asked why things were so different from place to place and he was taught that it was part of his life's responsibility to make things in this world better and more equal for all. He was generous, kind and helpful to his fellow students, and in our darkest hours, the school has been that to us and more. We see how this school cares for their community and that they represent the very best qualities we instilled in Johnny.
At the end of the year, the school established a "JOHNNY AWARD" given to a third grade student who exemplifies the very attributes Johnny was known for. We are grateful that his spirit of giving and helping others lives on at the manatee bay elementary school and are so touched by the unwavering support of the entire school community.
Furthermore, a specialty bench was unveiled in Johnny's honor in November 2015. Johnny's former classmates, teachers and staff attended this moving ceremony. Students created beautiful pink pumpkins, wrote messages to Johnny and recited a poem. Ms. Shari Harris Perez, the president of the PTA, was instrumental in this project and has been a rock. Ms. Devaughn, the school's principal, has also been amazing and she spoke about how this bench would forever symbolize Johnny's spirit. The inscription on the bench reads....
IN MEMORY OF 3RD GRADER JOHNNY MACDOUGALL
"IF EVER THERE IS A TOMORROW WHEN WE'RE NOT TOGETHER...THERE IS SOMETHING YOU MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER: YOU ARE BRAVER THAN YOU BELIEVE, STRONGER THAN YOU SEEM, AND SMARTER THAN YOU THINK. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS, EVEN IF WE'RE APART...I'LL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU IN THE HEART." - WINNIE-THE-POOH
FONDLY DONATED BY THE PTA AND MANATEE BAY ELEMENTARY