Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Lost and (Rarely) Found; Schools' Collections Swell Each Year; Some Just Get Stranger

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Lost and (Rarely) Found; Schools' Collections Swell Each Year; Some Just Get Stranger

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA

Stuffed in bins, boxes, drawers or closets in Northeast Florida schools are jackets, lunch boxes and a long list of other items lost and forgotten by students.

But one shoe? Just one?

"How do you not notice that your shoe is missing?" wondered Art Lauzon, principal of Louis Sheffield Elementary School.

Welcome to the public school version of Lost and Found, where the contents are strikingly familiar: hoodies, hats, gym shorts and, yes, a retainer or two. But there's the occasional stunner.

Lauzon said one student's parent noticed when she lost a valuable possession - a diamond ring.

"It seems her kindergartner thought it was pretty and wore it to school," he said.

An alert custodian spotted it when he was sweeping in the lunchroom. Seems it slipped off the student's finger.

The frantic mother did rush to the school to claim her ring, solving at least one mystery.

It's the sheer volume of lost stuff that's most surprising. Enterprise Learning Academy Principal Sheridan Brown said there are enough clothes found each year to outfit a family of four.

Sometimes a little detective work is needed.

When a wallet with money and gift cards inside was lost on the eighth-graders' field trip to Washington, D.C., Joan Beccard, the health tech at Switzerland Point Middle School in St. Johns County, took the case.

She traced the wallet to the student by finding the mother's name on a receipt.

The school's television crew recently shot film of abandoned jackets and hoodies to show during announcements. But afterward, only one student stepped forward to make a claim, Beccard said.

Despite the attempts to reunite children with their belongings, Switzerland Point wound up donating about 55 boxes of items to the Salvation Army last year.

The James Weldon Johnson PTSA recently sent home a notice to parents alerting them to the school's large pile of lost stuff. …

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