Florida teacher who died of cancer leaves behind $60K for her school to build sensory playground

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center in Pinellas Park unveiled its latest addition on Monday – a sensory playground.  

The new playground is equipped to meet the needs of students with special needs. It was donated by the estate of former teacher Christine Stuckey and her husband Michael. The couple both battled cancer. 

Christine taught at the school for nearly 30 years. She passed away in 2015. Michael died in 2018. 

“When she taught, she always taught the students with autism that were older. So when we heard about the money that was coming through the family, we knew that’s what she would want,” former principal Arlene Sullivan said.

Craig Hunter, Michael’s first cousin, says the $60,000 donation from the couple will also go toward a media center and sensory gym that will help with visual, tactile, auditory and movement development.  

“All the cousins got together, all of his first cousins who are a part of his estate, and we decided to do something special for them in honor of the school and so we worked with the school foundation and Nina Harris school to put together a project,” said Hunter. 

The latest additions are set to open in the coming weeks.  

“I know she is looking down here and has a smile on her face when she sees that,” said Sullivan. 

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