St. Johns County welcomes back students with two new schools

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Two new schools opened their doors in St. John’s County on Monday as students headed back to school.

Pine Island Academy and Tocoi Creek High School were built to help keep up with the county’s growing population and relieve some of the overcrowding issues at Palm Valley Academy and Nease High School.

“We were busting at the seams at Palm Valley,” Elaine Roces said.

Roces is a kindergarten teacher at Pine Island Academy.

“It’s the most rewarding grade level to teach,” Roces said.

Ryan McCann told Action News Jax that Nease High School was the same way.

“When you went through the halls you’d be rubbing up against people and (it) was awful,” Ryan said.

That’s why the incoming 11th grader can’t wait to start class at Tocoi Creek High School, the new home of the Toros.

“I’m just excited for it to be honest,” he said.

“If anybody can just think about your high school and your high school memories. That’s what we’re building right now and that to me, that’s special,” Jay Willets, Principal of Tocoi Creek High School said.

Both schools are still under construction, but it doesn’t take away from the spirit.

“Our flooring is still not done but we captured the heart of Pine Island, and we know that the heart of the school is the people that live inside it,” Amanda Riedl, the Pine Island Academy Principal said.

School at Pine Island Academy is welcoming more than 1,100 students onto their campus; meanwhile, Tocoi Creek High School will have more than 1,300 students this year.