Milwee History

When R. T. Milwee Middle School was originally built in 1923-1924, it was named Lyman School after Howard C. Lyman. Mr. Lyman was on the local board of trustees for the bonding and building of schools in Seminole County and a well-known civic leader who helped found Rollins College. He had been tragically killed in a driving accident at Daytona Beach in July 1923.

The new school, replacing one room schools in Longwood and Altamonte Springs, was built where the roads from Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, and Longwood converged. It opened in 1924 with six rooms under the supervision of Howard C. Douglas. In 1926 it became an accredited junior high school under Herbert Chaffer, and six more rooms were added due to increased enrollment. The school had a fast growing library and a lunchroom run by PTA.

School GroundsIn 1932 Lyman served grades 1 through 12 for the first time, with four members of the original graduating class and one post graduate participating in the ceremonies. During the next few years an auditorium was added as well as tennis courts and P.E. changing facilities. Trout Lake was used for swimming classes until 1950 when the polio scare canceled them.

Rayburn T. Milwee, Sr., joined the Lyman faculty in 1939 as a teacher. The student population then was just over 200 students in grades 1-12. Mr. Milwee became principal of Lyman School in 1949, and was elected superintendent of schools for Seminole County in 1952.

Beginning in 1952, land east of the building was purchased and the roadway between the lake and the building closed. A house on the land was used as a band room. New wings were added as the post-war population explosion demanded. By 1956, the old Lyman School housed only grades 7-12.

During the 1960's, improvements were made to the P.E. track. The principal at the time was Mr. Ralph Diggs, a former superintendent of public schools in Rison, Arkansas. A gymnasium for the use of the school and community was built and named for J.A. Bistline, another prominent civic leader in South Seminole County. Band moved into a new building out of the old house that had been used near Trout Lake, and new shop classes and an auditorium/cafeteria were built. Carlton Henley became principal. The first Afro-American students attended Lyman in 1967, transferring from Crooms Academy.

By 1969, the student population had grown so that a new Lyman High School was built at its present location ¼ mile north of the original site. The facility then became R.T. Milwee Junior High School with William P. Layer as principal. The Spartan replaced the Greyhound as school mascot, and the school colors of green and white were chosen.

In 1971, Milwee was closed and its students transferred to Teague Middle School. The campus housed Lyman's 9th grade. The following year, Lake Brantley High School used the buildings until its facility was completed. A new special education suite was built on the campus, and R. T. Milwee Middle School was reestablished to cope with explosive growth in Seminole County.

R.T. Milwee Middle School began in 1972-73 school year on double sessions at Teague Middle School and moved back into the old buildings on Highway 427 in February 1973. Owen McCarron was the new principal. Sal Manfre became principal in 1975, and a new media center and home economics suite were added in 1976 along with air conditioning and other renovations. Fred Dudley became principal in 1979, and Willie G. Holt took over in 1982.

In 1989 it was decided to renovate and rebuild R.T. Milwee Middle School on its original site. A time capsule to be opened in 50 years was buried near the western boundary of the campus between the gymnasium and the cafetorium. In December, Eugene Petty became principal as rebuilding began.

Education AdditionsDuring 1990-91, the auditorium/cafeteria building was remodeled with a new stage and leveled floor to become a cafetorium/multi-use building. The J. A. Bistline Gymnasium was also remodeled, and the original 12-room Lyman School and some wings were demolished. The corner stone from the original building is a part of the new administration building completed as part of the new construction which included a fine arts suite, special education additions, and two academic buildings. Classes were held in 40+ portable classrooms during construction of new facilities. A dedication of these buildings were held on January 29, 1992, with Mr. R. T. Milwee, Sr., in attendance.

Since then there has been demolition of the remaining older buildings and construction of another academic suite, a modern technology/vocational education facility, along with renovation of the library/media center, completing the new R. T . Milwee Middle School. Mr. Paul Cave became principal in 1999. Since his arrival, many new programs have been added.

In 2004 Mrs. Lois Chavis succeeded Mr. Cave as principal and prepared Milwee Middle School for the move into the technology age. Several programs are under way and efforts are being made to provide the latest technological advancements for the enhancement of education. Our students, teachers, and administrative staff are prepared to face the challenges ahead to secure those goals.

In 2008 Dr. Michelle Walsh took over as principal at a time when the Longwood community was still reeling from an unexpected tragedy on campus. She worked diligently to restore the school's reputation in the community, turning Milwee from a standard middle school into a Pre-IB and Pre-Engineering Magnet program. Students from all over Seminole County were quickly drawn to advanced courses and electives that range from robotics and video game design to ePathways and Project Lead the Way.

By late 2014, Dr. Walsh accepted an ESE position with the school district and made way for Mr. James Kubis, the former principal of Markham Woods Middle School. A native of Ohio, Mr. Kubis brings to Milwee his love of boating, fishing, and family. He identifies with the needs of his teachers and students, having taught math and science for 16 years while coaching basketball during the same stretch.

Polo ShirtThis Polo shirt, once on display in the Administration building, was flown aboard the United States space shuttle Discovery on the ninth docking flight of the Shuttle Mir program for Milwee Middle School. The shuttle was launched from complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 6:06 p.m. E. D. T. June 2, 1998. It was docked with the Russian Mir Space Station at 1:00 p.m., June 4, 1998 and completed 154 orbits of the earth before landing on runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:01 p.m., June 12, 1998.

CDR Dominic L. Pudwill Gorie, USN
Maximum altitude: 233 miles
Maximum speed: 17,500 mph
Duration: 9 days, 19 hours, 53 minutes

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