Alum honors Lecanto’s name decades later

Lecanto High School [LHS], founded in 1984, has influenced many students from Citrus County. Many students have gone off to be successful and greatly honor the name of Lecanto.

One student in particular was William “Brad” Breedlove. Breedlove graduated from LHS in 1989.

“Looking back at my high school experience, I can honestly say that it was outstanding,” Breedlove said.

Times are changing and so is the foundation of schooling. Through the years, high school has evolved, and what used to be sometimes no longer exists.

Breedlove, left, in 1989,  and right in 2014. (Photo: Supplied)

“As a current high school principal, I will say that high school is a lot more complicated for today’s students than in the 1980s.  I am not saying all was better, but definitely different. Also, this is not to say that school was easy, because it was not.  But, life was less complicated for me and my classmates.  I think I was protected from many adult issues and allowed to just be a kid for a longer period of time than many of today’s high school students.  Remember, there was no social media, and America was much more conservative when it came to what it allowed on television and radio,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove was a student athlete and was successful at balancing both academics and athletics.

“For me, my life centered on working hard in school and in sports and enjoying hanging around my close friends,” said Breedlove.

“When Brad and I weren’t playing football or studying, we were out on the water catching fish,” said LHS graduate Robert O’Steen. “High school was a great time.”

Breedlove’s photo featured in the 1989 LHS yearbook. (Photo: Supplied)

“If I had any free time, I liked to spend it fishing in the grass flats or skiing on Crystal River.  Looking back, it is funny because my friends and I had very little money, and we would pool our money together to buy a few gallons of gas for the boat and some bait.  I would not trade that part of my life for anything!” said Breedlove.

“Brad was probably one of the best, if not the best, athlete to walk the halls of Lecanto,” said Breedlove’s football coach Ron Allan, who is LHS’ current activities director. “He worked just as hard academically as he did athletically. He was a humble student and athlete who always respected his opponents.”

Breedlove in 1993 at Duke University. (Photo: Supplied)

After Breedlove’s time in high school, he was recruited to play college football at Duke University in Durham, NC. During Breedlove’s freshman year at Duke, his team had the honor of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference. Many years have passed and Breedlove is now working as a high school principal at Monroe High School in Union County, NC.

“I work with a diverse student body and truly love what I do. I have had the fortunate experience of being named the 2014 North Carolina High School Principal of the Year.  I just returned from Washington D.C. for the National Association of Secondary School Principals [NASSP] National Principal of the Year Institute where I met the other individual winners from the other 49 states as well as my state’s senators and my local congressman.  While I was given this prestigious recognition, I fully understand that this recognition comes from being surrounded by great students, teachers, and administrators who supported me along the way,” said Breedlove.

Breedlove will always be blessed with the memories made at LHS.

“Along with my family, Lecanto High School helped me build a strong foundation that has stayed with me throughout my life. I am honored to have been so lucky to have graduated from Lecanto High School. I say this because my teachers and coaches believed in me, set high goals for me, and supported me along the way. Collectively, Coaches Allen, Hughes, Worthington, Nichols, and Holstein, as well as our athletic director Coach Connors, pushed me to be as good as I could be. I bought into everything they said and was a believer. No way was I going to let them down, because I knew they were not going to let me down either. For that I am grateful to all of them,” said Breedlove.

Breedlove’s experience at LHS gives a message to all students graduating not only from LHS but also from high schools across the nation.

“Brad always set an example for students and athletes,” said LHS Alumni Jennifer Loiero. “He made great grades and was involved in every sport there was to offer.”

“Work hard and play hard. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you at Lecanto High School each and every day. You have such tremendous people around you that have your best interest in mind. Listen to your principal, assistant principals, teachers, coaches, and club advisers. Your time as a student will be over before you know it, so don’t waste the opportunities and support mechanism you have at your fingertips each day you are a student at Lecanto High School. Believe in the Lecanto High School teachers, counselors, and administrators, because they believe in you!” said Breedlove.