Missing Ms. McCarthy

The legendary and extraordinary icon of school spirit and smiles will be missed by students and staff alike.


For over a decade, Ms. Michelle McCarthy remained a pillar of school spirit, bright colors, and many stories to tell here at Manatee. Over the summer, however, we here at MHS had to bid her farewell as she moved on to newer waters and adventures.

Ms. McCarthy influence and imprint can be felt everywhere at Manatee. Over the past several years, journalism, yearbook, newspaper and, of course, Stella the Dog, have been synonymous her last name and presence. 

She was loved by the student body for her unique teaching style and the time she took to interact with all her students one-on-one. Her attention and caring nature created an atmosphere where you could ask questions and truly improve your skills at writing, reading, photography, and all things creative.  

“She really knew each and every one of us individually,” stated Sophomore Olivia Collazo. 

Collazo, who took speech with Ms. McCarthy during her freshman year, had nothing but positive things to say about her time in the class.  

After many years of getting to know Manatee High inside and out, she also had the opportunity to see some former students become colleagues. Mr. William Gilbert, Mr. Nicolaas Ferrara, and Mrs. Stephanie Adams were among the privileged to be both taught by her and work alongside her. 

Ms. McCarthy continues to make an impact in and around our school and community, even in her absence.”

— Mr. Bilter

“I started teaching with her in 2011,” said Mrs. Stephanie Adams who now teaches AP Lit, a class she took with McCarthy as her teacher when she was a Senior. “She was my teacher though in 2005 when she taught AP Lit at Manatee.”

She spoke fondly of her old colleague and friend. 

She first met Ms. McCarthy at wedding when she was 5. Adams was the flower girl and Ms. McCarthy a bridesmaid.

Over the following years, the two of them formed a close bond. Ms. McCarthy even read a poem at Mrs. Adams wedding. The poem was one she’d read in Ms. McCarthy’s class, and it had always stuck with to her.  

“She would do anything for anyone,” stated Ms. Adams.  

Another coworker she formed a friendship with is one of Manatee’s current art teachers, Mr. Mark Bilter.  

“We started teaching together at Bayshore High in the late 80’s and early 90’s and we have been friends, and colleagues, ever since,” reminisced Mr. Bilter. 

Even though he often jokes about how despite her being a Gators fan and him being a Seminole, their friendship is still one for the ages. 

He described how caring and kind Ms. McCarthy was. She always helped during hurricane season when our school is often used as a shelter for those in need.  

She made an immense impact on our school and will be missed dearly by the staff and student body.  

“Ms. McCarthy continues to make an impact in and around our school and community, even in her absence. She has set the bar very high over the years by helping with speech writing for those students wanting to present at graduation. She continued her legacy by publishing our school’s yearbook and newspaper for many, many years,” said Mr. Bilter.  

Her ability to make a change for the better astounded many of her colleagues.  

“She really did empower people to be more involved in the community and in the school setting,” stated Mrs. Adams. 

As a school, we should all follow in Ms. McCarthy’s footsteps to try our best to make a consistent effort to make the world and our classrooms a better place. She has and will continue to inspire many people for years to come.

She will be missed here at Manatee, and it will not be the same without her, though we can still see her everywhere.