Hank Sytsma

Our family, Dad, Mom and 6 boys emigrated to the U.S. from Holland after the war when I was 5 years old. We started our American lives in California on a dairy farm. We were somewhat nomadic, moving 17 times before I graduated from high school but ending up in Sarasota in the spring of my sophomore year.

After graduation from SHS, I attended FSU on a football/basketball scholarship receiving my BS in Education. I started my teaching & coaching career at Plant City High School in 1966 while also playing semi-pro football on weekends for several years. During that time I earned in my masters degree in Administration.

My second year coaching at Plant City I was named the Head Football Coach, a position I held for 15 years. In 1969 I married my wife of 41 years, Sandee.  She is from Plant City and a strawberry farming family (Parkesdale Farms.)

We have one adopted son, Robert, whom we adopted when he was 14. He was a young man on the football team that needed a home and some love and we were happy to oblige! He now teaches and coaches at Cocoa High School and he and his wife have twin boys who are sophomores in college. I completed a 30 year career in the school system in 1996 and a 30 year business career (Health & Wellness) in 2008.

We have lived a very blessed life. We were fortunate enough to travel to Holland a few times and even located our family home (where we lived in the cellar and the Germans took over the main floor during the war.) We’ve visited some beautiful islands to soak up the sun but our favorite vacations have been to the snow for skiing and snowmobiling. I’m not a golfer but stay active shooting some baskets, racquet ball, biking, lifting etc. We both love to remodel and/or restore homes. I’m the builder and Sandee is the decorator. My building skills started with Jimmy Reed and others making “portables” for the school system!!

We are active in our community and church and attempt to make a positive difference in others lives. See you in October!