Countryside Montessori elementary school raises money for principal's injured son

Students, parents raised $5,000 for local family

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. - The faculty, students and parents of Countryside Montessori School in Land O' Lakes have been collecting money all week for a very special person close to their hearts.

Ian Ondina, 19, was in a serious ATV accident in March, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury.  His mother is the principal of Countryside. 

She has since had to take a leave of absence from the job to stay with her son while he receives treatment at a rehabilitation facility in Atlanta.  But in her absence, the kids and teachers have been hard at work.

"Our goal was $5,000 and I haven't counted my buckets yet, but we're going to make it," says Michael Rom, interim Principal at Countryside Montessori School.  "It does so much for people to unite and care and give."

Ondina has had 10 surgeries in three months.  His father, Juan Carlos, says he hopes his son will be released next week from the rehab facility, if he doesn't need anymore surgeries. 

But it's the kindness of those at his wife's school that has made this rough road just a little easier.  Especially knowing his son is getting better, everyday.

"Looking at him now, after the accident, its just amazing.  It is amazing," says Ondina.

For more information on how you can help, visit

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