ST GEORGE — The brand new Legacy Elementary School building officially opened for classes Monday morning and students from first through fifth grades were welcomed to the new school in a “red carpet” ceremony.
The students transitioned from the 1950s-era East Elementary School, which was sold to Dixie State University to expand the institution’s growing campus.
The new school is a two-story facility located next to the historic Dixie Sunbowl on 100 South in downtown St. George.
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Students arrived in the morning and participated in the daily pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem before walking into the building class-by-class on a red carpet adorned with balloons in the school’s colors.
“I think for the children it was like Christmas morning,” Teria Mortensen, the school’s principal, said.
Faculty members and district employees have been hard at work preparing for the first day to make the transition as smooth as possible for the students.
“I think it’s a great example of teamwork. I had tech help from the district. We had movers from the district,” Mortensen said. “The teachers are just awesome. They’ve worked hard, the classrooms are ready for the students – they have just done a marvelous job.”
The children were given an orientation Thursday to help them acclimate to the new school. They were guided to their new classrooms and assigned to their desks.
“I think that helped with today, they weren’t quite as nervous,” Mortensen said. “Change is hard for some of them, so I won’t say it’s perfect, but I think they’re all adjusting.”
While a new, modern facility is a nice upgrade, Mortensen emphasized that the real strength of the school will be derived from the strong foundation and traditions established at East Elementary School during its five decades in operation.
“I told the students that they were really part of East Elementary’s legacy,” Mortensen said. “A lot of students attended East, and a lot of students are going to attend Legacy, but there are only 500 to 600 that get to attend both, and they are part of that.”
With the transition comes Mortensen’s motto that hard work pays off.
“You ask any child at this school, they know that motto,” Mortensen said. “The best self-esteem for student success at school is when they feel like they’re doing well.”
The school also carried over East Elementary’s broncos mascot, a fitting mascot given the building’s position next to the Sunbowl, home to frequent rodeo shows.
Every child wore a broncos shirt to school and class pictures were taken.
Shortly after the festivities, the students went right back into the business of learning with teachers ensuring that the move had as little effect on classwork as possible.
Kindergartners will receive the same welcoming treatment when they arrive for class Wednesday.
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