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Rocky Mountain academy plans big camping trip

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

Ryan Lucas, director of Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, has decided to go camping with a few of his closest friends — all of the families at the school.

Lucas says he’s never tried a school-wide camping trip before, but he’s hoping families will join him at the Arrowhead Point Camping Resort near Buena Vista Sept. 12-14.

“I’m an outdoors kind of person,” Lucas said. “With this trip, I can combine doing something I love with bringing the whole school together.”

Families will have free time during the day, and in the evenings they will gather around a campfire to get to know each other. At the resort, families have the option of camping in tents or RVs or renting cabins.

“If 25 families participate, I’d be thrilled,” Lucas said. “That would mean one-third of the families at the school will be there.”

Country Day School opens building

It has been five years in the making for Evergreen Country Day School, one of several private schools in the Evergreen area, which opened the doors of its new school buildings this week.

The school, which originally was located on the second floor of Bergen Village and then moved into temporary buildings, now has a place of its own. And what a place it is.

Costing about $10 million to build, the school sports, among other things, a dance studio, music area and indoor and outdoor performing arts amphitheaters.

“So many people have been working so long to make this happen,” said Ben Jackson, head of the school. “As an administrator, there’s not much more I could ask for in terms of teaching our kids.”

While the campus will be used to teach between 175 and 200 students in preschool through eighth grade, Jackson hopes the facilities will benefit the community as well.

“From the start, it has been the goal of the board of trustees that it’s not an island ee,” Jackson said. “We want it to be a real resource and asset to the Evergreen and foothills communities.”

He envisions community theater groups using the outdoor amphitheater in the summer for plays, for example, or art exhibits in the building.

Even with state-of-the-art facilities, Jackson said it’s still the students and faculty who make the school great.

“This is my fourth year at Evergreen Country Day,” he said. “I’ve worked at really great schools, but I cannot say enough about the dedication of this faculty. It makes all the difference for the experience of the students. Our teachers, students and families are special, and this building will open up new opportunities for them.”

Next on the horizon is raising additional funds for a high school and a full-size gymnasium.

EHS string orchestra meets Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The string orchestra at Evergreen High School will have a special treat when it plays with Mark Wood, original member, lead violinist and string conductor of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The concert is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at Wheat Ridge High School, 9505 W. 32nd Ave. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door.

Wood trained at the Julliard School of Music, and his band — not the TSO — will perform with him. The string orchestras at Conifer and Wheat Ridge high schools and at Everitt Middle School also will participate.

Construction delays mar EMS opening

After a somewhat chaotic start, Evergreen Middle School is back in business, according to principal Kristopher Schuh, and the best is yet to come.

The school opened four days later than other Jeffco mountain schools to give time for more of the remodeling to be completed. The school is still in the midst of construction, which began in March.

Several classrooms and the library have been renovated, and science classrooms and an art room have been added. Later this month, a new main entry and office area will open.

“I’ve seen the mock-up drawings, and the main entry will be gorgeous,” Schuh said. “I’m delaying back-to-school nights until that area is open because I want everyone to walk in and say, ‘Wow.’ ”

The gymnasium, which was demolished this spring, will be open in January. Next summer will be no different than this summer, with classrooms on the east side of the building getting a facelift.

The first days of school were plagued by delays, lockers that had vanished and little time for teachers to prepare their classrooms. The district took possession of the building three hours before families were invited in to the school to get locker assignments. Those issues have been ironed out, Schuh said.

“What I tell people is that when you remodel a building built in 1969, you’re bound to find the unexpected,” Schuh said. “And we found the unexpected.”

Before the students returned, the focus of faculty and staff seemed to be more about the mechanics of getting into classrooms and replacing missing items, he said.

“But as soon as the students walked in, it was all about how are we going to take care of our students,” Schuh said. “When the students walked in, it became all about the kids.”

Bergens to host new-family breakfast

The Bergens will host their annual breakfast for families new to the school at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, in the pavilion at Bergen Meadow Elementary School.

This event is not necessarily for kindergarten parents, but for parents with kids in first through fifth grade whose children are new to the Bergens, said Peggy Miller, principal at Bergen Meadow.

“The breakfast helps them connect with other families and meet PTA members,” Miller said. “They hear how to get involved, and we answer their questions about the schools and the area.”

The breakfast just happens to precede the Bergens’ PTA meeting at 11 a.m.

Face-lift for Marshdale

At the beginning of the school year, Marshdale Elementary School looked like a building that had received some tender loving care over the summer, so the faculty and students celebrated the first day of school with a ribbon cutting.

Most of the school was painted, and the bright orange carpet that was installed when the school was built in 1980 was replaced.

Principal Christie Frost chose three color schemes in clay and sage hues to brighten the look of the school and accent the multicolor carpet. She said she chose a multicolor carpet because “the mom in me was practical. The carpet won’t show dirt as easily.”

Picking out the colors was a lot of fun for Frost, who ran her color schemes by some Marshdale parents who are interior designers for their blessing.

In addition, work was done to the heating and ventilation systems in the school.

Since teachers had to pack up their rooms to accommodate the work that was done done, they also looked at how to more effectively use the classroom space, Frost said. So some classrooms were moved.

In addition, the teachers’ lounge was moved, and the Marshdale PTA painted the lounge and donated furniture for the project, Frost said.

Wilmot PTA fund-raiser

The Wilmot Elementary School PTA is starting the school year with one of its major fund-raisers — an ice cream social and party boards kickoff — from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10.

When families arrive, they receive their passports, which must be stamped as they go through the party-boards room and stop at a table where school technology is the focus. Once their passports are stamped, they can have the free ice cream sundaes, according to Victoria Burge, president of the Wilmot PTA.

Party boards are an innovative fund-raising tool that Wilmot has used for several years. In essence, someone hosts — and pays for — a party or activity. The host creates a board telling others about the party and how much the party costs. Then people sign up to attend the party and pay Wilmot PTA the fee.

Burge said one of the more innovative parties lined up for this year is an evening at Creekside Cellars on Nov. 6 hosted by the Wilmot office staff. In the past, others have hosted Broncos parties, cookie-making parties for children, mother-daughter makeovers, to name a few.

Send your school news to Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com.