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Grand opening: Students, faculty welcomed to South Clearfield Elementary

By Harrison Epstein - | Aug 20, 2021

A crowd waits for the start of the open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at South Clearfield Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (Harrison Epstein, Standard-Examiner)

CLEARFIELD — From the superintendent to the last student, every person at South Clearfield Elementary is brimming with excitement for the coming year. Families and faculty came together for the school’s ribbon-cutting and open house held Thursday.

“We finally have kids in our building. You can see their faces and their excitement and that’s what it’s about,” said Robert Kinghorn, the school’s principal. “This is their school. As much as we’re a part of that process and getting to that point, this is their building.”

Kinghorn estimated that the construction took around 20 months to complete. Along with him and Vice Principal Sarah Burk at the ceremony was the Davis School Board, Superintendent Reid Newey and several city and county officials.

This project was one Newey told the crowd was close to his heart. He remarked that when starting as the district superintendent six years ago, one of the first conversations he had was with members of the community wanting to replace the 70-year-old South Clearfield Elementary. School board member Cheryl Phipps addressed the crowd, talking about the importance of the school and education as a whole.

“We appreciate, as the board, the investment that the taxpayers made in providing the funding that built this school,” Phipps said. Around the building and on the street were signs thanking voters for approving the 2015 bond.

Exterior of the newly renovated South Clearfield Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (Harrison Epstein, Standard-Examiner)

The school was designed to promote learning as much as possible, including flexible learning spaces that teachers can move and manipulate when necessary. The open house even included QR codes parents could use to go on guided tours of the building.

Board member John Robison also spoke to thank the families in attendance and people who made the new school possible. “We do what we do, all of us, for the heart and soul that happens in education — that’s in the classroom. The teachers and the students,” he said.

There is also a teacher academy where, according to a sign in the building, students from local universities will “attend classes, study and engage in discussions about instructional practice.”

While not all of the incoming students were at the open house, they are all expected to walk through their new school on Monday. South Clearfield Elementary’s 560 students represent an increase from the approximately 330 students who attended in person last year and still well below the maximum capacity of 900. There are also 26 full-time teachers and over 90 employees in total.

The start of the new school year comes amid questions about COVID-19, the delta variant, face masks and more. Nonetheless, Kinghorn is optimistic for his students and staff.

Student Jaime Kieodeaux of South Clearfield Elementary School cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the school's open house on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (Harrison Epstein, Standard-Examiner)

“Last year, we thrived academically. Our students, our teachers taught very explicitly — they knew that they needed to get through a lesson and make sure that by the end of the day students were successful, because we didn’t know if they would be back with us the next day,” he said. “Going into this year, we’ll do exactly what we did last year, and this building just lends itself to allow us to do that even more.”

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