Student representatives, staff members and district and city officials gathered on April 25 to celebrate the new Cougar Mountain Middle School with a ribbon-cutting and brief dedication ceremony. Cougar Mountain students Addie S. and Eleanor B. opened the celebration with the Pledge of Allegiance and a land acknowledgement, featuring a flag recently gifted to the school by the Snoqualmie Tribe.
Teacher Holly Stipe, who also served as one of the Core Team members who helped plan for the new school, welcomed the guests. “This school has been a labor of love by so many people, from the voters who put their trust in us, to the architects who designed this beautiful building, to construction workers who turned plans into reality to our gracious and supportive neighbors here in the Talus community to our ASB officers who breathe life into our students’ experiences,” Stipe said. “Early on, the Core Team decided what we stand for: we stand for community, collaboration, and growth mindset. Community is at the heart of what we do."
The guests included the School Board, members of the 2016 Bond Development Committee, the PTSA Board members and representatives from the Issaquah Schools Foundation.
Principal Erin McKee shared a bit about the process that helped create a sense of community among her students, staff members and the neighbors, including Timber Ridge at Talus. The Cougar Mountain Middle School community overcame multiple challenges and delays, including spending September through February on a temporary campus at Ringdall Junior High.
“We did have a number of opportunities to improve our growth mindset and our grit,” McKee said. “We were building relationships as we were building community. … Our mission is grounded in people and relationships, but it is better facilitated at this beautiful campus.”
Students and staff attended their first day of school at the new building on March 1.
Superintendent Ron Thiele emphasized that building a new school is always a tremendous undertaking, and that collaboration with the community, the city and other partners helped the district throughout the process.
“Opening a brand-new school in a community is a really big deal! I must start with a huge thank you to the voters of the Issaquah School District,” Thiele said. “None of this happens without strong support from our community and voters and I am so grateful to serve a community that so strongly supports its young people and public education.”
“Today is about celebrating the completion of a project and the amazing new opportunities that this school and the staff who work inside it will create for our students,” he continued. “I will look forward to hearing about all the great things that Cougar Mountain Falcons will do in our community.”
With student representatives holding each end of the commemorative red ribbon, and a student at the center holding the celebratory giant scissors, the members of the School Board, McKee and Thiele and the students cut the ribbon on Cougar Mountain Middle School, home of the Falcons.