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Happy birthday, Liberty Ridge

As part of Liberty Ridge Elementary's birthday celebration, the school unveiled its new mascot, Striker the Eagle.

Liberty Ridge Elementary celebrated a milestone last week - its 10th birthday.

Even though the school won't officially turn 10 years old until September, students and leaders there celebrated its birthday April 24 with cake, a laser show and memories of the past 10 years.

"It's a special occasion because we are recognizing 10 years of success," Liberty Ridge Principal Mike Moore said. "It's a journey, so when you get to those milestones it's important to stop and recognize them."

Liberty Ridge opened its doors to 668 students on Sept. 2, 2003.

Now, 10 years later, the school has nearly 1,000 students in two different buildings.

"We are certainly a lot bigger than when we started," said third grade teacher Pam Ryan, who has taught at the school since the beginning.

Ryan isn't the only teacher at Liberty Ridge who has been with the school since that first bell.

A total of 16 teachers who currently work at the school have been there for the past 10 years.

"Every year that I've worked here has been very exciting." first grade teacher Christine Barrett said. "The teachers here are really dedicated to making it fun for kids."

In addition to a growth in student population, and adding a second building, Liberty Ridge has gone through other changes over the years.

An important annual change is curriculum, Ryan said.

"The curriculum continues to be beefed up more," she said. "What is being asked of kids in a day is more and that's been a huge change from when I first started here."

Moore said Liberty Ridge decided to celebrate its birthday last week because the PTA was already organizing a laser show for students to say thank you for the fall fundraiser.

"We thought we could just tie it all together," he said.

In addition to the laser show, Liberty Ridge also treated every student and staff member to a piece of birthday cake while they watched a video montage of the past 10 years.

"The day was important for all of us at Liberty Ridge," Barrett said. "We're doing a lot of neat things in our building, so it's exciting to celebrate that."

Last Wednesday's celebration also included the unveiling of the school's new mascot, Striker the Eagle.

"The students cling on so much to the eagle mascot," Ryan said. "It's great that we can actually bring him to life."

"That's starting a new legacy for our school," Barrett said.

Liberty Ridge also recognized its birthday outside of last week's activities by incorporating celebratory songs into the school's choir concert and decorating grocery bags to be distributed at Cub Foods with birthday messages.

"The community needs to be a part of what we're doing at our school, too," Ryan said.

Both Moore and Ryan said they hope Liberty Ridge continues on the path it is currently on for the next 10 years.

"The school is going to continue to improve, continue to have those things that are core here," Moore said. "The people that have been here within those 10 years have set a tradition.

"Liberty Ridge is a tradition of excellence."

Ryan agreed with Moore.

"The school will continue to do well, continue to have the community support us," she said, "and continue to be a wonderful place to go to school."

Barrett said she hopes the next 10 years are as great as the past 10 years.

"Our birthday was a special day for everybody here at Liberty Ridge, no matter how long they've been here," she said. "Everybody is very proud of our school. It's fun when you can come together and celebrate as a school ."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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