Welcome Students! Poudre School District Rolls out the Red Carpet

Kelly snaps a photo, while welcoming teachers at the annual educator orientation on the red carpet at Fossil Ridge High School, August 4, 2022 (Photo courtesy Poudre School District)

On August 4, at Fossil Ridge High School, Poudre School District welcomed students back for the 2022-2023 school year.

The district rolled out the red carpet, honoring teachers, at the annual education orientation on August 4.

A few days later, the brand new Wellington Middle-High School opened, with over 200 in attendance.

The town of Wellington hosted its exciting and highly anticipated grand opening of the Wellington Middle-High School, located at 2550 County Road 62E on August 11 from 4 to 5 pm.

The ceremony consisted of staff, community members, district staff, and students, along with people who helped get the building up and going. Principal Kelby Benedict served as the emcee and was joined by two student speakers, Mayor Calar Chaussee, Superintendent Brian Kingsley, Board of Education President Rob Peterson, and Wellington resident and Board Director Carolyn Reed. The speakers were followed by a ribbon cutting and tours then went from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Wellington Middle-High School

“It went really well; it was really exciting and a lot of great energy bringing together a lot of history and tradition in our new state-of-the-art building,” said Kelby.

Anyone in the community who was not in attendance for Thursday night’s opening was then given another opportunity to tour the school on Saturday, August 13 from 9 to 11 am.

“The design looks nothing like a traditional school, as I’ve brought on business and community partners to the building, the comments I get are that it doesn’t feel like a school, it seems like a community college or more like a business office or collaborative business space,” said Kelby. “So, part of the intentional design of the building was to allow students to feel what it’s like being in the workforce, so having collaborative spaces, having learning and teaching spaces that are unconventional. While we have a lot of classrooms with four walls, there’s a lot of spaces within the building but also outdoors where students can learn and play and eat.”

Kelby also added that the unconventional nature of the new state-of-the-art building was really an effort to rethink what middle and high school education can look like by allowing for students to have an environment that truly mimics the real world as a way of preparing them to be collaborative problem solvers and critical thinkers.

Starting on August 12, they’ll begin three separate transitional days with 9th and 10th graders being the first in the building, then on Monday just 7th graders, and then Tuesday will be just 6th graders. August 17 will be the first day for all students at the same time.

The town of Wellington has been without a high school since 1964. When Poudre High school opened, Wellington and Laporte’s High schools closed, and students were bused to the new Poudre High school in Fort Collins. Last weekend they held an alumnus-only event where alumni from the 1964 high school came to the building for a private tour and Principal Benedict was able to meet with them on a more one-on-one basis and hear some of their stories. Kelby said there will be a big contingency of alumni coming on August 17 to create a spirit tunnel for the students that will be walking into the doors on the first day.

“I think one of the most exciting things is that once again we’re going to have a high school in our community and the opportunities that students are going to have in terms of being able to have a high school and physical athletics in their own backyard and not having to bus into Fort Collins every day, the partnerships that are going to continue to be built with business and industry so we can prepare students for that world of work or a two year or four-year university, so being able to build out those opportunities in Wellington for the students in Wellington is what’s most exciting for me and my staff as we kick off a new school year,” said Kelby.

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