Redoubt principal Todd Syverson positions students on the big "R" during last weeks 25th Anniversary celebration.
When your going to school, 25 years seems like forever, but for parents and staff that remember the opening of Redoubt Elementary School 25 years ago, it's hard to believe that a quarter of a century has passed by so quickly. The school itself is as bright and shiny as the day it opened, thanks to the pride of the pupils and faculty that have passed through Redoubt's halls of learning. "We wanted to capture this opportunity to celebrate 25 years of excellence in education. Redoubt is a special place to me both as an educator and a parent. I've had kids here for 15 years in a row, so we knew this was Redoubt's birthday and we felt it was a great time to celebrate with both past alumni, staff, parents and students who have been successfully working together in education," said Todd Syverson, Redoubt principal.
Earlier in the day Syversondrew a huge "R" with white flour on the sports field, for the Redoubt Roadrunners, then marched all the students into position where they each got to release a red, yellow and blue balloon, "Those are Redoubt's school colors and we made sure they were environmentally safe, biodegradable balloons with no strings attached, and we let them go all together, and it was quite a site seeing all those balloons rise in the blue sky as we all sung Happy Birthday to Redoubt," said Severson. Following the balloon release, everyone gathered in the Redoubt gym to welcome past teachers and alumni and to enjoy some cake and ice cream compliments of Safeway in Soldotna.
Retired staff members from as far away as London, England, returned to celebrate Redoubt Elementary's 25th Anniversary.
Six years ago Larry Rockhill retired as a teacher from Redoubt Elementary. He and his wife now live in England, but Rockhill and his daughter returned for the celebration and were honored at the event. "We got in Sunday, and I was happy to see that teachers at Redoubt still work on Sunday. It was fun looking back at the old classrooms and remembering all the times we did Russian studies and Sea Week with Zeda Friedersdorff. It's good being with all our friends again here in Soldotna. England is a great place to live, but it's not Alaska, and this will always be home and our dream is to return someday," said Rockhill during an interview at the celebration.
Rockhill is remembered for being one of the first teachers to enter the former Soviet Union as a teacher at Magadon and later organized the first exchanges between Russia and the Soldotna Rotary Club. "Peace starts with kids, and that was our goal in the beginning. If you can be friends as children, you're going to have trouble becoming enemies as adults. I think that it is very important that people like Rotary continue the relationship. We still keep in contact with friends in Magadon, and it's what we need to do more of throughout the world to bring lasting peace and it's what Rotary is so great at," added Rockhill.
Redoubt opened it's doors in the fall of 1979 to serve the needs of a then growing population and Syverson is excited that their student population is again on the rise, "Over the last 25 years, Redoubt's population has bounced up and down, but we're really excited this year to be 35 kids over projections, so Redoubt is continuing to grow while other schools may be seeing a decline. We have a huge Kindergarten class, we have 65 Kindergarteners, so that's a turn from what the District has seen in the past, and that's exciting for us here at Redoubt," said Syverson
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