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Students show up for Mountainside grand opening
Mountainside High School celebrated its grand opening this morning with a 5K run and open house. The $185 million new high school — which was funded through the 2014 Beaverton School District bond measure — had its first day of school a couple weeks ago, but this was the first chance that community members had to come and see it for themselves.
The school currently has just a freshman and sophomore class, with plans to add a junior and senior class over the next two school years. Many of Mountainside's sophomores transferred from other district high schools, including Abby Jones and Maddie Stoehr, two members of the women's volleyball team who cheered runners as they reached the finish line on the football field.
"I was a little sad for leaving some of my friends," said Jones, who attended Beaverton High School last year. "But this is exciting to be a part of the new school."
"It's all about firsts, and we're going to be the first graduating class," added Stoehr.
Mountainside was built with many state-of-the-art features, including STEM classrooms with "maker spaces," the largest public high school auditorium in the state, and floor-to-ceiling windows covering much of the campus, so as to let in as much natural light as possible.
"There are windows in every classroom, and they're so big," Stoehr said.
Inside the school, students were on hand to provide information to families and community members who had dropped by for the open house. Sophomores Jasmine Abdallah and Nina Jiang — who transferred from Beaverton and Southridge, respectively — stood in a hallway near the entrance, pointing folks toward different rooms and features.
Abdallah and Jiang are both part of Mountainside's student leadership club.
"We had meetings all throughout spring and a few in summer," Abdallah said about the club. "We weren't even in the new school yet at that point."
Abdallah said that after spending months planning before school opened, the first day of school was an satisfying time — though she did have one worry.
"I was really nervous — especially for the size of this school — I was so nervous about getting lost," she said with a laugh.
Her friend Jiang said that a lot of her friends from Southridge also switched to Mountainside this year, making the transition easier.
"But I also got to meet a lot of new people," she added.
In addition to traditional classrooms, Mountainside also has several spaces for hands-on education in different specialized fields (known as CTE, or career technical education). Those spaces include a black box theater, a construction education space, and a culinary arts training kitchen. Abdallah plans to take culinary arts next semester.
I really am excited to be taking food classes," she said. "I thought that was so cool, because at Beaverton they didn't have that."
In the cafeteria, MPACT, the school's parent organization, sold powder blue T-shirts, lanyards and other school-branded merchandise. MPACT will use proceeds as seed money for the organization.
"We're starting slow, but we've got some T-shirts for sale, and we've got an online store," said Jennifer Sande, MPACT's president. "We're trying to get the word out. … People that have toddlers, that don't even have kids here, want to help us out."
Sande said that she's been impressed with the school's faculty and student leadership so far.
"I think that how they're taking it on, is they're really looking at it as a benefit," she said. "Without that upper classman culture, they're making the culture that they want. We're making it an inclusive community."