Sun Sailor: 'Community celebrates the rebirth of Pilgrim Lane with ribbon-cutting'

Sun Sailor: 'Community celebrates the rebirth of Pilgrim Lane with ribbon-cutting'
Posted on 09/27/2017
From the Sept. 28, 2017, issue of the Sun-Sailor newspaper:

By Kristen Miller

“Today, as the FAIR Dragons, we are on fire, and we’re rising our school up from the ashes and we are coming back alive, stronger than ever,” said Pilgrim Lane Principal Randy Moberg during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of FAIR at Pilgrim Lane.

A community of staff, students, alumni, neighbors and dignitaries gathered Sept. 19 for the momentous occasion marking the re-opening of a school that closed in 2009 due to low enrollment.

Two years ago, the school was slated for a new life as a Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource (FAIR) magnet school with lower elementary students from FAIR School in Crystal. The school will eventually open to grades K-3 once the building is completely renovated. The initial school year will incorporate kindergarten and first grade, and then incorporate grades two and three the next two years.

During the ceremony, Moberg, who was also the Pilgrim Lane principal from 1996 to 2009, recalled the school’s closing. “It was a very sad day,” he said.

Nine years later, Moberg is optimistic of the future of FAIR at Pilgrim Lane.
“Pilgrim Lane is going to change the world,” Moberg told the crowd.

“Our goal at Pilgrim Lane is to not only help kids find their talents, it’s a safe place where they belong. It’s also a creative space where they can reach their creative and their academic potential,” Moberg said.

“Our goal is to help them not only uncover their strengths, but to build a tool box to help them change the world and make it a better place to live,” Moberg said. “We are going to change the world, and our future is right here.”

Parents Steve and Valerie Hyden of New Hope have a 5-year-old son, Henry, in kindergarten at Pilgrim Lane. They chose FAIR for its focus on the arts.

“We wanted his education to include something more than just the basics and he’s an artistic kid, so this was a good fit,” Valerie Hyden commented before the ceremony.

Also during the ceremony, Robbinsdale Area Schools Board Member John Vento said the board is “very excited” to be opening the school for the community and residents and thanked district administration, parents and stakeholders for making it possible.

“We wish the best to all of our FAIR students and their families,” Vento said.

“On behalf of the school board, I would like to thank you all, again, for your ongoing support of Robbinsdale Area Schools,” Vento concluded.

Plymouth Councilmember Jim Prom and Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik also shared their excitement in the re-opening of Pilgrim Lane and gratitude toward Supt. Carlton Jenkins and the school board.

Having been mayor for 11 years, Slavik recalled being at the school board meeting when discussion was taking place on the school closing.

“I saw the passion that our community has over this school, so I’m really excited to see it opening back up. It’s a great opportunity to engage our community and get them involved and we couldn’t be more proud,” she said.

Jenkins gave a special hello to the classes of 2029 and 2030, who sat before him during the event.

Jenkins also commended the vision of the school board in re-opening Pilgrim Lane, as well as the dedicated community.
“We’re excited,” he said. “This is just a part of what we’re doing to try and show our communities – show the state, show the nation, show the world – that when you come to District 281, you can expect a quality experience,” Jenkins said.

The ceremony also included a flag-raising as the crowd sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” led by Armstrong High School’s marching band.

Additionally, the crowd was serenaded by Pilgrim Lane students singing “Jambo,” which means “hello” in Swahili; and “Star Light, Star Bright.”

Click here to view a slideshow of Sun Sailor photos from the event!