‘It’s really nice’: Ridgeline High School students start class in brand new school

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. — For the first time in more than 20 years, a new high school opened in the Spokane area. Ridgeline High welcomed about a thousand students in on Wednesday, on the first day of school.

“It’s pretty cool. You get all new technology, all the new desks and all new classrooms,” said freshman Eli Gray.

“I’m just super excited, and I think it’ll be super fun to be in a new environment and meet a ton of new people,” added junior Hailey Hale.

Ridgeline is the first new high school to open in 24 years. A bond in 2018 approved the new school. It currently has a lower enrollment rate compared to other Central Valley High Schools with about a thousand students. Central Valley High and University High have roughly 1,500 students each.

Students from each of those high schools and other middle schools are now attending the new Ridgeline High.

“I didn’t know the school was going to be this big. I thought it was going to be a lot smaller and less stairs,” said freshman Traves Moe.

The high school only has students from grades 9th through 11th. The district wanted to keep the senior class with their original high schools. So, that means juniors this year get to be at the top of the class for two years in a row.

“It’s really nice. It’s really fun to have your peers being on the top, kind of top dogs,” said junior Katelynn Hale.

RELATED: Take a look inside Central Valley’s new Ridgeline High School 

Juniors like Katelynn still haven’t had a normal high school experience yet. Freshman year was cut short, and then they had a hybrid schedule sophomore year because of COVID-19. Finally, this year, all students get to go back to class full-time, in person.

“It was really challenging being online. Zoom is not a good option. It’s really awesome to be back in person, even if we have to wear masks. But, it’s really great to see everybody back,” Katelynn said.

Teachers, like students, are excited to be back in class, too. They’re happy to see students back full-time, and they’re happy to be in a brand new building.

“Being able to build a sense of community and build our own programs is just such a huge opportunity for all of us,” said CTE teacher Kelli Demarest.

Like the last school year, there are still COVID protocols still in place. During lunch, only two people are allowed to sit at a table. Students could opt to eat outside, too, where there are fewer restrictions.

Masks are required in Washington schools, and students would rather deal with that than learn from home.

“I used to hate going to school in general and then knowing what it’s like doing it at home, that made me change my mind a lot. I like in school better now,” Moe said.

“I’m excited to start, and go Falcons,” Katelynn added.

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