On August 31st, professional storyteller Donald Davis shared stories with the students at Maple Ridge. Thanks to Utah Valley University's Noorda Theatre, the Utah State Office of Education's POPS Art Education and Professional Development Program, and the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival for providing this great experience. Donald Davis is considered one of the foremost storytellers in the country. He has performed at the Smithsonian, National Storytelling Festival and World's Fait. Donald has also appeared on PBS, CNN, NPR, and ABC. He was able to come in and perform as he is visiting Utah with his family who are from North Carolina.
Last week, a robotics demonstration for the upper grade students was given by a representative from the UVU School of Education. This demonstration was an effort to motivate students to participate in a program where students build and program educational robots in the Math and Stem Program.
Maple Ridge held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, August 18, 10:00 a.m. Principal Sara Matis welcomed future students, parents, Mapleton City officials, state representatives, Nebo School District personnel, and school employees.
“We would like our school to create a tradition of excellence, to be a place where all students can be successful, safe, accepted and welcome,” said Principal Matis. “Our PTA has been wonderful. We appreciate your support in helping Maple Ridge begin a wonderful tradition of excellence.”
The Boy Scouts of America troop #1494 conducted the American flag ceremony in respectable fashion demonstrating their patriotism.
Superintendent Rick Nielsen introduced honored guests including Kevin Madson Architecture, Westland Construction, engineers, and others that made this school possible. He welcomed past superintendents, past school board members, Mapleton City, honored guests, as well as Representative Francis Gibson who donated the American Flag to Maple Ridge Elementary that flew over the State Capitol Building.
“We have outstanding faculty here at Maple Ridge. We’ve brought some of our best and finest here to this school to bless and benefit young people. Because in the end, we are here because of students,” Superintendent Nielsen said. “We are here to build future citizens and strong community members. We know how to build beautiful buildings, and this is one of them. But it is the students who are the spirit and the soul of school. When the students walk through the doors, that’s when the building comes to life.”
The student choir captured the audience attention singing enthusiastically, “What’s More American” and “Utah This is the Place” directed by DeAnn Sanders.
Kristen Betts, the Nebo School Board President representing Springville, spoke to the crowd about this memorable event.
“Thank you so much to the Webelos Troop #1494 for the flag ceremony. Thank you to the children who participated in the choir. Today is a day of anticipation. As I ran errands this morning, I was so excited to see the seventh-graders as they attended their first day of classes at Mapleton Junior High. Later as I worked in my kitchen with the windows open, I could hear the Springville High marching band as they practiced for their season, said Ms. Betts. “Right now I can't look at any social media site without seeing pictures of high school football players. Schools, such as Maple Ridge, provide a way for communities to come together. We have the opportunity for the communities of Spanish Fork and Mapleton to be together in this beautiful school. I am confident, that under the direction of Ms. Matis and her faculty and staff, Maple Ridge will foster friendships and community building. Thank you for a being a part of the Maple Ridge Community! Let's have a great school year!”
School Board President, Kristin Betts, and Principal Matis directed the official ribbon cutting that included the Maple Ridge students and Nebo School Board of Education.
Parents and students were then welcomed into the Maple Ridge Elementary. The school is located at 2340 West Harvest Parkway in Mapleton. It sits on a 12 acre site with 86,000 square feet of floor space with 31 classrooms, 2 computer labs, a hardwood gymnasium, 7 acres play field, a preschool unit, a Utah Education Integration (UEI) unit for handicapped students, and a media center.
Nebo School District welcomes all 550 students to the new Maple Ridge Elementary School, under the direction of Principal Sara Matis, with its amazing teachers and staff.
The Nebo School Board of Education appointed Sara Matis to be principal and open the new Maple Ridge Elementary. Mrs. Matis earned her bachelor’s degree with an English Major and Political Science Minor as well as a master’s degree in Educational Leadership all from Brigham Young University.
Most recently, Mrs. Matis has served as principal at Westside Elementary for the past eight years. She was the principal at Park View Elementary for four years. Mrs. Matis served as an administrative intern at Taylor Elementary, Springville Junior and Brookside Elementary as well as an administrative assistant at Mapleton Elementary. She taught sixth- and seventh-grade English and sixth-grade mathematics at Spanish Fork Middle for four years.
Sara received the PEAK Award, Crystal Apple Award, and is a three-time Nebo National Distinguished Principal. She quoted Superintendent Rick Nielsen, “We show our love for students not only by praise, smiles, and encouragement, but by best the materials and instruction that we can provide."
A colleague said, “Sara is a true professional who is continually on the forefront of innovative school leadership. She is willing to share her talents freely with others and has served on numerous curriculum and leadership committees. Sara knows and understands sound, effective instructional practices. Her greatest strength is her ability to inspire and lead others in accomplishing the goals of school improvement.” One of Sara’s favorite quotes is by Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
Sara said, “What an honor it is to work in Nebo School District and rub shoulders with such outstanding individuals. I appreciate all of my colleagues and the outstanding educators, students, and patrons we enjoy working with each day. I am amazed daily by the dedication of classroom teachers and staff and the caliber of students, parents, and community members that champion our educational goals!”
Sara is married to Bill, and they have two fantastic and talented children.