Lengthy and major work has been done to update Franklin High; now classes are underway

DAVID F. ASHTON - Wielding giant scissors, FHS alumni, staff, and dignitaries snip the ribbon - officially dedicating the renovated high school. Although school had already begun a few days before, the "official" opening of the newly-refurbished Franklin High School (FHS) was held on the hot Saturday morning of September 2, in the school's courtyard.

"Today is the capstone of all of the celebrations, and we're looking forward to having a good new school year!" said Principal Juanita Valder.

"Staff responses been really positive to the state-of-the-art equipment, and the airy and light spaces in which to teach students," Valder told THE BEE. "And our students are ecstatic, too; there's no other word to describe their sheer joy and happiness, knowing they have been honored with the gift of the school."

Quaker alumni abounded at the ceremony, including Betty (van Blaricon) Carter, Class of '43, who said she'd lived the Lents neighborhood before the District built Marshall High School. "I just liked everything about going to school here, including the friends that I made, my teachers, and the classes."

The Franklin High Alumni Association President, Class of '65 Garry Lee, remarked that the alumni were rededicating a restored monument at the school.

"50 years ago, there was established a 'Franklin Veterans Memorial' to alumni who had died in combat," Lee informed THE BEE. "It was forgotten, untended, and unkempt. Then, about a year ago, a group of Franklin veterans got together and decided to build a pedestal, and put it up in a place of prominence at the foot of the new flagpole."

During the program, Lee observed that the eldest alumni at the ceremony was from the Class of 1938, and the newest had graduated in 2016.

Portland Public Schools District Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero addressed the crowd: "We have challenges, and we should be able to move ahead because we have thriving school communities; such as the one we see here Franklin – it's the families who make it 'Franklin Strong'."

A recent alum, 2015 FHS Rose Festival Princess Sierra Hosea, urged, "New students: you can create our future; this building is a huge jumping off point for our staff, our alumni, and our future students."

Then, current Student Body President Kathy Nguyen presented a flag which had flown over the U.S. Capitol to Principal Valder.

With that, the group of dignitaries moved forward, scissors in hand, and cut the ceremonial ribbon, officially rededicating the updated but historic school.

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