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The big first

Liberty High holds first graduation ceremony
Liberty High School students, staff and family members pack the auditorium Saturday, May 26 for the first annual commencement. 40 seniors were conferred diplomas in the afternoon ceremony. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– One year ago, forty juniors made the decision to leave schools they’d already spent three years in, and spend their senior year in brand new Liberty High School in North Liberty. While freshmen and sophomores in the new attendance area were assigned to the new school, juniors and seniors had the option of staying put or transferring. On Saturday, May 26, those students were presented the first diplomas from the new school in the first graduation event, which was held in the auditorium.
“There’s a lot of emotions,” Liberty Principal Scott Kibby said following the afternoon event. “The first emotion is just incredible pride that we’ve gotten through our first year, we had a lot of ‘year of firsts,’ and this is just the ‘big first.” Kibby reiterated their choice to attend Liberty, and for that decision, he’s grateful. “I just really appreciate those kiddos,” he said.
Early estimates place the Class of 2019 at around 110, but, “it’ll change,” Kibby said. “We had kids from nine different schools this year, so I’m sure we’ll get some (more) between now and next year.”
As the senior classes grow with each passing year, their commencement ceremony will move to accommodate them. Kibby figures the auditorium will suffice for one more year, but after that, “I think the plan is (to use) either the stadium (currently under construction) or the new Coralville arena.” Currently, City High and West High utilize the University of Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena while nearby Clear Creek Amana is looking at future graduation site options as their enrollment (and thereby senior class size) continues to increase.
Kibby’s eyes lit up like a stadium as he excitedly noted the football stadiums lights went up a few days prior, and turf was but a couple of weeks away. “We’ll play football there this fall,” he confidently stated. “I don’t know if we’ll play there the first week, but we will play in the stadium this fall.”