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Year of firsts: Thunder Ridge High School reflects on first year open

High school graduations are just around the corner. Many students and teachers are getting ready to celebrate the end of a chapter. Those at Thunder Ridge High School in Bonneville County are still celebrating the beginning of a new one.

“I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s kind of just been a whirlwind,” said Doug McLaren, the principal at Thunder Ridge High School.

Opening its doors this past August, east Idaho’s newest high school is wrapping up its first year.

It has been a year of firsts for the school, from the first first day to first football games to the school’s first yearbooks.

“It’s exceeded my expectations for what they were and just been a wonderful year,” McLaren said. “A lot of learning taking place, a lot of fun activities for the kids and just been a great environment to be part of.”

Thunder Ridge High School has around 1,300 students enrolled. Combining all of those kids from Bonneville School District 93’s two other high schools, Bonneville and Hillcrest, was no easy task.

“I thought I wasn’t going to know anybody because I didn’t know too many people and friends from Hillcrest (High School) coming here,” said sophomore Jordan Brizze.

But because of events put on by the student council, the Thunder Ridge Titans got to know one another quickly and became fast friends.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Brizze said. “It’s been a great year.”

Besides having to make new relationships, students and staff also had to get used to one more thing.

“The stairs are tiring, I’m not going to lie to you,” McLaren laughed.

The three-story building has the Titans walk up and down those flights of stairs daily. But after a year, they’ve gotten used to it.

“We are all much better,” said Kara Kearsley, a Spanish teacher and student council adviser. “We’re all in a lot better shape, that’s for sure.”

Being part of the first year at Thunder Ridge High School means students were able to create new traditions for, hopefully, years to come.

“These kids were the first kids to learn the (school’s) fight song,” Kearsley said. “As we’re doing it, they started to make up motions and actions that were going to go with this fight song through history.”

As the first year finishes up, the school says the students have a lot to be proud of. State qualifiers, state champions and having two-thirds of its 2019 graduating class finish with some college credit are just a few of the many feats.

Thunder Ridge High School hopes to continue to strive for excellence as the school continues to grow.

“Just really excited to be part of the community and just continue to build what we’ve started here,” McLaren said.

Thunder Ridge High School’s first graduating class will graduate next Thursday.

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