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Strong, a Mussul Unsquit village

A Legacy of Woods and Waters

National Blue Ribbon School

Breaking ground for renovation, Strong Public School, ca. 1996
Breaking ground for renovation, Strong Public School, ca. 1996
Conducting the ceremonial ground breaking at the Strong Elementary School were, L to R, Principal Felecia Corson, building committee co-chair Scott Martin, Roger Lambert, and SAD 58 Superintendent Robert Gerardi.
Item Contributed by
Strong Historical Society

By Kathy Lambert

Renovation Ground-Breaking, 1996

On April 12, 1996, forty-five biodegradable balloons were released into the air to the cheers of students, teachers, and residents gathered at the school. The balloons represented the number of years since the Strong Elementary School was built. A ceremonial ground-breaking was being conducted, kicking off a $3 million renovation and expansion that would provide 8,000 square feet of new space at the school. The project represented four years of effort by determined residents, faculty and administrators in SAD 58.

School principal Felecia Corson told the crowd, "This is a time for much celebration and is the culmination of many months of planning and development. It takes leadership to get the job done, and the message here is that you can make a difference. Somewhere along the line you will get a chance to step up and take an opportunity."

Roger Lambert, who had attended the Strong School as a child when it was still new and housed grades K-12, spoke to the gathering, recalling how the building, with it's spacious gym, had been the community's pride and joy. He commended the hard work of those who helped make the new school a reality. "The town can now continue educating it's children at home and have a community school where it ought to be", he said. "We've got unwritten history here yet to happen. This school will be for a new generation of Strong youth who will go on to make their mark on the state and the nation."

Principal Corson said the new building would be completely renovated with 8,000 square feet of new space added. The science room, library, and kindergarten would be enlarged, a new art and music room added, and an all new kitchen and cafeteria. New windows, lighting, heating and ventilation systems installed, and classrooms for the then 220 students would all be 700 square feet and renovated. A computer room with 25 computers for middle school students and another for elementary students with 15 computers would be added, as well as two rooms for small group testing, and new gym bleachers. A special feature was a new handicapped accessible classroom for the Severe and Profoundly Challenged Program students.

National Blue Ribbon School

Strong Elementary School
Strong Elementary School

Strong was selected as one of three schools in the state to be named as a 2005 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School, an award based on Maine educational assessment scores over at least five years. To be considered for the award a school must:

  1. Be considered "high achieving" in math and reading based on the MEA's;
  2. Have a minority group - - Strong qualified for low socio-economic status;
  3. Offer a foreign language to at least eighth graders - - Strong offers modern French to grades K-8;
  4. Enjoy a 95 percent average daily attendance by students and teachers;
  5. Show good annual progress.

The Community came together to celebrate at the school with a barbecue and plaque presentation by George Tucker of the Maine Department of Education.

The principal recognized the blue ribbon award as an opportunity to expand the Strong community. "If people are looking at moving to the area or bringing jobs and business here, then they will look at our school and see that we are a National Blue Ribbon school and say, " I'd like my child to go there!"