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Renovated and ready for results: recent ribbon cuttings unveil state-of-the-art schools

Montebello and Highlandtown celebrate!

The stool was firmly in place behind the podium. First grader Anthony Higgs Jr. stepped up, tapped the mic, and spoke confidently. “This school means so much to me, I just love this school! I love my teachers. It’s so close to the lake where my parents walk. I can’t wait to start class in the new Montebello building!”

In December, Anthony, City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises, elected leaders and dozens of northeast and southeast Baltimore community members celebrated ribbon cuttings for the renovated Montebello Elementary/Middle School and Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School. The dramatic renovations, two years in the making, included bigger hallways, state-of-the-art classrooms, a new gym and cafeteria, outdoor athletic fields and learning spaces, new art and music rooms, IT upgrades, and the preservation of historic features like the original facade at Montebello.

“These 21st century buildings are a testament to what our young people deserve,” explained Dr. Santelises while kicking off the ceremonies. “These buildings signal to you, young people, the promise that we see in you and the high expectations we have for yourselves and that we have for you.”

Anthony is one of more than 17,000 students who are now or will soon be thriving in new school buildings as part of  the 21st Century Schools, the $1.1 billion dollar collaborative project between City Schools, the Maryland Stadium Authority, the City of Baltimore, and Maryland’s Interagency Commission on School Construction. The initiative has completed 26 of its 28 scheduled projects in what is one of the largest construction projects in Baltimore City’s history. 

At the Highlandtown ribbon cutting, fourth grader Anthony Ruano told the audience, “we’re grateful to be back in our neighborhood, in a brand new space! We can learn a lot better here.” And Principal Denise Ashely emphatically noted, “I especially thank my families for partnering with us in our children’s education. It has been one amazing journey.” 

For students at two schools that each are close to 100 years old, the impact of the renovations is transformational. They now enter welcoming spaces with stunning facilities and the latest technology to level up their learning.

“Montebello has stood the test of time,” said Principal Troy Mitchell, “We look forward to it standing tall for much longer.”  

Check out videos of both ribbon cutting ceremonies: Montebello here, and Highlandtown here. Learn more about 21st Century Schools here.

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