This blog post is part of our celebration of charter school graduates across the country and their achievements. Join us in celebrating our #CharterGrads!
Although many people are familiar with Liberty Common High School’s proud legacy of academic excellence and recent athletic achievements, what stands out the most to me—not just the accolades we boast such as the 1322 SAT state record or the undefeated 20-0 soccer record—is the people.
Making the transition from junior high to high school was intimidating. However, from the moment I arrived at Liberty, I had seniors introducing themselves and asking what my passions were. Having seniors that genuinely care about helping new freshman succeed is rare at many schools. But Liberty’s house system divides the student body into five groups, where all grade levels are mixed together to grow as one. Having upperclassmen become friends and mentors for underclassmen is commonplace at Liberty and incredibly valuable.
It is expected that school faculty care about their students, but Liberty faculty truly go above and beyond. Every year at Liberty, teachers not only chaperone school dances, but host game nights, movie nights, and our “lock-in.” Liberty faculty enable us to perform at our best within the classroom, but also outside of the classroom as they often bring their families to cheer us on after school at school performances and sporting events.
When I wanted to start a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter at Liberty, Mr. Skerjanec and Mrs. Campbell offered to be advisors on top of their already insanely busy schedules. Mrs. McAllister offered to chaperone our chapter for state competitions. Another staff member Dr. Penning generously offered to be the advisor for FBLA after I graduate, even though he just completed his first year at Liberty. From Mr. Lunn who has taught jazz band countless times at 6:45 a.m. to Mrs. Lannen who has inspired countless girls at my school to pursue their passion for engineering to Mrs. Karr who has provided countless smiles and words of encouragement to Liberty kids in the hallways—teachers like these truly make the difference at Liberty.
While the strong bonds between Liberty’s students and faculty give me incredible hope for the future of education, what inspires me the most is how Liberty’s walls extend far beyond our campus and how students never truly leave even when they graduate as they continue to contribute to the Liberty community.
Among our many school traditions during the month of November, we not only welcome over 700 grandparents of Liberty students to experience a day in the life of their grandchildren, but we also collect over 20,000 cans to assist struggling members of our community—despite having fewer than 600 students at our 7th through 12th grade campus. Beyond our schoolwide traditions, when tragedy strikes the Liberty community goes above and beyond to help, including last year when we raised over $17,000 for a graduate battling Stage 4 renal cell carcinoma cancer.
Although Liberty cannot claim all the credit for developing such an incredible family of students and faculty, I can say with confidence that I could not have asked for a better school to have called home for the past thirteen years. Yes, Liberty has taught me the rules of grammar and mathematics, but more importantly, the people of Liberty have shown me what it means to truly care for others and possess our capstone virtue of wisdom.
Cole Goeltl is a 2019 graduate of Liberty Common High School.
[Click to Tweet] Cole Goeltl, @LibertyCommon Class of 2019, reflects on his time in high school and the people who shaped his experience #CharterGrads
Thanks so much for writing this, Cole. Nicely stated.
Well said, Cole. It is refreshing to hear that you value your school and respect and honor your teachers.