by Bill Boyle
These are remarks I made at the dedication of the new school in Monticello on September 9.
If you want to know what is important to a community, just look around a little. It becomes obvious. Monticello is no different.
Just drive around this little town and look and listen.
One of the first things you realize, if you’re here long enough, is that bells are important in this community.
There are few other towns that ring a community-wide siren three times a day. What a great tradition.
I’m excited that a bell sits prominently at the entrance to the new Monticello Elementary School, which was dedicated at a community celebration on September 9.
This is no ordinary bell. It was cast in 1897 and has served the schools in this community for more than 100 years.
Bells are important in education. They mark not only the passage of time, but also signal when it’s time to celebrate and to commiserate.
The bell in front of the new school was also in the bell tower of an earlier school, which still stands behind the Four Corners Meat Processing Plant.
The bell served as the fire alarm to the community. One night, in the middle of the night, the bell started to ring.
The townspeople came running, wondering what tragedy they may face. What they found was that someone had tied an old mule to the rope for the bell and it was the mule that was ringing the bell.
Bells also mark the time to celebrate. I was recently reading old newspapers about the end of World War II. That event was marked in Monticello by the ringing of the bell.
I hope everyone can take the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the beautiful new school by ringing the old school bell.
There are many other signs, in Monticello, about what is important to the town.
We value our public buildings, our beautiful park and museum, a library and more. In the very center of town, we honor our veterans, which I think tells a lot about a community.
From a beautiful new Catholic Church under construction on the south end of town to the wonderful LDS Temple on the north end of town, it is clear that we value spirituality and service.
Of course, it becomes clear that Monticello values its schools. Through the schools, the community signals that it values children, it values education, and it values the future.
A beautiful new school honors the heritage and traditions of the past, while working in the present to prepare for the future.
Through the art and architecture of the school, the students, teachers, staff, and visitors will be reminded every day that what goes on there is of tremendous importance. The school teaches our youth who they are and what they can become.
The greatest thing that this community does is raise kids. And I’m glad that this building, in the actual bricks and mortar and art and architecture, will be part of the education. The school is solid and well-built. It is not ostentatious or gaudy, but it is built to last, for the future.
I personally am delighted about the art in the building. Bryce Pettit is the sculptor of the beautiful statue out front, Flights of Learning, which symbolizes the purpose and mission of the school.
Flights of Learning was made possible by a community-wide effort, coordinated by the Monticello Elementary School Community Council.
Teachers, parents, alumni, service organizations, and community members contributed to the fundraising effort, including the collection of 50,000 Monticello nickels by the school students.
Richard Lance Russell painted six beautiful murals, which will sit at the entry to the school for years to come.
The “Always an Adventure” series features the landscapes, seasons, and people of Monticello. They illustrate the aims of an elementary education and give those who enter Monticello Elementary School a sense of belonging, a connection to their heritage, and an idea of what their education makes possible for them
The six paintings highlight creativity, adventure, teamwork, discovery, connection and play.