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Proud parents and family members watched their kindergarten-ready 4-year-olds graduate from Fridley Preschool on June 6, 2019 in the district auditorium. The 140 preschool students and future Class of 2032, performed songs they had practiced in class and walked across the auditorium stage to receive miniature diplomas from their teachers. Graduation ceremonies were held for both the morning and afternoon preschool sessions.

In 2016, then Governor Mark Dayton and Minnesota state legislators initiated the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK), a program that provided free early childhood education in several school districts across the state. The funding allowed Fridley Public Schools to provide high-quality early learning programming at no cost to families. Fridley Preschool is a 4-star Parent Aware-rated program and ensures that the district’s earliest learners are ready as they step foot into kindergarten. The program also focuses on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Transdisciplinary Themes and Learner Profile values – aligning with the district’s IB program. This readily prepares 3- and 4-year-old students to begin their IB journey.

“Fridley Preschool provides a great foundation for our students in the district and we are so proud to offer this to our families,” said Preschool Principal Jason Bodey. “They begin the IB process at an early age, and our students walk into kindergarten already knowing the IB language and concepts. It really sets them up for success.”

The excited preschool graduates displayed their excitement as they were called “kindergarteners” for the first time at the conclusion of the ceremony. Many of the students will be continuing into the Primary Years Programme at the district’s elementary IB World School -  Hayes and Stevenson elementary schools this fall.

“We would like to thank all of the families for entrusting us with their child for the school year,” said Beckstrand. “We have seen our students grow over the past year, so this has been an extremely proud moment to watch them all as they sang their songs, walked across the stage, and had such a special moment with their teachers and families.”

Fridley Public Schools is an IB World School district that offers the IB Continuum programmes to K-12 students. The IB curriculum framework prepares students for college and careers with rigorous coursework through the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme. IB, an inquiry-led framework, provides a holistic educational experience by focusing on developing the “whole child.”







Fridley Middle School honored the Class of 2023 at the annual 8th grade recognition ceremony on May 31, 2019. Parents, family and friends gathered in the Fridley High School gym to celebrate this significant milestone.

“We want to take time to celebrate and recognize your growth as learners and young adults over the past four years,” said Principal Amy Cochran. “As your middle school years conclude and your high school experience begins, I want to encourage you to continue to envision your future. Work toward the future that you want and embrace all the hard work required to attain your goals and dreams.”

Recognition was given to students who placed in the History Day competition, performed well at the St. Cloud Math Contest, and those who earned high-achievement in academics. The ceremony also recognized students who participated in various activities, including student council, Builder’s Club, choir and theatre, or earned a high school athletic letter.

Four 8th grade students, Amayramy Ruiz Barrios, Alen Kahrimanovic, Khaliifo Aden and Veronique Kolibe-Gnamikou gave student speeches, all of which reflected on their time at Fridley Middle School, as well as the years ahead. Chosen by the class of 2023, the faculty address was given by science teacher, Ms. Sarah Bennek. 

A total of 239 students received a certificate for completing eighth grade. Click to view full photo album






An annual tradition, Fridley High School seniors took one last lap around their former elementary schools before graduating. The soon-to-be-alumni visited Hayes Elementary School on May 23, 2019 and Stevenson Elementary School on May 24.

Elementary students and staff members were thrilled to greet the graduates - lining the hallways to give high fives and cheers.

Seniors celebrated their commencement on May 30, 2019. Congratulations Class of 2019!

View photos from Hayes Elementary

View photos from Stevenson Elementary




An emotional and uplifting message was shared with Fridley 8th grade students on May 23, 2019.  Steve Robinson, a human resources director for the largest property management company in the Twin Cities, spoke to the Class of 2023 on the importance of persevering through adversity, and how he turned a traumatic experience in middle school into positive motivation throughout his life.

Robinson grew up in an impoverished area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Living in a two-bedroom home with his mother, two siblings, an aunt and seven others, his outlook on the future dramatically changed the evening of October 29, 1999.  His mother fell unconscious in front of him.  Though he immediately dialed 9-1-1, it took an ambulance 52 minutes to arrive.  During the delay, his mother passed away.  Later he learned that because of crime in the area, ambulance services wouldn’t respond unless escorted by the police.

He was broken.  Robinson recalled a conversation he had with his mother shortly before her death and realized she wanted him to have goals.  “My mom’s mindset was ‘ready, set, GROW,’” Robinson told the students.  “I had to push, pull and carry on.”

In 9th grade, Robinson moved in with another aunt who had an alcohol addiction.  His siblings moved back to Chicago, and he felt as if he were on his own.  He began playing varsity football, where his coach, Elliot Lightfoot, became a mentor to him.  “There are three people you need to find in your life: a coach, a mentor, and a cheerleader.  Sometimes you’ll find all three in one person,” Robinson said of Lightfoot.

He also worked a full time job as a cook throughout high school, and had the responsibility to bring home dinner for the family he lived with.  Through it all, however, he kept his mother’s insistence to grow as his inspiration.

“A lot of our students are scared about going into the 9th grade,” said Aloda Sims, Family Outreach Liaison who coordinated the appearance.  “We wanted something that would provide them encouragement and inspiration so they will know how to grow and navigate their high school years.  Situations are going to come; there will be struggles.  Steve gave so many examples of how to push through and persevere through your toughest situations.”

Carson Christie, and 8th grader at Fridley Middle School, connected strongly with Robinson’s message.

“It made me think about how important my mom is to me,” Christie said.  “She cares about how I do in school; I constantly have to work harder, especially with high school coming up.”

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