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Back to school: Mahogany families thrilled to fill their new Calgary school

Sacha Carey said after living in the community for eight years, it was exciting to see the new Mahogany K-4 public school finally open up.

As Calgary kids across the city went back to school Thursday, it was a special day for hundreds of students in southeast Calgary. The new 600-student capacity Mahogany School opened up for the first time.

Carey said that she, along with many other parents, had been taking the 30-minute ride to Riverbend to drop their kids off to school. Having a new school within walking distance is a game-changer.

More than that daily commute, Carey said it’s a great meeting point for Mahogany residents.

“To be able to be in the community, to be able to be with the friends in the community, really helps us make those connections,” Carey said.

Community was on the minds of many on the first day.

Brittney Colby and her eight-year-old daughter Brooklyn were among the man families excited about the new school.

“It’s finally a sense of community that we have all of our kids together. They’re not bussed all over the city and we can finally have them all together,” Brittney said.

Brittney said that the seven-minute walk is a big change from their 45-minute trek to Riverbend.  That allows her to finally be able to get home to see Brooklyn off to school as she works nights.

“It’s going to be a lovely experience to actually get to take her to school this year,” she said.

Brooklyn was also thrilled to get back into school. She’s most looking forward to art class for the painting and science class for the learning. 

And… friends.

“I’m excited for school because all my friends will be there,” she said.

‘It’s like a celebration’: Principal

Dad takes a photo of his boys at the opening of the Mahogany K-4 public school on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. DARREN KRAUSE / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Tracy Kohan, principal for the new school, said you can hear the buzz among families as they brought their kids to school Thursday.

This is the first new school opportunity for Kohan, who has been working with the Calgary Board of Education for nearly 30 years. 

“When opening a new school there is that really great opportunity to build a culture with a staff that’s just coming together for the first time,” she said.

“Then, have them build that culture with the kids in the community as well. Mahogany is a pretty tight-knit community. We’re excited to be a part of that.”

Plus, she said the new school is pretty darn fantastic. People in the community have been peering in the windows all during the day to check it out. 

Kohan said there’s a lot of open space in the school and “windows everywhere” to allow natural light to flood in. They have innovative classroom spaces with floor to ceiling whiteboard walls, the ability to change classroom configuration and double classroom spaces.

There are state of the art filtration systems and the heating, cooling and lighting systems are sensor based to they respond as people move throughout the building.

“That’s pretty exciting and innovative as well,” she said.

Kohan said they’ve been planning and preparing for weeks and today’s the day where it all comes together.

“We can’t wait to see the expression on their faces when they see the building and just hear them echoing throughout the walls,” she said.

For full information on the return to school for CBE families, you can visit their website.