Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.
Friday, September 13th at 10:30 a.m. over 70 people gathered to celebrate. It could not have been a more perfect day for a ribbon-cutting. After 7 1/2 years of planning, fundraising, researching, searching, rebuilding and restoring, Forest Grove School No. 5 stood immaculate under the bluest sky anyone could ever remember. We could not help but think that THIS is what it must have been like for those earliest students of the 1873 schoolhouse to walk through its welcoming doors, ready to take their seats and learn.
Sharon Andresen welcomes the crowd at the official ribbon cutting of Forest Grove School. Filmmakers Tammy & Kelly Rundle filmed the event for their documentary "Resurrecting Forest Grove". Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.
The Iowa Standard School plaque was secured to the door--a gift from Bill Sherman, Country School preservationist and advocate. The bell was rung and that one sound ringing through the countryside caused many eyes to dampen and goosebumps to rise.
Getting ready to cut the ribbon! Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.
The speeches were given. The gratitude and recognitions shared. And then, the moment all gathered together had waited for, the ribbon cutting and the schoolhouse doors officially opened. It was a magical day--beyond belief. Everything perfectly planned and executed, just as the rebirth of Forest Grove itself.
Barbara Blunk Andersen listens to Bill Sherman talk about the significance of the Iowa Standard School plaque at the special luncheon that followed the ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy Caroline Bredekamp.
Bravo to the hardest worker we know, visionary Sharon Andresen, for all you have done; all you have dreamed and seen through from the very beginning until the end of this phase. It is a stunning achievement. You brought so many smiles to so many faces on this day. Bravo to the Blunk family, and the Forest Grove School Preservation committee and board, many who have volunteered time and talent all of these years.
We will repeat what we shared at the end of the lovely celebratory luncheon that followed the ribbon cutting and tour of the breathtaking Forest Grove:
Here is to the visionaries, the dreamers, the planners, the givers, the grantors, the helpers, the consulters;
To the problem solvers, the fixers, the builders, the painters, the caretakers;
To the promoters, the teachers, the storytellers and the believers.
Today is YOUR day. YOU brought Forest Grove back. You raised it up. You never stopped believing... it is a true lesson to be learned and inspired by.
CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who had a part in “resurrecting” this beautiful icon sitting so proud on the Iowa landscape ready to 'teach' all of us again.
Tammy & Kelly Rundle of Fourth Wall Films, producers of the new documentary feature film Resurrecting Forest Grove, have been documenting the restoration of Forest Grove School No. 5 since work began on the schoolhouse seven years ago. The film project is in the production phase and a fundraising campaign is underway to raise matching funds for a grant the project received from Humanities Iowa. Click HERE to learn more about the film project and how YOU can help!