After more than a decade in the making, North Trail High School in northeast Calgary is finally set to open its doors — and welcome more than a thousand students this school year.
Faith Apomah will be going into Grade 11 at the public school this year — prior to that she faced a 30-minute bus commute to Crescent Heights High School each day. The bus passes were an extra cost for her family, she said, and there were early wake-up times.
"The bus took so long and there would be stops and then also in the winter it … wouldn't work," she said.
Community advocates have rallied for years to see the school built. There's been a strong need from the Northern Hills and Hidden Valley communities to have a public school, said North Trail High School principal Mike Bester.
Between 1,275 to 1,300 students are expected at the Calgary school this year. (Terri Trembath/CBC)
He said he's excited for the school year, which in its first year will welcome students in Grades 10 and 11, and the following year it will open to Grade 12 students.
Bester said in the first year there will be around 1,275 to 1,300 students, and in September 2024 there will be around 1,800 or 1,900 students, which is the school's capacity.
"It will feel smaller once we get all of our students here. And that's the most exciting part. It is an amazing, beautiful building, but it comes to life when the kids come," he said.
North Trail High School principal Mike Bester said he's excited for the school year ahead. (Terri Trembath/CBC)
"I'm really just humbled to be here and to have this opportunity. It's not an opportunity that occurs often in a career."
Teacher Rachel Gustafson, who leads the school's science department, said the school is outfitted with cutting edge, hands-on technology.
A gymnasium inside the new Calgary North Trail High School. In its first year, there will be around 1,275 to 1,300 students at the school. (Terri Trembath/CBC)
"Some of the things we've been able to order for the school and the materials that we have here, students have wouldn't see anywhere else at any other high school, probably in the city," she said.
One of the new student lab spaces at North Trail High School in Calgary. In its first year, the school will welcome students in Grades 10 and 11, and the following year it will open to Grade 12 students. (Terri Trembath/CBC)