New Staff Members Gain Sense of Belonging at Bridgewalk

Many of the new employees will be starting their first year at Liberty


Jayce Haun

Lisa Terbrock (left), Ellie Dupske (center) and Macklin Parks join other upcoming new staff members as they walk across Liberty’s bridge.

Liz Hayes

Gavin Block, Reporter

The staff bridgewalk at Liberty High School for new employees was convened in the late morning of Thursday, Aug. 18.

Teachers and other staff members, in company with the school band, lined up along the pathway that leads out from the 600 hallway to greet and welcome 16 newcomers to the Liberty family (this also included the new superintendent, Dr. Danielle Tormala).

The Liberty fight song rang out from the band’s various instruments to fill the air with school spirit and pride as the new staff strolled for the bridgewalk.

Business teacher Noah Hamai will be at Liberty for his second non-consecutive year.

“This means a lot,” Hamai remarked concerning the bridgewalk. “I definitely missed Liberty last year, and I am so excited to be back.”

Macklin Parks will be teaching social studies, including classes such as Western Civilization and other freshman courses.

When asked what he thinks the tradition of the bridgewalk means to Liberty, he commented, “It seems like a really cool thing. They come in as freshmen and get to leave and experience it as they walk across the bridge.”

Parks’s plans for this school year include having a successful season as a football coach and meeting many new students.

Ellie Dupske was previously employed as a building substitute at Fort Zumwalt East and also did student teaching here at Liberty. She is going to be a social studies educator.

“I think from the moment that I stepped in here to do my student teaching, I just felt like I belonged,” Dupske beamed. “That was the first thing that really clicked, that this truly felt like home. The interactions that I had with students, how much I was welcomed by teachers, it all allowed me to get a sense of belonging here.”

Assistant principal Dr. Lindsay Kiely has been at Liberty since its first year.

“We are going into our 10 year, which is very exciting,” Dr. Kiely expressed. “You’ll see teachers on the first day wearing shirts that say ‘I Belong,’ and we also have a new sign in the hallway that says that. My vision for the school year is for every student to feel that they belong; whether it’s a staff member, a student, a parent, I want this to be a community that’s inclusive, that everyone feels connected to and can have growth in.”

Dr. Kiely explained that the unique bridgewalk tradition was

Superintendent Dr. Danielle Tormala leading the other incoming teachers and administration during the bridgewalk. (Jayce Haun)

originally the brainchild of Mr. Sodemann and Mrs. Rosner.

“We wanted to find a way that told the community that this is Liberty, this is who we are,” Dr Kiely stated. “By the time students leave in their senior year, I get chills thinking about it, but it’s the best experience watching the senior class leave the gym and walk across that bridge to their family and their future.”