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ONE BIG FAMILY: Aubrey Rogers HS students, staff talk about first year of class

ONE BIG FAMILY: Aubrey Rogers students and principal talk overcoming the challenges of a new school
Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 22, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — Collier County Public Schools are more than halfway through the school year. With this being the first year of the new Aubrey Rogers High School, Fox 4 checked in with students and the principal to see how its first year has gone so far.

For Mason Lyba and Darian Alvarez-Garcia, two students involved in everything from Model U.N. to football and Student Council, life at Aubrey Rogers has been nothing short of exciting.

"I think all in all we've become a big family," said Darian Alvarez- Garcia, a part of this year's senior class.

"I found that we kind of were able to make a new culture here at Aubrey, and it was kind of inspiring to me to see how everybody was able to start and work from the ground up," said Mason Lyba, a part of the sophomore class at ARHS.

With the new, college-like format of this 21st-century school, they are making it their own.

Darian is one of 130 seniors this year, the first graduating class, and he says it was not a hard choice to come here.

"The reason I wanted to come is all the new opportunities and just reset to the standard brand new school," said Alvarez-Garcia. "We're gonna set brand new goals, pretty brand new programs and overall just make something new in Collier County.”

However, it did not come without challenges. With the new format that has not been seen yet in the county, it was an adjustment.

"A lot of last year was trying to build excitement around something that didn't exist which was very difficult," said Ellen Keegan, Principal ARHS. "Promising, trying to show renditions, and not really having something substantial to put behind. 'No, this is going to be a great school. This is going to be one of the best schools you'll ever be a part of, and we're going to have the technology. We're going to have these buildings that are unique, and the setting that's unique,' All sounds good, but if you don't have something to show behind that, that was difficult, and I think for a lot of families and students and even staff, potential staff didn't know what to expect."

One thing they have had to focus on is school spirit, as many kids were moved from other Collier County high schools.

“For me, it was sort of a shock," said Lyba. "I built a lot of friends and family at Barron Collier but I found that we were able to quickly unite as new students of Aubrey Rogers.”

As they begin to wrap up the school year, Keegan says they are still seeing more and more excitement build around their community.