More than 300 people packed the multi-purpose room at Marilyn Moore Middle School in southeast Lincoln on Sunday to celebrate the school’s recent opening and to honor its namesake.
Marilyn Moore served Lincoln Public Schools and its students for more than 30 years, first as a teacher at what was then Goodrich Junior High and ultimately as the school district’s associate superintendent for instruction.
She received multiple standing ovations on Sunday, as well as glowing praise from former colleagues who spoke during the dedication ceremony. Moore deflected the compliments and tried to shift the day’s focus toward students, educators and the community.
“It’s a day to celebrate learning, it’s a day to celebrate community, it’s a day to celebrate education and a day to celebrate excellence,” Moore said. “What I did was have the opportunity to work with really good people, doing really important work that made a difference in the lives of children. There’s no greater honor than that. It was truly a shared effort.”
“It’s a day to celebrate learning, it’s a day to celebrate community, it’s a day to celebrate education and a day to celebrate excellence,” she said. “What I did was have the opportunity to work with really good people, doing really important work that made a difference in the lives of children. There’s no greater honor than that. It was truly a shared effort.”
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel echoed Moore’s appreciation of the Lincoln community. “I want to thank you as members of the Lincoln community for the gift of beautiful buildings and the support of students. We are a wonderful school district because we enjoy such fantastic parental and community support, and it truly takes that partnership to be able to do for our children what we know they deserve and what we feel is in their best interests.”
Members of the Moore Middle School band performed on Sunday, as did the school’s choir alongside members of the Saint Paul United Methodist Chancel Choir. Moore attends Saint Paul and is a longtime choir member.
Near the end of the ceremony, Moore Principal Gary Czapla presented Moore with multiple gifts: a framed piece of student artwork; a collection of letters composed by an English class she visited on the first day of school; and a scrapbook filled with photos and memories of her first visit to the school, the school’s celebration of the solar eclipse - and blank pages, for her to add memories of future visits. Afterwards, Moore students offered tours of the school, which opened in August.
Despite her modesty, speakers spent much of the program sharing memories of working with Moore and praising her for the impact she had on students and educators.
Czapla was one of those educators. “Passionate, resilient, courageous, empowering, creative, empathetic - those are the values we hope to model as a staff and have our students understand and embrace their meaning. It is no coincidence that these are the words people have used to describe Dr. Marilyn Moore.”
Former LPS Superintendent Phil Schoo recalled when he first hired Moore for the associate superintendent position on an interim basis. He said it didn’t take long for members of the Lincoln Board of Education to realize that “interim” needed to be removed from her job title.
“Marilyn and I worked many years together and this district would not be as fine a district as it is without her,” Schoo said.
Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell spoke of the tremendous growth in south Lincoln and thanked the community for funding the construction of new schools to meet the city’s growing public education needs.
He also spoke highly of Moore and her legacy: “Today we celebrate a new community of learning so it’s appropriate that we name this school after a thoughtful and generous leader who has had a tremendously positive impact on learning in this community.”
Moore closed her remarks by emphasizing the importance of storytelling and how it relates to the new school that bears her name.
“It’s a guiding theme of Moore Middle School - that students will begin the lifelong effort of knowing their own story, shaping their own story, and finding their own voices to tell their own story,” she said. “As the story is written and told, moment by moment, day by day, the handprints and footprints and voices of many will find their way into this narrative.”
Published: September 26, 2017, Updated: October 4, 2017