Community honors Robinson during special school dedication ceremony

The seeds of kindness, love, support and optimism that Ada Robinson planted in her teaching career recently bore encouraging fruit for the entire community.
Hundreds of people remembered Robinson during a dedication ceremony at her namesake building. Area residents and Lincoln Board of Education members joined Robinson Elementary School students, teachers and administrators at the 30-minute event.
A.J. Perez said she was happy to learn more about Robinson at the ceremony. The fifth-grade student joined many of her classmates for a special vocal performance. Music teacher Krista Couton led 32 choir members as they delivered three songs for the crowd.
“Even though I never got to meet her, she sounded amazing. She sounded like she would have been a great teacher,” Perez said. “She was a great teacher. And even though I never got to meet her, I can just imagine how amazing she was.”
Robinson taught for 37 years at Clinton Elementary School and became a beloved figure in the community. She inspired students with her thoughtful and caring approach to her classroom duties.
Robinson Principal Jeff Vercellino said the school has adopted the motto “Rooted in Relationships” as the foundation for every decision and action. He said that was a direct reflection of the way Robinson approached her educational career.
“What I learned from my few meetings and interactions with Mrs. Robinson was she was all about relationships,” Vercellino said. “Mrs. Robinson knew that no true learning could take place in a school without children feeling loved, valued, supported, challenged and cared about.”
Lincoln voters approved the construction of an elementary school as part of the 2020 bond referendum. A district committee chose to recognize Robinson’s many contributions by naming the new school after her.
District officials held a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2021, and staff toured the building for the first time in early August 2022. Classes for students in preschool through fifth grade began later that month.
Robinson attended the groundbreaking and shared warm embraces with many of her former students and colleagues. She passed away in November 2023 at the age of 84.
Tami Robinson Soper said her mother was passionate about helping every student. She said Robinson’s personal integrity and enthusiasm for education made a difference in the lives of many people. Her funeral service was standing-room-only due to the large number of well-wishers.
“I know that my mom is here looking down, smiling and really excited because there were students here and teachers that she’s worked with and administrators and her family all in one place,” Robinson Soper said. “Children singing, she would have gotten up with the choir, she would’ve loved that. So just, it’s a beautiful day, we’re really grateful.
“Like, I cannot literally think of another way to honor her than to have a building filled with laughing children all the time, laughing, learning, playing. It was everything to her.”
LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman and Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell said they were happy to see the school blossom in its first 18 months. They believed current staff members would continue to follow the positive example set by Robinson.
“She started children down their educational path, setting them up for the ultimate success,” Gausman said. “And that is what an elementary school does for our children, because this is where they will learn to read their first words, add their first numbers. This is where they will begin their journey in public education, where all means all.”
“Your continued dedication, passion and selfless commitment to our students are what make this school truly special,” Boswell said. “Bricks and mortar may be called a school, but you are the heart and soul. I have no doubt that under your guidance, our students will thrive and excel.”
Perez said she has enjoyed learning about everything from music to math at Robinson. The 85,000-square-foot facility is located in the growing Waterford Estates subdivision on the eastern edge of Lincoln.
“I love the music room,” Perez said. “It just has a good vibe to it, I think. You know, it’s really nice and all the rooms here are really nice, well-organized and comforting and it’s a great school. I love how it turned out.”
Perez said her positive experience is due to more than just the building’s architecture. She has noticed the kind environment found in the hallways and classrooms. Staff members have set a goal of having each student be greeted by at least three adults at the start of each day.
Vercellino said everyone at school would like to plant the same positive educational seeds that Robinson did throughout her life.
“While I am a bit biased, I speak with 100-percent conviction when I say that we have assembled the best staff here at Ada Robinson Elementary, one that Mrs. Robinson would be proud of,” Vercellino said. “Our staff leads with relationships. They are collaborative and driven to be their very best, so they can give our Robinson Raptors what they deserve each and every day: our very best.”
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Published: March 1, 2024, Updated: March 1, 2024

From left, Mario Robinson and Tami Robinson Soper smile with a dedication plaque at Ada Robinson Elementary School. Hundreds of people honored their mother during a special dedication ceremony. The event included speeches, music and many fond memories of the longtime Lincoln Public Schools teacher.