Rochester community says farewell to Friedell Middle School

(ABC 6 News) – The school year is coming to a close and Friedell Middle School is preparing to say goodbye.

A celebration event was held at the school on Wednesday night to bring together past and current students, staff, teachers and families to remember their time at Friedell.

"It’s one of those things always celebrating on the positive and we can leave this year knowing we’ve done good work for our students, our families and our community. Yes, it’s going to be sad. Anytime you move, anytime you leave a place that you’ve really grown into," Levi Lundak, principal at Friedell Middle School, said.

There were food trucks and entertainment by Friedell Middle School choirs. Graduates of Friedell could also come to see their handprints on the walls from years past while reconnecting with peers and old teachers.

"It’s been amazing to see them light up with the joy and bring back those fond memories," Lundak said.

"I think it was fun to walk through and see things and be like ‘Oh I remember this happened here,’ or something like that," former Friedell student Paige Oenning said.

Friedell has brought students from all across Rochester together for over 24 years. Friedell students usually end up splitting up and going to Mayo, John Marshall and Century high schools.

"And those are lasting relationships that go beyond just what color you wear on a friday night or to a game," Lundak said.

"We met on the bus and I just sat next to her and we were friends. And Keira we met in writing class, right? In sixth grade. And then we became friends in cross country," former Friedell student Sydney Kuester said. "Yeah, we all did cross county and track together," Keira Roth added.

As juniors at different high schools now, they are all still friends.

Fortunately, Friedall staff have the opportunity to go to the new Dakota Middle School, including Lundak.

The event Wednesday night also gave those students closure who didn’t get to finish out the school year two years ago when schools had to shut down due to the pandemic.

"I’m a little sad it’s closing since I made so many great memories here but it’s time to move on," Roth said.

In Sept. of 2020, the Rochester Public School board voted to repurpose the middle school building at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The building will house three different district programs including the Rochester Academy for Independent Living program (RAIL), RPS’ Middle School Right Fit program that is currently at the Boys and Girls Club, and the high school gymnastics programs will utilize the gym space.