Change begins with the snip of the scissors and thunderous applause on the lawn at Clifton Elementary. Assistant Principal, Stephanie Williams says in her ceremony speech, “Lifelong literacy and technology journey can begin with a small, but exciting step for students to experience the thrill of getting lost in a story. The power of expressing their own ideas in writing, or the excitement of creating their very first 3-D project.”

A project that started as a fundraiser back in October unveiled into a newly modernized library this spring for the students at Clifton Elementary, but it’s far more than just brick and mortar and it took a community effort.

Executive Director, Angela Christensen for the D-51 Foundation says, “Clifton Elementary certainly presented the need of their library being renovated, but it was really spearheaded by Academy Mortgage.” Loan Originator, Merica Street, with Academy Mortgage says, “Our two local branches came up with $10,000, and then we asked our corporation office in Salt Lake to also match that.”

The goal was to raise $65,000 for the much needed renovation for the first time in 30 years. Clifton Elementary Principal Jeff Spaletta says, “The previous library was old. It hadn’t been modernized in a long time. Older paint, older carpet, older furniture.”

But, after contributions from Academy Mortgage, local businesses, and individual donors $65,000 turned into more than $67,000 and additional labor from the sponsors turned the library into a modern media center. “So, now we have a 21st century library. Modern colors, modern carpet,” said Spaletta. “We brought our team out, and got to build some desks and other things, and set up bookcases, and now we get to see the finished project. It’s just amazing,” said Sadye Saad from Timberline Bank.

It’s taken a village to help update the Clifton Elementary school library into a 21st century media center, and as a matter of fact the only thing left from the old library is a rocking chair used to read to kids. “It’s a space more than just a library, traditional library, it’s a space kids can learn 21st century skills, and really take some pride in their school,” said Spaletta.

Blue and gold are the Clifton Elementary school colors, but joy and pride are felt by everyone involved. “We have just been thrilled at the outpouring of support we have seen throughout the entire community.,” said Christensen. Street says, “It was sure fun to see the kids today so it was worth it.”