Collier County students are being welcomed back to school by their new superintendent at a brand-new high school.
Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli, who had been recently sworn in as superintendent of the Collier County School District, will join students as they enter Aubrey Rodgers High School.
Located on Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard, the Collier County School District bought the land to eventually build the high school 22 years ago. Construction began in 2019.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning, WINK News spoke to a student about his opinions regarding the new school opening.
“On day one, I hope to meet all my teachers, make some new friends, create a nice, close friend group, and honestly just get a feel of the place, start some new cultures and traditions,” the student said.
Ricciardelli expressed her excitement for the upcoming school year to WINK reporters.
“It’s exciting because the friendships that are going to come from this, from all grade levels, are so different because they’re all in the same boat together,” Ricciardelli said. “They’re all brand new. They all get to experience all the same things at the same time.”
Around 1,200 students were greeted by Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Ricciardelli, as well as a red carpet, a marching band and pompoms; not exactly a typical first-day greeting.
“I feel like all the other schools, like, we’re so used to all the other schools in Naples, and now that we have a new one that’s gonna be really cool,” said sophomore Brielle Kessler. “We’re doing basketball season for cheer, so we think that’ll be really fun. And we’re excited for the new year.”
So was Ricciardelli. She has been part of Collier County schools for nearly three decades, but this was her first day as superintendent.
“I don’t know how else to say it; it’s my home,” Riciardelli said. “My heart is so invested in this district and the kids and to seeing them all succeed.”
Rambosk said the name of this school, Aubrey Rogers, has a special meaning.
“Sheriff Rogers was a sheriff for a long time in this community and has served very, very well,” Rambosk said. “Really, this is an honor for the sheriff, and this is an honor for the sheriff’s office, all the members that keep our kids safe throughout the year. We really love being here, particularly at this school this year.”