Ribbon cutting held at new Hilltop facility

MT LAUREL – There was a lesson for students in the story of Hilltop Montessori School’s Phase 3 construction.

“You can do anything you want if you set a goal and work hard,” Head of School Michele Wilensky said at a Phase 3 ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, Aug. 14, the first day of the new school year.

And there will be many more lessons taught because of the $3.5 million, 12,000-square foot facility, which includes a gymnasium/multipurpose space, a teaching kitchen, music studio, science lab, art room and more.

“Hilltop has always been a special place, but there was always a hole,” Wilensky said about the school that opened in 1996, noting as an example that during inclement weather, physical education was held in the school foyer. “Today, I’m so pleased to tell you that hole has been filled.”

Students, parents and friends of Hilltop attended the ribbon cutting, where school Founder Cindi Stehr thanked donors and all others who helped make the facility a reality.

“This is a dream come true not only for myself but for a lot of people,” Stehr said.

Other amenities at the facility will include an apiary, butterfly garden, peace labyrinth, restrooms, locker rooms and showers.

The construction is the latest addition to the school since classroom space was added about six years ago.

Two students—Willa Rose Akins and Hopper Akins—told those in attendance why they love their school.

Willa Rose said she was nervous the first time she visited but a classmate offered to give her a tour.

“That really is what Hilltop is all about,” said Willa Rose, who was beginning her sixth grade year. “I’ve had a lot of adventures at Hilltop. This is like my second home.”

Hopper Akins also said he was unsure when starting his time at the school.

“After a few weeks, though, I loved Hilltop,” he said. “I loved my class, and I loved my teacher.”