New street name brings enhanced school pride

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE - For a moment, Erin Clementich and her fellow peers did not know what to do for their legacy project. 

Under normal circumstances, a legacy project – an activity undertaken by the Devils Lake High School senior class and student council for the betterment of the school – would have taken a similar approach to what previous classes and council groups had put forth. 

COVID-19, however, limited fundraising opportunities. As a result, Clementich and her classmates had to think of something more creative. 

And so, Firebird Lane was born. 

Firebird Lane unveiling ceremony.

One could not simply change 16th St. to Firebird Lane with a snap of a finger, though. Instead, there had to be a lengthy process. Dating back to mid-March and early April, Clementich started by writing letters to the school board, park board and residents on the street in question. After collecting approval letters, the next step was to attend a city planning board and a city commission meeting for approval. Collectively, the process spanned from mid-March to Sep. 10, when the ceremony for the street name was officially unveiled. 

To Clementich, the process was always about emphasizing three main points: how it will bring school spirit, how it will create a learning opportunity and how it will leave a lasting memory. 

Although Clementich is now a student at Lake Region State College, her memory of making Firebird Lane possible will never cease to exist. If anything, Clementich believes her impact in making the sign change possible will be a lasting one.  

“I think it is pretty cool,” Clementich said. “When I first started this process, I did not think it would be as big as it was. The mayor said Friday it was the first time it was done in our town. It is just really cool that my name was on it, and I was able to do this for the school. It is a memory I will always have.” 

From Tammy Meyer’s perspective, the experience was both uplifting and heart-warming.

As a high school instructional coach and student council adviser, Meyer has helped mentor many students who underwent their respective legacy projects. From experience, Meyer was astounded as she watched her students, including Clementich, do the necessary work to make the sign change possible. 

Student Council President Erin Clementich (standing) talks during a meeting. Senior Student Council Members Emma Hoover, Kiya McLaurin, Rebekah Widmer, Lily Stokke and Jolea Kraft sit on stands (left to right).

“I was so proud, especially of Erin,” Meyer said. “She has been a great leader coming in and growing as a person…she has just grown as a person. Just seeing her and that group of students…there were six other kids that decided this was a good idea…Erin really was the leader of the group and took what she did and took it by the horns and went with it.” 

For Meyer, the experience was a lengthy but fruitful one. Additionally, it has helped inspire confidence and create opportunities for her students to move on to more significant ventures in life. 

“Looking at all the kids we have had come through here and through student council, you can see as they come through and go through these experiences the confidence just explodes,” Meyer said. They can see they are so powerful in what they can do…going into their community and beyond that. Just growing as a person. Erin has really been a model of where we want kids to be when they leave here.” 

As the unveiling ceremony during homecoming weekend on Sep. 10, Clementich believes the new sign will only enhance school pride for as long as it remains standing. 

“Homecoming week is just a time to show school spirit, and to be involved in the school, go to the games and participate in the dress-up days,” Clementich said. “For the sign that represents our school and the school spirit to come at the week where it is at its peak, I think, was a great coincidence.”