The last bell rings on a Thursday afternoon at Lake View High School as energetic beats rise from the cafeteria while Chiefettes practice a new dance routine beneath a backdrop of students rushing to their own after school activities. Collegiate flags line the common area, and on one nearby wall adorned with an Angelo State University flag of blue and gold, a multitude of posters featuring Class of 2022 seniors with plans to head to ASU in the fall are arranged neatly in rows of three. On another wall a brightly colored bulletin board shares a message of student-led support thoughtfully created by LVHS student leaders known as CKH Ambassadors.
Lake View High School brings together over 1,000 students, but under the leadership of Principal Zach Ramirez and his dedicated staff, a culture of empowering students through a connected community supports both collaboration among students and pursuit of individual hopes and dreams. In this week’s San Angelo ISD Campus Spotlight, we welcome you to join in the “Blue Crew” camaraderie at LVHS and experience a tribal connection where “Once a Chief, Always a Chief” embodies lifting one another up and creating meaningful, productive relationships.
Strengthened by a history of “Northside Pride” grit and determination tracing back to 1905 and rising to overcome devastation like a 1953 tornado and 1998 destructive fire, in recent years Lake View High School has been transforming student and staff experiences to move forward to create a 21st century environment for learning. As a Capturing Kids’ Hearts (CKH) National Showcase School, LVHS was recognized in 2021 for going above and beyond in building a safe and welcoming environment where students are relationally connected and eager to learn. This is evident in the intentional, collaborative work on campus by teacher Ms. Brittany Sanchez and her student CKH Ambassadors. The group meets weekly to develop plans like a January theme centered around Respect that included an interactive social media contest where students were invited to share “What makes you feel respected,” and a February theme centered around Kindness where students were invited to share words of encouragement.
“In our generation, being kind to others isn’t really seen as necessary to get by. Our CKH Ambassadors look at ways we can involve other students to help influence and support each other at Lake View,” said junior CKH Officer Mariah Martinez. “It can be as simple as one thing I like to randomly do, which is to compliment another student. It’s nice to see the light in their eyes when you do that.”
LVHS is also moving forward by embracing technology integration into curriculum. All LVHS students and educators received Apple iPad devices earlier this year as part of the SAISD Digital Learning Environments Plan, and are now using them in ways like creating interactive presentations with audio and video in Ms. Lori Castanuela-Thiers’s Spanish class and designing scenes from literature they are reading in Ms. Amanda Arnolds Special Programs class. Former English teacher and current online Credit Recovery teacher Ms. Laura Elms, who has been a staple at LVHS for an amazing 43 years, expressed the addition of technology earlier this year in this way, “As I get ready for my 50th first day of school with my students, I traveled back to the fall of 1968 as I prepared to step into my first English classroom... At teacher in-service, I had been handed copies of the junior literature book and the junior grammar book. I was ready to take on the world. This morning, in the LVHS library, [SAISD Digital Innovation Facilitators] Jennifer Feck and Brandon Ligon placed the ‘world’ in my hands with my new iPad! We are so excited about the possibilities that await our students.”
LVHS also boasts a unique partnership with ASU that LVHS students may participate in with additional, in-person dual credit core course offerings at the Lake View campus that are taught by ASU professors on-site and Lake View High School credentialed teachers. This enhanced dual credit program enables students the opportunity to earn both college credit and high school credit simultaneously at no cost to the student (up to 3 courses per semester). Students in the dual credit courses also have special opportunities to visit the ASU campus for a “Ram Fam” experience.
Additionally, LVHS proudly offers students many unique career-focused pathways as a means to chase their own passions through Career and Technical Education opportunities that span programs of study from healthcare to engineering to animal science to culinary arts to web development. These CTE pathways often include chances for students to earn technical dual credit, certifications, and licensures before graduation. The Chief Culinary Arts program is one stand out, and LVHS Culinary Arts students recently earned top awards at a SkillsUSA competition for the Restaurant Model and Tiered Cake categories. SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association that serves students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations and aligns with SAISD CTE programs like Culinary Arts.
Chiefs and Maidens can also take part in a number of fine arts, academic and athletic extracurricular programs and clubs. LVHS highlights include the Chieftain Honor Band that recently received UIL Sweepstakes for the fourth year in a row, the award-winning Mariachi Los Caciques Mariachi (which provides unique performance and travel opportunities for its members), an outstanding JROTC program with a competitive Cyberpatriot Team, a Robotics Club, and spring sports with consistently strong showings like the winning boys and girls soccer programs. LVHS is also home to an excellent CTE Floral Design program, a Spanish Club that goes above and beyond in community service, and the 2022 San Angelo Rodeo Ambassador Captain Nayeli Carbajal.
Walking into the Lake View campus is an opportunity to walk into both the past and the future. The school weaves together buildings that survived the 1998 fire like the gym and vocational classrooms and a 2001 rebuild with open areas and natural lighting. A custom-painted San Angelo sheep adorned in Chief-inspired designs welcomes visitors beside a case featuring LVHS memorabilia. Unique features of Lake View High School include the spacious Hershel Duckworth Auditorium, a top notch culinary arts professional kitchen space (complete with state-of-the-art, stainless steel appliances), a multimedia journalism production area, and a new student-created mural of a prominent Chief and Maiden painted on large panels in Lake View blue.
With a long history tied to a subdivision named “Lake View” and a school originally known as “Harris School” the first recorded use of the name “Lake View” for the school was in 1911. Northside pride and the Chief legacy runs deep through the decades, with many alumni returning home to its halls for Homecoming including current SAISD Board Vice President Bill Dendle. The first graduating class of Lake View was nearly 100 years ago, with two graduates in May of 1924. The legacy includes a State Track High Jump Champion Wesley Jennings in 1934, a Golden Girls Class AA State Champion Basketball team in 1952, a first District Football Championship in 1961 and a first Chiefs State Track Title in 1993. Visitors can witness these highlights and more since many of the trophies and memorabilia, including a 1952 State Champion letter jacket, miraculously survived the tornado and fire and are on display at the campus.
We hope you enjoyed this SAISD Campus Spotlight on Lake View High School. We wish our Chiefs and Maidens, Mr. Ramirez, his LVHS leadership team and staff a wonderful 2021-2022 school year, and the fulfillment of, and progress toward, growing hopes and dreams and making their own Northside pride legacies!