Nev. - As the finishing touches were added to the schools
new trophy case in the northern wing, the classrooms adjacent to
its location will be undergoing their own makeover in the coming
Lake High School, on the reservation of the same name, is in the
midst of rejuvenating a spirit, both within the institution and
in the community. Evident upon walking through the relatively new
facility, pride emanates from the students and staff.
a surge in pride was provided by the varsity boys and girls basketball
teams that advanced to the final four in their state categories.
this semester those plaques earned would have been stored away,
often out of public sight, joining others dating back a quarter-century
that were collecting dust. Following the dedication ceremony of
the trophy case in early March, the school has a highly-visible
showpiece for honoring its athletic and academic accomplishments.
you will be able to tell your kids 10 years from now is that you
were a part of building this," said Chris Clayton, the first
year wood shop instructor, as glass shelves were installed.
driving force behind this endeavor, Clayton brought her energy as
a general contractor to Pyramid Lake and treated those involved
with the trophy case as crew members, not just students. She said
most of the kids in this nine-week project had limited knowledge
in industrial arts or how to use the tools before the semester started.
six feet in height and 216" in length, this undertaking
gives credence for next year when the students will have the space
to create larger projects. Like one-room homes.
success and the new trophy cases were the noticeable highlights
during the late winter months but good things are in store in store
next fall for the kids in the technical programs which quietly received
financial approval. A $65,000 grant will purchase, install and equip
a pre-fabricated self-contained metal classroom measuring 2,000
square feet that will be separate from the schools main building.
Randy Melendez, who returned to his reservation to run the school,
is excited about what this expansion offers. The added space would
permit auto body repairs, painting and maintenance that will give
his students marketable skills.
I want them to learn is basic car repairs, like oil changes, so
these kids can get a job right away," he said, noting most
jobs are off the reservation in Reno, 45 miles to the south.
beamed about the opportunities this school offers the reservation
since it opened four years ago. The principal noted that within
recent memory the schools enrolment at the old high school
dwindled below 20. Besides the aesthetics of a sharp-looking building,
the programs offered that started with incentives of athletics and
is branching into the academics, has the student population at a
vibrant 125 with kids busing in from as far as Reno.
strong program in the trades is vital to the success of a school
on reservation Melendez believes, because for the majority of students
post-secondary education is not a strong reality. Also, auto and
wood shop, like athletics, are those carrots that stimulate an interest
for those who might not otherwise attend school just for academics.
trying to keep them here because this school is for them. For Indian
kids the vocations are important that if they dont go to college,
they can still work or go to trade schools," Melendez said.
the present metal shop, a decade-old beater covered in epoxy sits
beside a torn apart and thoroughly examined engine thats seen
better days. This section of the room, in conjunction with the hydraulic
lift, takes up the majority of space where Jim Copeland teaches
his classes. In the remaining area, welding tables are filled with
bicycle frames that are the continuous projects of students whose
goal is to emulate the designer bike hanging from the ceiling.
these conditions, Copeland said certain hazards exist that will
be eliminated with the new auto shop. Noxious gases, though not
lethal or toxic, created by the use of welding tools can pose a
supposed to be a hood (overhead) to suck the gases out and the side
panels will block the (blue powerful) light out from other people,"
the location of the metal shop building, its isolation can also
facilitate the use of environmentally-unfriendly products that are
associated with automobiles. The disposal of oil and the use of
paint products which couldnt occur in the main building will
be easily safeguarded and controlled.
new metal shop will also create more space inside the school. Once
the present auto equipment is moved, an entire room next to the
wood shop will be vacant.
space will house construction sciences and this is where Claytons
contracting abilities will be fully maximized. Goals include teaching
the kids the ability to design, construct and wire a one-room home
with plumbing, a challenge the wood shop teacher will relish.
trophy case, an entertainment unit and other smaller items, have
become the building blocks to take on bigger projects. Ultimately,
in addition to giving the students at Pyramid Lake job-ready skills,
the wood and auto classes provide another venue for self-esteem.
all of this, were trying to take the mindset of Its
broken, its like that forever and change that to I
can fix it because Im well-trained," Clayton said.