They built it, and boy, did the people come.

First came a trickle of youngsters, many wearing backpacks with room for a few more books. Then a rush of students and some parents walked in. Soon, a friendly gentleman handing out helium-filled balloons couldn't keep up with the surging demand.

Fifteen minutes after the official 3 p.m. grand opening of the new Pathways to College library, the once empty modular building was jam-packed with students, pleased parents and impressed visitors.

"This is their library now," said Debra Tarver, principal of the Pathways To College, a K-12 school chartered under the Hesperia Unified School District.

The opening of the library, which has books, classroom tools, magazines and other school-related items that can be checked out or purchased depending on the item, was one of Tarver's key accomplishments so far this school year.

"This was our goal for this year, to get a library open," she said.

Due to the demand of school studies and other responsibilities, many students don't have the opportunity to go to the Hesperia Branch Library. Pathways To College is located at the site of the school district's former administration offices on Third Avenue.

"Some don't have the opportunity to go to the public library."

The new library, which will be open during school hours, will help increase students' ability to research and study. And teachers, who will serve librarian duties for their classes, will have additional materials for their classrooms.

Sharing the library's building is a new music program, where students learn to play piano, bells and sing in a choir.

"We just added that this year," Tarver said.

OUTSTANDING PARENTS
The new library couldn't have been opened without the dedication and hard work of the school's highly involved parents.

"We have an outstanding parent group," she said. "They've been working for two or three weeks now, day and night. I give a lot of credit to Corrina Bridges, who is president of our parent group, and Rhonda Matejo. Those are the two that really pulled it together."

Also, she noted, "We've had parents donate books."

Next on Tarver's agenda is opening a computer lab.

"One month from now we'll have a computer lab. The computers are on order as we speak."

With a first-year Academic Performance Index score of 675, the principal expects Pathways to surpass the 700 mark this year.

"We're reaching our goals. We're looking to get bigger and better every year."

There is one key reason for the school's continued improvement, according to Tarver.

"We have good parents. They support this program 110 percent because everybody's here for the kids."