Twenty-two years as the driving force behind the school district's alternative education program were stowed away into cardbord boxes and taken home.


"It's like going down memory lane," Arlene Gluck said as she packed up the last of her school treasures on her final day as principal of Mojave High School last week.


Two walls of plaques came down: Kiwanian of the Year, HUSD Administrator of the Year. So did the knick-knacks given by co-workers and students.


And the photos.


"She was a hellion," Gluck said as she gazed at a snapshot of a pretty young woman holding a high school diploma. "She had a lot of trouble in school. She got pregnant. Then she came to Mojave."


Where there aren't actual photographs certainly there are indelible memories of student after student who Gluck watched -- and helped -- transform.


"There are so many stories like that. We're going to look back and say, 'Cool.' It's good to look back and see you've done a good job."


Whether a student is pregnant or acting out, Gluck says there is always one common demonitor: "They're behind in credits and units."


Typically they come to Mojave feeling defeated. After getting back on track, they realize there's a world of opportunities. Many have earned the right to go back to their original high school, but Mojave has become where they belong.


"They just choose not to go back."


Through the years, her students have gone on to make a difference in the community. They have become teachers, firefighters, speech pathologists and more.


"Most of these kids are really good kids. If they're willing to do the work they can be as successful as any student."


A product of the East Coast, Gluck's first stop as a West Coast educator was in alternative educator in the Victor Valley Union High School District. Then, in 1986, she became principal of Mojave High in Hesperia. She stayed in that position throughout the duration except for a three-year stretch when Bill Fagin took over the reins while Gluck administered the Hesperia Unified School District's alternative education program.


Although Gluck is retiring, she does not expect to stayed retired forever. In fact, she's giving herself six months to plan her next step.


"I have to see what's next. I haven't decided yet. Whatever I do I'll be very active."


Prompting her to reach for something new is the fact that her son, an attorney, has moved his family to Virginia so he can begin a new position with the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C. Perhaps the biggest draw, however, are Gluck's two grandchildren.


Gluck's daughter, an assistant TV producer in Hollywood, also is pondering new opportunities. "The Glucks are on the move. Whatever we do will be exciting. I do believe we control our futures and destinies."


Gluck's counseling credential -- she's also currently working on a doctorate -- is coming in handy.


"This chapter is ending. Now there's another new road."


Following a recent tradition of U.S. presidents, Gluck left a note of welcome to Nate Lambdin, the man chosen to be principal of Mojave High, Sunset Pointe night school and Community Day School, in the desk drawer. Although the contents of the note are private, it's likely to reflect Gluck's gratitude for the Mojave High staff and students.


"It's exciting to leave this kind of legacy, to know the kids have had a good education. We help students one at a time. This group has made a difference in people's lives."