Roadrunners are ready to revel as they complete a big landmark.
Hesperia Junior High School’s student body is putting the finishing touches on preparations for a carnival on Friday to herald the school’s 50th year of educating middle schoolers.
Principal Lisa Kelly told the Hesperia Star last week the school’s ASB members have mostly taken over planning the event and have put a lot of thought and effort into making it a family friendly Friday full of fun.
The students in ASB are part of a near-1,000-student population at the school this year, Kelly said, a positive drop in enrollment here that allows for smaller classroom sizes and more individualized instruction.
In comparison, during the school’s 30th year in 1996-97, enrollment for seventh and grades here was near 2,000. While Kelly says administrators predict growth next year over the 2016-17 school year, she believes the programs they’ve put in place promote positive relationships, individual integrity among the students and successful graduates once they move on to high school, college and careers — programs that stretch far beyond the somewhat simplistic nature of the education here when the school originally opened its doors.
The evolution of the school and the continued loyalty of local families speak to HJH’s commitment to its community and bolstered education, Kelly says. She verbally points to at least half a dozen members of her staff who were students here at one time or another, while many families over the last five decades have had multiple children come to school here.
Kathy Smith is a campus aide at HJH. She told the Hesperia Star all three of her children completed their middle school years at this school and when Kelly asks why she sent all of her kids here, Smith’s response is simple but poignant.
“School is what you make of it,” Smith said with a smile. “My kids always knew when they were here, they could make it what they wanted and needed.”
Kelly echoes this sentiment, but adds that the school staff regularly audits “what we want a graduate to look like” as they complete their time at HJH.
On Friday, Kelly hopes to see many of the school's alumni — and she hopes that just as the school left a mark on them, they’ll leave their mark at the carnival.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun things and some historical stuff too,” Kelly said. “There will be a 10- to 12-minute video and an ‘Artifact Wall’ showing pictures and articles about HJH since the beginning. And we’ll have an ‘Alumni Wall’ in the back where we want all of our graduates to sign their names so we know who was here.”
The historical displays and alumni wall of signatures are a mere part of the festivities planned Friday, which include several carnival games such as “Fishing Frenzy” and “Pin the Tail on the Roadrunner” among others, according to ASB students who spoke to the Hesperia Star on Wednesday.
Vintage athletic jerseys will be for sale, community and food booths are set to offer helpful information and snacks, and there are performances scheduled from cheerleaders, Aztec dancers, folklorico dancers, the HJH band and choir and a mariachi band.
A classic car show is also planned, with cars coming in and out for display throughout the event, Kelly said.
“We love our students here but we also want them to grow and to be able to enter (the world outside of HJH) with the ability to build personal relationships and be successful,” Kelly said. “Many of them grow comfortable here, but we say, ‘Little birdie, spread your wings.’ We want to empower them.”
The carnival is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. at the HJH campus, 10275 Cypress Ave. in Hesperia, just north of Willow Street. For more information, call the school at 760-244-9386 or visit www.hesperiajrhigh.org.