Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lanier High School Celebrates 50 Years

I was delighted to be at Lanier today for the school’s 50th anniversary celebration. In many ways, the story of the high school is the story of our district, our state, and our world. When Lanier opened in the building that is now Burnet Middle School in 1961, and then moved to the current location in 1966, the area was mostly farmland, and a big part of the educational focus was agriculture. Back in the 60s and 70s, Lanier was training many of its students for one of the state’s biggest industries -agriculture- of that time.

Fast forward to 2011. The farmland is pretty much gone, except that Mr. Oropez, a former principal, tells me that there is a farm on campus. Lanier High School has been transformed from an agricultural school into the most ethnically diverse high school in the district, with students from more than 50 countries represented. I know that Lanier prides itself on diversity and acceptance, and in that sense, it is a model for the future of our district.

The rich diversity at Lanier offers experiences and opportunities for students that will help prepare them for the future in a global economy. I can’t think of a better way for a high school student to develop both an appreciation of the rich diversity of our world than to have friends from different backgrounds and cultures. Exposure to other languages, foods, and traditions at this age opens doors to a life in which a person can appreciate differences and reach out to others throughout the world. This will be critical in a global economy.

So as we AISD work to prepare our students for college, career and life in a global economy, I want to thank the staff, parents and students, past and present, of Lanier for your contributions to our rich and diverse district. Congratulations to the Vikings for 50 great years. We look forward to another five decades of progress and promise.