On the bus headed to the 1997 Barn Dance

On the bus headed to the 1997 Barn Dance

Laura Alverson retired in 2000, but the former geometry, algebra and pre-cal teacher at Lake Highlands High School still gathers with former teachers to talk about the good ole days at LHHS. Alverson remains a devoted supporter of the school and says preparing for the 50th Anniversary Celebration March 23rd has former faculty and staff buzzing with excitement about reuniting with former students, parents and coworkers.

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“When I came to LHHS, I was in my 11th year of teaching,” Alverson told me. “From the very first day, I knew that I was in a remarkable school. My colleagues were creative, well prepared, fun to work with and committed to the success of the students.  Every day they inspired me to be a better teacher.  Our faculty was a ‘family’ and we still feel that way about each other.  Many of the former teachers, administrators and staff have lunch several times a year to stay in touch.”

Alverson says her best memories involve helping with Commencement and Baccalaureate ceremonies. (RISD schools now hold a ‘Senior Dedication’ instead of Baccalaureate.)

“I think these two events are significant not only for the students, but also for their families, teachers and the LHHS community.  I became known as the ‘dress code’ teacher because I really wanted each student to wear the academic regalia correctly.  The former students reading your article will remember that I emphasized correct shoes and ‘wearing the mortar board parallel to the floor’.   That is the proper way and it definitely appealed to the geometry teacher in me!”

Aside from math lessons, Alverson had something bigger to pass along to her students.

Tressel painting

Trestle painting

“Early in my career I realized that students say, ‘I do better in science than in English or history.’ (or vice versa), but when they discuss math they say, ‘I love math.’ or ‘I do not understand math and I make poor grades because I am not very smart.’  Those feelings so concerned me that I decided to demonstrate to every student that they were capable of understanding the basic mathematical principles.  I also wanted them to gain an appreciation for the value of learning the logical, sequential thinking skills that math courses provide.  I wrote most of my own worksheets and presented each concept in several different ways to increase understanding for all styles of learning.  My students would be the ones to indicate if I succeeded in my mission, but I do know I gave it my best effort.”

As a former teacher, Alverson says she appreciates LHHS as the center of Lake Highlands.

“Besides teaching at LHHS, I live in the Lake Highlands community.  It really is true that this community is a ‘small town’ within a larger city and LHHS is the focal point.  The entire community takes great pride in the accomplishments of the students in all their endeavors:  academics, fine arts, sports and extra-curricular activities.  Many people whose children have already graduated continue to attend the LHHS Friday night football games, other sports, the shows and concerts.  Each year, the faculty appreciates the support of many Lake Highlands organizations that through their fund raising efforts provide student scholarships and ‘wish lists’ for the school and its activities.”

Raising of the Wildcat flag

Raising of the Wildcat flag

And Alverson has a message to young families moving in, families whose children will be taught by a new generation of teachers.

“The legacy of ‘The School of Champions’ continues and your children will have so many opportunities to find their own interests at Lake Highlands High School.  They will be challenged and inspired in the classroom, in athletics, in the performance venues and through the many clubs and extra-curricular activities.   Your children will discover knowledge, skills and focus for the future.  We encourage the young families of Lake Highlands to attend the LHHS 50th Anniversary celebration to experience the traditions, programs and people that have made Lake Highlands High School such a vital and sustaining part of our community.”

Anniversary events kick off at 1:30 on the LHHS campus, and the entire community is invited. Organizers say they’d love to display your old photos and memorabilia (they’re hoping parents of former students, especially, will pull out photo albums and vintage Wildcat gear). Karen Clardy, longtime assistant to the principal, will gratefully receive your items in the school’s front office.