Editor's note: This is the third part in a three-part series examining the start of the 2019-2020 school year for Columbus area schools. Read previously published stories on Lakeview Community Schools and Columbus Public Schools on our website.
The weekend of Aug. 17 was a busy one for Lakeview Community Schools Vocal Music Instructor Jill F. Goedeken.
First, she joined other Lakeview High School faculty and alumni for a special 50th-anniversary celebration at Ag Park, complete with a cash bar, live band and a sponsored race during the night’s action.
The next day, alumni returned to the school for a chance to tour the building, see what was new and find out just what was inside the time capsule that was buried 25 years ago. In addition, Goedeken and a group of other alumni joined forces to perform for the people gathered to celebrate 50 years of an ambitious dream.
“Being a vocal music student and an instrumental music student way back in the 1970s when I was a student here and now that I’m the vocal music teacher, this was an exciting time for me,” Goedeken said. “We had 31 members, both past members and current members, come and sing and we had a great time. We met at 9 (a.m.) for donuts and coffee and juice and we visited about old times and new times.”
Goedeken said she knows just about everything there is to know about Lakeview’s history. She grew up in the district and her sister was one of the inaugural students of the school in 1969. She has taught for 26 years in the district and has a keen sense of everything that has gone into making Lakeview what it is today.
“I’ve been in this community all my life and I know the growing pains and the stepping stones and all of the things that we have accomplished along the way,” Goedeken said.
Those growing pains and stepping stones are likely to come in handy in what is expected to be an important year for the Lakeview district. During the celebrations on Aug. 17, a $12 million bond issue was unveiled, which would cover additions and renovations to the 50-year-old junior/senior high school building, including new classrooms for art and agriculture, an expanded gym space, a new 3,000 square foot district office and renovations to classrooms, the library and mechanical and electrical systems.
The bond issue will be put to a vote by residents encompassing the school district on Oct. 15, and community meetings are planned throughout the month of September leading up to a decision being made. Lakeview Community Schools Superintendent Aaron Plas said that the bond issue is necessary due to extensive student population growth.
“We’re a growing district,” Plas said. “Our student population enrollment has increased over the last seven years by 30 percent and it has increased yet again this year. What that’s done is put a premium on space within the district, especially here at the junior/senior high school. We have a 50-year-old building (and) it’s been well maintained and taken care of, but we’re struggling to house all of the different students that we have.”
With Plas and others expecting continued growth, the time may be right for an expansion of district facilities. Of course, proposing a bond measure and actually getting it passed are two different tasks. Plas said he hopes people see the needs of the district and vote to ensure the school’s future lasts for another 50 years and longer.
“I think our patrons know that we’re growing,” Plas said. “They know that we are out of space in a lot of our buildings. I appreciate the fact that we are trying to be as fiscally conservative as we could while running this bond, focusing on areas that were needed or had high usage. Like any vote, you’re never going to win 100 percent, and that’s part of it, but at the end of the day, what we really want is to be able to understand why it is being run, all of the different areas and then they can make their decision from there.”
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For Steve Borer, principal of Lakeview High, it’s another year of change and transition. He said he's excited about the 50th anniversary and is ready to welcome new students and new teachers into the school and into the district.
“Our theme this year is ‘Honor the Past, Live the Present, Create the Future,’” Borer said. “We don’t have a ton of full-scale changes. We’re just taking what we have and making it better.”
Six new teachers have been brought on and two new guidance counselors are also available to help better serve students. Lakeview will also be expanding its involvement in the PATH program, providing more opportunities for students to experience their life after high school and college.
“We have a committee that has set up a job shadowing program,” Borer said. “We are very hopeful and excited that we are going to offer more opportunities for our students to go out into our community and get to job shadow areas that they might be interested in.”
Senior Evan Tessendorf is fully looking forward to spending his last year at Lakeview experiencing some time with his friends and soaking in the memories of what promises to be a fulfilling year.
“I’m really excited,” Tessendorf said. “I think it’s really going to fly by. With all the sports and different stuff, the time flies by and pretty soon, it’ll be next spring and I’m wondering, ‘Where did that time go?’ I’m excited to be here with all of my friends because after this, it seems like everyone will split up and we will be with different groups for the rest of our lives. It’s one last time with a lot of people that I’ve been to school (with) my whole life.”
Outside of the 50th-anniversary celebrations, it should be a fulfilling year for Goedeken, who has big plans for her vocal music group, Viking Voices. A trip has been planned for later this year which will see the group go to Branson, Missouri, and her theme matches exactly the kind of ride it has been for her and others during the last 50 years.
“Our theme is ‘A Viking Voices Vacation,'” Goedeken said. “We’ll be singing songs from all across the United States and we’re going to end our show by going back home. We’re going to sing about Nebraska and about the Lakeview Vikings.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.