differentI understand that schools have reputations, many of them earned over time, and that parents and students make decisions based on those perceptions. Our counselors see it with college selection every year, as they help students choose what university might be the best fit, and do their best to guide families past the waving pennants and glossy brochures to see the “real” school. In our district we mirror that experience in the “School Selection” process 8th grade students and their families engage in during the late winter. It’s a time for LCC to tell its own narrative, to share the many great opportunities for students, and to fight against narrow perceptions built over time.

I hear the old stories when I talk with some folks, tales of woe with LCC as the punch line. People tell me of their concerns about issues long resolved and realities no longer the case. They’re surprised when I tell them that we have about 2000 students, foiling the expectation that LCC is much, much larger. Some are unsure how to resolve the truth that we have a strong Gay Straight Alliance, active Best Buddies program, and vibrant O2 For Life club with the notion that LCC is only a school of cheerleaders and football players. We have those too, I acknowledge, and some are members of the groups I mentioned.

I like to talk about the award winning programs we have in Speech and Debate, Journalism, and Engineering, and some hear me, though others, I think, still recognize us as the school with CIF titles in more than a dozen sports. We’re that too, some teams filled with journalists and engineers, and I like to point out that many of those student athletes have been recognized as having the best team GPAs in the county.

I like to believe that as we take advantage of our opportunities to share the reality of LCC more will recognize us as the school where civic minded students actively engage with the local community. When it comes to the LCC story, I see the reality of one Maverick sophomore coordinating a Turner Syndrome Society Walk/Run, a pair of Maverick siblings organizing the non-profit YouthJamz to help underprivileged children, and an LCC senior now in her third year of leading a team of runners for the National Foundation for Autism Research 5k, as playing a significant part of that narrative.

LCC is a school of Mavericks, students (and adults) willing to take chances and make a difference. As we celebrate events like the “It’s Good To Be Me” fashion show, the massive “Winter Classic” Speech and Debate tournament, and LCC’s active recycling and composting programs, the community beyond our green gates will better understand who we are.

Perceptions are built over time, and they take time to redefine. The responsibility for publicly celebrating what’s really happening is shared by all: administration, teachers, students, parents, and everyone in our Maverick Family. As we publicize all of the things we do well, from volleyball to AP Psychology, we overcome antiquated thinking about our school.

As our incoming 8th grade students and their families walk onto campus at tomorrow’s Freshman Orientation, I hope they’ll hear some of the new stories. We may not be exactly what they’ve heard about; we may be even better.

I want our incoming freshmen to know that LCC is a sports school in the way that Stanford is a sports school. I want them to know that LCC is friendlier, happier, and kinder than they may think. I want them to see ways in which they can contribute to La Costa Canyon, and  ways LCC can be a source of support for each of them. I want to welcome them here, and challenge them to write their own LCC story.

This is a good time to be a Maverick.

One thought on “Perceptions

  1. Pingback: Like A Mom | bjornpaige

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