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The William S. Hart Union High School District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday as it opens Castaic High School, the seventh comprehensive high school in the district.
More than 200 people came to celebrate the opening of the school, listening to dignitaries representing the district, county of Los Angeles and the state of California praise the immaculate construction of the state-of-the-art, 58-acre campus.
In addition to the rigorous education standards that have made the Hart School District one of the best in the state, the home of the Coyotes features a modular Career Technical Education building, a 450-seat Performing Arts Center and the largest square acreage of athletic fields in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“I’m glad that you’re here to share this very proud moment, not only for the Hart School District but for the Castaic community, the city of Santa Clarita and the county of Los Angeles,” Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht told the crowd. “Over 10 years of dreaming, planning and problem-solving have resulted in what surely will be one of the premier high schools in the entire state of California.”
The school will welcome approximately 340 ninth-graders on the first day of school. Principal Melanie Hagman emphasized that students will come from as far as Bakersfield to get the same “high school curriculum that has made the William S. Hart Union High School District an exemplary district” within the state of California.
She has brought together teachers, administrators and classified employees who all share excitement for what the school can bring.
“We spent time together as a staff developing a mission we truly believe, and our mission is very clear,” Hagman told the crowd. “We are here to ignite passion, creativity and capability in an inclusive environment supporting global success. Everything we are going to do here is going to be awe-inspiring for our kids, for our community and for the future. Our students have so many amazing opportunities as they come here.”
For several Hart School District Governing Board members, this day represented taking the time to not only thank all the people over the years for conceptualizing, planning and building the school but to also accentuate the impact a school has on its community.
“The Hart School District takes great pride in the public education we provide to our students here in Santa Clarita,” said Governing Board President Bob Jensen. “One of the things that has been important to me is the understanding of how quality public education impacts a community. If you want quality of life; if you want a vibrant and robust economy; if you want flourishing families; you need very high-quality public education. We’ve been fortunate to have that for many years here in the Santa Clarita Valley, and Castaic High School will continue that tradition that we at the Hart District have worked hard to maintain and develop.”
“I got criticized back in 2010 when we selected this site for using the term ‘momentous,’” said Governing Board Member Steve Sturgeon. “I stopped using that word, until tonight. This is a momentous occasion. I wish you, your families, and all your great-grandchildren for the next 50 years, all the success here. I know this school will be here.”
Castaic High School will also house iCAN Academy, a partnership with College of the Canyons that will teach college courses on the campus. Students who qualify can start as early as the ninth grade while still enjoying the extra-curricular activities a comprehensive high school offers, such as athletics, performing arts and clubs.