A capacity crowd of 160 gathered in the Holiday Inn Victorville banquet hall last Saturday night for an event that lived up to its billing — the aptly named Lucerne Valley High School Epic 15-Year Class Reunion.
Fifteen years of LVHS’s graduating classes, from its first graduating class in 1995 through 2010, gathered for the buffet dinner get-together. Travis Tapleshay served as emcee with event DJ DJLucky providing the music. Organized by longtime middle school teacher Naomi Oyadomari and instructional aide and 2006 graduate Adriana Barajas, proceeds from the weekend-long reunion festivities benefitted the D.C. 2020 Trip.
Besides alumni and their guests, numerous longtime and current teachers and school staff were on hand to share memories and connect with former students.
Current teachers and staff in attendance included Kim Anderson, Ken Baker, Ken Calder, Nyla Calder, Derek Chip, Peter Day, Becky Gilkerson, Jennifer Hankins, Jessica Haecker, Victoria Kessler, Cindy Lazenby, Susan Levine, Nate Lambdin, Laura May, Mike Murphy, Nancy Monson, Naomi Oyadomari, Chris Pennington, Reuben Rivas, Matt Roehl, Monica Tevis and Troy Van Bavel.
Staff members, who attended LVHS, also were introduced. They included teacher Sendy Ortiz, elementary school teacher Jackie Lopez, former band teacher Raymond Rust, teacher Kristin Czech, employee Amanda Nichols, staff member Adriana Barajas, staff member Jasmine Delgadillo, staff member Keri Gasper, school board member Keri Gasper, office staff member Monica Tevis and staff member Sarah Warnock.
The featured event of the evening was the induction of four members to the newly created Lucerne Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Current Principal Nate Lambdin, who on Saturday was juggling duties between the reunion in Victorville and Homecoming Dance in Lucerne Valley, introduced the historic quartet. They were volleyball standout Amanda Nichols from the class of 2006, former Mustang baseball star shortstop and pitcher Stephen Warnock of the class of 2003, C.I.F. competing wrestler Scott Hert (Class of 2004), who also served as head coach of championship teams in 2007-08, and former longtime volleyball head coach Earl Johnson.
Lambdin, a former college baseball standout and coach of the Victor Valley College Rams baseball team, was very appreciative for the opportunity to help establish the LVHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
“It’s not just about athletic accomplishments,” said Lambdin who envisions inducting new Hall of Fame members every two or three years, “it’s about having a sense of history and pride.”
Johnson, who coached five consecutive league championship teams, talked about the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s early days, the start of the district’s secondary school system, and what it was like to teach at the fledgling high school in the 1990s.
Originally, he recalled, the high school was going to be built at the site of the current district offices on Aliento Road and Highway 18 … but a geologist found an active earthquake fault on the site, he said.
“We had many great kids, but they came with a chip on their shoulders,” said Johnson as he read from a written account of those days.
After the high school was built at its current location on Rabbit Springs Road just east of Barstow Road, the students embraced their campus despite its shortcomings including a sports field made of dirt.
“The boys loved football, which was played on a dirt field with rocks larger than my fist, “We had a lot of great kinds in those first years.”
Johnson credited his fellow teachers and the Lucerne Valley community for helping to make the new high school into a reality.
“Many people contributed to the success of the school, and many businesses and organizations reached into their pockets.”
In closing, Johnson said, “The events in our lives shape us. The choices in our lives define us.”
Prior to Saturday’s bash, alumni came together for the annual homecoming football game against a tough Trona High School team followed by a mixer and comedy show at the Holiday Inn. Oyadomari, who began working on the Epic Reunion project more than a year ago, was very grateful for the many teachers and staff who attended the event and for the sponsors who helped make it all possible.
(Photos by Peter Day)
The Lucerne Valley High School Epic Reunion was organized by longtime middle school teacher Naomi Oyadomari, left, and Class of 2006 graduate Ariana Barajas, right.
Longtime coach and teacher Earl Johnson, left, is joined by current LVHS Principal Nate Lambdin.
The first members of the Lucerne Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame were inducted during Saturday’s reunion event at the Holiday Inn in Victorville. They are from left, Stephen Warnock (Class of 2003, Baseball), Amanda Nichols (Class of 2006, Volleyball), Scott Hert (Class of 2004, Wrestler), and Earl Johnson (30-year district and high school coach and teacher).
Numerous photos and memorabilia were on display at the Epic Reunion on Saturday night.