Lake High School positive about move to OwensWritten by Mary Petrides | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake High School’s move to Owens doesn’t come without problems.
“There’s no protocol on how you deal with a tornado ruining one of your schools,” superintendent Jim Witt said at a June 16 news conference that announced the move to Owens. “If they had that class in grad school, I missed it.”
There’s no cafeteria in the Owens building. And school officials aren’t sure where athletes will play yet.
Owens’ classes, computers, lab equipment and furniture will also have to move to another building about 3 miles away.
But school officials, students and alumni still reeling from the June 5 tornado are confident the high school will only grow stronger.
They are also thankful to Owens for donating the use of the college’s Center for Development and Training building, which is located on Tracy Road in Northwood.
“We are not going to lower our expectations,” Witt said.
Owens’ 53,500 square-foot Center for Development and Training building, which houses some Workforce and Community Services and Skilled Trades Technologies educational courses, features 10 classrooms, three computer laboratories, 34 offices, two reception areas and 12 experiential learning laboratories, according to a news release.
“We’re all one Lake family,” said Chris Pennington, who will be a senior at Lake in the fall. “We’re here now. Nothing can stop us.”
The tornado, which struck June 5, killed Ted Kranz, the father of the Lake High School valedictorian; Bailey Bowman, 2008 Lake graduate; Kathleen Hammitt of Woodville; and Ryan, Mary and Hayden Walters of Millbury. Graduation, originally scheduled for June 6, took place June 8 at Owens Community College.
“You look at the institution as something permanent, and something solid, a solid foundation in the community,” said Robert Densic, a 1985 graduate. “To see it gone just puts into play in your mind the strength of Mother Nature. No matter what kind of monument man builds, God can take it down.”
Densic said he’s spoken with other Lake alumni about starting an alumni fund to restore memorabilia.
“Walls and roofs and structures can be replaced, but when you start looking at some of the photographs, the banners, the plaques, the trophies — those have some story behind them,” he said. “You’ll see alumni of all years stand up and … restore what we can, and keep it safe until Lake High stands again and we can put it where it belongs.”
There aren’t any definite plans yet, Densic said, but he plans to propose the idea at the class’s 25th anniversary reunion, scheduled for July 10.
The tornado hasn’t affected plans for the reunion, said organizer Maria Smithers. She hadn’t planned for the reunion to be at the high school, but was looking for a reasonably priced venue that could serve alcohol —something not allowed in a public school, she said.
Densic isn’t the only one hoping to help the school. Elizabeth Urbanowski, a former Lake student, nominated the high school for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Shortly afterward, she and a friend created a Facebook page, which more than 12,800 people now “like.”
Urbanowski said she has been asked why she didn’t nominate a family whose home was destroyed.
“There are so many different families. How can I pick one? I wanted to do something that would benefit the entire community,” she said.
Urbanowski said she was a third-generation student at Lake, and she hopes her children can attend the high school as well.
She lives in El Paso, Texas, but plans to move back this fall.
Overall, the response to the move has been positive.
“Will it be a change for those of us who remember the old high school?” Smithers said. “Absolutely. We can’t look into the past; we have to look forward, and that’s going to be the students at Lake High School.”