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New Principal Joe Garza Discusses Challenges for LPHS Students at Lone Pine Chamber Installation Mixer

Joe Garza, the new principal of Lone Pine High School was introduced to the citizens of Lone Pine Wednesday night. The Lone Pine Chamber Board of Directors were additionally installed at the same meeting.

Key members of the Lone Pine community, including Kathleen New and Jacque Hickman initiated the proceedings, with Principal Joe Garza being asked what he felt was the most important issue facing students of Lone Pine High School.

“I want my kids fully involved in the community and being active.” Garza said to attendees. “We have allowed our kids to be raised by television and the internet instead of by strong parenting. The responsibility relies on us to be more involved in our children’s lives.”

Garza went on to discuss the importance of unity when it comes to the community saying, “Bridges need to be mended in our town. Issues have been neglected with different sectors of the community who are in disputes. What we need is for the hospital [Southern Inyo Hospital], the chamber [Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce], everyone to come together for the collective good.”

When asked if there was anything that Garza needed assistance with, he discussed problems with the school’s library. “We have a library, nobody uses it and nobody check out books. Kids still read, but it isn’t the way we read. There are tons of interactive resources we have that are going to waste.” Garza expressed how serious he takes the issue of an empty library. “I will be there every day at lunch, encouraging kids to visit. We have air hockey tables, video games, and other things for the students to enjoy.”

Although Garza is doing his best to get students visit the library, he said that he cannot do it alone. “Labor contracts will not allow me to be in the library after school from three to four in the afternoon. I need somebody there to help me and help these kids. We need to get involved and help these students have positive experiences. I need volunteers Monday through Friday in the library.”

Garza was not the only point of focus during the event Wednesday night. The Lone Pine Chamber introduced their not-so-new Board of Directors. All members on the board had previously served on the Lone Pine Chamber Board. The list is as follows:

David Blacker – Death Valley Historical Association – Chairman

Chris Ellis – Coso Operating Co. – Vice Chairman

Bette Sisson – retired – Treasurer

Kathi Hall – Mt. Whitney Restaurant – Secretary

Loretta Dorame – Director

Chris Kostman – Adventure Corp – Director

Kurt Pauer – retired – Director

Valerie Diggs – Alta One Credit Union – Director

Billy Swaim – Dow Villa – Director

Boulder Creek RV Resort owner, Jaque Hickman welcomed the board members, saying that the Lone Pine Board of Directors are an example to all of us when it comes to service in the community.

“We should attend our government and community meetings.” Hickman expressed. “You can get a sense of how things are going in the community if you attend these events. If you disagree with things that are happening around you, it is important to get moving and do it yourself in order to foster meaningful change.”