Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) kicked off the 2022-23 school year with the grand opening of a brand new high school.
Kathleen MacDonald High School welcomed a class of more than 200 high school freshmen on Aug. 11.
“I’m pretty excited for him. He’s going to be the first graduating class, so I’m really excited for him. A little nervous, though,” said mom Samantha after dropping off her son for the first day of class.
There were some familiar faces on campus to greet the incoming Class of 2026. Teachers at MacDonald High came from schools across SCUSD, including the middle and elementary schools. Their presence offered a small sense of comfort for the new students.
Vice Principal Rick Hayashi greeted students as their parents dropped them off. He was just as excited as them to start the new school year.
“They’re nervous just like we all are because it’s a whole new school,” said Hayashi.
Principal Dr. Vivian Rhone-Lay was nearby, waving to cars as they pulled into the parking lot. Dr. Rhone-Lay and the school’s academic advisor tried to meet with each student individually before the start of the school year to shape the curriculum and make sure sports and extracurriculars met the needs of the student body.
“We built our master schedule around their needs and their interests,” said Dr. Rhone-Lay. “When we sat down with them, [we] asked them what specific sports they like to play, what clubs they liked to be involved in because our goal is to have every single student participate in at least one sport and/or club because we know that when students are excited to be at school, they learn more and then they have a much more enjoyable experience.”
While Aug. 11 was the first day of school, for many students, it was not their first time on campus. On Aug. 5, they attended orientation and toured the school. Students and parents are both excited about the new facilities.
“I think I like the amount of space. How it’s new technology and all that stuff,” said freshman Lauren. “It has a lot of new stuff, like the labs are cool. They have these windows where you can go out [and] there are testing rooms in the classrooms.”
“I’m excited. It’s a whole, brand new school. Modern, which is great,” said Lauren’s mom, Theresa. “It’s about time they had a school in this area…It’s something new. It’s always exciting.”
Other parents were also excited to have an SCUSD neighborhood school for their kids.
“I’m excited that there’s a school in the area that meets the kids’ needs,” said Elizabeth after dropping her son off for the first day. “I think it’s a state of the art campus. It’s beautiful. It’s clean. It’s new. It’s welcoming for the kids.”
“Today is just amazing to see all the hard work. This school is 15 years in the making. It’s just incredible,” said Dr. Rhone-Lay. “Our team is amazing. Our school community is amazing. We’re ready to rock and roll. Words can’t even describe how exciting today is for everyone really.”