Chaparral Middle School hosted a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the school’s new Science and Design-Based Learning Buildings on Monday. The event included a special dedication in memory of teacher Leslie A. Stoltz.
The Chaparral school community including current and former staff members, students and parents, district and local officials attended the milestone event.
Principal Ron Thibodeaux welcomed and thanked the Chaparral learning community and guests for their attendance.
“Certainly modernization of this campus couldn’t happen without your generosity and support – we appreciate it greatly,” he said.
Chaparral students are now learning in a brand new 14-classroom science wing. Staff will now be able to easily incorporate labs and design challenges into day-to-day instruction. The new building also facilitates higher level thinking in accordance with the hands-on learning objectives that are prevalent in Design-Based Learning (DBL) and Science classrooms, and are in accordance with STEM philosophies.
“I could not be more proud of these Science and Design-Based classrooms and paw-shaped quad. It’s a beautiful setting for student learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
“It’s important to remember that we’re here today because our community voted on Measures S & Y and this gave us the opportunity to build this beautiful facility,” said Board President Helen Hall
Board Vice President Nancy Lyons shared that a parent inquired about dedicating the new DBL Building to Leslie Stoltz. And after doing some research with former students and staff, she learned of Leslie’s impact at Chaparral.
Leslie taught at Chaparral from 1993-2007 and was instrumental in developing the innovative DBL program at the Diamond Bar school.
Lyons said received several letters including one from former Principal Jan Keating who shared “I have never known any teacher who worked harder than Leslie Stoltz. She was truly the finest teacher I have ever known.”
The permanent engraved bronze dedication plaque was installed directly under a lamppost on front of the DBL Building.
“I chose this place so that Leslie’s light would always shine here,” Thibodeaux said.
Retired Counselor Sheri McClain spoke on behalf of former Principal Jan Keating during ceremony. She shared many of Leslie’s remarkable accomplishments.
“But Leslie would be the first to tell you that all this was motivated by her community, her community of students, her fellow Chaparral teachers, her mentor, administrators who trusted and believed in her, her friends who loved her, and most importantly her family who knew their daughter was destined to strive for the best,” she said.
“I am so pleased that Leslie’s legacy will live on and we will have a permanent reminder of a teacher who inspired all of us to challenge ourselves even more on behalf of our students,” Keating added.
“I remember when she (Leslie) walked into my room and asked me about joining DBL. I have never felt so honored nor so over my head in all my life,” shared Chaparral Science Teacher and 2013 District Teacher of the Year Maggie Strand.
‘The door Leslie opened for me changed me profoundly personally and spiritually. She was tenacious, funny, giggly, passionate driven and inspiring,” Strand said.
“Good friends are hard to find, having a good mentor is something you are blessed with. There are a lot of us who had a good friend and great mentor in Leslie,” said Jennifer La Certe, who is now a DBL teacher at Walnut High School.
Chaparral’s Science and DBL Parent Night followed the ceremony held at 4:45 p.m. and
guests were invited to tour the new classrooms.
The Chaparral Electric Orchestra and Wind Ensemble
under the direction of Greg Rochford and Leslie Schoerlucke provided
entertainment during the reception.