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Lejeune High School, the premier institution for students in the ninth through twelfth grade who live aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, has an outstanding track record of both academic and athletic achievements in the past few years. Due to difficulties with the transient community of the military, LHS and base officials are making an extra effort to support one another.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

Good things going on at Lejeune High

4 Nov 2010 | Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune community has been working alongside Lejeune High School to ensure its young men and women are ‘good to go’ when it comes to education. In return, LHS has been using the support of the base and its families to provide the best education and athletic opportunities possible.

Recent years at LHS are evidence that the students who go through those halls are taking advantage of their resources.

“Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a close-knit community made up of not just active-duty service members but thousands of families as well," said Julie Fulton, school liaison officer with the base. “Education is perhaps one of the most important concerns for our families.”

Fulton added that the base is very fortunate to have Camp Lejeune dependents’ schools serving the children. Since the base community is a transient one, an extra effort has been put forth to support the schools.

“We can work together to improve areas where there are concerns, but we should work just as hard to celebrate the truly amazing things going on in our schools,” said Fulton.  “We are actually extremely fortunate to have the quality people and programs found here at Camp Lejeune dependents’ schools.”

According to the 2010-2011 Lejeune High School profile, LHS is a four-year federal school operated by the Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools, which is one of two branches of the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The school serves an average enrollment of 450 students, all of which are military dependents who live in base housing.

Eric Steimel, principal of LHS, gave a presentation on 'Good Things Happening at Lejeune High School,' during the Camp Lejeune Dependents Schools Board Meeting, Oct. 21.

“We have a renewed sense of purpose and a renewed sense of mission,” said Steimel. “The teachers here have a very deep understanding of their role and what they do for the kids in the community. They’re very committed to it. As a principal, it’s been a matter of verifying and redefining those roles and empowering teachers to be successful. (Success) has always been there.”

Some of the information during his presentation stated that not only has the high school been excelling at scholastic achievements, LHS has excelled in sports efforts as well.

Students at Lejeune High can also currently boast an average critical reading and math score of 1041 on the SATs, which is above the national average. Also, during the past five years, 75 percent of Lejeune's graduates have continued their education immediately after high school. About 45 percent of the graduated have enrolled in four year baccalaureate programs.

In addition, other base organizations such as the Exceptional Family Member Program are working closely with the high school to ensure both students and parents are aided in their efforts to be successful additions to the community.

LHS also has a series of ‘career pathways’ for students’ preparation for educational and occupation opportunities. The career pathways are set in place to help students focus on whatever it is they want to do after they graduate.

There are also four honors courses and 13 advanced placement courses available for students who are willing to face the challenges of a more accelerated academic program.

Judy Lopez, recreation assistant with the Tarawa Terrace Community Center, said her son, Bo, a student at the high school, is involved in an internship as part of his academic advancement.

“It shows the kids what it is like in a career field,” said Lopez. “It even helps them make a career choice.”

Lopez added that her older son took a career (workshop) last year and it changed his career plan, as well as helped him figure out what he wanted to do. Her son now attends East Carolina University.

“The high school has a lot of good classes and extracurricular activities,” said Lopez. “LHS has high standards for its students.”

More than 25 colleges in North Carolina have accepted students from the graduating class of 2010, the majority of which decided to attend. Some of the colleges include Coastal Carolina Community College, East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Part of their success is due to the fact that students can choose a path of interest, which basically guides them into courses that would best suit the career path they desire. With that, students begin to understand the important of their core academic courses.

“When a student has met the requirements of a career pathway, students will receive an endorsement or certification on the bottom of their high school transcript,” according to the ‘Devilpup’s Bulletin’ for school years 2010 and 2011.

On the athletic spectrum, the LHS cross country team has improved their individual running times as well as placements at each meet. The men’s team came in second overall at the last 1A Coastal Plains Conference meet, which was held at Southwest High school; Kyle Johnson placed 4th, Alex Galloway 7th, John Townsell 8th, John Garcia 11th and Nick Ciaccio 12th.

The Lady Devilpups came in first at every meet this season, with McKenzie Hallstrom placing 1st, Andrea Roca 2nd, Tayler Snipes 3rd, Marissa Price 4th, Katherine Ross-Patrick 5th and Amber Dial 10th.

Price was also one of 543 students selected as an outstanding writer by the National Council of Teachers of English for 2010. There were more than 1,600 nominees from all 50 states, but Price demonstrated the best writing ability in an impromptu essay and a sample of her own writing.

Steimel added that a key part in the schooling process is school improvement. The school systems typically work directly with their accreditation agency, AdvancED, to make sure the school stays certified maintains certification and exceeds basic requirements. LHS aims to go beyond that.

“I think the mission for us is to continue to fully engage and participate in school improvement to ensure that we have high quality instruction and programs for our students,” said Steimel.

Fulton said that when Marines and sailors know that their children are receiving the best possible care and education, they are free to focus on the mission at hand.

“A strong partnership between the base and the school system can ensure we understand each other's needs and challenges, and that we can work together to support the educational, emotional, and social needs of the military children aboard Camp Lejeune,” said Fulton.

For more information about Lejeune High School, call 451-2451