By Gladys B. Vargas

Oxnard Mayor John Zaragoza and other Oxnard and Port Hueneme city officials joined the Union High District School Board, students and families as they gathered Thursday, September 14, to celebrate the newly opened Del Sol High School.

“We are delighted and very happy to open this school in our community,” Del Sol Principal, Doctor Terri Léon, said to VIDA Newspaper at the ceremony Sept. 14.

In his remarks, Superintendent Tom McCoy said: “We stand here today due to the efforts of literally hundreds and hundreds of people who over the last eight years put their heart and soul into creating this beautiful school to support the amazing students and families in La Colonia, Rose Park, Lemonwood and the East Village.”

McCoy and Oxnard Union District Board President Karen Sher both emphasized details of the construction, including the use of about 70 percent local labor.

“Del Sol High School has been loved from the inside out and all around,” Sher said, smiling. “And we are proud to be union strong,” she said.

The superintendent welcomed and thanked many for their help with the school, including Mayor Zaragoza, who was present, and the offices of California State Senator Monique Limón and Assembly Member Jacki Irwin. Also thanked were Port Hueneme city council members Steven Gama, and Martha McQueen Leghon, as well as Ventura Deputy Mayor Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios, and two members of the Ventura County Board of Education, Arlie Kidd and Ramon Flores.

Students led many elements of the ceremony, including the pledge of allegiance, performing the national anthem, and a land acknowledgement, which was followed by a Chumash prayer from tribal elder and educator Alan Salazar.

The Del Sol student mariachi band also played and sang, and the school’s cheerleading squad performed a gymnastic routine. Football players arrived at the ceremony in uniforms featuring a jaguar, Del Sol’s mascot.

Adriana Ramirez is the mother of one of 470 freshmen at Del Sol. Her daughter is also one of the cheerleaders in the squad, who also welcomed guests at the entrance to the ceremony with pom-poms. Ramirez said her daughter is having a good time so far, and is enjoying the open campus. Even though she is usually “very, very very shy,” “she’s really happy” about being a cheerleader. “I’m excited for her,” Ramirez said.

“What we’ve learned over the eight years creating Del Sol High School is what we teach students every day,” McCoy said in closing. “It doesn’t take one of us,” McCoy said, “it takes all of us.”