LYONS— The rhythmic strains of “The Swingin’ Shepherd Blues” and “The Land of Make Believe” wafted through the Lyons Middle/Senior High School auditorium Tuesday evening as the school’s jazz band kicked off the 30th anniversary celebration and fine arts festival.
The performers, dressed in cowboy hats, jeans and plaid shirts as part of the festival’s theme, “Return to the Wild, Wild West,” had the crowd tapping toes and nodding heads as if they were sitting in a cozy little jazz club.
School district officials, St. Vrain Valley Board of Education members and town dignitaries joined the school in, not only celebrating its academic excellence, but the partnerships between the town of Lyons and the St. Vrain Valley School District that made it possible for the current school to be built and upgraded a couple of times during the past 30 years.
LaVern Johnson, a member of the Lyons Board of Trustees, told the parents, teachers, students and community members assembled at the school that the town of Lyons fought for a school beginning in 1940. Only by being proactive and standing together as a community did the people of Lyons achieve their dream, a high school of their own, she said.
The school was paid for through the school district’s 1970 construction bond, and ground was broken in February 1974. The school was dedicated on Feb. 16, 1975.
“I have been here 16 of the school’s 30 years,” said principal Mark Mills, “and what I have seen is the town always felt it had to fight for a school.”
Once the school was built, however, a tremendous partnership formed between the town and the school district, he said.
The school received upgrades and additions through three separate bond renovations, which “made it a brand new school,” he said.
Walking through the hallways at Lyons Middle/Senior, you would never guess the school was 30 years old. It is clean and neat. The brickwork looks brand new.
“It’s a testimonial to the custodial staff and administration that this building looks much newer,” said school board president Sandi Searls.
Parents and community members, many who were not in Lyons when the town fought for a school, see the building as a big part of what makes the town a town.
There is a “small-town atmosphere, where you’ve known your friends your whole life,” parent Joe Mikoni said. “When you have larger cities and towns, you don’t get that wonderful, close-knit feeling.”
Mikoni’s daughter, Nicole, 14, said the school is “really fun. We have some crazy people here that make my day interesting.”
She added, with her mother Anne’s prompting, that the “teachers are nice and let you have fun.”
Mikoni said he likes the school because parents can have “more of a partnership with teachers. It is not so big you can’t sit down and talk to them,” he said.
Anne Mikoni added that the people of Lyons “fought really hard to get a school here, and we appreciate it.”
As part of the celebration, Mills, Johnson, Lyons Mayor Tim Kyer and district superintendent Randy Zila spoke.
The school’s show choir and high school drum line performed and students throughout the school displayed the art projects they had completed during the year.
Even if attendees didn’t realize the significance of the school’s anniversary, they enjoyed the entertainment.
Paula Aven Gladych can be reached
at 303-684-5211, or by e-mail