If I were to ask you to give me the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “Lehman” what would it be? For many in the greater Hays community, the answer is pejorative. The sad, unfortunate (and incorrect) lie perpetuated is that Lehman is a “bad” school. If this is the thought that went through your head, I want you to ask yourself why.
Those same individuals that had a negative thought, when asked to explain why, often start by saying “well I heard …” They hear there’s a lot of fights, they hear there are gangs, they hear there’s a lot of drug use. As someone who has the pleasure of walking these halls on a daily basis, I can assure you the hearsay does not match the reality. Lehman is an exceptional school.
Lehman is home to some of the finest young men and women central Texas has to offer. I see more handshakes and high fives than fights; I see more study groups than gangs and I see more extracurricular practice than drug use. I don’t hear words of hate and aggression when I walk the halls, I hear laughter and amusement. I don’t see apathy or closemindedness in our students, I see acceptance and enthusiasm. I wonder if those in the community who choose to hear negative things ever hear about the success of our programs and the accomplishments of our students. We have programs that have received state and national recognition, led by students with incredible talent. We have students attending Ivy League and Tier 1 colleges and universities. Our Class of 2019 was awarded over $5 million in scholarship awards this year. Thousands of hours in community service were logged by Lehman students this year. These are mere drops in the bucket of what this school has to offer.
In my class, I stress civic engagement and giving back to the community. I believe that it truly takes a village to raise a child, and the village in turn benefits from the success of its children. One of the first stigmas I have to work with them to overcome is that this community doesn’t care about them. It is only after breaking this can I get them to care about their community. I put in work, as do my students. I am now calling on the community, as I do myself and my students, to do better. I invite all of my fellow Kyle community members to take a more active role in YOUR high school. There are opportunities to become a part of the PACK. Your vested interest in the future of Kyle, will undoubtedly help our Lobos take a vested interest in their own future. The more you endear yourself to our school, the more you will realize the wonderful institution worthy of praise and involvement – full of children worthy and deserving of the same.
While my time at Lehman is coming to an end, yours can be just beginning. This community deserves to embody the core principles of its high school – Integrity, Wisdom and Pride. There is no time like the present to ensure that together, as students, teachers, parents, residents and, most of all, a village, we raise the next generation in an enthusiastic, encouraging, safe environment. Love your fellow Lobos, and Love Your Lehman!
David Abdelmaseih is a U.S. history teacher at Lehman High School.