An important milestone in the history of Van Nuys High School

Van Nuys High School officially opened its International Academy, one of just three in the LAUSD district.

At 9:30 a.m. on April 11, a small ceremony was held in front of the International Building to officially celebrate the opening of the school’s International Academy. This international academy is one of just three in LAUSD.

According to Assistant Principal and Bilingual Coordinator Ms. Chris Philips, the academy is catered to help students who have immigrated to the United States of America and have not previously attended a school in the country.

The ceremony began with teachers and students of the academy walking in and taking pictures on the red carpet that had been laid out for them.

Shortly after their entrance Principal Lourdes De Santiago made her opening remarks saying how today’s opening was a momentous occasion for Van Nuys High School.

“This is an important milestone in the history of Van Nuys High School,” Principal Sanitago said. “This has been an opportunity to value the assets of our multilingual learners and everything they have to bring to our community.”

After the principal’s remarks, guest speakers Lydia Acosta Stephens, Scott Schmerelson, Margret Kim and the Director of the International Network Association, Dr. Claire E. Sylvan, gave short speeches.

LAUSD superintendent Alberto Carvalho was unable to attend and give a speech at the ceremony, but sent his best regards.

The speakers gave words of encouragement to the students of the academy as well as praise for those who helped to make the opening of the International Academy possible, such as teachers and administrators.

Margret Kim, one of the guest speakers and the administrator of instruction, was an immigrant herself who moved to America when she was 14 years old, and she had to navigate highschool on her own. 

Kim shared her overwhelming joy at the academy’s opening and how it will be able to help newcomer students.

“They (the academy students) won’t have to go through what I went through. Although the teachers I had were amazing, I had to struggle by myself,” Kim said.

Following the speeches made by the speakers, select students from the academy were chosen to share their stories about how they came to the USA, how they adjusted and how being at Van Nuys High School and how the International Academy has helped them through the process.