“Sixty percent of our service members live off base. We’re truly grateful for Clover Park School District and our relationship with them.”
Col. Nicole Lucas
Joint Base Lewis-McChord garrison commander
LAKEWOOD — The history of the Clover Park School District was a big part of the district’s 90th anniversary celebration at Harrison Preparatory School Tuesday night. Speeches from local dignitaries and current and former Clover Park School District students also held the attention of the few hundred people in the crowd.
Among the dignitaries speaking was Col. Nicole Lucas, Joint Base Lewis-McChord garrison commander. Lucas spoke of her appreciation for the district, where her three sons attend school, and of the strong relationship between JBLM and CPSD.
“Sixty percent of our service members live off base,” she said. “We’re truly grateful for Clover Park School District and our relationship with them.”
She praised the district and JBLM’s relationship that resulted in the completion last year of Evergreen Elementary School on Lewis Main, the sixth new or renovated school on the installation in recent years, thanks to Clover Park’s work with the state and legislature to provide funding for those projects.
In addition to students learning at Clover Park schools on base, many more military children benefit from Clover Park schools in the community, she said. One of those military children is Cassidy Barnes, who spoke at the celebration.
“Good evening. My name is Cassidy Barnes, and I am a senior here at Harrison Preparatory School,” Barnes said, adding her own story of growing up on JBLM when her dad, Darrell Bradford, an Army veteran, was stationed on the installation.
The youth attended first-grade at Beachwood Elementary School.
“As a 7-year-old, I was having the time of my life,” she said.
She tested well in the fourth-grade and was placed in the gifted programs at the old Clarkmoor School on Lewis Main.
“Under our teacher, Mrs. Fowler, I learned to start embracing culture, questioning everything and accepting any challenges that came toward me,” she said. “I will forever appreciate this class as it was what set me on the path I am (on) today.”
Barnes continued to take advantage of opportunities at her disposal as a student in the district, including placement into high school math as a middle school student, involvement in a school leadership program, National Honor Society and Key Club.
“I tell you this story not to increase my ego, but to give an example (of) how the Clover Park School District excels in the creation of promising futures for their students,” she said.
Other speakers at the event were Jake Mills, a Lakes High School senior who is a fourth generation Clover Park School District student, and Isaiah Huey, a Clover Park High School graduate who is currently a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran University.
“CPSD runs in my blood,” Mills said.
His mother is a teacher at Hudtloff Middle School, and his father is a special education supervisor for the district.
“CPSD has helped build my family’s history and my own future,” he said. “What I want for the city of Lakewood, my home, is another 90 years of excellence.”
Huey also praised the district for giving him what he termed “a sense of community.”
“I am 100 percent sure I would not be who I am today or where I am today, studying history and theater on a full-need scholarship with the hope to become a teacher in the Lakewood community, if it weren’t for the mentorship I received at Clover Park,” Huey said.
Becky Huber, of the Lakewood Historical Society, provided a history of the district, beginning with the dedication of Iva Alice Mann, who is credited with almost single-handedly founding the Clover Park School District in 1928 and fighting for a high school in the district.