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Samuel Clemens HS dedicates its new Culinary Arts classroom

Thirteen years ago, Amanda Tharp began her journey as a culinary arts teacher in an empty science room at Samuel Clemens High School. Through the years, she found a way to get the program to flourish at the aging campus in cramped facilities. Now, thanks to the 2016 Bond project, Tharp and her students now enjoy a new, modern and spacious facility.

It was formally dedicated in a small ceremony on September 9th, with past and current students in attendance to thank senior leaders and community members for making it happen. “The kids are excited,” Tharp said. “This makes it all worthwhile.”

The classroom/kitchen is located in the C wing, completed in time for the beginning of the school year. It contains five gas stoves, four reach-in refrigerator/freezers, a beverage bar for coffee and tea, a walk-in cooler and freezer, and new pots and pans, and a dishwasher, among other trappings. Students provided refreshments, including homemade cookies and cupcakes for the guests in attendance.

Tharp presented a plaque to Melissa Sosa, Clemens principal, thanking her and Dr. Greg Gibson, Superintendent of Schools, for their support for the program over the years. Sosa, visibly moved by the gesture, thanked Tharp and her students for being such a vital component in the school’s success.

“You go above and beyond,” she told Tharp before districts guests in attendance. “Not just for your students,” Sosa added, “…so that this campus shines.” Sosa also stressed that the new facility, along with the other additions and renovations at Samuel Clemens High School, have benefitted the student body. “Every students deserves a place to belong. This is your place.”

Dr. Damon Edwards, Deputy Superintendent; Dr. Brett Lemley, Director of Secondary Education; Cassandra Gracia, Director of Counseling; Amy Massey, Career and Technology Coordinator; and Amy Sirizzotti, Clemens associate principal; were among district senior leaders in the audience.

The $137 million bond referendum was approved by voters in November of 2016. In addition to the work at Clemens HS, the bond also included new campus construction to replace Rose Garden Elementary School (opened in 2018); HVAC replacement at Watts Elementary School, Jordan Intermediate School and Wilder Intermediate School; technology infrastructure upgrades and new school buses.

Priority 1 – All Graduates will be College and/or Career and/or Military Ready.






Culinary Arts

Plaque presentation



Walk-in cooler