San Antonio to go solar—build unity with new student store

How do you start a revolution? Sometimes the best way is to start small.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, San Antonio High School student representative Mindy Hansen—whose job is to report on the doings of several Claremont schools—shared that the local continuation school is going green in a big way.

San Antonio High School (SAHS), she said, is in the midst of creating a solar-powered student store. Thanks to a three-by-four-foot panel to be installed on its roof, the structure will be illuminated entirely via sunlight.

The store will measure roughly 13 feet by 10 feet and have two windows where students will be able to buy snacks and San Antonio High School merchandise. Proceeds will help fund the school’s student government.  

The 35 students in Bruce Pardee’s two ROP construction classes are constructing it. The teens are doing it all, from designing to framing to finishing. The $2,000 budget for the project, half of which was used to purchase the solar panel, comes courtesy of a Lefler Grant SAHS obtained with the help of Claremont Rotary.

“The proposal we wrote was construction of the future as opposed to construction of the past,” San Antonio Principal Sean Delgado said, adding that special thanks go to Rotary member Chuck Carpenter for reaching out to the school.

Mr. Delgado, who said the store is about 75 percent completed, is excited about the many learning opportunities the project provides.

The students building the store are learning to work with green technology along with mastering construction techniques. The students who staff the store will learn crucial workplace sales skills like using a cash register and tallying up the daily take.

Mr. Delgado loves the prospect of having school-themed merchandise such as San Antonio apparel for sale. He has made a point of trying to foster a strong sense of school spirit since his arrival at the school last year, reviving ASB and encouraging the students to select a new mascot. This year, the 26 members of the SAHS student government took the initiative to create T-shirts and sweatshirts.

“It’s amazing to look across your campus and see everyone wearing school merchandise with your logo on it,” Mr. Delgado said. “They wear it with pride.”

The plan is to create more such items so that each of the school’s 110 students can let everyone know that they are happy to be San Antonio Lions. Merchandise touting the school’s various clubs or a graduating class may also be provided.

“Whatever builds that sense of identity for the kids, I want to encourage that,” Mr. Delgado emphasized.

He calls the project a win-win for everyone.

“The students get a student store at minimal cost. And the construction students have a meaningful project they can build to contribute to the school as a whole,” Mr. Delgado said.

The students have been fascinated with the solar aspect of the construction, Mr. Delgado said.

“I remember watching the kids taking the panel out of its packaging and putting it in the sun to see how much energy it absorbed,” he said. “Then they stood in front of it and cast a shadow to see how much that amount went down.”

As the student store—another tool to unify SAHS students into a pride of Liones—prepares to open, it is likely that the school’s 33 graduating seniors are feeling that traditional mix of school spirit and “senioritis.” They will join Claremont High School students for upcoming graduation, set for June 12 on the CHS football field.

—Sarah Torribio


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