2017-06-15 / Schools

CVHS seniors will be last graduates at Timber School site

By Dawn Megli-Thuna


NEW—Before it was Conejo Valley High School, the buildings at 1872 Newbury Road were home to Timber School. In all, the land has been used for public education since the 1890s. That ended Tuesday. 
ACORN FILE PHOTO NEW—Before it was Conejo Valley High School, the buildings at 1872 Newbury Road were home to Timber School. In all, the land has been used for public education since the 1890s. That ended Tuesday. ACORN FILE PHOTO Conejo Valley High School’s Class of 2017 will forever be part of Thousand Oaks history.

The 57 students of the senior class will be the last to graduate from the campus on Newbury Road.

The 2-acre site bordering the 101 Freeway, historically known as Timber School, has been used for public education since 1889 when it became the site of the Conejo Valley’s first school.

Since it was sold to a developer in 2015, students have lived in limbo as district officials cycled through a series of possible new locations before deciding to move the continuation school to district offices on Janss Road.

The move is expected to be complete by August.

Art teacher Lee Svoboda said the students handled the situation with grace.

“This select group of students learned that they can achieve anything with perseverance, hard work and determination,” he said.

“They not only saved our school from being potentially dissolved but learned how to stand up for themselves and for the future of others in a respectful and meaningful way.”

Counselor Catherine Kanney said that in spite of the uncertainty over the school’s location, the graduates rose to the occasion and made sure their voices were heard.

“They remained cohesive and positive as a whole, in the face of controversy surrounding the move of CVHS,” she said. “Even though they themselves would not be affected by the impending move, they rallied, organized the school community and even spoke at a school board meeting to voice their concerns about it.”

CVHS students didn’t let the controversy detract from their studies. Seven juniors are graduating a year early, due to being able to complete credits at a quick pace.

Office manager Dawn Stines said that for many of her students, high school wasn’t a painless experience and they deserve recognition for finishing their education in the face of personal difficulty.

“Our kids overcome so much to graduate,” she said. “They’re the ones who pumped it out. We’re so proud of them.”

One hurdle CVHS students have to overcome is transportation. Without a parent to drive them or a car of their own, many students have to walk miles to the Newbury Park campus.

So Pete Martinez, a teen outreach specialist with the Conejo Recreation and Park District, launched his Bikes for Teens program, collecting donated bikes for students in order to give them an easier way to get to school every day.

Principal Martin Manzer said donations like this may seem small to the community at large, but to teens struggling to get to school, they make a world of difference.

“It impacts their motivation,” he said. “To know someone out there cares, that’s huge.”

Manzer said he’d like the entire community to celebrate the final class to graduate at the Timber School site.

He invited the public to the graduation ceremony.

“With this graduation being the last one ever here, I’d like to recognize this campus and what it has meant,” he said.

“It’s our chance to say goodbye to Timber School.”

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