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Lathrop High starts first senior class school year
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Lathrop High newcomers Carina Cabrera and Olga Clark wait to get their schedules ironed out during Monday’s first day of school. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT/ The Bulletin
LATHROP – It was about two years ago that Lathrop High first opened its doors to a student body consisting of 456 freshmen and sophomores.

With Dos Reis Road as the only access to the still-under-construction campus, they arrived here via bus or car. For students to walk or bike ride to the brand new school was deemed difficult to impossible.

Principal David Chamberlain recommended back then that every student take part in at least two activities – sports, clubs, music, performing arts, etc. – during their time at Lathrop High.

 “We’re still getting there,” he said Monday of the latter. “For every four classes students take we encourage they get involved in at least two activities.”

Lathrop High officially has 21 clubs and prep sports offered at varsity, sophomore and freshman levels.

The campus at the end of West Lathrop Road finally arrived this year as Manteca Unified’s fifth comprehensive high school.

During the first day back in school, Chamberlain claimed a “warm body count” of 1,070 students. That’s about 360 more than last year when Lathrop High accommodated three grade levels, freshmen through juniors.

Those juniors are today’s first-ever senior class at Lathrop High. They’re part of initiating many of the Spartan traditions.

While tradition calls for graduation to be held in the football stadium, Chamberlain is leaning for the first-ever commencement exercises to take place in the quad staging area.

He remembered it was here when the Class of 2011 was front and center when school assembled on that historic first day some two years earlier.

“Since it’s a small class (of 194 students) I’m hoping we can have graduation in the quad,” Chamberlain said.

He also received some administrative help with Bill Pinol on board as vice principal.

Chamberlain estimates that nearly half or about 500 students walk or bike to school.

Lathrop High has no buses going to and from campus with the exception of the ones for special education and the shuttle to the Regional Occupational Program site.

The school is in the “no bus zone” as established last year by the district. In this case, ninth-through-12th-grade students living inside 2.5 miles are required to walk or provide their own means of transportation to school.

Lathrop High, predictably, experienced some traffic woes along West Lathrop Road that morning of the first day of school.

Chamberlain estimates that it’ll take about week or so before traffic settles down along the drop off and pickup points in front of campus.

As for students, Corina Cabrera was a little nervous during the first day at her new school. “I really don’t know anyone here,” she said.

A junior, Cabrera is a recent transfer to the district. She grew up in south Stockton, attending elementary school at Stockton Unified’s Dolores Huerta followed by two years at Edison High.

Cabrera waited in the front office to iron out some kinks in her schedule alongside freshman Olga Clark, who is also a cheerleader.

In contrast, Clark, who is also a newcomer having attended Lathrop Elementary, was quick to settle into her new surroundings.

“A lot of my old friends are here,” she said.

Chamberlain believes that it won’t take too long before all of the newcomers become acclimated to Lathrop High.