The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 24, 2012

Rapose finds first year as principal at Lakeside challenging but rewarding

For the Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The 2011-2012 school-year has seen many new faces this year, but the most prominent should be familiar to everyone. Donald Rapose has faced many challenges in his first year as principal of Lakeside High School, but he has always pulled through with the help of students and faculty and he plans to bring all sorts of positive changes in the future. He describes his first year as both “interesting” and “challenging.”

Mr. Rapose began the year with two major goals. The first was to improve attendance among students, which has more or less succeeded. Within the first few months of the year, the school was meeting state requirements. The attendance has fallen a little bit behind since then, but Mr. Rapose is hopeful that this will change soon. The second of these goals was to promote school pride.

“School is serious,” said Mr. Rapose, “but you have to look forward to it, too.”

With this in mind, he has tried, along with the rest of the staff, to make Lakeside a “safe, inviting place.” A perfect example of all this hard work was this year’s Class Tournaments, a Lakeside tradition in which the four classes (and the teachers) compete against each other in a series of events that range from dodgeball, to relay races, to eating contests! This year saw a massive turnout from the student population; each proudly dressed in their class theme: “Summer” for freshmen, the “’80s” for sophomores, “Grease” for juniors and “Superheroes” for seniors. The gymnasium was completely filled with excited students full of school spirit.

The Drive for Success program addressed Mr. Rapose’s goal of increased academic performance and attendance. During the school year, students were able to earn tickets that were entered into a drawing to win a car that was generously donated by Skufca Auto. On May 11, 10 names were drawn out of a bin that contained thousands of entries. The 10 students included Joey DeLeon, Travis Colter, Sarah McKinney, Lauren Lincoln, Collette Goodson, Naomi Maldonado, Jacob Zannelli, Shy’Questa Pollard, John McCormack and Eli Kalil. Each student chose an envelope that contained a key. The student population waited breathlessly as each contestant tried their key into the ignition. Senior Sarah McKinney proved to be the lucky winner.

When asked about his greatest challenge, Mr. Rapose quickly answered: time management.

“I tried to solve everyone’s problems at once, but it’s hard to spread around what little time there is in the day,” he said.

He believes his greatest accomplishment is yet to come because we still have a chance at reaching the state’s attendance requirement, and Lakeside’s Ohio Graduation Test scores are on the road to improving greatly.

And what is the most rewarding aspect of the job? “The job in general,” he said.

Mr. Rapose has made it more than clear that he hopes to be a positive influence, and that he loves working with the students to help them make good decisions for their futures. The faculty and staff at Lakeside have also taken note of this.

“He’s proven to be a good leader and has a great relationship with the students and parents,” said Steve Evanson, one of the guidance counselors, “All in all, a really positive influence.”