LAHS Memorial Garden Commemorates the Lives of Students

The LAHS NJROTC present the colors at the Dec. 20 LAHS Memorial Garden dedication. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

A ribbon is cut Thursday, Dec. 20 to dedicate the Los Alamos High School Memorial Garden. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

By Bonnie J. Gordon

The Los Alamos High School Memorial Garden was dedicated on Thursday, Dec. 20. The Rotary Club of Los Alamos, under the direction of member Skip King, spearheaded the design and development of the Memorial Garden.

The garden commemorates the lives of students who passed away while attending Los Alamos High School. This spring, it will bloom with hundreds of daffodils and tulips planted by Rotary Club members.

The project comprised three years of fundraising and preparation, said Rotary Club President Linda Hull. It was originally suggested by Los Alamos School Superintendant Gene Schmidt as a way for Rotary to contribute to the schools and the community, Hull said.

Superintendent Schmidt expressed his hope that, “this will become a gathering place for students and for families who have lost a loved one.” He thanked the Rotary Club of Los Alamos for making the Memorial Garden a reality.

“It was always our hope that no more names would be added to this garden and that no more immeasurable losses would find rest here, but this was not to be,” said Hull in her remarks at the dedication. “We now mourn the tragic loss of freshman Nicholas Trujillo-Arencon – another unbearable reminder of life’s delicate and fragile nature.”

The ribbon was cut by Cassidy Reeves of the LAHS Student Council and family members of the students whose lives are commemorated by the Memorial Garden.

Students whose names appear on plaques on the stone centerpiece of the garden include: Amanda Ferm, Michael Haskins, Erin Wood, Elizabeth Ladino, Karen Castononon, Rick Martinez and Nikolas Ventura-Arencon.

Those who know of other names that should be included on the memorial are asked to contact the LAPS district office.

LAHS Principal Sandy Warnock accepted the garden on behalf of the school. She expressed her delight that the appearance of the landscape completed the overall building project and how the Memorial Garden added to the beauty of the school.

LAHS Student Council Vice President Cassidy Reeves expressed how she and other students often times view themselves as invincible but this garden will always serve as a reminder that life is precious.  Additionally, she looks forward to walking the garden in the spring when the flowers are in bloom.

LAPS School Board member Judy Bjarke-McKenzie graduated from Los Alamos High School. She thanked the Rotary Club of Los Alamos for “the wonderful gift to the families and students. By blending the landscape and buildings, the grounds have become a lovely place.

Former school board member Joanie Ahlers who is the LAPS Project Manager expressed her appreciation to Los Alamos Rotary, FBT Architects, Los Alamos Landscaping & More, Oasis Landscaping, LAPS Maintenance Department and the Los Alamos community for passing the 2009 School Bond, which provided the funds for the high school remodel.

Many of the parents of the students whose names were listed on the wall attended Thursday’s Memorial Garden dedication and expressed their gratitude to the Rotary Club and the school district for remembering their children and providing a place to sit and reflect about their loved ones.

Los Alamos Rotary Club President Linda Hull. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt. Courtesy/LAPS

Los Alamos High School students who have lost their lives are remembered on the wall in the Memorial Garden. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/



LOS ALAMOS website support locally by OviNuppi Systems