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Final Beam Placed at Kathleen MacDonald High School

October 2021  

On October 7, we hosted a small celebration for a huge milestone in the construction of three new, modern schools for the children of Santa Clara Unified School District — the placement of the final steel beam on Kathleen MacDonald High School! 

The guest of honor at the event was Kathleen MacDonald, vice principal of Wilcox High School student activities, who the future-ready school was named after. For 58 years, Kathleen MacDonald has dedicated her life and career to the success of generations of our district's students. She was a business teacher before becoming vice principal of activities at Wilcox High School in 1995. She is an award-winning school administrator and has taught generations of student leaders. Kathleen received the 2000 PTSA Golden Oak Honorary Service Award, the 2005 District Administrator of the Year, and the 2018 PTSA Outstanding Administrator Award. Outside of school, her biggest love is Eastern Star, a fraternal organization providing donations for cancer research, high school scholarships, and assistance to cancer and heart patients. 

“Ms. MacDonald’s life and leadership provides a great example to students,” said Superintendent Dr. Stella M. Kemp. Referring to Ms. MacDonald’s years of building community at schools, Dr. Kemp noted, “It’s a pretty amazing coincidence that the final building in this project is in one of the buzzing community hubs of a high school campus — the stadium.” 

Superintendent Kemp expressed her appreciation to everyone involved in the process to open the new school including the construction team, MacDonald High School Founding Principal Dr. Vivian Rhone-Lay, and the joint instructional planning team who have been working hard behind the scenes. 

“For SCUSD, this is an opportunity for us to be innovative and forward-thinking as we create the teaching and learning environments that will help us achieve our community’s vision to graduate students who are resilient, future-ready, lifelong learners who think critically, solve problems collaboratively, and are prepared to thrive in a global society,” said Superintendent Kemp.

Principal Rhone-Lay shared with everyone her educational vision that she is building for teaching and learning at Kathleen MacDonald High School.

“MacDonald High School will be an educational ecosystem that will integrate design thinking to inspire creativity, empathy, and continual growth,” said Dr. Rhone-Lay. “Students will experience inquiry-based learning in all curriculum areas that they wish to explore by posing, investigating, and answering questions. Being a part of vibrant classroom communities where students have the freedom to unlock their learning through collaboration and experimentation will become one of the most joyous aspects of being a part of this school community.”  

On behalf of their Board of Trustees colleagues, Board President Jodi Muirhead and Trustee Jim Canova spoke passionately about the long journey to open the school, thanking the community of supporters who helped to purchase the land and fund construction. 

Assemblymember Alex Lee, and representatives on behalf of Congressman Ro Khanna and Senator Bob Wieckowski, presented certificates of recognition to the new school and the district. Many other elected officials, family and friends of Kathleen MacDonald, past board members, our previous superintendent, and community partners also attended in the audience to show their support for the innovative new school.

Attendees watched with anticipation as the beam filled with their signatures was lifted to its final position on the concession stand of the high school stadium. Check out some photos, a highlight video of the event, and the full-length video of the event below:

Event Photos
Event Highlight Video
Full Ceremony Video

Next to come will be the ribbon cutting for the school as we prepare to open the doors to its inaugural class of students in the 2022-2023 school year!