Innovation Met Redesign

Today, Former Valley High School International Baccalaureate Council President Karl Catarata addressed CCSD Principals on how the Nevada Victory Schools Program (SB 432) has helped change Valley High School for the better.

The following is an official transcript of Former Valley High School International Baccalaureate Council President Karl Catarata’s remarks on the effect of Nevada Legislature’s Victory Schools Program for Valley High School on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

VHS Student Study Area
Valley High School
Las Vegas, Nevada

12:27PM PST

*Looking at projector screen* Might I say … that is an interesting photo of me! Now, know this — that is not what I look like now.

Powerpoint Slide for Student Guest Speakers on Victory School Funding (19 April 2016)

Haha. Hello and good afternoon everybody! (Applause). Thank you so much!

Thank you for coming out today and thank you for spending your Tuesday afternoon here at one of Valley High School’s most historic locations.

My name is Karl Catarata, I’m a senior here at Valley High School, and I’m apart of the “IB” or International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Just a little background about me, I serve the community as the freshly retired Former Valley High School IB Council President, I’ve worked for Clark County Nevada Government for the past three years, and I’ve worked with both non-for-profits and government agencies across the United States.

As a senior, I’m able to say that this school, my home, has not only gone through unprecedented change, but also unprecedented renovation.

Four years ago, I spent my days back here in this library as a small freshman, working on essays, assignments, and most importantly, thinking of what I may become.

As you sit here today, I want you all to just take in the new colors, the new library workplace, and the new innovative technology all around you.

Valley High School Library (19 April 2016)

Because of Governor Sandoval’s approved educational reform package in the Nevada State Legislature, most commonly known as Senate Bill 432, or Nevada’s Victory Schools Program, Valley has been able to be a prime example in how successful the funding has been from the Nevada Victory School Program.

For example, every single teacher in this school has equal access to checking out Google Chromebooks, iPads, and Google devices to help better a student’s learning experience.

Even more so, this library now provides students with newly updated textbooks with new learning material, efficient and newly updated computers for students to use, new wireless Google printers for students to print out their academic papers; finally, an incoming flow of flat screen tv’s for teachers here in this library to reduce the frustrating use of pull down projector screens.

And an even pivotal piece about Victory Schools Program Funding? Is that it assists International Baccalaureate students who cannot afford to pay their international exams for this May 2016.

Now, this is not only to point out the new paint on the walls, new furniture renovations for students, new decorations, and new designs for a more conducive and engaging learning environment for students and faculty all around here in this Viking community.

Now this is only just the beginning.

When I showed Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval this portion of the school back in August 2015, he looked around at what could be, and what needed to be innovated. I even stated to him myself, “We need some time to innovate,” and innovate we did.

By the time these library projects are finished, by the time classes have graduated (come and gone), and by the time this school has truly physically renovated itself fully to our pleasing, our Valhalla spirit, and our hallways are truly able to echo the pure fact, that:

Innovation has truly met redesign.

Four years ago, my fellow peers and I had only dreamed for change to come. Four years ago, my fellow peers and I had only dreamed for a change in our workplace. Luckily, today we are able to say that this change has appeared before us, and has allowed us to be better off from where we first started.

I want to end off here today with an inspirational quote from our own Valley High School Librarian, Mrs. Nykodym, on the transformation of the library as a whole, and I quote:

“When I first came to Valley, I wanted to make the library more open, fresher, up-to-date. The layout was cluttery and the layout wasn’t so flow like. I wanted to get more of the Google-y vibe. I wanted the library to be approachable, and fit the personality of a Valley student.
And I think our library does a good job at representing the Valley kid — they’re fun, unique, whimsical, dreamy, but they’re goal-oriented, and that’s what I wanted our library to encompass.”

So as I close off here, I hope that when you return to your schools and your communities, that you take our stepping stones in renovation using the Nevada Victory Schools program, and make successful projects of your own.

Thank you so much for your time, your passion, and for your love for education.

Have a wonderful afternoon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Karl Catarata is a current 12th grade student at the Valley High School International Baccalaureate Program. Previously, he has spent 4 years in various leadership roles across California and Nevada. In his spare time, he is an author, writer, poet, and occasional actor. Stay in touch with Karl’s journeys by following him on Twitter.

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