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About Pyramid Lake Jr/Sr High School

Pesa Awamoo’a! You will find our school to be one that values student learning, experiences, and success with emphasis on culture, college, and career.

This year we are focusing on increased indigenization throughout the mainstream curriculum, valuing the cultures and traditions that remain important in the world of contemporary education. We are preparing for End of Course exams, ACT, SAT, and similar college entrance requirements. We expect to field our first group of senior students graduating from both High School and College with an Associates Degree. We continue to improve and increase our extra curricular activities and offerings for students. We look forward to your feedback on how best to meet the needs of our students and community.

To you the student, I hope that you take every day and make the most out of it. Remember, the day will come when you will ask yourself, so what do I do now? Hopefully your answer will be, I’ve studied hard, I’m well prepared and now I’m ready for a career, the military, a trade school or on to college. Whatever your choice, your preparation in middle and high school will determine your success once you graduate. Your educators strive for you to grow academically every day. Remember, what you get out of education is determined by the effort that you put into it. As a student you cannot afford to come to school and waste your time or your teacher’s time, by not being prepared or engaged in the learning process.

In closing let me say that I look forward to working with all of our students. I know that together we can provide all of the guidance and support that you will need to have a rewarding experience while attending Pyramid Lake Junior/Senior High School.

I would like to thank you for your continued support of PLHS. If I or the staff can be of service please contact us as your needs arise.

Pesa Natunedyoo’e,

Jake Chapin, Principal, PLHS

Our History

At the end of the fall semester of 1978, Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation (PLPR) students attending Fernley High School in Fernley Nevada, are informed that due to overcrowding and at the start of the spring semester, Washoe County Students will be required to attend Washoe County schools. The PLPR is located in Washoe County. PLPR senior students were allowed to finish their senior year and graduate, while all under class students were forced to attend Washoe County schools. Some PLPR students attended high school in Sparks, but others chose not to attend.

PLPR parents lobbied the BIA to open a high school in Nixon. Their persistence prevailed as the BIA provided funding to open Pyramid Lake High School (PLHS) during March 1979. The school utilized the old Natchez School building at 210 Capitol Hill, the old Arts & Crafts Building at 221 SR 447, and the Nixon Gym.

The BIA and several parents worked diligently to organize the structure, the curriculum, the required teachers and staff, and the books, desks, cabinets, and tables for the classrooms. The parents organized and formed the School Board of Education consisting of Floyd Collins, Edward Ely Jr., Gladys Hicks, Rosalie Dunn, and Thelma Shaw. The BIA, the Board, and the Administration worked with the Nevada Department of Education to assure that the credits earned in this first shortened semester, and all subsequent semesters qualified as certifiable credits applicable for a valid Nevada high school diploma.

During the opening weeks of the school, the student body came together under the guidance of the PLHS Administration to establish its mascot and school colors. Different mascots were submitted like jackrabbits, braves, eagles, bears, etc., but it was the Lakers name (submitted by Anita Dunn) that stood out and it was selected. School colors ranged from a variety of combinations and it was emphasized that the PLHS not select colors that were already being used by teams of the B league. Maroon and white was selected because these colors were not used by any team in the conference.

The school’s size determine which league it would compete through the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association (NIAA). During this time B league schools were the smallest schools in the state; A, AA, AAA were the other leagues with the AAA being the largest schools i.e. Wooster, Reno, Reed, etc. Since this time the league designation has changed where today the small schools are Division IV and the Largest schools are Division I.

The PLHS began its 1979 fall semester as any other school with a volleyball team and a cross country team where the cross country team placed runner up at the state meet. In the winter, it had both a girls and boys’ basketball team where the girls won its first state championship in February 1980.

Some of the elective classes included silversmith, photography, auto shop, typing, welding, and art. The core classes English, mathematics, history, government, and science were required.

The first graduating class, the Class of 1980 were Roy Hicks, Anita Dunn, Edward Ely III, and Cyrus Davis. The late Craig Karl Wright was scheduled to graduate but was killed in an unfortunate car accident two weeks before graduation.

PLHS continues to build upon the original intentions of the parents and Board of Education members to promote academics and athletics at a level acceptable to education standards. Preparing our students for life after high school is the fundamental principle for our educational institution.

(Provided by Mervin Wright Jr.)