|PHOTO PROVIDED BY LAUSD|
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
NEW SAN PEDRO HIGH SCHOOL ANNEX WILL BE NAMED AFTER LONG TIME MARINE ACTIVIST JOHN OLGUIN AND HIS WIFE
By Diana L. Chapman
It made so much sense that the embattled Los Angeles School Unified School Board -- for once -- had an easy decision to make amid all its acrimonious budget scrapes, bruises and cuts.
The board this week named the new and upcoming San Pedro High School annex, slated to open in 2012, after long time marine activist John Olguin --often considered like a grandfather of the sea -- and his wife, Muriel.
Voting unanimously, the board named the annex officially: San Pedro High School: John M. and Muriel Olguin Campus.
Olguin, a former county lifeguard, graduate of San Pedro High and a man responsible for thousands of Los Angeles students visiting the area’s beaches, made such visible contributions to the community that many residents advocated the school be named after him. In fact, one of them, John Mavar, consistently lobbied School Board Member Richard Vladovic about the matter.
Vladovic, who wholeheartedly agreed, said he was thrilled to make that choice.
“I am so happy to honor people who have done so much to enrich the lives of the San Pedro community,” said Vladovic, who is up for re-election in March. “John and Muriel represent the values we strive to instill in our students.”
Olguin died unexpectedly Jan. 1 – and it appeared a swimmingly perfect match to the name the new school on the Upper Reservation at Fort MacArthur after him. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is likely to house the high school’s marine magnet program. While the construction of a new campus – which is meant to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High – was highly controversial, some believed the Olguin name might ease some of the tensions.
Popular and often plugging folks for funds to make the community better, Olguin became the director of the Cabrillo Beach Aquarium in 1949 and director emeritus when he retired. He dedicated his life to teaching about the sea and led programs to host fireworks at Cabrillo Beach and relight the Vincent Thomas Bridge with teal blue lights that connects San Pedro to Long Beach and Terminal Island.
Olguin sparked interest in children and adults alike by holding whale watches, grunion runs and tide pool tours.
His wife, Muriel, a local artist, was Olguin’s backbone, his family said, and she encouraged him to pursue his many ventures. Without her, they said, many of the programs wouldn’t have happened. Olguin died at age 89, but not without leaving a plethora of gifts scattered about the community.
The new school, which will remain an annex of San Pedro High, is expected to house about 500 students.