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Principal of John Muir High School, Site of State of the City Speech, Sees the School as a Family

Published on Friday, January 17, 2020 | 6:02 am
John Muir High School student Saudia Usher, Principal Lawton Gray, and Muir student Isabella Uriu at the State of the City Address on Jan. 16, 2020 in Muir's auditorium. Photo by Brian Biery

John Muir High School’s Principal Lawton Gray greeted 2020 with a New Year’s wish and a message for Pasadena: the Muir student body is a family.

“I hope that you had a wonderful holiday and are excited about the opportunities that this new decade will bring,” Gray said.”One of the most important aspects of a school’s winter break is that we get a chance to slow down, recharge, and reflect on what is important to us.”

And to Gray, topping the list of what’s important is family.

“For me, that meant time to think about the importance of family. Not just my immediate family, but also the importance of my John Muir family. Because that’s how I see us at John Muir High School Early College Magnet…as a family.”

Gray said it’s easy to understand by he sees Muir as a family.

“We have a strong sense of connectedness and pride. Students and staff tell us that one of the things they value most about our school is that they feel supported and that they belong here.”

Gray said one student recently shared with him that Muir’s teachers and faculty “help us develop into better versions of ourselves… They are very supportive and want the best for us. Our administration and faculty are really good and push us academically. Also they encourage us to be active in our community.”

Although we might show up with different interests, skills, and experiences, we value each other. “If that’s not family, then I don’t know what is,” Gray said.

And Gray said beyond the studious, the Muir family enjoys fun.

“Of course we offer clubs and sports, but our students also reach far beyond the classroom through our unique academy programs,” Gray pointed out.

Students in Muir’s Engineering & Environmental Science develop their skills through hands-on learning projects that incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math. They receive firsthand knowledge about environmental issues and preservation while on educational trips to Mono Lake, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Water District through Muir’s partnership with Generation Green.

“Arts, Entertainment & Media Academy students produce shows in our state of the art TV/Film studio in addition to fieldwork experiences at venues including the Rose Bowl Stadium and trips to professional film facilities and renowned arts institutions,” Gray said.

Students in the Business & Entrepreneurship Academy (BE) participate in Business Week complete with resume reviews and mock interviews.

“Our students also experiment with Culinary Arts, cheer on our boys and girls athletic teams, perform in events such as Winterfest,” said Gray, adding even this list isn’t complete.

Parents should take a closer look at Muir, Gray urges.

“If you haven’t been here recently, we encourage you to make a New Year’s resolution to tour the John Muir High School Early College Magnet campus and see how engaging and welcoming our school is. Tours are held every other Friday morning, so sign up today. If you’re lucky and live in our neighborhood, you can attend by enrolling directly at our school. If you live in another part of town and are impressed by our unique programs and opportunities, please submit an online Open Enrollment application between January 9 – 31 at”

“We’re also kicking off 2020 with two major events that celebrate our commitment to excellence and our community pride. Muir hosted the Mayor of Pasadena’s State of the City Address. The event highlighted what’s new at our school, our growing partnership with Pasadena City College that enables students to earn up to two years of college credits for free in high school.”

“Then on Saturday, all are welcome to join us along with the Martin Luther King Community Coalition in a “Day On- Not Off”, which will include a program and school beautification project starting at 8:30 a.m. We look forward to seeing you soon!”

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