Laguna Blanca School honored Head of Upper School Harry Sims with its most meaningful annual award, a commemorative plaque on the campus “Walk of Fame.”
The Walk of Fame selection committee consults all branches of the broad Laguna constituency to identify, recognize and salute an individual who has abundantly demonstrated longstanding distinguished service to Laguna Blanca School. This thoughtful, deliberate process culminated last week with the school’s special Walk of Fame celebration. Walk of Fame recipients constitute Laguna Blanca’s A-team of dedicated school champions, who have stuck by, and faithfully served Laguna Blanca.
Sims has served as the sterling example of an instructor, adviser, counselor, mentor, administrative leader, devoted colleague and dear Laguna friend for 18 years, which has been the second half of a distinguished 35-year career as a local educator, not to mention a five-year interlude splitting his school tenures to own and operate the popular Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito’s Upper Village.
A square along Laguna’s Walk of Fame is one of the school’s most revered accolades. It recognizes remarkable long-term dedication, generosity and commitment to the school. In Sims’ case, it also represents the inspiration of many hundreds of students in the classroom, instilling in them a love of literature, invaluable life-long study skills, an appreciation for good writing, and a healthy command of standard written English. His masterful English instruction at Laguna Blanca has spanned nearly all levels within our middle and upper divisions, ranging from seventh to 11th grades, and ultimately elevated him to chairman of the English Department. In addition to teaching study skills, he also taught journalism and served as the yearbook instructor and faculty adviser to La Honda staff for seven years.
Preserving the precious institutional memory of Laguna Blanca has always been a priority for Sims, and he has achieved much in this regard for our school, not only overseeing the production of the school annual, but authoring several articles for our school magazine, interviewing some of Laguna’s earliest alumni and even inviting members of the old guard back to speak to our community at assemblies, bringing Laguna’s history to life. His latest and perhaps crowning achievement in this regard was the production of our newly published history of the school, a treasury of the first 75 years, produced in conjunction with Laguna’s 75th anniversary. It was Sims who initially conceived of the idea to create this retrospective, and was of invaluable assistance to author Martha Donelan.
Past Walk of Fame recipients in attendance at the 2008 reception included former board chairman and longtime trustee and alumnus Jim Jackson, Durward Brandis, Peter Lorber, Linda Muzinich, Sherri and Bruce Nelson, Ray Robitaille and Dana White.
Tara Broucqsault is public relations director at Laguna Blanca School.