Showing Off the Showcase Preparation

A look behind the scenes of the annual LASA showcase event


FIRE PRESENTATION: Students show prospective applicants a fire show using soap. LASA showcase had a classroom full of a variety of science experiments. photo by JC Ramirez Delgadillo.

Juan (JC) Ramirez Delgadillo, Web Editor-in-Chief

On Nov. 16 LASA high school held its annual showcase. The event allows prospective students and interested parents to learn more about what the school’s curriculum offers. Throughout the evening,  fine art classes hold performances and other courses run booths to explain to visitors what the course is about. 

Due to the pandemic, there has not been an in person showcase since 2019, and this was the inaugural showcase LASA had in its own campus, instead of sharing the campus with Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Early College High School. Management Assistant to the Principal Adela Sifuentes said she was happy that LASA has more opportunities with a new campus than in previous years.

“It’s awesome to have our own campus because we are able to do whatever we wanted without having to move or ask for permission to use the space, so that’s definitely nice to be able to have that,” Sifuentes said. “That freeness of all the space is usually reserved for showcase, and nobody can tell us no because it’s our space.” 

Paulson agreed that it is easier for LASA to put together the showcase after getting its own campus in 2021. According to Paulson, there were a few issues that occurred with the shared building.

“One of the things that has happened a couple of times at LBJ was that they do something on the Thursday before Thanksgiving,” Paulson said. “They have a Thanksgiving supper, so usually they’re de thawing their turkeys in the kitchen on wednesday when we’re doing our showcase, and a couple of years there the alarm would go off. And so we’re in the cafe trying to do a presentation, and the alarms are going off, so sharing a building has unique challenges.” 

Despite not having to deal with an alarm, the process of preparing the school still requires an abundance of different tasks, according to Sifuentes. Being the building manager, Sifuentes makes sure that the school is looking presentable and the building is functioning as it should.

“There is a lot of preparation, so we usually split it with different organizations,” Sifuentes said. “So Mr. Andy takes a piece of it, so he was in charge of anything that has to do with audio, video, slideshows, [and] pictures. And then we have people also who come in and help with decorations, making sure they get as many parent volunteers, and then I come in with making sure the building is ready as far as lights [and] signs, make sure we have custodians in place, [and] our classrooms are opened and cleaned.”

According to Principal Stacia Crescenzi, the showcase is not just for the students to get to know the school, but also a chance for her to see new students. . She said she enjoys  meeting prospective students and later recognizing them when they start high school. 

“My favorite part is meeting prospective students,” Crescenzi said. “It’s so fun to meet families and kids, and then, later, welcome them as a student. You realize that there’s dozens of kids that the first time you had a conversation with them on showcase night, and then you’ll see them later in the halls when they’re a ninth grader. That’s fun. It’s really exciting.” 

In addition to meeting eighth graders, Crescenzi said it is also interesting to meet their younger siblings too. Cresenzi said siblings can get an early look into what the school has to offer.

“It’s really fun to see families bring their younger kids,” Crescenzi said. “Just because this was a good match for one child’s family doesn’t mean it’s a good match for all the kids in the family, but it’s fun to meet the siblings and see that they’re checking it out and asking themselves whether this is where they want to be in their high school career or not.” 

The showcase also allows parents  to experience the school and what it has to offer. Koreen Jones is the parent of prospective student Aidan Espinoza. She heard of LASA before due to an invitation for another of her children. 

“His older brother had gotten an invitation a while back, but he was not interested, but Aidan saw the invitation, and he was really interested and has been ever since,” Jones said. “He is interested in the firefighting program here, but he also was really into art. He’s been in robotics for the last several years. He went crazy over the woodworking shop. There are so many things that he enjoys that are hands-on.”

Since LASA is a magnet school, students need to submit an application. As part of the showcase, there were sections of the school dedicated to helping kids with the application process, according to Crescenzi. 

“There are five sections in the application process, [including] three short answers,” Crescenzi said. “There are two teacher recommendations. We look at grades, your final grades from seventh grade, and then halfway through eighth grade. They come and take the COGAT, and then we have a creative project that they do.” 

After the showcase in November, Paulson and Sifuentes are looking at different aspects of the showcase that went really well and what went bad to see how they can improve it for next year, according to Paulson. Preparing the showcase takes time according to Paulson. The administrative  team prepares for the following year’s showcase as soon as the current showcase ends. This year they feel that the school was not used as much as it could have.

“So we do the showcase always the week before the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.” Paulson said. “So we had a long break. We meet the day after and we say, ‘Hey, what went well and what didn’t go well?’ So we actually started thinking what can we do to make things better? What can we do to change things? Initially, that was important because we haven’t done a showcase in person for several years., We started planning for next year already, so we met the day after and one of the things we thought about was we had some dead hallways. English was down on the end of the one hundred hall, [and that] was the only thing [there], so there’s nothing really drawing people down that hallway. We’re going to try to work on fixing that for next year. Maybe asking clubs or putting signs because that was one of the biggest questions: ‘Do we do clubs?’ We do have a specific time. It’s at orientation, but kids are still asking, ‘What clubs are offered?’ And what I think that would help us promote them or by knowing that there’s a showcase, we’re supposed to showcase what’s going on.”

According to Paulson, PFLASA, a parent association at LASA and student ambassadors are some of the most important parts of the showcase. Ambassadors talk to prospective students to share their experiences in high school to see if it is a good fit for them.

“I will say the two most, most important pieces of the showcase are PFLASA and the ambassadors,” Paulson said. “Because they are responsible for what you see. PFLASA helps with the decorations of the school, and the ambassadors are the ones that the kids that are prospective applicants want to listen to. They want to listen to kids that are living it, and going to school every day. So they’ll be real with it and be like, ‘Hey, don’t don’t come here’ or ‘Hey, this is great’ so those are the two big pieces that help run the showcase.”

Photos from the Showcase can be found here: