Leadership starts here — the place of new beginnings

Liberty Hill High School student leaders spoke with The Independent this week on their expectations for a new school year in a new school. From left are Mitchell Germann of cross country, Austin Kranz of Student Council, Payton Walker from Lady Panther Volleyball, Morgan Ferrell of the Liberty Belles, Rachel Johnston of the student athletic trainers, Aile de la Houssaye of the Liberty Belles and Holly Bowles, the drum major of the Panther Band. On the back row are Gary Denson from the football team, mascot Dustin Taylor and senior Cheerleader Baylee Bishop. (Photo by Kathy Canady)

Liberty Hill High School student leaders spoke with The Independent this week on their expectations for a new school year in a new school. From left are Mitchell Germann of cross country, Austin Kranz of Student Council, Payton Walker from Lady Panther Volleyball, Morgan Ferrell of the Liberty Belles, Rachel Johnston of the student athletic trainers, Aile de la Houssaye of the Liberty Belles and Holly Bowles, the drum major of the Panther Band. On the back row are Gary Denson from the football team, mascot Dustin Taylor and senior Cheerleader Baylee Bishop. (Photo by Kathy Canady)

For months, the excitement has  been building among students as they have watched the buildings grow taller and change the landscape of their hometown.

The new Liberty Hill High School may soon be the most talked-about high school campus in Central Texas as it towers over the pastureland west of town. No doubt, the school serves as the starting place for an anticipated wave of growth that is already changing what was once a mostly rural community.

But more important, this shiny new place on the hill will be home to the dreamers and achievers — the future leaders of Texas and beyond.

“It’s pretty hair-raising to be a part of a new school,” said Gary Denson, a senior on the Panther football team. “I’m impressed with the new school and stadium and looking forward for the new school year to start.

“We get to be the first graduates and get the ball rolling for the school,” he said. “I’m pretty excited.”

Dustin Taylor, a member of the cross country and tennis teams, said he is a little nervous about the changes, but “the feeling is great.

“I can achieve things no one has achieved at this school and set new records. It feels great to be part of a new era,” Taylor said.

Payton Walker, who is a leader on the volleyball and softball teams, said being part of a new school is exciting and that excitement carries over to her performance as an athlete.

“My expectations this year are to get the job done and keep my status as captain on the (volleyball) court,” she said. “We’re expecting a district championship in volleyball and expect to make it into the state playoffs. It’s real awesome and exciting to be on a new campus. It’s a time to experiment and try everything since it is all new.”

Cross country senior Mitchell Germann said the energy generated by the start of school on a new campus will help fuel his drive to continue to be a leader for Panther runners.

“Both cross country teams are going to do pretty well this year, and I would like to be in the top 10 and hopefully be on the podium,” Germann said.

“Honestly, it’s a blast,” said Holly Bowles, drum major for the Panther Marching Band. “It’s exciting to be part of a new high school. There’s a lot of pressure, but we are all striving to be good examples.”

Student Athletic Trainer Rachel Johnston said the changes are many, but it will bring students together like never before.

“Hopefully, we will have more community support in the high school and be more involved with them as well. The change should bring us all closer together,” she said.

Miss Johnston said starting a new school year in a new school will be challenging at first.

“It’s going to be a crazy year and an experience to be in a bigger place, but we are still a small group and know everyone,” she said. “Being a senior, I’m going to make the best of it.”

“It’s kind of bittersweet to be opening a new school, but we’re all excited,” said Cheerleader Baylee Bishop. “It’s a great feeling that Liberty Hill is getting bigger. I’m excited about new students coming because there is going to be more involvement.”

Miss Bishop said the cheerleaders will play a role in making this new beginning memorable for students.

“We are going to strive for school success and have a lot of school spirit,” she said. “Everyone is pumped!”