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Johnston campus now Eastside Memorial High School

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TWC News: Eastside High
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Last year, Johnston High made a significant increase in their TAKS scores, but the improvement wasn't enough and the high school was shut down.

So the Texas Education Agency gave Austin Independent School District two options: Padlock Johnston's doors to possibly open freshly in a year, or repurpose the campus immediately.

Thus Eastside Memorial High School was born. Questions remained and student Perla Arpero was looking for answers.

"I was devastated and I just wanted to know why," Arpero said.

But this year, it's marching to the beat of a new drum and it's reopening as Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston campus.

"I was hoping and I was praying, and it came true, it opened up and I'm excited," Arpero said.

Alumni Esther Govea was thrilled when she learned that another school was opening on its campus.

"It's very exciting. It's not closed … it's open. I wanted to cry but a happy smile is OK," Govea said.

About 75 percent of the staff at Eastside Memorial High School is new, and the interim principal David Kernwein said with that figure comes a higher quality of education.

"I think I've assembled an outstanding faculty. We've got just amazing quality people who are committed to the school, who are willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to meet the needs of the students," Kernwein said.

And students like student body president Arpero said they're ready for the challenge.

"I know it's gonna be awesome, it's gonna be a great year," she said. "With graduation and everything, I'm looking forward to it."

Along with new faculty the school has improved plans to help the students succeed. There will be incoming freshman training, which will help the students learn strategic ways to study and prepare.

But there are a few things the students don't seem to be too thrilled about.

"It's like 'why didn't they just keep Johnston, it's the same thing.' But we can deal with it. We're still the eastside and we're always gonna be the Rams," she said.

Perhaps it holds true, but along with a new name could comes a new school mascot and the students will vote on it the beginning of the school year.

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