Ohlendorf to be remembered at PAC dedication
By LPR Staff
Historically, students of the arts have had little at Lockhart High School to call their own. With both space and funds in short supply, the performing arts have – to some extent – been placed on the back burner while the District addresses other classroom needs.
That all changed this year, as construction was completed on the Geraldine “Gerry” Ohlendorf Performing Arts Center, an 820-seat auditorium that stands as the crown jewel of a sweeping remodel of Lockhart High School.
Constructed with funds from the massive $63.9 million bond project approved by voters in 2014, the Center will feature state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems and a projection system with two large screens flanking the stage.
Unveiled during the LHS Ribbon Cutting last month, the Center brought tears to the eyes of some LISD alumni, who applauded the District for finally voting for Performing Arts students with their dollars.
In June, the LISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the Performing Arts Center for beloved former Head Band Director Geraldine “Gerry” Ohlendorf.
Herself a band student at Lockhart High School, Ohlendorf attended and graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, and secured a place as an elementary music teacher, before resigning to raise her family.
In 1967, she returned to the classroom, and visionary then-superintendent J.L. Buckley offered her a position as the Junior High Band Director.
For the next 20 years, Ohlendorf worked tirelessly to build a successful and thriving band program, before retiring in 1988. A mere two years later, Operation Desert Storm called the seated Head Band
Director, John Bohlin, back to service; Ohlendorf was asked to take back her baton until the District could secure a replacement. She did so with enthusiasm, continuing on as assistant band director until she finally took a second retirement in 1999.
Last spring, the LISD Board of Trustees and Leadership Team began the extensive process of seeking community input on a name for the Performing Arts Center. The results of the survey were clear – support was overwhelming to name the center for Ohlendorf.
According to her family, “Mrs. O,” (as her students lovingly knew her), was overjoyed to learn of the Board’s decision to place her name on the Performing Arts Center. She would have been more joyful still, to see the state-of-the-art facility that bears her name.
She passed away in July 2017, before construction of the facility was complete.
The grand opening and dedication of the Gerry Ohlendorf Performing Arts Center, lovingly called “GOPAC” by LISD staff, will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., with the dedication and performances by the Roaring Lion Band, Theatre Arts and Dance departments beginning at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to participate in this special celebration.