Victor Ornelas

Victor Ornelas

The school that bears the name Victor Ornelas was named after a man who made a difference in the lives of those he met. He grew up in Atchinson, KS where he and his family lived in a boxcar near the train tracks of the Atchinson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroad. His parents were immigrants from Mexico, and Victor grew up speaking Spanish in the home, later learning English at school. Victor came from a family that valued the importance of education and supported Victor's desire for further education. He received his Bachelor's Degree from St. Benedictine College in 1951 and later studied American history at the University of San Francisco. His first teaching job was in Trenton, Nebraska as a junior high geography and history teacher, as well as a basketball and football coach. Later, he became principal of the school and met his future wife, Marilyn, who taught Home Economics. Victor and his family moved to Garden City shortly the birth of his first son, Brian. He once again became a geography and history instructor at the junior high school level where he was held in high regard by both his students and colleagues. He worked there for ten years and during that time had a second son named Michael. During the summertime, he also worked as a migrant school teacher. Victor's last two years of teaching were at Garfield Elementary School.

In addition to his passion of educating students, Victor Ornelas also loved photography and joined the Garden City Telegram as a part-time sports photographer where he worked for eleven years. He enjoyed capturing the life of Southwest Kansas on film, as well. During his years as teacher at the junior high in Garden, Victor instructed students in the art of photography and taught students darkroom techniques for photograph development.

Unfortunately, the world lost a great man in Victor Ornelas unexpectedly at the age of 55 on June 16, 1982. Although only a teacher in Garden City for twelve years, the Garden City community embraced the man, the values, and beliefs for which he stood and wished to honor his memory with a lasting tribute to his life by naming a school after him in 1987. Victor Ornelas' legacy will continue to impact the lives of the students who attend his school for many generations to come.

NOTE: Thanks to Sandy Almos for the use of Victor Ornelas: The Man, The Life, and the School that Bears His Name.

School History

The groundbreaking for Victor Ornelas Elementary School was April 14, 1986. It was named after Victor Ornelas who was a career educator and taught in Garden City for 12 years. The school was dedicated on November 15, 1987. A major addition of special education rooms was added in 1991. The building sits on a 639,800 square foot lot and is currently at 67,280 square feet.Victor Ornelas has a total of 33 classrooms, two gymnasiums (one used primarily as a cafeteria), a full service kitchen, and a media center. The office area consists of two principal's offices, three detention rooms, a nurse's office and a reception area.

The first principal at Victor Ornelas was Dr. Robert C. Creamer. The school has been an ESL site since its beginning. All staff are trained in ESL instructional techniques and many have ESL endorsements.

School Mascot

In 1987, the Victor Ornelas students chose STARS as the school mascot.

This mascot symbolizes high goals with far-reaching effects. VO staff and students work together to reach for high achievement. Royal blue and white were chosen to be the school colors.