Student Leader Returns to Build
New School on DeMille Campus
When 15-year-old Joe Meza received the Cecil B. DeMille Medal for outstanding leadership as president of the Class of ’79 at DeMille Junior High (later known as DeMille Middle School), he never dreamt that one day he would return to build a new school on the very same site.
Meza, a graduate of Lakewood High School and Whittier College, is a foreman with Berg Electric Corp., subcontractor to Hensel Phelps, which is the general contractor for the new Ernest McBride High School on the site of the former DeMille campus.
Meza has been working on site since last July, when the preliminary groundwork started. He supervises a team of electricians responsible for wiring the entire 150,000-square-foot campus. The project, now about 20 percent complete, is expected to be finished by fall 2013.
“The electrical work starts at building foundation and ends in the final stages of construction with interior building finishes,” says Casey Pennington of Hensel Phelps. “As an electrical foreman, Joe is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of this work go without a hitch.”
“It’s astounding to think that the school where I first learned leadership skills is where I now practice those skills on the job daily,” says Meza.
After college, Meza moved to Long Beach, but in 2000, he purchased his childhood home in Lakewood from his mother when she moved to Lake Tahoe. Since then, Meza and his wife, Rebecca, a third-grade teacher, have lived in the home on Nipomo Street.