Farewell to Principal Sweikert


by Abbie Millman and Mya Nielson

For the last seven years, Principal Sweikert has undeniably led Palo Verde High School into becoming one of the greatest schools in the district in terms of community, opportunity, and student success. Sadly, however, this year will be his last school year at Palo Verde, as he will be retiring from his position. While our teachers and students will surely miss Principal Sweikert, we can (and likely will) always be grateful for the wonderful improvements he has made and the impact he has caused during his time at Palo.

“I love this community, I mean I truly do, from the moment I got here,” said Principal Sweikert. “To me, the community is the absolute best part of the job, I mean, the people, mostly the kids, but even the parents and even everybody in the community, it really is the best part of the job.”

During his time at Palo, Principal Sweikert has overseen immense changes at the school that have increased learning opportunities for students. He changed class schedules back to a block schedule, so that students could take eight classes instead of just six. He also increased the opportunities for students to earn college credits while at the school, adding 10 new CTE programs, making Palo an IB school, and implemented several new jumpstart classes in Math, History, English, and Psychology. 

“For the kids, my advice would be this: we’ve worked really really hard to create opportunities for kids,” said Principal Sweikert. “Like, at the moment, there’s 61 different ways that a kid can earn college credit here at Palo Verde. Sixty-one, that’s tremendous. Take advantage of those opportunities. Challenge yourself and believe in yourself.”

Over the last seven years, Palo has gone from a three star school to a five star school, and the graduation rate has gone up ten percent, from 86 to 96%. But aside from just numbers, Principal Sweikert is largely loved by students and teachers alike, and will be greatly missed. 

“I’m still going to know everybody, but I’m sad to go, and it was a tough decision,” said Principal Sweikert. “It’s happening pretty fast, and I didn’t expect to go this early so I am going to miss it… but maybe I’ll come to some games after school and stuff like that, maybe some football games in the fall. We’ll see!”

With Principal Sweikert leaving, the school and Palo community will have to adjust to the changes that come with his absence. For this, Principal Sweikert offers some advice to students and teachers: 

“Every principal comes in wanting to improve the school no matter what, whether it’s a good school or a bad school— they always want to make their mark and they always want to improve things,” Principal Sweikert said. “Embrace that and embrace the new principal. They may want to make some changes, but those changes could be good. So let’s give them a chance and let’s see what that new principal does.”

Principal Sweikert has certainly left his mark on the school, and will be dearly missed by the Palo community. We thank him, and wish him the best of luck in his retirement and all future pursuits!

“Don’t sell yourself short,” said Principal Sweikert. “Set high goals for yourself and you’ll be surprised at how fast you can reach those goals… And have fun!”