UCSD New Staff Profiles: Luis Lemus

Oct 8, 2019

Credit UCSD Photojournalism Class

These profiles of new Unalaska City School District teachers were written by high school students in Rainier Marquez's photojournalism class. They have not been edited by KUCB staff.

Luis Lemus is one of many new staff additions to the Unalaska City School District’s staff. He was born in Guatemala where he lived for 20 years before traveling to Texas with his first wife. He then moved to New York City where he lived for about 27 years. He has worked at Central Park, Prospect Park, and  the New York Botanical Garden. At The New York Botanical Garden he taught gardening classes. His jobs at theses parks included landscape design, construction, horticulture, and agriculture. He also taught classes at The New York Botanical Garden. Although he lived in one of the most exciting and busiest cities in America, Lemus has never been a city person. His attraction for parks and the outdoors are what led him to Alaska.

It took Luis Lemus 25 years to live out his dream of coming to Alaska. He explains, “I love the outdoors and I’ve always wanted to come to Alaska. Before I was planning to come to Alaska when I was in my 20s, then I couldn’t because my ex-wife said no way.” He moved here with his wife, Angela Finlay, who is one of the current English teachers at UCSD. Their Alaska travels began in small and remote villages like Prince of Wales, Bethel and other villages in the lower Yukon. Eventually, they found their way here to Unalaska where Luis now does property maintenance for the local schools, Unalaska City High School and Eagles View Elementary School.

Credit UCSD New Staff Profiles: Luis

Luis describes Alaska as very diverse, “I love different cultures, you know? I love interacting with different ethnicities,” he says from his experience in the state. The activities he enjoys outside of work are hunting, fishing, hiking, and tree climbing. Luis has always grown up loving the outdoors which is what drove him to study agronomy in college. His love for learning new things has taught him to accept failure. He explains, “I’m always learning. I love to learn new things, especially when it’s things that you do not know. You always have to keep your mind open to learning and renewing your thoughts of how to be renovating, thinking you know, there's a better way to do something.”

Eventually, Luis would like to work with the people and the kids here to teach them how to community garden. Gardening is one of his specialties and he is happy to educate others.