Spanish teacher Mr. Eleuterio Cortez is one out of the two dozen or more new teachers and staff members new to Pueblo this year.
Cortez, who teaches students in grades 9-12, is very motivated to teach them about the Spanish culture and language. If he looked familiar to some students on the first day, it is because he substituted at Pueblo last year.
“I have absolutely no complaints as a new, full-time teacher,” Cortez said. “I love it so far, and my students have been great!” he said.
“I enjoy my time in what I do, and I hope to be here for many years,” said Cortez.
As a Pueblo graduate from the Class of 2006, Cortez said that he is already familiar with the school, and he is glad that many of his former teachers are still here—such as science teacher Ms. Fatima Lopez; Spanish teacher Mr. Eleazar Ortiz; and English teachers Ms. Andrea Ayala and Ms. Kathryn Gunnels. He added that “it helps to have family here, too”; one of Pueblo’s newest English teachers, Ms. Imelda Cortez, is his cousin.
He added that even though Mr. Steve Lopez is now an administrator at Valencia Middle School, Cortez learned a great deal in his classroom.
“Pueblo was always very good to me,” Cortez said, “and it’s a privilege that I have this opportunity to return as a teacher and give something back in return.”
On Oct. 24, several thousand high school seniors (and even some juniors!) attended College Night, once again held at the Tucson Convention Center—a golden opportunity for our Southern Arizona near-high school graduates to be offered hundreds of collegiate choices and opportunities.
Nearly 50 of our Pueblo Warriors attended this two-hour evening event, giving students enough time to tour the booths for each college. There were nearly 200 colleges and universities represented at this event.
Senior Ashely Andrade said she enjoyed looking at the U of A booth—which offered her education for her career interest in nursing.
Senior Robert Marinez also enjoyed the U of A booth since it offered engineering.
Senior Iram Arce said, “I spent a lot of time talking to representatives from the University of New Mexico not necessarily about that school’s academic classes but because of the great personality of the representative. He didn’t treat us condescendingly, and I picked up a couple of tips about college while I was talking to him.”
Seniors who have an idea of their future career have simplified their options based on what universities had to offer.
Senior Adela Garados said that she enjoyed speaking with multiple college and university booths.
“I really want to study foreign languages such as Italian and French,” Garados said. “It’s difficult to find universities and colleges that offer languages as a career.”
Plenty of high school juniors who attended College Night, as they are already becoming curious about their futures.
“Attending College Night was refreshing and definitely eye-opening,” junior Laura Conde said. “Even though I won’t be graduating for another year and a half, I am taking my time deciding where to attend college when I graduate in 2019. It’ll be here sooner than later.”
For the past three years, Pueblo’s drama department has been hosting annual variety shows during the first semester of the school year. This year, however, has been quite different. For the 2017-18 school year, the advanced theater class decided to host a charity show called “From Screen to Stage”, in order to lend a hand to Pueblo’s very own community clothing bank, currently run by our CBI students.
The show ran at the Little Theater on Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3, and the overwhelming support was unexpected to these individuals as both nights were nearly sold out. The drama club raised $335, and all of the money will benefit the clothing bank. Live music during the performances was played by Mr. Johny Vargas’ guitar students.
Drama director and teacher Ms. Sarah Sutton said, “The purpose of this show was to bring in people who can donate, and we did that by performing pieces the audience was familiar with from movies and TV shows.”
The scenes were very eclectic classic movie scenes—from The Breakfast Club, Mean Girls, House Bunny, Friends, Aladdin, Donnie Darko—among others.
Actress Cheyenne Vega, a senior, said, “The outcome [of our performances] was great! Our actors love to perform and entertain people, but we also love to help out as much as we can—that’s why we performed our show.”
Exceptional education department chair Ms. Trevia Heath said, “We really appreciated what the drama students did for us! Their show collected numerous hygiene items along with more than $300—which will definitely help us purchase socks and underwear, which are always in high demand.”
Actor Milo Madrid, another senior, said, “I worked hard in every show. However, because I was representing not just the drama department but also supporting the clothing bank and our school’s CBI students, this opportunity gave me a little boost to work harder.”
The drama department has never put on a charity show like this before, and because of the effort made by students and teachers—as well as their success—the group said that they are certain this type of performance won’t be their last.
With the arrival of many new faculty and staff members, Pueblo welcomes new College and Career support interventionist, Mr. Alejandro Menchaca, to the Warrior family.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Menchaca taught two years of Spanish before moving to Arizona approximately two years later, where he taught another five years of Spanish. However, despite leaving his high school job, he still wanted to continue work with secondary education students due to his passion for teaching.
“Working in [high] schools with students is great because they are very optimistic and very energetic,” said Menchaca.
“I really like Pueblo because of Dr. Romero’s leadership,” Menchaca said. He paused and added, “I also like working at Pueblo because it’s a South side community, and I’m able to relate to the Latin community.”
This year, Menchaca hopes to work closely with students, teachers, parents and the community to help with whatever he can. However, for now he has a lot of advice for our seniors.
“I recommend they [seniors] participate in events that I am helping to plan,” he said. “Our seniors also need to complete their FASFA, learn about college and the many career opportunities. At the same time, they also need to ask their teachers about their college experiences. I hope that the events that I help coordinate this school year will allow our seniors to better prepare for post-high school life.”
After nearly 30 years of diligence and dedication to Pueblo High School, math teacher and ex-wrestling coach Mr. Steve Lopez joined the Valencia Middle School staff as an assistant principal.
Lopez’ love of teaching and education is due to the persuasive words of Mr. Richard Gastelum, who was Pueblo’s principal during this time. Gastelum also managed an ice cream shop where Lopez enjoyed his first after school job. Lopez heeded the advice from Gastelum—to pursue education as a career. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Lopez began his teaching career at Pueblo—and Gastelum was still principal. Both Lopez and Gastelum have remained “lifelong friends”.
Not only has Lopez taught math to several thousand students over the years, he also coached our wrestling team to many victorious seasons, which included a State champion team in 2008. (His son, Brandon Lopez, a senior at the time, was on this team.)
Mr. Manny Galvan, former English teacher and current permanent substitute-teacher, was Mr. Lopez’ assistant coach from 1993 until 2016, when Coach Lopez decided to resign and pass the torch on to Mr. Paul Vasquez (who attended Pueblo and was a wrestling State champion in 2004 and 2005).
“Mr. Lopez has worked very hard to become an assistant principal. I see this move as a first step in returning to Pueblo as a future administrator. Working with him as an assistant coach was a pleasure. He got his wrestlers to perform at their utmost potential.”
Vasquez said, “Coach Lopez is truly an awesome person and a great advocate for Pueblo High School. I just want to say to him ‘Thank you, Mr. Lopez, for all of the help that you have given me—even in college. I would get out of work at 9 at night, and you would still find time to tutor me regarding my college math courses—for free!’”
Lopez loves teaching, but he said that he would like to continue making a difference in his community. This is why he has decided to take the job as assistant principal at Valencia Middle School.
“I see myself working for another ten years and really make a difference in the lives of students and to enhance their quality of education,” said Lopez.
He does admit that teaching students has not been easy—especially the ones who don’t feel like learning.
“[This job has been] all worth it,” Lopez said.
He added, “Kids can sometimes resist us [teachers] to the death, but I like the challenge of making them say ‘I want to learn.’”
Lopez advises new teachers to be tenacious about this profession: “You [teachers are] probably never going to be rich, but teach because you love it.”
He admitted that leaving is not going to be easy for him, and confesses that he will really miss “everything” about Pueblo—specifically, students and staff.
“Pueblo is home. Pueblo is where I feel like I definitely belong, where I feel like I mattered,” Lopez said.
Many staff members expressed their goodbyes and wishes words for Mr. Lopez.
Ms. Jessica Bernal-Mejia, history teacher, said, “Steve [Lopez] was like my Pueblo tio, always picking on me, but I knew he had my back. I’m going to miss him, but I know that he is going to be a great principal.”
Principal Dr. Augustine Romero said, “We’re going to miss Mr. Lopez very much. He has been a huge inspiration to many, many students. At the same time, we’re very proud and happy for him regarding this opportunity to become an assistant principal.”
One of Lopez’ math colleagues, Ms. Paulette Livio, said, “I’m very excited that Mr. Lopez finally got the chance to become an administrator [at Valencia Middle School], but we’re very sad to lose him.”
Math teacher Mr. Billy Campbell said, “Mr. Lopez has been a mentor to me. He’s helped me to grow as a math teacher. I’ve learned from him what it truly means to be a teacher and a leader.” He paused and added, “Mr. Lopez is the kind of man who walks-the-walk and doesn’t just talk. When I occasionally feel down about myself, I tell myself, ‘I need to put my Steve [Lopez] hat on.’”Probably the person who will miss Mr. Lopez the most in the math department is his close friend and colleague, Ms. Martha Avila-Miranda. “I wish him [Lopez] all of the wisdom in his new position [as assistant principal]. It’s going to be really difficult getting used to not seeing him—he’s been here for nearly 30 years. However, he’s just a phone call away.”
On October 31st, students brought the Halloween spirit to Pueblo as they dressed up as deadly clowns, fictional couple costumes and a saxophone-playing gorilla.
Despite the spirit many felt on Halloween, some students said that as they get older, they believe that Hal
Halloween does not have the same spunk when they were younger.
Students shared their beliefs regarding Halloween and their experiences.
Senior Thai Kromrei said, “I came to school dressed up as Stich because my girlfriend wanted to be Lilo. Afterwards, we went trick-or-treating with my nephews.”
“I came to Pueblo with my face painted as a skeleton and decided afterwards to go around scaring children around my grandma’s neighborhood,” senior Abigail Sotelo said. “I think that everyone should be allowed to trick-or-treat forever, or at least until you can’t walk.”
Senior Yamaika Romero said, “I was dressed up as a clown and went to go watch movies with my friends and little cousins.”
“I came to Pueblo as a zombie and later in the day went trick-or-treating with my nephews, sadly we didn’t get enough candy,” senior Kanani Salazar said. “It’s also upsetting that less kids dressed up this year. People think they are getting too old for it.”
Sam Quiroz, a senior, said, “Everyone should honestly live life to the fullest no matter how old you get. This year I did it dressed as a genie.”
Freshman Ayonna Perez said, “We’re not too old to celebrate Halloween, and I actually saw a handful of costumes I liked—specifically the gorilla playing the saxophone.”
“I dressed up as a cat, and later I went trick-or-treating with my family and a friend,” freshman Joanis Del Valle said. “I’m excited for next Halloween—as I plan to dress up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland.”
Freshman Sabrina Suazo said, “I chose to dress up as a nerd. I went trick-or-treating with my family and my friend Ayonna. My plans for next Halloween are to throw a party and invite my friends to throw the best party of the year.”
Sophomore Samantha Polo said, “I noticed that more students were taking care of their younger siblings instead of enjoying Halloween.”
Truly, our Warriors know Halloween spirit, and many underclassmen anticipate next year’s ghoulish event.