break is a long awaited time off from school as well as a time when holidays
are celebrated and memories with family to be forged. Our Warriors just
returned from their two-week vacation, embracing the cool weather and even
experiencing snow for the first time in eight years. Already, the Pueblo
community has made lasting warm memories of the break.
ushering in of the new year has allowed many students and staff members to
reflect on times recently passed.
Gunnels, assistant principal, who took this time to visit her mothers and
Louis, the weather wasn’t as bad there as I had thought it would be,” Gunnels
said. “But we got stuck in a blizzard in Albuquerque. So husband and I talked
in the car and read books while the freeway was closed.”
was not the only one who had a dramatic or bizarre story to tell. Junior Arsenio
Castillo traveled to San Antonio, Texas, where he visited his sister.
was a couple miles away and almost hit us,” Castillo said. “This tornado was a
big shock, but I’m glad that we were okay. Being obliterated by a tornado would
have ruined Christmas.”
Warriors gathered lots of memories on Christmas morning. Gifts ranged from the
small, like the slippers that junior Carmen Membrila received…or the large,
such as sophomore Karolina Bracamonte’s new phone.
had received a grand gift that she will not ever forget; she was given the opportunity
to go to London to walk in the New Year’s parade from her recognition in a
Cheer camp. She and another junior student, Mia Carpenter, who was also
recognized for her talents at a Cheer camp, traveled together and enjoyed the
“The whole week that I was in London was so much fun! Those days were such a
new experience for me and really opened my eyes to travel more. Truly, I’ll
never forget the amazing experience I had.”
we’ve been in the new semester for a few weeks, many of us are looking forward
to spring break and the memories that we Warriors will find there.
For the 17th year, Pueblo’s Road Warriors participated in the world-renowned El Tour de Tucson, which was held on Saturday, Nov. 17; three students and three faculty members were among the more than 9,000 riders.
Seniors Andrew Romero and Jose Antonio Pesellin and junior Leo Parra, along with faculty members Mr. Ernesto Somoza (sponsor), Ms.Marie Little and Ms. Tina Bruce, all made it to their finish lines.
In the past, Somoza has bicycled from Oceanside, CA to San Diego, about 50 miles. He’s also cycled from the U.S.-Mexico border to Ensenada, Baja California.
Two Pueblo students, Pesellin and Parra, finished the 100-mile race, as did teacher Somoza and his sister, Melissa; Somoza’s father, Xavier Somoza, also participated.
“Practicing was easy,” Pesellin said, “but riding 100 miles was a bit challenging. After the race, I had to see an on-site medic because of the pain in my leg muscles.”
Parra said, “The race was tiring. It was tough, but it was really important to me to reach the finish line.” He added that he raced on his Scatante bike and completed the race in eight hours. Parra plans to beat his time next year as a returning member of Road Warriors.
Teacher Somoza completed the full 100-mile course—mostly to ensure that students would be safe and that they would finish the complete race.
Somoza has participated in many races in the past several years, including 50-miles rides in California.
Another teacher, yearbook and exceptional education teacher Little, participated in the event for the first time, finishing her 25-mile course.
“I will definitely be doing this [El Tour de Tucson] next year,” Little said, “and I will be challenging three of my family members to join me.”
El Tour de Tucson began in 1983 with just a few dozen riders. In the past several years, as many as 10,000 riders have participated in this event, held each year on the third Saturday in November. This year, a record number of riders dominated the streets of Tucson (an estimated 11,000) in different distance races.
“It’s not necessarily about finishing first, and El Tour de Tucson is not necessarily a race,” Little said. “Being part of the Road Warriors is about having fun. All of the training that prepares us for El Tour really is effective. We hope to get even more students and faculty members involved next year.”
Sponsor Ernesto Somoza also adamantly encourages students to join the Road Warriors Club if they are looking for something to do after school that’s a little bit different than just joining a sports team.
“Road Warrior members have the opportunity to meet other bicyclists in the community. Tucson is truly a bicycle-loving and bicycle-friendly city,” Somoza said.
He added that earlier this month, the club had a new member drive that added nine new cyclists who did not participate earlier this semester. These students will continue to participate in monthly rides until the end of the school year. Rides, which will last about five miles, will beheld on the first Thursday of each month from 3:45 until 5:30 p.m. No prior experience is required, Somoza said.
Somoza said that bicycling has been very therapeutic and allows his mind to rest, and he would like others to discover the mental and physical benefits of bicycling. “If I’m really stressed out, I just go hiking or biking,” he said. “This helps me take my mind off of the chaos in this world.”
Tardiness has historically been a big problem in our school, but we are improving on this situation despite long tardy lines. During the first week in December, there were 1,014 tardies reported in the attendance office. The next week, the number of tardies plummeted to 769 tardies, and more than 90% of these tardies were during the first period.
Pueblo’s faculty has addressed this problem and working hard to help decrease students’ tardies. As of mid-December, Behavior Interventionists have completed 258 interventions, 236 student conferences, 20 parent conferences, and two lunch restorations.
Ms. Angelica Aros, one of Pueblo’s attendance clerks said, “Yes, I believe Pueblo can make a change. These lines are not the solution. Students need to value their time at school more.”
Mr. Steve Lopez, assistance principal, affirmed that after students are tardy six times, parents will be called. If tardies persist, Lopez added that home they will be required to attend “Saturday School”.
Bryan Ramirez, a junior, said “I’ve had to go to lunch detention and it truly does help me get back on my feet and realize what am doing is wrong.”
Tardiness begins in the morning right after the first bell, at 8 a.m. 1st Period, and within 15 minutes, the tardy line serpentines from the attendance office to the outside—consisting sometimes as many as a hundred students. Some students express their frustration because they were just seconds late—and still not allowed in class. By the time they receive their tardy slip and go to class, students will have missed half—or more—of their class.
“The whole tardy policy is just a mess,” said student Ramirez. “Administration needs to come up with a more effective way to deal with students’ tardies. Being in long lines is not a solution—it’s just a band-aid to a big problem. I believe that students and teachers should come up with more innovative ways to deal with our tardies. I suppose that students themselves need to fix the tardy problem by just showing up to school on time.”
Administration said that they will continue to make improvements in the tardy policy. “So far, the tardiness problem has improved,” said Assistant Principal Steve Lopez. “We could always do better, however, and we’ll continue to make improvements as the discussion continues.”
Just in time for the holidays, Ms. Sarah Barnes has continued the trend of sponsoring a taste-testing contest for Pueblo’s faculty and staff. The name of this timely event, “Desserts in the Desert”, truly lived up to its name—with a dozen or so contestants vying for a first place win for their home-made tasty treats, ranging from toffee bars to cupcakes to “specialized” cakes and other confectionery concoctions.
On Wednesday, December 5, during both lunches, several dozen members of the Pueblo community participated in judging their favorite two desserts. The top three winners were announced later in the day at teachers’ professional development meeting at 2:30 p.m.
The first place winner was psychology and math teacher Ms. Hannah Yoder; she won for her scrumptious “chocolate toffee croissant rolls”.
The one dollar entry fee from tasters added up to $48.
Yoder received a $20 gift card, and she plans to use the money for “date night”.
“I was very excited to learn that I had won first place,” Yoder said. “I was very surprised to be chosen among all of those great entries!”
“There were some truly decadent entries this time around,” Barnes said, “and it was a lot of fun to see people eating these treats.”
Barnes said that she will continue to host this event because “it brings Pueblo’s faculty and staff a little closer, especially at a time when everybody is so busy.”
She added that she would like to host at least one more of these tasty events next semester and encourages the faculty to help her come up with new ideas and themes.
The 2,000 or so students, faculty, staff and administrators in the Pueblo High School community have historically been very expressive regarding their gratitude in light of Thanksgiving. Here are just a few of those voices:
Andrew Romero, senior: “I am thankful for my family,and worldly possessions. However, more than anything I am grateful to be living…and for my girlfriend.”
Austin Davis, sophomore: “I am thankful for my Subway sandwiches and my friend, Sabino.”
Brian Alegria, sophomore: “I am really thankful for thrash metal music and my mother.”
Anahiz Lopez, sophomore: “I love my older twin sister, Analia. She defends me, and although she can sometimes be a little mean, I still love her.”
Eduwiges (Vicky) Cordova, senior: “I am thankful for my education, family, and friends also the roof over my head.”
Mariel Ponce, sophomore:
“Everything that’s been given my way.”
Genesis Alba, junior:“I’m grateful for that God blessed me with privileges like my education, my family, and the love they shower me in—and being able to eat.”
Mr. Frank Rosthenhausler,
Principal: “I’m thankful for the opportunity to lead this great school.”
Jesus Soto, junior: “I’m thankful for all the strength and blessings God has given me.”
Ruben Rivera IV, senior: “I’m thankful for Coach Sanders for teaching everything I’ve learned these past four years. I’m thankful for my team for being some real dawgs and never backing down.”
Andres Jorge Lujan, senior: “I’m thankful to have both of my parents living under the same roof.”
Ms. Katherine Gunnels, Assistant Principal: “I am thankful that I have a lot of good cooks in my family,and that my husband is the most amazing man ever.”
Sabino Raygoza: “I am thankful for my friends and family and my red Air Max’s.”
Nicole Del Toro, junior: “I am thankful for my parents and the people that genuinely care about me.”
Isaac Guerrero, junior: “I am thankful for my family,for my earphones, and ice cream, too.”
Darian Aldaco, sophomore: “I am thankful for having a roof over my head and a place to sleep.”
Mr. Steve Lopez, assistant principal: “I am thankful to be back home, Pueblo is home to me.”
Antonio Rodriguez, senior: “I am thankful for friends and family.”
Ms. Amaro, chemistry teacher: “Thankful for wonderful students at Pueblo and in the Chemistry Club.”
Andres Apodaca, senior: “I am thankful for my mom because that’s why I’m here today.”
Ryana Talavera, senior: “I’m very thankful for my two friends, Candy and Michael, because they have helped me through a lot and have always been there for me.”
Ms. Elizabeth Raizk, science teacher: “I’m most thankful for the students here at Pueblo. They’re kind, perspective, and they keep me going.”
Zahira Barcelo, sophomore: “I’m just thankful for what I have.”
Angelica Aros, attendance secretary: “I am thankful for my family because I love them; they are my everything.”
Ms. Teresa Toro, counselor: “Very thankful for my health, family, and my extended family at Pueblo.”
Susie Esquivel, senior: “I am thankful for my brother because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have pursued my interest as a musician. He’s inspired me for everything I do in my life, and he’s my best friend.”
Aaron Cano, junior: “I am thankful for everything my parents have done for me and everything that my girlfriend does for me.”
Carlos Molina, junior: “I’m thankful for my family and friends and how supportive they have been for me in baseball and life.”
Mia Carpenter, junior: “I’m thankful for my eyelashes because they don’t need mascara.”
Mark Anthony, junior: “I’m very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given.”
Ms. Kate Straub, nurse: “I am thankful for my health, my job here at Pueblo and also my family…I feel like I pretty much have everything I need in this world.”
Bryan Ramierz, junior: “I’m thankful for my mother because she cares for me, and she motivates me to always work hard.”
Jose Montoya, sophomore: “First of all, I’m thankful for my family because they love me, and they’re always there for me.”
Adam Pelayo, junior: “I’m thankful for the great life that I have and I’m also thankful for my parents because they work so hard.”
Ms. Goya Ruiz, campus monitor: “I’m thankful for my kids, my family, and good health.”
Adrian Cervantes, junior: “I’m thankful for everything—but specially my mom, my clothes, the rest of my immediate family, and of course my grandma.”
Paula Fierros, senior: “I’m thankful for everyone who has made my senior year pleasant and memorable so far, especially Mr. Medhi who elected me editor-in-chief this year. He’s the best.”
Ms. Marie Little, yearbook/exceptional ed teacher: “I am thankful for my health, my son[s] and my family.”
Martin Martinez, senior: “I’m thankful that my baseball career has become as success. I’ve been offered several baseball scholarships, including one from Minnesota.”
Mr. Ernesto Somoza, graphic design teacher: “I am strongly thankful for my five four-legged, furry friends as well as my friends and family-and, at last, for my ever-growing friends and family at Pueblo.”
Even though the solar panels project in the parking lot was supposed to be completed before the beginning of this school year, this construction project did not begin until July 16, making the beginning of the school year a bit chaotic for many employees and students looking for parking spaces.
More than three months later, the project is nearing completion. Final work continues,and an expected date of completion is estimated to be near the end of the semester.
Mr. Mark Farcis, a foreman for the Future Vervan Energy corporation, said, “We are nearing the end of our stay here,” he said. “All that is left is to connect all of the panels to one power source.”
of this project will ease parking nightmares for faculty, staff and students.
“Traffic in and out of Pueblo has been horrid,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Montaño, “but we’ve done the best we could do under these circumstances. We hope that everybody can be a little patient because in the end, we’re going to have a beautiful new parking lot that will be environmentally impactful.”
Due to a reduced number of spaces in our usual parking lot due to the installation of the panels, many teachers have had to park in the several new areas that have been designated temporary parking locations.
In the end, the solar panels will be improving the environment as well as reducing the district’s electricity bill.
“Cutting the energy bill in half is always a good thing,” said Ms. Kathryn Gunnels, assistant principal.
The big plan is to go green will take over the district. Many schools in T.U.S.D. have already completed their own solar panels projects in those schools’ parking lots.
Gunnels said, “We live in a world with limited resources, and it makes perfect sense to use our unlimited resource in Arizona—the sun.”