Ms. Sarah Barnes Begins New Life In Tucson In 21st Century

By Ernesto Estopellan

On the first day of the 21st Century (Jan. 1, 2001), Ms. Sarah Barnes, one of the most visibly new employees at Pueblo High School this school year, arrived in Tucson from the East Coast, serving as a multi-tiered systems facilitator to help teachers learn new strategies to help increase our students’ test scores—as well as boost the overall morale at Pueblo.

Late last semester, Barnes was the primary speaker for our entire student population during a cohort meeting, stressing responsible cell phone behavior and other important social media advice.

“I want to get to know everybody at Pueblo,” Barnes said. “I want to know our students, the teachers, work with administrators and I want people to ask questions because I have a lot of questions to ask. In the short time that I’ve been here, I can tell that this school has a heart and soul.”

Barnes was born in Delaware in 1977, and while visiting Tucson, she fell in love with the weather, so she transferred from the University of Delaware to the University of Arizona.

“Moving here [to Tucson] was like getting out of jail,” Barnes said. “It was liberating to get out of Delaware for many personal reasons.”

She explained that education was not her first choice for a career. In fact, Barnes said that she studied criminology and even considered joining the police academy.

“Somehow my focus changed to education when I met somebody who suggested that I become a teacher,” Barnes said. “That somebody was our assistant principal Frank Rosthenhausler.”

She taught math for more than a dozen years before becoming interested in becoming a multi-tiered systems facilitator.

“I want to be a positive influence at Pueblo,” Barnes said. “I’m here for just about everybody—especially our students. But, I want teachers to know, too, that I wholeheartedly support them in every way possible.”

Barnes helps recognize students’—and teachers’!—perfect attendance this school year, printing achievement certificates for them.

“Everybody is a star at Pueblo,” she said.

…And Assistant Principal Gunnels Makes Four

by Adamaris Castillo

New this school year to the administrative family at Pueblo High School is former English teacher Ms. Kathryn Gunnels, who officially begins as assistant principal with a long list of responsibilities, including the planning of meetings for teachers (Professional Learning Communities), supervising advanced learning opportunities, finalizing the master schedule and organizing student-testing events.

She also communicates to staff via a weekly update on teachers’ computer work stations.

“This is the hardest job I’ve ever had,” Gunnels said, “but I also love it—not only to help students but also to support Pueblo’s great teaching staff.”

Gunnels, who taught English for 10 years at Pueblo (in two separate time periods), actually fulfilled her student-teaching assignment under the supervision of Mr. Manny Galvan, who retired a few years ago (but occasionally substitute-teaches) and Ms. Marci Bowman, who also retired from teaching.

“I knew then [while student-teaching] that Pueblo was a special place,” Gunnels said. “I may have left Pueblo for a few years [to pursue other positions], but I’m definitely back, and it feels like a second home.”

She revealed that education was not her first career choice. Gunnels said that she majored in business, but after mentoring at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, she was inspired to become an educator.

And, as far as being the fourth employee with the surname “Gunnels” to be employed at Pueblo High School, Assistant Principal Gunnels said, “We have a rule at our house at the dinner table. My husband, two sons and I are not allowed to talk about school.”

Husband Mr. Michael Gunnels is a communications media tech teacher; son Jeren is a transition school-to-work instructional specialist; and other son, Derek, is an exceptional education teacher.

“I’m here [as an assistant principal] especially for our students,” Gunnels said. “I want students to know that when they make mistakes or face monumental obstacles, it’s not the end of the world. I want to help them realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to help them find solutions to their problems.”

She added, “I want our students at Pueblo to know that they can do anything with their lives—they have the potential to achieve greatness.”

Congratulations Class Of 2017 Winter Graduates

This semester, seven Pueblo students will be receiving their high school diploma. (This list is subject to change at the last moment, grades pending.)

According to Ms. Rachel Apalategui, Pueblo’s registrar, the following seven students will be graduating tonight:

1. Yuriel Escalante Valenzuela
2. Eva Espinosa
3. Raul Garcia
4. Cody Johnson
5. Jazmin Rivas
6. Joel Molina
7. Gabriel Palomino

Most of these students will be attending a graduation ceremony for all T.U.S.D. high school students tonight, Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. at Catalina High School. According to Apalategui, perhaps as many as 100 students across the district will be graduating tonight.

One of those lucky Warrior graduates is Gabriel Palomino, who needed an extra semester to catch up his credits. Specifically, he needed two credits in science and math.

“I still feel as if I’m the Class of 2017, even though it’s going to be in December,” Palomino said. “I’m an example of a student who didn’t concentrate and didn’t do work on time. But, I just want other students to know that they should push on—things do get better. It all comes with time.”

Palomino plans to pursue a career in culinary arts at Pima Community College immediately after he earns his degree from Pueblo.

“This degree means a lot to me, but it’s not the end of my academic road,” Palomino said. “I’ve worked too hard to give up now.”

Warriors Honored For Perfect Attendance

by Arlie Kontic

Beginning this school year, Pueblo High School administrators will honor students who have perfect attendance in an effort to encourage students to be present every day.

Earlier this school year, in September, 252 Pueblo Warriors earned a certificate because of their perfect attendance. Freshmen led last month’s perfect attendance statistics, according to Assistant Principal Kathryn Gunnels, who created this program in order to stimulate better attendance.

Gunnels said, “We want to reward [our students with] good behavior, and perfect attendance is a great start.” She added that they will be awarding students who achieve perfect attendance with certificates each month throughout this school year—and surprising some students with prizes.

Juan Romero Ruiz with Assistant Principal Kathryn Gunnels

One of those “surprised” students, freshman Juan Romero Ruiz, was very honored by Gunnels.

“I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I come to school every day like all students should.”

Jessica Prado Rascon & Alyssa Soza

Sophomore Jessica Prado, another student who was honored for her perfect attendance, said, “I do face some challenges with the traffic, but I still manage to get to Pueblo. Waking up and getting here are definite challenges, but earning high grades motivates me the most.”

Freshman Alyssa Soza echoed Prado.

“I’m committed to high grades,” Soza said, “and that means having perfect attendance so that I don’t miss anything in the classroom.”

Gunnels said she hopes seniors—the class with the worst attendance during the first quarter—take their last year of high school seriously, and to “kill” the “senioritis” bug now.

Teachers, too, have been receiving “Perfect Attendance” certificates—a message from administrators that teachers are definitely appreciated, too, for their commitment to being here every day.

In October, another 214 Warriors achieved perfect attendance; in November, however, the number of students with perfect attendance dropped drastically—to just 150.

Gunnels said that she does not speculate why there was a dramatic drop from October to November.

Learning Support Coordinator Ms. Sarah Barnes, a new employee to Pueblo this school year, distributed these certificates to teachers.

“Teachers should definitely be rewarded for their stellar attendance, too,” Barnes said. “It says a lot about our educators when they are here every day.”

Sub Speaks Out, Encourages Students To Take Risks, Dress For Success

By Jessica Prado

Among the two or three hundred substitute teachers that Pueblo welcomes every school year, very few can boast that they have published a book, attended the legendary Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 and dress better than most of our contract teachers.

Ms. Diane Donato is definitely difficult to miss. She loves fashion—her fashion—and she wears it well.

“The way you dress truly represents yourself to the world,” Donato said. “When you look better, you feel better.”

Donato feels so strongly about clothing and fashion that she based her published book, Clothes Encounters of the Divine Kind, on the premise that what she wears has made—and continues to make—a colossal difference in her own spiritual awakening and that her attire has helped her to “heal” from a series of personal tragedies in her past.

Raised in Waterbury, Conn., Donato said that she grew up “a free spirit”. After graduating high school in 1967, she attended college and was among the millions of young people protesting the Vietnam War.

“I wanted to help the world become a better place,” Donato said. “I still would love to help save the world.”

She added that she “took a break” in the middle of her college years in August 1969 to attend the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in upstate New York—known today as simply “Woodstock”—where nearly half a million people rejoiced in their generation’s greatest musical artists.

“I definitely identified with much of the music from that era,” Donato said. “One of that era’s greatest songs was John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’, which is still as relevant today as it was nearly 40 years ago. I’m all about world peace.”

After a lot of cold winters and expensive real estate, Donato ventured to Arizona at age 65, a few years after she retired.

“I really want to be a motivational speaker,” she said. “I have a lot to say to a lot of people. One thing I would like to tell all young people is that they should take risks and follow their passions.”

Donato’s book, Clothes Encounters of the Divine Kind, is available at Barnes and Noble or online at Amazon in both soft and hard covers.

Mr. Cortez—Back in ‘Familiar’ Territory

by Inez Gonzales

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.”