Raytheon Honors Mr. Ernesto Somoza

By Kevin Salazar

Ernesto Somoza

Pueblo High School’s very own Mr. Ernesto Somoza, who teaches graphic design and sponsors numerous clubs, has been named Raytheon’s Teacher of the Year, among the dozens of applicants from many high schools in the Tucson area.

After being nominated in August by Pueblo colleague, economics teacher Ms. Mary Wallace, Somoza endured several levels of eligibility—and in the end, received the call that informed him that he was one of three teachers who would receive a $5,000 grant.

Somoza said, “I was eventually notified that I was a finalist, which made me really happy.” He paused and added, “Then, I had to be at my best during a Zoom interview—competing against other finalists.”

He added, “I almost missed the phone call the next day that informed me that I was the recipient of the award. I kept ignoring a call during first period because I didn’t recognize the call number and name. But, luckily, I eventually answered my phone a few times later and learned of my award.”

This is not Somoza’s first time at being honored by local organizations. He has been recognized by the TUSD media, Tucson Values Teachers and by the University of Arizona.

“Being recognized for what I do at Pueblo is truly elating,” Somoza said. “My job is challenging, although I’ve never looked at it as a job because it’s too much fun.” He paused and added, “All teachers work hard to inspire their students and to prepare them for the future. I wish I could share this award with everybody.”

Besides dedicating his school day as a graphic teacher for the past six years, Somoza also sponsors/teachers the Bicycle Club, the Hiking Club and also volunteers his time for various other projects, including district and community leaders.

“Our [Pueblo] students need to compete with others across the city,” Somoza said, “and this grant money will help me afford the equipment necessary to expedite this process.”

Somoza and his students recently began to design and create T-shirts for various Pueblo clubs after purchasing equipment necessary for such a venture.

“There’s so much more I need in my classroom to compete with other high schools’ graphic design programs,” Somoza said, “but I feel confident that we’re on our way. I want Pueblo to be the district and community leader in this field.”

Somoza is currently applying for another grant award that would help him achieve this status. He encourages other educators to apply for grants in their subject matter because “they’re out there.” These grants, he asserts, will make positive changes in students’ learning.

“I see how engaged students are when they’re learning graphic design with state of the art equipment,” said Somoza, “This enthusiasm and engagement really does change their perspectives and turns otherwise disinterested students into individuals who truly want to learn and share their knowledge with others. This contagion is absolutely amazing to observe.”

Ms. Mary Wallace, who nominated Somoza for this award, said, “Ernie [Somoza] is the most amazing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] teacher I have ever met! He helps everybody selflessly with his knowledge of technology.”

With a future full of new adventures and new projects, Somoza shares his happiness for what he does for a living.

“What I do [at Pueblo] just happens to award me a paycheck every two weeks,” he said. “The real reward is preparing students for success and instilling them with the kind of knowledge with which they can graduate and use forever.”

Marching Band Finds Its Cadence

by Encina Herrera

On Nov. 9, the pride of the Pueblo marching band placed in the Top 25 in the State; that’s two consecutive years for this ranking!

State championships this year took place at Buckeye Union High School in Buckeye, Ariz. Last year, our marching Warriors placed 21st out of 22, while this year students pushed hard and made it happen again; this time, however, they placed 23rd out of 30.

“This year we scored eight points higher than last year,” said Mr. Jesus Jacquez, Pueblo’s band director and teacher. “It [placing 23rd] may not seem like it, but it’s a way better rating [than last year’s placing].”

The score improvement shown by those eight points in just one year is a big step towards the success and rebuilding of our school’s music and band programs, according to Jacquez.

Our band placed higher than 25th in sub-categories including general effect music/visual, music individual/ensemble, and visual individual/ensemble, even surpassing Sahuaro High School, whose band has historically ranked higher in previous competitions.

Jacquez said, “Beating Sahuaro in the sub-categories felt pretty good. I didn’t think we would beat them in some of the categories.”

The band program at Pueblo has grown tremendously over the past few years thanks to the commitment from Jacquez and his students.

Senior Polet Licudine, a drum major, said, “The band has really improved because everybody knows what they are doing this year. Last year, students didn’t have this inspiration and organization. Mr. Jacquez has really made us a better program.”

Another senior, Luciana Velarde, the band’s trumpet soloist, said, “The band program has grown immensely, and within a few months of this school year and gained more recognition. Mr. Jacquez believes very deeply in us.”

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.”

Look In The Sky…It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…No, It’s Our Drone!

By Angelita Delcido

Pueblo Drone Flyby

On March 29, 2017, during 4th period (and first lunch for some), Pueblo’s CTE Graphic and Web Design teacher, Mr. Ernesto Somoza, gathered all of the spring sports girls’ teams—including soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball (as well as Cheer)—to celebrate their upcoming “AIA Tony Komadina Award” with a group picture.

This picture was taken a little unusual; in fact, a drone snapped the picture in effort to “stay in the current world,” Somoza explained. “[The drone] is a fairly new consumer product,” he added. “A year ago, the drone wasn’t as prominent as now.”

Freshman (Class of 2020) Jacquelyn Gutierrez, a member of Cheer this season, was part of the crowd.  “It was exciting to be part of this event,” Gutierrez said. “I felt inclusive with Pueblo—like I was a member of this great school, like I was really connected to the school. As a freshman, this is a great feeling because I think we all come into high school and feel a little left out. But, that’s all changed now.”

Another freshman (Class of 2020) Alina Cuen, member of cheer, also took part of the crowd photo and said, “I felt special and proud to represent Pueblo. The drone was definitely a unique way to take our pictures. Mr. Somoza was brilliant to have thought of this approach.”

Sophia Shivers, a freshman (Class of 2020), was on this season’s girls’ JV basketball team said, “Even though it was really hot that afternoon, I felt cool to represent Pueblo’s girls’ sports programs.  The drone was cool, too, and I think that this is how future group pictures should be taken.”

Sophomore (Class of 2019) Yazmin Almazan, a member of the girls’ JV volleyball team this season, said that she felt a sense of unity with the other girls at Pueblo, and she loved the drone!

“The drone took some very unique shots of us—pictures that a person would never be able to take. I hope that the drone is used again to take more interesting pictures,” Almazan said.

Mr. Campbell: Being His Best

Aliah Luna El Guerrero Pueblo 2015

By Aliah Luna

Math Heroes By Raytheon LogoPueblo math teacher Mr. Charles William (“Billy”) Campbell was honored for being the recipient of the “MathMovesU Math Hero” award. He received the official news that he was just one of 25 math teachers in thirteen states to be honored for this award.

Nominated by co-teacher Ms. Shanti Foster last semester, Campbell learned early last summer that he would be competing in the finals. Campbell was asked a series of questions on an application and his responses determined him to be a finalist.

On August 31, Campbell was informed that he was one of the 25 recipients of the math award.

Charles Billy Campbell Math Teacher Pueblo Awarded
Mr. Charles William “Billy” Campbell

“I feel a greater sense of accomplishment for being honored for what I do every day,” Campbell said. “It’s a pretty big thing, you know? Being recognized for the hard work you do is always nice—and we [teachers] feel as good as students who are nominated for an award. It’s like somebody saying, ‘Good job’.”

Campbell said that he wholeheartedly loves his job and is always striving to teach math to Pueblo students to the best of his ability. He added that no matter what he does, there is always a way to be better.

“Whatever I do, I want to do it well,” Campbell said. “Whether it’s teaching, playing video games, being and playing with my son, I want to do it the best I possibly can be.”

Campbell said that after receiving this award, he felt a sense of knowing that he is doing something right. He also expressed gratitude to his students for allowing him to teach them and that they continue to motivate him to always be his best.

“I feel there are a lot of people to thank, but most importantly, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you’ to all of my students,” he said. “They allow me to work hard with the best educators. I have worked with a lot of great teachers throughout the years, especially here at Pueblo. I am so fortunate to work with and belong to the most awesome math department!”

Campbell received $2,500 for his award, and that same amount was matched and awarded to Pueblo.

Congratulations Mr. Campbell! We are proud of you!