On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, Pueblo class of 2017 seniors attended this year’s first college fair during second period. Because of the block schedule, the senior class was divided into two sections so that students would have enough time to visit with various colleges and programs.
Many colleges were available to Pueblo seniors, including Arizona Christian University, Central Arizona College, New Mexico State College, Pima Community College, Universal Technical Institute and Prescott College. Several military branches were also present.
Senior Mikaela Sesma-Nuñez said, “This college fair was very helpful to me, and as I get ready to graduate from high school in about nine months, it helps me transition to the next step.” She paused and added, “I want to study cosmetology at Pima [Community College], and I was able to get a lot of useful information from the PCC reps today.”
Another senior, Griselda Miranda, said, “This [college] fair made me realize that I need to start preparing for my future, and college is definitely a part of that future. What an eye-opening experience, but it’s reality. I’m seriously considering attending either N.A.U., the U of A or even New Mexico State [located in Las Cruces] because their admissions office doesn’t require Tucson residents to pay out of state tuition.”
Ms. Mandy McTavish, Pueblo’s new College and Career readiness coordinator, organized this event.
She said, “This college fair required a lot of organization—including a lot of phone calls! I was very pleased with that the seniors conducted themselves professionally. This won’t be the last college fair seniors will experience this school year.”
McTavish added that she would like all seniors to attend Tucson College Night at the Tucson Convention Center on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, an event that hosts more than a hundred different colleges and universities from around the state and entire nation.
JTED hosted an officer training here at Pueblo and invited CTE students and teachers from Cholla High School to attend. More than 50 students from PHS and another approximately 35 from Cholla were in attendance in Pueblo’s library on Monday, September. 14, 2016.
Funded by the Pima County JTED Department, this event lasted the entire school day and included students from JTED/CTE classes, along with their teachers. The following Pueblo organizations were present: Educators Rising; HOSA; Skills USA (Graphics, Photography, Auto, Media, Printing); Yearbook; National Technological Honor Society; and DECA.
One of the primary objectives of this event each year is to help prepare students to become leaders in the future. They have been selected as officers for their clubs/classes or will be selected in the future. A variety of activities kept students from both schools interacting with their peers and engaged with analytical and evaluative tasks and hypothetical scenarios.
Rosa Duran, a senior from Cholla High School, said, “This training has truly taught me to work equally among my peers and to be respected as much as I respect their opinions.”
According to Pueblo’s CTE site coordinator, Dr. Maria Bicknell, another one of the primary objectives of this workshop is to instill within students the empowerment regarding knowledge and leadership.
Bicknell, along with Cholla’s CTE site coordinator, Ms. Lucy Swift, spent weeks of planning and organizing this workshop for both schools.
“Teamwork—that’s what this workshop is partly about,” Swift said. “My students [from Cholla] and I are very pleased at the organization of this event and how well students behaved and responded to the challenges that were presented to them.”
Mr. Curt Bertelsen, the training inspector from Pima County JTED, once again hosted an electrifying and engaging display of parliamentary procedure for students.
David Molina, a junior who attended this meeting, said, “Mr. Bertelsen’s presentation gives us students the skills and knowledge to successfully run our clubs.” He added, “The knowledge that I will take back will shape the way I help run the auto club for the next two years. He was truly an amazing and unforgettable speaker who knows how to keep students interested and thinking.”
Cholla graphics and design teacher, Mr. Mike Hensley, said, “I believe that it is very important and inspiring for students to see peers not only from their school but also to learn what students from other schools are doing in their CTE classes.”
Destyni Payan, a sophomore from Cholla who is enrolled in her school’s yearbook class, said, “I am returning to my school tomorrow with a new sense of purpose and will be even more positive about what I am doing. When I see all of these great students from both Pueblo and Cholla, I am really proud to be in a CTE class knowing that I’m learning the latest in technology and putting what I am learning into practice.”
“I want to become a better leader for my club and open my arsenal to new opportunities,” said Estevan Medrano, president of the auto club. “This workshop really is a great idea and offers us students new perspectives which is always a good thing.”
Maria Servellon, a junior who is president of HOSA, said that she learned a great deal at this workshop including how to properly conduct a meeting.
“Today’s experience was positive on so many levels, although I wish that we Pueblo students could have interacted with our Cholla guest students more,” Servellon said.
Jirsey Duron, a senior at Pueblo, who is the secretary of Educators Rising (sponsored by Ms. Bonnie Stull), said that the workshop was a lot of fun and a great learning experience at the same time.
“I learned how to work well with my peers and how to be a positive role model,” Duron said. “We need more of these workshops—not just CTE members but for all students in high school. Diplomacy is way beyond important in our violent world.”
Ms. Mandy McTavish, our new Career and College Readiness Coordinator, can’t wait to help our Warrior student body get on the right path towards college and success.
McTavish has been counseling for eight years and reveals that she is very passionate about her job and dedicating her career to helping students.
McTavish said, “I’ve always loved helping students figure out how to solve their problems.”
Having grown up in an underprivileged home herself, she knows how difficult these goals might seem for some of us.
“When you [students] do have a goal and make a plan, it’s easy to be guided,” said McTavish.
Already, McTavish professes her love for Pueblo because our diversity and hopes to guide each student towards a better future.
She has advice for our students: “Find your passion, find out what you love, and I’ll help you get there.”
Recently, on Wednesday, September 14, McTavish helped to coordinate and host the 2016 College Fall Tour held in the South Gym, inviting all Pueblo seniors to talk to more than a dozen organizations (college, universities and a few military branches) regarding their post-high school careers. She also organized the “Tri-Universities” presentation on September 20 in which Arizona’s three universities spoke to seniors as well as offering them brochures and information about their colleges.
“I know that a lot of our seniors are scared about going out in the real world, but the earlier that our seniors know where they’re going, the more they can enjoy the rest of their high school days,” McTavish said.
She added, “Every senior is capable of greatness in their futures.”
Damaris Karely Ponce, graduated from Pueblo #7 in her class in 2016 with a 3.73 GPA. (She enrolled in 2012.) She was co-chair of the MEChA Club, a National Honor Society Member, Ivy League Tour Participant, TRiO Student & a member of our Swim Team. Damaris plans to continue her education to become an immigration lawyer.
Damaris read this reflection of her experience at Pueblo to our faculty & staff during their Back To School Meeting on August 1, 2016. You can play the audio clip to hear it in her own words.
I remember before Freshman year started, my mom was asked what high school I was going to. As soon as she told them that I was going to Pueblo their faces changed. They told her it was a horrible school and well… we all know what they all say. It didn’t scare me because I mean… I came from Mexico so let’s say I’ve seen worse schools. It didn’t take too long for me to discover that Pueblo was actually a really great school, with the best teachers and administration. I felt welcomed, and I received the help that I needed to accomplish my main goal which at the time, was to learn English. I will always feel thankful for the patience and respect that everyone showed me and other students in my situation. The people that think Pueblo is a bad school are the ones that are not part of Pueblo nor is informed of all the achievements we have made.
Teachers have this incredible ability to change the lives of their students in such amazing ways. I know for a fact you guys do change lives everyday. Before I was a student at Pueblo I’ve never seen teachers so passionate about helping students develop. It always amazed me the amount of personal hours you give to students. Because of my mom’s job and my stubbornness to not take the city bus I used to come really early to school sometimes. There were always teachers already in school ready to give tutoring to students. And if that wasn’t enough, some of you stay after school really late. People outside of Pueblo would say “well that is their job”, but I know, the students know, that those hours are not going to be paid. You clearly don’t know how to be selfish.
The thing that impacts students the most is that you believe in their dreams and most importantly in them. Students are being told that they can’t go to College because of their background so constantly they end up believing it. But here in Pueblo, teachers and administrators not only believe in the students, but encourage them to great lengths and to be the best person they can be. I am a survivor of Mr. Santa Cruz’s class. I will never forget when the year was about to end, he told us we were special because we didn’t give up and continued with the class. The other day, I saw a classmate and she told me she thought the classes at Pima were going to be easy compared to Mr. Santa Cruz’s class. He prepared us so well, we now feel confident about College. This is just one example. I know each of you prepared us and helped us in every way possible. I don’t know if Pueblo was a bad school before, but I do know that Pueblo is the best school right now.
On Wednesday and Thursday, February 10 and 11, Pueblo’s forensic class, taught by Ms. Elaine Straub, experienced their third live crime scene; students were required to examine a car accident and apply the skills they have learned in class throughout this school year.
Straub said that this particular crime scene will test her students’ critical thinking skills.
“This is a higher caliber crime scene than the previous scenarios this school year,” Straub said. “There will be a few more this school year that will further challenge students’ critical thinking skills.”
Students were required to collect evidence and examine their discoveries, including taking photographs, taking measurements and fingerprinting.
Senior Rocio Rodriguez said, “Taking part in a simulated crime scene is so much better than reading out of a textbook. We students are able to actually see what happened and use critical thinking skills and making inferences from the clues. It makes so much more sense and practical to let us figure things out for ourselves.”
Straub added that Ms. Marie Little, who teaches auto, and her students helped stage this simulated crime scene. Several other teachers used this location for their own curriculum, including Ms. Emma Tarazon, whose students took various pictures in a variety of light settings, and Mr. Rana Medhi, who took his creative writing students to the scene so that they could write about a story about their observations.
“On a gorgeous day like today, students really like being out of the classroom and writing stories,” said senior Mia Contreras. “More teachers should get their students outdoors and take advantage of all that our school offers.”
Mr. Ernie Somoza’s CMT (Communications Media Technology) freshmen students used the drone to shoot an aerial of simulated crime scene. (Video below) Sophomore Hector Valenzuela and freshman Andrew Romero controlled the drone, and sophomore Victor Llanos edited the video.
This past Monday, several Pueblo teachers and hundreds of their students boasted their Dia de los Muertos displays (or, “altars”, as they are referred to in the Mexican culture) throughout Pueblo.
El Dia de los Muertos is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed. On this day in Mexico—usually Nov. 2—the streets near cemetaries are filled with decorations of paper, flowers, candy, skeletons and skulls, as well as parades.
On this day, death is laughed at in its face. Many euphemisms are used for death, la calaca (the skeleton), la pelona (“baldy”), la flaca (“the skinny”), and la huesada (“bony”). In parades, children carry marigolds, and music is played and dances are made to honor the spirits.
Here at Pueblo, many students learned about the Mexican culture and the significance of Dia de los Muertos. One student, junior Ana Lopez, said, “Ms. [Cathy] Gastelum really taught us a lot about this holiday. I learned mostly that we should always mourn our lost loved ones, and this holidays is an easy way to mourn those who have passed.”
Another junior, Anamim Yarisa, also in Ms. Gastelum’s classroom, said, “Everybody should reflect on those who have passed. A holiday like Dia de los Muertos makes it much easier to say goodbye to somebody we’ve lost.”
Several other teachers partook in this holiday with their students, including art teacher Mr. Ned Gray, Spanish teacher Mr. Jesus Orduño and social studies teacher Ms. Jessica Mejia.