Memories Of A Class Of 2016 Warrior ~ Damaris Karely Ponce

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.

Damaris Ponce Pueblo High School Reflection
Damaris Karely Ponce

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.

Damaris Ponce Pueblo High School Chicago MEChA Conference
Damaris At MEChA Conference in Chicago.

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.

Damaris Ponce Pueblo High School White House Ivy League Tour
Damaris in front of the White House during her Ivy League Tour.

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.

MEChA Prepares For Chicago

By Emilio Grijalva and Aliah Luna

People gathering in Pueblo patio for 2015 Cesar Chavez March

This year Pueblo’s MEChA club members are getting ready to pack their bags to travel to Chicago on April 9-12, for a National MEChA conference, where they will be discussing social issues as well as meeting other students across the country.

The “MEChistas” are fundraising $4,000 to buy plane tickets to send all seven club members and two sponsors to attend the conference. By mid-March, the club had already raised $3,000 from carwashes and selling food at school events; they are asking for any donations. The district donated the rest of the money needed for this trip through Title 1 funds.

Co-president Yulissa Hurtado, a junior, said, “MEChA represents social justice and equality for everyone. I am really excited to be able to talk to other students around the country about a lot of different issues.”

This year’s sponsors, Ms. Jessica Mejia, Mr. Jesus Orduño and Ms. Sally Rusk are very proud of this year’s club members and wholeheartedly support the fervid efforts of their students.

“MEChA gives the students a voice and connects Pueblo with the community,” said Mejia.

On Saturday, March 28, MEChA hosted a fundraiser at Pueblo for Cesar Chavez’s birthday from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Food was served and a DJ played music to entertain the crowd. MEChA was able to raise more money for their trip to Chicago through entry fees.

Pueblo High School MEChistas

Earlier that day, MEChA members as well as other supporters and students in other Pueblo clubs walked from Pueblo to Rudy Garcia Park to bring awareness to social issues.

MEChA, which began in the late 1960s during the Chicano Rights Movement, is a student-run organization that focuses on social justice and community outreach.

Pueblo MEChA Honors 43 Mexican Victims

By Sabrina Parra and Anais Salais

Display of support for 43 Missing from Ayotzinapa

On Thursday, Nov. 20, Pueblo Magnet High School’s very own MEChA Club demonstrated their support and respect to the 43 students who vanished on Sept. 26 in Guerrero, Mexico.

The 43 students were on their way to protest the lack of funding in their school when they were stopped by policemen and were said to be taken. Their whereabouts are still unknown, and the investigation on these students has been on going ever since.

Pueblo’s MEChA students decided to participate and take a stand in these demonstrations to inform the Pueblo community of the situation happening in Mexico.

Damaris Ponce, a member of MEChA, said, “A lot of people didn’t know about what was happening in Mexico and we wanted them to know that we cared and to show Mexico that we are supporting their cause.”

Yajaira Ceballos, MEChA. Co-chair said, “It hurts me to see what they’re going through, someone shouldn’t be punished for wanting to make a difference. We want them to see that we care and that we want to help them make a difference.”

The displays included 43 ribbons, posters hung on teachers’ doors, and 43 chairs laid out in the patio with the pictures of the students.

43 Chairs for the missing from Ayotzinapa

“The pictures and displays were a way to humanize the students and to show that this could have happened to anybody fighting for their rights,” said teacher and MEChA. Co-counselor Jessica Mejia.

Demonstrations were not just held at Pueblo but globally, including support from countries such as Argentina. The demonstrations were purposely held on Nov. 20 because it is the same day of the Mexican Revolution. (The Mexican Revolution brought the overthrow of dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori after 35 years of rule. In 1920 General Álvaro Obregón became the new president.)

“This event has been a lot like starting a new revolution for Mexico and putting pressure on the Mexican government to change and take back their country,” said Mejia.

Although MEChA and other protesters around the world brought attention to this situation in Mexico, the support towards this cause and the search for the students does not end here.

Display of support for 43 Missing from Ayotzinapa

“This is a continuing issue and the people protesting are not going to rest until the 43 students are found and their family receives some closure,” said teacher and MEChA Co-counselor Mr. Jesus Orduño.

MEChA encourages the Pueblo community to follow along with the story in Mexico and to continue showing their support for the families.

“MEChA is about seeking social justice and we have a lot more in store for this year. We meet every Friday, and our door is always open to new members,” said Orduño.

Display of support for 43 Missing from Ayotzinapa