As a mother of two sons, a beloved teacher, and owner of Calle Coffee, Ms. Celisa Ramirez is now fulfilling her dream of being an author.
She said that her book is about grief and a certain club, and one enters this worst club in the world.
“When I was 17 years old, the day before my senior year of high school started, my mom unexpectedly passed away,” Ramirez said.
Since her loss, Ramirez has been moved to help those enduring a similar hardship in their life because it is what she feels she needed to do during that time.
“My new goal is to have my book written by the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death,” Ramirez said. “I’ve written part of it, but I still have to have my nana, who is a published author, read it because she’s my peer editor.”
Ramirez said that her students have been her biggest inspiration and a constant motivation to continue working on the project.
Over her years as a teacher, Ramirez said that she loves offering advice to her students who are lacking the confidence to begin their own aspirations.
Ramirez said, “You can be more than one thing. All the parts of you matter, even the parts that you are not very proud of. What happened to me wasn’t anything I wanted to happen, but I’m trying to make something positive from my own traumatic experiences.”
The 2023-24 school year is definitely a school year of “new hires” at PHS. One of the more than two dozen new faces to grace our campus is our new Dean of Students, Mr. Simon Arriola.
Coming from Austin, Tex., Arriola is bringing “big” plans from the state where everything is bigger. He oversees all disciplinary actions at Pueblo, focusing on keeping students productive and maintaining order on campus.
“If you aren’t in trouble, there’s a good chance you don’t know me,” Arriola said half-jokingly.
Arriola said his first impressions at Pueblo were positive.
“It was clear from my first few days at Pueblo that this great school has many diligent students, and they have multiple opportunities to be successful,” he said. “The sheer number of students hoping to graduate and move on in their next chapter of life is very impressive.”
He added that the College Preparatory Academy is one example of offering students big opportunities for success.
“I already feel like a Warrior,” Arriola said. “I’m excited about helping students strive for excellence and success.”
Students were greeted this school year to several projects—either in the making or completed. One of the most needed was a new paint job at Pueblo’s Business Office.
The idea of repainting this space has “been in the making” for a few years, but the project wasn’t completed until July.
Mr. Eli Lopez, Pueblo’s new Business Office manager, said that the previous manager, Ms. Melina Montiel, had proposed the idea, but the job was not completed until three months ago.
Lopez said, “The compliments of the new paint job have been incredible. This was a project long overdue.”
With the help of a student, sophomore Alicia Santa Cruz [now a junior], who was working with Lopez and the front office at Pueblo High School during the summer, the project was finally completed.
“Painting was a two-person job,” Santa Cruz said, “and it was fun working with Mr. Lopez. In the end, I feel proud that I’m leaving a legacy of my hard work. Every time I walk past the Business Office, I am happy to have been part of making Pueblo shine a little brighter.”
Pueblo’s English department’s most recent addition, Ms. Lisa Levine, has been enjoying her time as a Warrior thus far, helping to inspire freshmen and sophomores with her love of reading.
Levine’s expertise in various genres of literature can be attributed to her history in the pursuit of higher education.
“I received my bachelor’s degree in comparative literature at University of California, [Berkeley] and a master’s degree at the University of Arizona in creative writing,” she said.
As her passion for writing developed, so did her desire to teach and she began in 2000 as a part-time profession.
“I taught part-time until 2014, and then I started teaching full-time,” Levine said. “In addition to teaching English, I’ve taught reading intervention, all subjects to fourth graders including some creative writing and humanities.”
Living in Sierra Vista, Calif. and New York for job opportunities, moving to Pueblo has been an adjustment for Levine as she describes the connections she has made as “meaningful”.
“[My move to Tucson has been] different,” Levine said. “The people here are amazing! Based on the students I’ve met this school year, I would say my main goal is to generate to students more love of reading and a feeling for what reading can do in their lives.”
Coach Daryl Jones is known for having one of the best “shoe games” out of Pueblo’s faculty and staff, but his appreciation for basketball has also been a recognized and inspiring trait.
After his shoe collection began three or four years ago, it has grown to a total of 30 pairs from brands such as Jordan, Nike, and UGG.
“Shoes that are worth the most would have to be either my UGG boots, Jordan 11 Cool Greys, Jordan 11 Gamma Blues, and Jordan 11 Legend Blues,” said Coach Jones.
Jones’ preferred sneaker has transitioned, currently favoring Nike Dunk Lows. He also settled the debate on the best athletic shoe.
Jones said, “I’m biased, so I would say Lebron James basketball shoes but if I’m going to be technical, CP3 basketball shoes are really comfortable.”
While his top shoes hold great value, so do his hopes for this year’s boys’ basketball team, especially with a majority of the team being seniors.
“[We’re aiming for ] the ‘Elite 8’. Obviously, the state championship is always the goal, but I think ‘Elite 8’ is more realistic,” said Jones. “I hope they win the state championship, that would be nice for them.”
Mr. Jose Alvarez joins Pueblo High School’s staff as the senior class counselor with the weight of their success on his shoulders and much to do in his new position.
Alvarez comes to Pueblo equipped not only with years of high school counseling experience but experience as a clinician and American Southwest archeologist.
“I felt welcomed immediately,” Alvarez said. “Pueblo is different and unique, and I recognized immediately that this school has its own special culture and personality—not to mention a rich community.”
Just before students arrived for the new school year, Alvarez suffered an accident in the auditorium, and he suffered a concussion and whiplash. Nine weeks later, he is still receiving treatment for this incident.
“In spite of the accident, I’ve been working as best as I can at my own pace,” Alvarez said. “If it hadn’t been for the concussion, I would be more caught up with work.”
After several weeks of constant schedule changes for seniors, Alvarez said that he is finally breathing a sigh of relief.
“It has been challenging adjusting seniors’ schedules and to ensure that they are on paths of success,” he said. “There’s no room to make mistakes with students—especially with seniors earning the necessary credits to graduate in May.”
As for the future, Alvarez said he plans to make Pueblo his “second home” and to continue to monitor his seniors’ destiny to graduate in eight months.
He also has a personal connection to Pueblo; Alvarez’ son, Gabriel “Escorpión” Alvarez, is a student here at Pueblo and a member of Mariachi Aztlán.