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.
October 27 was Pueblo Pride Day, a time when our Warriors and other volunteers met after school in the cafeteria at 3:30 p.m., and for an hour, they cleaned and better our Pueblo community.
This event, which was started by the Science Club (sponsored by Dr. Lolita Levine) was bigger and better this year. CCLC provided snacks and water for participants who worked hard to beautify our campus.
Students and volunteers performed duties such as weeding the garden, picking up trash and painting the red drive way curve.
“Everybody is smiling, and that’s the best part,” Levine said. “It’s nice to see teachers and students working side by side.”
Students were separated into different groups in the cafeteria, which will each be led by their own leaders for different sections at school.
One of the group leaders is Ms. Elizabeth Raizk, one of Pueblo’s science teachers, and she was in charge of the garden group.
“This is how we show our Pueblo community that we are doing more things [community service] to make Pueblo a better place,” Raizk said. “Pueblo gets cleaner, and it shows our community how great we are. This event is a win-win scenario.”
“I really want to emphasize our school and nourish our soul,” Levine said. “This is not just a school—it is our home.”
This is a free community event that will be held from 4:30-11:00 in the school patio and will feature bands such as Monarkas Del Norte and Los Aucentes De Sínaloa this year. These bands play mexican cumbías & most of our favorite norteño songs. A DJ will play hip hop music to satisfy everybody’s musical tastes. There will also be special performances by our feeder school’s folkloricos and mariachis. Check out the full entertainment schedule online.
“Planning for Fiesta de los Guerreros is year round,” said sponsor Adalberto Rodriguez, Pueblo’s Media Specialist. “It’s such a big event, that the day after Fiesta, we start planning for the next year’s.”
President of the Fiesta Warriors Club, junior Diana Rodriguez, said, “I really hope that more people attend this year’s Fiesta because it helps a lot of our clubs. Also, because of City of Tucson budget cuts, this year we’re going to have tables and not just booths for clubs to raise money.”
Vice president of the Fiesta Club, junior Carlos Jaimez, said, “Fiesta is one of the best events we have here at Pueblo. Clubs can fundraise and make a lot of money. Guests can buy food, play games, dance and have fun. It’s just an all around blast!”
Fiesta charges clubs a fee of ten percent of their night’s profits, and there is an annual competition for the best decorated booth & table. If the club wins first or second place, they do not have to pay the ten percent fee.
“The Science club has been the winner of the best decorated booths for the past four years.” said Rodriguez, “I cannot wait to see what clubs have in store for us this year.”
Fiesta welcomes over 1,000 people each year including, students, faculty, alumni and community members.
Homecoming celebrations would not be complete without the traditional crowning of our king and queen—Pueblo’s royalty. This year’s contenders were seniors Sergio Cordova, Sabrina Parra, Zelin Pallanes and Gelsey Grijalva.
During halftime, our Warriors’ choice was announced: King Zelin and Queen Gelsey!
Grijalva, who is a member of the Spirit Line, accepted the crown with great surprise.
“I felt excited to be chosen as my school’s homecoming queen because it’s such a great tradition!” Grijalva said. “Becoming queen was such an honor especially at the last home football game during our awesome winning season.”
She paused and added, “This is the last home [football] game that I’ll ever attend as a Pueblo student, so the entire night was very sentimental and especially memorable. I’ll never forget the magic in the air—not only to be voted queen but also to be a part of this triumphant season at Pueblo.”
Homecoming King Zelin Pallanes said, “I was totally surprised that my peers would vote for me, so I am definitely humbled by the entire experience.”
“My crown is going to remain a treasure in my life,” Pallanes said. “It means a lot to me that I won during the last home game of this triumphant football season.”
For the rest of the evening, Pallanes and Grijalva cheered on their Warrior team. In the end, Pueblo defeated Empire by a score of 47-27.
To view complete picture gallery of Homecoming 2014: Click Here
If you’ve graduated from an Arizona high school in the last two decades, you owe something to Carmen Cajero, the 90-year-old former state legislator who died Sunday.
And perhaps the fact you got a diploma in the first place.
That’s because until the 1980s, Arizona high schoolers had to pay for their textbooks. It was Cajero who, 72 years after Arizona became a state, finally convinced her colleagues it made no sense to charge high school students to go to school.
She inherited the quest from her husband, Bernardo, who was president of the Parent-Teacher Association at Tucson’s Pueblo High School.
Their daughter, Olivia Cajero Bedford, said he learned of kids who did not come to school. She said he would get a list of absentees and visit the parents.
“They would tell him, ‘We’re embarrassed, we can’t afford the textbooks, so we’re keeping our children home,’ ” recalled Cajero Bedford who, like her mother and father before her, now is a state legislator.
“That became his mission: to run for office and change the law,” she said. Bernardo Cajero was elected to the Legislature in 1966 but died seven years later, no closer to his goal.
His widow, Carmen, 56 at the time, persuaded the Pima County Board of Supervisors to appoint her to finish out his term. And she continued getting re-elected every two years.
But Cajero, a Democrat in a Republican-controlled Legislature, said in a 1984 interview that she’d had no idea how difficult it would be to accomplish the goal.
“Even with the budget surpluses we were running in those days, in the area of $40 million a year, everyone said we had to save that money in case there was an emergency,” she said.
For Cajero, the emergency was there for children in her district. “They sent me letters. They even sent me their bills from the (school) bookstore.”
It took until 1984 for the political winds to blow in Cajero’s favor.
A gubernatorial commission on public education supported free texts as one of its recommendations. And Gov. Bruce Babbitt called on lawmakers to provide the necessary funds.
But what may have finally turned the tide is that House Majority Leader Burton Barr signed Cajero’s bill as a co-sponsor, giving it the official blessing of the most powerful elected Republican in the state.
Former House Minority Leader Art Hamilton said it also helped that Cajero — unlike other legislators, including himself — did not use the textbook issue as part of any larger political agenda. “They knew she just cared about the issue,” he said.
That helped her overcome an effort by Sen. Jacque Steiner, R-Phoenix, to tack the issue onto her own legislation to require students to stay in school through the 10th grade, two years longer than required at the time. But Steiner was willing to provide free texts only to those whose family incomes qualified them for the federal free-lunch program.
“When Jacque introduced her ‘only for the needy’ bill, I blew my stack,” Cajero recalled. She said those classified as needy may actually have more available cash than the working poor who do not have the benefit of welfare, food stamps and free medical care.
Hamilton said Cajero also used her position on the House Appropriations Committee to ensure Southern Arizona — and the University of Arizona in particular — did not get lost in the budget negotiations. He said she would “beat the crap out of the rest of us on making sure the U of A got its money.”
She was known for her frugal living style, trying to stretch legislators’ pay as far as possible. During sessions she lived in a travel trailer set up at a Phoenix mobile home park. Cajero retired from the Legislature in 1996.
She also is survived by another daughter, Monica Cajero, and two grandchildren.
State senator Olivia Cajero Bedford didn’t have to look far from home for mentors. She credits her parents Bernardo and Carmen Cajero with having instilled in her a passion for civic engagement and public service.
The family’s history of public service started with Olivia’s father, Bernardo “Nayo” Cajero. The Morenci native settled in Tucson and opened a barber shop in the historic barrio known as “El Hoyo.” It attracted a steady clientele of neighbors, local politicians, teachers and prominent community leaders.
He entered politics encouraged in part by individuals affiliated with the civil rights organizationAlianza Hispano Americanaand members of the Democratic Party. In 1968, he won a District 10 seat in the Arizona House of Representatives. His work as a precinct and city ward committeeman, and his popularity as an astute businessman and president of Pueblo High School’s PTA, made his election an easy victory.
In January 1973, Bernardo passed away following a series of heart attacks, just as he was beginning his third term as a state representative. Gov. Jack Williams left it to the Pima County Board of Supervisors to select his successor; Carmen Cajero, his widow, was selected to finish his term.
Assuming office, Carmen matched Nayo’s zeal and soon established her own solid reputation as a skillful and smart legislator. Her calm but firm manner won her numerous friends and the respect of colleagues, many of whom fondly called her La Paloma.
She was a champion for the elderly, the poor, women and children. She was particularly proud of introducing an education bill that had been first favored by her husband. The bill called for free textbooks for Arizona’s high school students. She fought for this bill for more than a decade; it was finally passed and signed into law in 1985.
In the 1990s, she introduced a bill that provided state funds to the University of Arizona for bone marrow and cancer research. With her support, the university’s Cancer Research Center was established. She also supported funding for a clinic in her district to help victims of water contamination and pollution. The National Honor Roll of State Legislators acknowledged Carmen for her leadership and efforts to promote and protect the rights of women.