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.”

Solar Panels Project Shines At Pueblo

by Paula Fierros & Celestina Marinez

Pueblo Solar Panel Project 2018 by Leo Parra

Even though the solar panels project in the parking lot was supposed to be completed before the beginning of this school year, this construction project did not begin until July 16, making the beginning of the school year a bit chaotic for many employees and students looking for parking spaces.

More than three months later, the project is nearing completion. Final work continues,and an expected date of completion is estimated to be near the end of the semester.

Mr. Mark Farcis, a foreman for the Future Vervan Energy corporation, said, “We are nearing the end of our stay here,” he said. “All that is left is to connect all of the panels to one power source.”

Completion of this project will ease parking nightmares for faculty, staff and students.

“Traffic in and out of Pueblo has been horrid,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Montaño, “but we’ve done the best we could do under these circumstances. We hope that everybody can be a little patient because in the end, we’re going to have a beautiful new parking lot that will be environmentally impactful.”

Due to a reduced number of spaces in our usual parking lot due to the installation of the panels, many teachers have had to park in the several new areas that have been designated temporary parking locations.

In the end, the solar panels will be improving the environment as well as reducing the district’s electricity bill.

“Cutting the energy bill in half is always a good thing,” said Ms. Kathryn Gunnels, assistant principal.

The big plan is to go green will take over the district. Many schools in T.U.S.D. have already completed their own solar panels projects in those schools’ parking lots.

Gunnels said, “We live in a world with limited resources, and it makes perfect sense to use our unlimited resource in Arizona—the sun.”

From Paper & Pencil To Virtual Reality

By Alina Cuen and Jacquelyn Gutierrez (Beginning Journalism)

Mr. Somoza with some of his CTE Students

As the world grows it advances and gets technical. We’ve gone from brick phones to smart phones in a short period of time. Even education has evolved to using smart technology as well, such as 3-D printers. Robots are beginning to take jobs. This is the 21st Century.

Not too long ago, Pueblo’s women’s sports teams convened at the football field for a picture when they had realized a drone flying over their head was actually taking the picture. Mr. Ernesto Somoza, the graphic and web design teacher as well as the freshman communication media technology (CMT) teacher here at Pueblo, was responsible for this modern way to take pictures—and he is always teaching students in his classroom the latest in technology.

“Technology can fundamentally improve anything,” said Somoza. “I know that a lot of our students use their cell phones during class, so I started using this thing called “Poll me” for their bell work question. They just text their response, and it gives them credit.”

One of Somoza’s latest technological tools is the 3-D printer. It creates three-dimensional objects in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object.

“I want to stay current to what my students like, that’s why I got into 3-D printing,” Somoza said.

His first attempt to using the 3-D printer wasn’t so easy.

“First, it was very challenging, then easy then difficult again,” said Somoza. “However, it all takes some practice—as I teach my students. They definitely contribute to the learning of this new technology.”

The first creation, in November, was a cookie-cutter, then a skull, which took three days to complete. Then, there were the plant holders, phone case, and even a map of Europe. The U.S. Capitol building was fun, Somoza said, because it could be taken apart and then reassembled.

“I believe every classroom should have one of these [3-D printers] because of how engaged this device keeps students,” Somoza said. “We [teachers] need to stay ahead of times.”

There are numerous applications for a 3-D printer, Somoza added. For example, student would be able to dissect a “fake” frog instead of the “real” thing.

Somoza also has virtual reality goggles, and just by wearing them, students are “transported” to different cities and different continents—not to mention different planets!

“I took a student to Pluto the other day!” Somoza said. “It’s amazing how I could change every student’s perspective on the world, if only I had 30 of these!”

Next year, Somoza hopes to stay ahead of technology and teach his students and himself new ways of improving education.

“We’ll see what next school year brings,” Somoza said.

Get the latest news from Mr. Somoza’s CMT class by following him on Instagram.

Warriors Receive Library Card, Access To Pima County Libraries

By Victor Garcia

New to Pueblo Magnet High School, librarian Ms. Marsha Jean Burrola issued library cards to Pueblo students on March 17, 2016.

Classes were invited to the library for four periods throughout the day, for a total of 10 classes. Burrola said that she had already been teaching research material to 12th graders, but wanted them to have access to more databases that Pima County public libraries can provide. By entering their card number and pin number, students gained an opportunity to have access to much more information.

Pueblo High School Librarian Marsha Jean Burrola
Pueblo High School Librarian Marsha Jean Burrola

According to Burrola, about 170 Pueblo students received these cards, and about 70 thus far have signed up for the virtual library.

”I’d like for students to be aware of the resources available to them,” Burrola added.

She added that she was able to work with Mexican-American Studies Director Dr. Maria Figueroa and Pima Community Public Library (PCPL) in order to make the library card and virtual library a possibility at Pueblo. Normally, students under the age of 18 would need parent permission, but PCPL decided to give all students library cards in “real” time without parental permission. Students will be able to use these cards at any Pima County library as well as the internet.

Burrola stated that she wished that more students understood how being a part of this process could potentially help them with their academics. She also said that students should feel that they had to be a part of this program just because their teachers wanted them to have these opportunities.

“The opportunities to gain so much more information should be reward enough,” she said.

Burrola would love to offer our students more chances to sign up.

“I would love to continue this process [of getting more students signed up for this library card] in the fall,” Burrola said.

Syncardia Opens Doors To Pueblo JTED Biotechnology Students

JTED Advanced Biotechnology students enrolled in Dr. Andrew Lettes’ class at Pueblo Magnet High School received a unique opportunity this fall to tour SynCardia Systems, Inc.

SynCardia, founded and located in Tucson, is the only company in the world that manufactures the temporary Total Artificial Heart. Syncardia medical engineer Jon DeDiego let students hold an artificial heart, explained the science behind how the device was developed and works, and described how the implant device has helped save more than 1,100 patients from around the world who were dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure and needed the bridge to transplant device while waiting for a donor heart. Students then toured the factory where the Total Artificial Hearts are made, and saw the facility where the pumps, which drive the devices, are manufactured and tested.

Class of 2013 Senior Annette Lopez says she didn’t have any idea that a company like Syncardia was operating a few miles from her neighborhood. She was planning to focus on oncology after pursuing her nursing degree at Grand Canyon University, but says that this fieldtrip opened her eyes to another option she may choose.

Lopez says her JTED Biotechnology class is a lot more fun than her traditional classes because hands-on learning is much more exciting than just reading out of a book. “If you go to Pueblo, you’ll regret it if you don’t take Dr. Lettes’ class – he’s a great teacher,” says Lopez. “It’s not easy, but it’s very rewarding in the end.”

Dawn Of A New Era – Fiber Optic

The City of Tucson fiber optic line went online today at Pueblo.  This upgrade will improve our network speed throughout the school.  The project was started in April of 2010 with the digging and installation of the 12 strand fiber cable.

TUSD Technicians activating fiber optic.

The fiber optic line will boost our internet speeds.  Pueblo will be able to download instructional materials in the classroom & our labs much faster.  If you’ve surfed the web at school recently, you should notice a much welcomed improvement.

Yellow fiber optic cable making the big difference!

We want to thank TUSD and anyone involved in this project for this huge upgrade.

Notice the difference? Leave a comment below.