New Tool For Seniors: ‘FAFSA Night’

By Jonathan Redondo & Emely Villanueva

This year, Dr. Manuel Avila (Pueblo’s College and Career Readiness Coordinator), along with some assistance, is hosting weekly FAFSA and “College Nights”. He hosts workshops every Wednesday after school in the Special Projects room to inform and educate seniors about scholarships opportunities and to help them create an “FSA” identification in order to fill out the requirements for FAFSA.

There are multiple topics to be covered within these meetings, including the following topics: college and university applications; to learn scholarship programs; scholarships for DACA and undocumented students; upcoming scholarships; and creating an FSA ID account.

Avila said, “Even though some students or parents might not have a social security number or anything of the sort, there are many ways for students to complete something like FAFSA that can help with going to college or university.”

Creating an FSA ID account is a crucial step to filling out FAFSA, which is one of Pueblo’s graduation requirements. The FSA ID account is the account in which you will access the FAFSA application. Starting this year both the parent and student will need one of these accounts.

“Parents’ jobs are much easier this year since FAFSA goes directly through their social security ID to their taxes,” said Avila.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an application for students to receive aid from the government to fund their college or university. FAFSA rewards students who meet the requirements that demonstrate financial need to attend a college or university.

Avila stated, “My focus is to get all the students that I can, to create an FSA ID to complete FAFSA to help them graduate and find a career in their post-secondary education.”

In past years, FAFSA would open Oct. 1, but now it is opening Dec. 31. The FAFSA application is opening later this year because there have been many changes that the government wants to implement to make FAFSA shorter. FAFSA used to require students to fill out 103 questions but this year they have shortened it, and some applicants can answer as little as 18 questions on this new form.

“This is why FAFSA will go directly into your parents’ taxes instead of you doing it yourself. Because of the later open date and new changes in the system, it will be easier for students and parents,” he added.

This new form also involves the parents more in the application process. To fill out your FAFSA, the student will need to fill out around 45 questions, and then the student must invite their parent to also fill out a separate questionnaire and enter their tax information directly from the IRS.

From then, the parent will have 40 days to complete and submit the application, or the student will have to redo their own application.

Although Avila focuses on the process of FAFSA, these workshops are also if you need help with college or scholarship applications. He added that he is happy to help any student fill out any application for a post-secondary education as it fits with one of his principles of getting 99.99 percent of the senior class to have a post-secondary course.

Avila said, “Students should be checking deadlines for priority and regular decision application to make sure they are getting their application in on time.”

Dr. Avila: Preparing Students For The ‘Real World’

By Ariana Garcia & Leia Ortega

For the past year, Dr. Manuel Avila, Pueblo’s College and Career Readiness Coordinator, helps to ensure that students have the necessary tools to succeed after high school, no matter how grand or how modest their goals.

Coming to the U.S. from Mexico about 20 years ago, Avila decided to become a classroom teacher. After 18 years in the classroom, Avila pursued and completed a degree in law at the James E. Rogers College of Law, graduating in May 2022.

He decided to return to education and to use his training in law to make a difference in students’ lives.

“I always thought that education is the foundation of any society in all aspects,” Avila said.

One of his primary objectives is to help students properly complete their college applications and their financial aid information. He is also instrumental in helping students attend workshops and college and career fairs.

“I encourage and invite all students to visit me if they don’t have plans for their post-high school lives,” Avila said. “I would be glad to help them explore their future careers together.”

He added that students can schedule an appointment to see him on the Pueblo website—on the same page as students would schedule an appointment with their counselors. They can also view scholarships and dates/locations for college and career fairs.

Avila said, “I want to build trust first with students and to let them know that there is, indeed, a College and Career Center at Pueblo—to advocate for themselves in order to help them with successful futures.”

Warriors Learn Latino Law Student Association


By Iram Arce and Brianna Metzler

On Nov. 7, Pueblo students participated in a trip to the University of Arizona Law School to attend the 2017 Arizona Supreme Court Oral Argument—and also to learn about the Latino Law Student Association (LLSA).

The LLSA is a student organization dedicated to supporting students at the James E. Rogers College of Law. LLSA’s goal is to enhance the law college experience by providing networking and mentoring opportunities while also advocating for and serving our community.

Mr. Mario Matanza, School Community Liaison was in charge of taking all the students to the University of Arizona.

Soon after arriving at the College of Law, Pueblo High School students received a warm and gracious welcome from LLSA President Kristian Garibay; Dean Sally Rider, James E. Rogers, College of Law Associate Dean of Administration; and, Keith Swisher, Director of Undergraduate Legal Studies.

Swisher said, “Rather than the typical law course that students get at any university, students are actually taught [at LLSA] by full-time law professors and scholars dedicated to their field.”

At 10 a.m., Ms. Ana Islas, a Pueblo alum and Ms. Lynette Balderrama lead our Warriors on a tour to the James E. Rogers College of Law.

Matanza said, “I’m not surprised that the Pueblo Alumni have positioned themselves to play important roles in the community.”

After the tour, Pueblo students attended a panel of current law students and
undergraduate students to have a better insight into their experiences. Students also had an opportunity to ask current law and undergraduate students’ questions.

“Don’t be scared of applying or demanding what you want,” said Islas. “The worst case scenario is just a ‘no’—not just for law but for life.”

By noon, Pueblo students enjoyed a delicious lunch from El Molinito in the company of current law students from the Latino Law Student Association, and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ann Timmer and John Lopez.

Our Warriors ended their trip by attending an oral argument for the case of
The State of Arizona v. Honorable Gates/Apolinar Altamirano.

Students returned to Pueblo with the understanding of what it truly meant to dedicate your life to the law of the land.

“It is usually under graduate students that are exposed to trials like these so to have high school students to have a quick peek is awesome,” Matanza said. “When are you going to meet the Supreme Court Justices again? I mean unless you get into big trouble.”

Senior Lydia Angulo said, “This trip was a rare opportunity that gave us a rare exposure to young people, and I am glad I went.”

Job Opportunities Open For Warriors

by Paula Fierros

Last month, 45 Pueblo juniors and seniors contacted school nurse Ms. Kate Straub about the Pima Prevention Program, which could provide them with a job opportunity working with Pima County.

According to Straub, joining the program could benefit students who are in need of a job and/or are interested in an array of different fields, such as law, medicine and law enforcement.

Straub said that this program is preferred for students who meet the following requirements: they should speak English as a second language, get free or reduced lunch or come from families where they are the first to graduate from high school or the first to apply to college.

She added that there are only 45 spots to fill; students need to fulfill criteria with age, credits and grades.

Only 45 juniors and seniors between the ages of 16 and 21 can be a part of the Pima Prevention Program, Straub said. She added that students must have at least 12 credits in order to be eligible and need to be on track to graduate.

Students will train for this position on Tuesdays and Thursdays and one Saturday a month. In the end, they will be guaranteed a paying job at Pima County during the Summer of 2017.

“The training will be from 3:30-5:30 and will be held in the special projects room and Mr. Reyes’ room,” said Straub. “Saturdays will be half day.”

Straub recommends that this program could also benefit students who are unsure about career plans.

“Students who are accepted into the program will meet with professionals in different careers and will be able to ask questions and be exposed to professionals’ work,” Straub said. “Students will also participate in field trips and get free training in First Aid and CPR.”

The Pima Prevention Program will determine which students are eligible according to their job applications.

Walter Cronkite Comes To Pueblo—Again!

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By Yamilex Garcia and Omar Quintana

On Monday, November 14, 2016, Ms. Anita Luera, the director of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism for high school students, spoke to more than three dozen students in Mr. Rana Medhi’s journalism and Ms. Marie Little’s yearbook programs at Pueblo Magnet High School, primarily discussing the value and power of journalism in our society today.

“Journalism should be about the truth, and our society needs the truth more than ever,” Luera said. “Journalism careers will increase as people will always need news, and hopefully well-balanced, fair, objective news.”

She also promoted the upcoming 2017 Summer Institute at ASU for all students interested in media careers. Students can begin applying for this program as early as January.

Ms. Anita Luera speaks to our yearbook students with Victor Garcia sharing his experience.

Pueblo senior Victor Garcia was encouraged by his media teacher last year, Ms. Pamela Shapiro, to apply—and eventually be accepted to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Summer Institute last summer. Garcia said that he wanted to explore the modern facilities of the school as well as its technical parts, including the contemporary newsrooms. For two weeks, Garcia worked with other students from mostly Arizona, as well as one student from France.

“We [the students in the program] still keep in touch via group chats,” Garcia said. “That’s how close we became because we had to work together and produced a media package.” He paused and said, “It’s an intense program—you really learn a lot about the world of journalism and have to meet deadlines and be responsible. I would encourage all students who have a general interest in media to apply for this prestigious program.”

Garcia said that he learned a lot about diplomacy in the Summer Institute. “It wasn’t all about journalism,” he said. “My work ethic improved a great deal when I returned this year to Pueblo as a senior.”

Garcia said that he hasn’t firmly committed to a collegiate major, but at this time, he is exploring an option in public policies—somehow involved in the political world.

Luera visited a few other media programs, including radio (with Ms. Sarah Wilson and her students) as well as photography (taught by Ms. Emma Tarazon).

This is Luera’s ninth year of visiting Pueblo Magnet High School, speaking to hundreds of students over the years.

“I never get tired of coming to Pueblo,” Luera said. “Your school [Pueblo] is very fortunate to have so many different media programs—especially as part of your magnet program.”

Anita Luera, a long-time journalist and past president of the Arizona Latino Media Association, is the first director of high school journalism programs for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Luera oversees an expanding array of high school programs, including national training institutes for high school journalism teachers and students. She also leads school’s outreach programs to high schools around the region that are working to develop and improve their journalism programs.


Maria Servellon Accepted to Medical Workshop


By Daniela Moreno


Junior Maria Servellon (Class of 2018) was accepted to the Perry Initiative, a one-day program for young women interested in orthopedic surgery and biomechanical engineering.

Servellon is excited to be the first Pueblo applicant to be accepted to this program. Out of more than 200 applicants in Arizona, Servellon was among just 35 young women to be selected.

“I feel like being accepted has been a stepping stone for young women who are interested in this field,” she said.

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Servellon attended the one-day program at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. Pueblo science teachers Dr. Andrew Lettes and Ms. Elaine Straub accompanied her to this event.

“I really learned a lot performing six mock surgeries,” Servellon said. “I learned how to repair fracture using plates as well as spinal repairs due to scoliosis. I even had a chance to learn how to perform knee ligament reconstruction and to perform surgeon stitching.”

The application process consisted of a paragraph on why she was interested in attending this event as well as stating her short- and long-term goals in life.

“When I learned that I was accepted, it was totally unreal,” Servellon said. “I didn’t feel that I was that worthy of acceptance.”

Her former teacher, Dr. Andrew Lettes, is extremely proud of Servellon’s accomplishment and hopes many more females will follow in her footsteps in the future.

“Dr. Lettes truly encouraged and inspired me when I had him for the first time last year in Biotech 1-2, and even though I don’t have him for a teacher this year, he still inspires me because he is my ‘Science Dad’.”

Lettes said that Servellon’s acceptance into this program is a validation that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and are motivated enough.

Straub echoed Lettes’ words and added, “I’m beyond proud of what Maria Servellon has accomplished this year. I hope that she inspires more female students to follow in her footsteps.”


Servellon is open to all sciences and hopes this experience will help guide her towards her future career. She said that she would like to help in the efforts to develop more effective plastic hearts to those who are in desperate need of heart transplant.

Servellon said that she is starting to investigate colleges and universities to pursue her medical education, and she is curious about the University of California at Berkeley, which is her original home.

“This [event] exposed me to even more science, and I’ve always been very passionate about science,” she added. “There are not many women devoting their careers to sciences these days, still, but more women are needed in sciences because I believe that women are more precise and meticulous than men.”

On Oct. 18, Servellon will be recognized and honored by T.U.S.D. Superintendent H. T. Sanchez during the Governing Board meeting. Servellon has been asked to invite her family to this special occasion.