Pueblo Warriors & Cholla Chargers Unite For Change

by Laura Conde

Presentations during Pueblo’s Many Faces of Action Conference

On Oct. 3, 2017, Pueblo and Cholla High Schools collaborated for the “Many Faces of Action Conference: A Student Action Forum”, a chance for participating students to learn about their rights, speak up about issues they cared about and overall, feel empowered.

Primarily hosted and meticulously organized by teachers who teach culturally relevant courses at Pueblo (Dr. Raúl Gonzalez, Ms. Victoria Bodanyi, Ms. Tifanny Mendibles-Muñoz and Ms. Jessica Mejia), Pueblo and Cholla students made the most out of this educational experience. According to organizers, this event was “a collaboration of many fascinating and intelligent individuals.”

Social studies teacher Ms. Victoria Bodanyi said, “The conference went really smoothly. Besides our own nearly100 Pueblo students, we hosted more than 50 Cholla students. We were also able to have presenters from TUSD, local organizations, professors from the University of Arizona and our very own Pueblo teachers.”

Additionally, two science teachers (Dr. Andrew Lettes and Ms. Elizabeth Raizk) held workshops to educate students about Valley Fever and environmental racism, respectively.

The conference lasted for an entire standard school day—8 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. Early on, participating students were welcomed accordingly and later divided into three groups (pink, yellow and green) that would direct them to different workshops around campus.

Many Pueblo students left the conference with a deeper comprehension of political and social issues that affect them in their lives.

“I learned that there are many ways for the community to come together for a problem everyone has but doesn’t see,” said Liam Membrila, a senior.

Cholla students were invited to come

“I feel more confident in ways I could get involved because I’ve wanted to help with the issues going on but I was confused and now I feel a lot more prepared,” said Jacquelyne Acuña, a junior.

“A lot of ‘DACA’ students are struggling, and we need more support and people to be aware. I see how I am more fortunate, and I’d like to give more people that opportunity,” said Gerardo Arzabe, a senior.

On behalf of Pueblo High School, a special thanks to the following people and organizations: Mr. Frank Armenta, Ms. Dominique Calza, Mr. Salo Escamilla, Ms. Maria Federico-Bummer, Mr. Richard Gastelum, Mr. Maurice H. Goldan, Ms. Sarita Gonzales, Mr. Enrique Garcia, Dr. Andrew Lettes Ms. Elizabeth Raizk, Dra. Andrea Romero, Dr. Augustine Romero, Mr. Bryant Valenica, Calpulli Teoxicalli, Cholla High School, LUCHA, LUPE, Tierra y Libertad Organization.

Sedgwick: Keeping It Positive

By Paula Fierros & Samantha Thurston

Rachael Sedgwick talks to Journalism Class

This past January, Ms. Rachael Sedgwick became TUSD’s newest member after a very narrow victory in the November 2016 election. In early May 2017, Sedgwick spoke to journalism students about her first five months in office.

Sedgwick boasted about being an Arizona native. In fact, she was born in Nogales, AZ, although she completed her education in many different places. Sedgwick attended middle school in Pennsylvania, high school in Connecticut and attended four different colleges.

Sedgwick said she has always been passionate about education, and she knew early on that she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, so she began teaching—and did so for 12 years.

On one occasion, one of her professors asked her class, “Why do you want to be a teacher?”

Sedgwick answered, “For the kids.”

The professor replied, “Then go home and have some.”

It was at this time that Sedgwick said that she wanted to make a change in the educational system. Her first endeavor was to apply for law school; she was accepted.

She also ran to become a member of the TUSD School Board in order to help change the negative perception of the district; Sedgwick was the victor in a very close election against Betts Putnam-Hidalgo in last November’s election.

“I’m here [on the School Board] to try to change the negative perception of the district by making the district and people realize that investing their time and money in education is investing in everyone’s future,” said Sedgwick.

Sedgwick admitted that it is difficult to keep one’s political views out of the dialogue among her other four school board members.

“Some people like to use these positions [being on school boards, etc.] to enhance their own career,” Sedgwick said. “We [on the TUSD School Board] need to stay focused on the issues affecting this district. A lot of people view TUSD negatively, and with more work, I know that we can change this negative perception.”

She added that Dr. Gabriel Trujillo, the interim TUSD Superintendent who superseded Dr. H. T. Sanchez after his resignation in March, is one of the candidates for the permanent superintendent position. Sedgwick and the other school board members have barely begun the process of evaluating candidates.

For now, Sedgwick said she wants to stay positive and hopeful—and to pass the Bar Exam this summer.

Class of 2009 Pueblo Grad Returns For Visit—Very ‘Humbled’


By Daniela Moreno

rudy-valdez-press-conference-pueblo-journalism-studentsMr. Rudy Valdez, one of the more than 300 Pueblo graduates in the Class of 2009, visited the advanced journalism class  for a press conference explaining to them what life has been like following his high school graduation.

Valdez thought he had his whole life figured out, but after attending Pima for a short time after high school graduation, he realized how much more was really “out there”.

“I was scared at first [to move to L.A.] because I didn’t know what to expect,” said Valdez.

Prior to moving to Southern California, Valdez could be seen in several local commercials; he also had several promising modeling assignments. However, Arizona is not the place to act and model, Valdez said, because of the very few opportunities available.

Though he struggled a lot and hit many lows (including living in his car for nearly two months), his persistence allowed him to keep dreaming about “making it” in California.

“It’s humbling to admit how rough times became,” Valdez said. “But I wasn’t returning to Tucson so easily and quickly.”

His perseverance has paid off.

Valdez has been featured on shows such as Scandal, Switched at Birth, and Black Code and hopes to one day even move into production.

“It felt so great knowing I finally got here,” Valdez said. “Nothing has been easy, and I don’t expect things to stay easy for long. But, I love doing what I am doing—and everybody should love what they do for a living. It’s not just a living—it’s a life.”

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.

Pueblo’s Magnet Status: To Be or Not to Be?

Sandra Iniguez El Guerrero Pueblo 2015


By Sandra Iniguez


On Monday, Sept. 28, a Town Hall meeting was held in Pueblo’s library in order to inform our community of the decisions being made regarding our school’s magnet status.


District officials were present, including TUSD Superintendent Dr. H. T. Sanchez, as well as a dozen Pueblo students, mostly from media classes, as well as several Pueblo teachers.


Pueblo Principal Augustine Romero Magnet Meeting
Dr. Augustine Romero explains the Magnet Program situation.

Dr. Augustine Romero, Pueblo’s principal, began this meeting by giving a brief history of Pueblo’s magnet status, which began back in 1992. The focus of this magnet school back then—as it is now—communications. The effort to transition to a magnet school was challenging, despite the effort to attract students from other regions of Tucson to make our student population more racially diverse.


Fast forward to 2015…


“Equality in our schools only shows what everyone deserves, but equity is what we need in this case,” said Dr. Romero. “The diversity of our student enrollment should not be a determining factor when they have [shown a considerable rise in academic success].”


This year, however, Pueblo was on the verge of having its magnet status removed, but our Native American student population helped meet the integration goal. Pueblo has become restless because of this standing question: What would happen if we lost our magnet status?


“We are already under-funded as it is,” added Romero. 


The removal of Pueblo’s magnet status would result in the loss of about $538,000 of funds. This being the money that pays for teachers, student field trips, additional staff, and programs. These magnet funds are generated through local taxes. 


“The reduction in funding would be detrimental to Pueblo,” said TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.


Sanchez added, “If you pay rent or mortgage you are [helping fund Pueblo], and these are local dollars.”


TUSD Superintendent HT Sanchez Magnet Meeting
TUSD Superintendent Dr. HT Sanchez answered many questions regarding future of Magnet Program.

Although Pueblo is gradually achieving racial integration, students must accomplish higher academic levels in order to improve our chances of keeping our magnet status.


“Higher grades, AP class enrollments, more scholarships, acceptance to institutions of higher learning, and higher scores on semester exams will help to support our efforts of keeping Pueblo’s magnet status,” explained Sanchez.


Romero echoed the same response.


Dr. Willis Hawley appointed by federal court judge Bury, referred to as the ‘Special Master’, who originally placed Pueblo on a list of schools to lose their magnet status has since removed us. However, our magnet status remains endangered and Dr. Hawley will return in about a year to raise the question once again. 


“Lots of advisement is taken into account when making a decision regarding a school’s magnet status, including the community’s and ex-administrators’ opinions,” said Sanchez. “But ultimately the ‘Special Master’ gives his own recommendation.”


“People just want to be a part of something positive, it’s going to be harder to achieve racial diversity with a lack of something positive [our magnet status] benefitting our school,” said Romero. 


Pueblo’s magnet coordinator Ms. Laura Gallego, said that if Pueblo were to lose its magnet status, it would result in more students in classrooms because there would be fewer teachers because there are several who are paid out of the magnet money budget.


“It worries me [losing Pueblo’s magnet status] because the communications program is what makes Pueblo unique,” said Skyblue Estrella, a senior at Pueblo, who attended this meeting. “If Pueblo loses its magnet status, we will not only lose what makes it special, but also a part of our community that we students hold dear [teachers and students].”


English teacher Ms. Constance Onsae said, “I think the parent meeting went well. A lot of information was shared about the current magnet status [dilemma] and how parents can work to get around the process and obtain the magnet money Pueblo deserves, even in our current financial state.”


She paused and added, “I do believe that Dr. Sanchez seems to be doing all he can to help the Pueblo magnet status.”


Pueblo will remain on the “Endangered” list regarding its magnet status, and in one year, the issue will be discussed once again. In essence, Pueblo’s magnet status is “safe” for now, but the evaluation process will resume next year to discuss the fate of the school’s magnet status for the 2017-18 school year.


 “I am hopeful that we will retain our magnet status after next year and years thereafter,” said Dr. Romero. “The criteria has been established for us and we must continue down a path towards greater integration and elevation of our levels of academic achievement.”

Former U of A Coach Dick Tomey Visits Pueblo

Coach Dick Tomey Speaking To Warrior Football Players

Courtesy of The Arizona Daily Star

On Saturday, before Dick Tomey spoke to about 300 high school football players and coaches at the Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic Luncheon, before he spoke with about 400 coaches of all manner at Pima College, he visited Pueblo High School, which hasn’t had a winning season in more than 10 years.

Tomey wanted to see how Pueblo’s new head coach, Brandon Sanders, is doing in his first year as a prep head coach. From 1992-95, Sanders was one of the best safeties in college football, an absolute anchor of the “Desert Swarm” years.

Few coaches in Tucson have a more difficult assignment than Sanders does at Pueblo. Tomey met with the Pueblo coaches and the team. His message was simple: You’ll learn more from your struggles than anything else. Don’t get discouraged.

That’s Dick Tomey. Forget his career victory total (183), he was always about people first, football later.

One of those who attended Saturday’s luncheon at the Double Tree hotel was Tim Davis, who has coached at Alabama, Florida, USC, Wisconsin and for the Miami Dolphins. It was Tomey who gave Davis a career-changing opportunity in 1987, Tomey’s first Arizona season.

“I had been hauling meat in Wisconsin,” Davis said. “Dick called and gave me an opportunity to be a graduate assistant coach. It changed my life. It all goes back to him.”

Tomey, who has been out of coaching for three years, is retired and lives in Honolulu. He is 76, looks 56, and has become an in-demand public speaker.

“I always look forward to coming back to Tucson,” Tomey said. “I could talk about the fond memories of the people I met here forever.”