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Video+Story: Family With Deep Ties to Sun City Launches Interactive Kid’s Book

Thanks to a local family, pens, pencils, colors, paints, brushes, a good artistic eye and a knack for creativity are the tools area high school students will need to lead three fictional characters into their adventure in El Paso.

This Fall, area high school students will have the opportunity to have their artwork published in a children’s book about El Paso.

The book, “Go Sí El Paso,” will feature 27 area landmarks and the story will follow Estrella, Sunny and Seemore as they travel around the Sun City with their sunglasses.

Aside from looking cool, the sunglasses allow the reader to see different landmarks through the character’s eyes. Irvin High School Senior Kaelyn Monarrez illustrated the characters.

The book was developed by Ryan and Gregg Jackson – a father and son team, who had lived in El Paso for several years before moving to the Dallas area.

Gregg had moved to El Paso in the 1970s to take on a job with General Motors and operating manufacturing plants in Juarez.

The family spent 31 years in the city, where he also did pro-bono consulting for local businesses.  Ryan had been a corporate consultant for Accenture. He was also an on-air personality for 92.3 The Fox.

During their time in El Paso they were part of several community engagement projects – one of which included placing El Paso, Texas-branded NASCAR in the Brickyard 400 in 2004 and 2006.

The two began Acceleron Learning, which is a life skills education company that teaches career, financial, legal and personal wellness skills. They serve more than 250 K-12 schools around the country and more than 100 prisons in Texas.

Ryan said although they had begun Acceleron Learning the idea for the book came much later, after he and his wife had traveled to El Paso and could not find a children’s book about the city.

“My wife and I do a fair amount of traveling and whenever we travel we always try to pick up a children’s book about the place we visit for our daughter,” Jackson said. “And she had never been to El Paso and when we arrived we noticed that there wasn’t a children’s book about El Paso. So then I came home and got onto Amazon and started looking around and rallied there were no children’s books about El Paso either.”

This sparked the idea for the children’s book. Gregg added that around this time he noticed a statistic about El Paso, as reported by Time Magazine in Feb. 2014 that found El Paso to be the 4th worst city in the nation for literacy.

“So, we thought wouldn’t it be a nice thing to see if we could get a community engagement project,” Gregg said. “Providing a children’s book that promotes literacy and also do something regarding a cultural exchange once this book is written for other communities to know about – while also helping children become literate.”

In addition to providing scholarship opportunities, artists whose artwork who appears in the book will be eligible to work with Rocketbuster Boots if the artwork lends itself to leather craft or leather work. The winning artwork will also be turned into an El Paso postcard.

Gregg added that once complete there will be about 1,500 copies of the book that will be donated to every first grade class at area public schools and public libraries. Of those about 250 will be donated to schools in Juarez.

“The books will be for sale in strategically placed areas around the city,” Greg said. “And the way this will work is for every book that is sold, the vendor will make some money but there will be enough to buy two books – one to replace the book that was purchased and then enough to take an extra book that will be sent out to the nation for a cultural exchange.”

A total of 10 school districts will be participating in the project. Those districts include El Paso, Socorro, Ysleta, Canutillo, San Elizario, Fabens, Anthony, Gadsden, Tornillo, and Clint.

As for the illustration contest, the deadline for submissions is Nov. 15 to each high school’s respective art teacher.

The book will be unveiled on April 7 at the El Paso Museum of Art. Artwork will be judged in December, and selected to be in the book will be featured at the El Paso Museum of Art.

Selected artwork will be entered into a scholarship contest for the students, and art teachers will also get an opportunity to win grants for their classrooms.

The artist who places 1st will receive a $1,500 scholarship; 2nd Place will receive $1,000 scholarship; and 3rd Place will win a $500 scholarship. The teachers of the winning students will receive matching classroom grants. Artwork that is not selected may be auctioned by KCOS-TV.

For more information on the contest or the book visit www.gosíelpaso.com High school students can also speak to their art teachers about the contest.

Acceleron Learning, the El Paso Museum of Art, KVIA, the El Paso Herald Post, KCOS-TV, Helen of Troy, Entravision El Paso, Wet-n-Wild Waterworld, and Southwest Retina Consultants, PA are sponsoring the project.

Area landmarks included in the book are: * Ascarate Park * El Paso Zoo* Cattleman’s Steakhouse * Fort Bliss* Chamizal National Memorial * Magoffin Home* Chico’s Tacos * Mount Cristo Rey* El Paso Chihuahuas * Paso Del Norte Intl.* El Paso High School * Rocektbuster Boots* El Paso International Airport * San Jacinto Plaza* El Paso Museum of Art * Scenic Drive* El Paso Museum of History * Star on the Mountain * The Plaza Theater * Viva El Paso* The Rio Grande * Western Playland* Transmountain Road * Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterworld* UTEP (Sun Bowl) * Wyler Aerial Tramway* Ysleta Missíon

Full entry packet, Click ->> GO-SI-Entry-Packet[585]

About Alexandra Hinojosa

“Once journalism is in your system, it’s hard to get it out… and then you realize, it’s there to stay.” – Alex Hinojosa is a full time instructor at El Paso Community College and a former El Paso Times journalist. FULL BIO

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One comment

  1. Thank you!
    EL Paso Mission Trial Association

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