The Americas High School student council coordinated a special event recently to do their part for the El Paso community after the August 3 shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.
About fifteen members of the student council catered lunch for Vitalant staff members at the non-profit organization’s offices. Vitalant provides blood and special services to patients; its main purpose is ensuring lifesaving blood is available when and where it is needed.
Lorraine Varela, Americas High School student activities director, said she and her students thought about the many people and entities that were involved and affected by the shooting, and wanted to help those who were working to save lives that day.
“Everybody is focused on the victims, but we thought about everyone else involved, like the employees who worked overtime trying to get those donations and process the blood,” Varela said.
Students made the calls to gather sponsors for the special lunch and were able to get the food donated by Surprise Party Hall and Diamond Catering.
Paulina Lujan, one of the students who helped spearhead the event, said the student council wanted to do their part for the community and didn’t want anyone who has served El Paso during the incident to go overlooked.
“The smile on the faces of these people tell us they know we’re thankful and I hope we get that momentum going for others in the community,” Lujan said.
The group also has been focusing on projects related to El Paso Strong.
She said in the aftermath they gathered to brainstorm ideas to give back to the community and created sub-committees to execute the projects. One of the committees invited the Americas student body to collect and paint positivity rocks, which they distributed at the memorial.
Another committee has designed a shirt, which they plan to sell and collect the proceeds to donate to the victim’s foundation.
“I’m proud of my kids for wanting to be a part of this,” Varela said. “Our tears are tears of joy but also of deep sorrow, but spreading positivity is our goal, and no matter the action, big or small, it makes a difference when you are out there trying to do good.”
The employees at Vitalant appreciated the meal, but the sentiment behind it more.
“I’m thankful for the students taking time out of their day to come here and feed us,” said Vitalant phlebotomist Ruby Ramirez, who was in training when news of the shooting broke. “It’s so sweet of them to come out and thank us.”
Americas High School senior Gustavo Ramirez participated in the prestigious 2019 Texas High School Aerospace Scholars Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston this summer.
“Since I was a little kid I wanted to work with NASA and later realized I’d like to be an engineer because of my love for math and science,” Ramirez said.
The weeklong program is geared toward dedicated students with an interest in mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science.
Selected students are invited to NASA for a residential summer experience of team projects and briefings directed by NASA engineers and scientists, hands-on design challenges and engineering activities to plan a mission to Mars, and tours of NASA facilities.
During his time in the program, Ramirez said he had to wake up early to work on four to five individual projects and a main project with his team and mentor.
“I met a lot of amazing individuals in the program, including my mentor and engineer Paul Hamilton,” said Ramirez.
He and his teammates did research, papers and presentations focused on a mission to Mars, which studies the possibilities of building settlements on the planet by creating replicas of its’ habitats and observing whether they could sustain life, he said.
“It gave us a real idea of what it’s like to work for NASA,” said Ramirez, who’d like to major in aerospace engineering. “The whole experience fully established my passion and what it takes to work there.”
Ramirez is thankful to his engineering teacher German Carrillo, for recommending him for the program, and his other teachers who’ve known his passion and have continuously pushed him toward achieving his goals
“It was really amazing,” said Ramirez. “One of the best weeks of my life.”
Students interested in the program must be Texas high school juniors, U.S. citizens, committed to a one-year relationship with NASA, and must have access to the internet.
All applicants must turn in an admission essay, a letter of recommendation from an educator and submit the contact information of their guidance counselor with their application.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, around 8:11 p.m., the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the hotel in reference to a “trouble with subject call.” Richmond County Deputy Stephan Psillos responded to the location and encountered Fields in the lobby of the hotel.
Psillos attempted to place handcuffs on Fields, but Fields resisted arrested. Fields pulled a knife from his coat pocket and stabbed Deputy Psillos multiple times. Psillos fired his service weapon at Fields.
According to the Idaho Statesman, Fields’ coach at Americas High School, Patrick Melton, confirmed with the Statesman that it was the same fields who played at Boise State.
Socorro ISD released the following statement regarding Field’s death:
The Socorro Independent School District and Americas High School is deeply saddened by the news about Jack Fields, a 2012 graduate of Americas High School. Jack was a respected and talented student-athlete and leader while at Americas High School. We do not know the details of the tragic incident that occurred in Georgia last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fields family, as well as the officer involved.
Fields graduated from Americas High School in 2012, ending his high school football career with over 4,000 yards rushing. That performance landed him at Boise State, where he played from 2012 to 2015.
**This story will be updated, as needed, throughout the day.
A sophomore student at Americas High School will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of performing in the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series on July 21 at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
“I am so excited and honored to be selected,” Newby-Sanchez said. “I am really looking forward to visiting Australia and being able to perform next to some of the most talented musicians in the world!”
Sienna Newby-Sanchez is one of 250 performers selected for the series from the 18,000 applicants worldwide. The violin player is eager to join accomplished, international high school performers and study under master conductors and performers in the iconic concert hall.
Newby has been mastering her instrument for five years. She currently serves as an officer for the Americas orchestra program, and is a member of the El Paso Youth Symphony Orchestra. She was a top performer in the All-region orchestra competition, and earned a superior, division 1 rating for her solo at state her freshman year. She also was a two-time top-rated soloist in middle school. She also plays the cello and piano.
“We are very proud Sienna,” said Adria Dunn, orchestra director at Americas High School. “She has an amazing work ethic, practices hard on a regular basis, and consistently volunteers for any performance opportunity. She is definitely a model student when it comes to orchestra.”
The young performer was entered into the Australia honors program by nomination where she was later invited to audition. The audition was an audio recording of a seven-minute excerpt.
“It took me seven hours to record the piece before I was happy with it,” she said. “It was a lot of work and effort, but I love everything about music and performing.”
The Honors Performance Series is sponsored by WorldStrides. To learn more about the Honors Performance Series, click here.
Americas, Eastlake and Pebble Hills high schools won the Safe Sports School Award by the National Athletic Trainers Association. The Safe Sports School Award recognizes secondary schools around the country that take crucial steps to keep their athletes free from injuries.
SISD athletic trainers said they are proud to offer the highest safety standards for students in various programs, such as soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, marching band, and dance.
“We are very proud of this award because it champions safety and recognizes that we provide a safe environment for student-athletes,” said Christopher Lopez, athletic trainer at Pebble Hills. “It reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.”
Athletic trainers provide and coordinate physical examinations before and after games to promote safe and appropriate practices. They minimize risk of a concussion, fractured bones, sprained ankles, and other life-threatening injuries such as cardiac arrest, heat illness, and exertional sickling.
“We keep the standards high for our sports medicine program and athletic teams,” said Lindsay Parrish, athletic trainer at Eastlake High School. “It is our job and our passion to make sure that every student athlete is taken care of. This award just means that we take those responsibilities to the next level.”
Athletes between the ages of 5 and 14 account for almost half of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals, with the severity of the injury increasing with the age of the participant, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
Students in the athletic trainer program said they are happy to help protect student-athletes’ health and safety. They credit the recognition of the high school programs to the support of personnel, proper planning and equipment.
“Our administrators, athletic trainers, nurses and security officers always emphasize safety,” said Kyra Saenz, a senior at Americas High School. “One of the first things you do as an athletic trainer is become CPR certified. It’s rewarding to know that we have the knowledge to prevent injuries, handle allergic reactions, work with blood pressure machines, and know how to react to emergency situations.”
Hundreds of Socorro Independent School District (SISD) students will earn college credit over the summer break by participating in the SISD Dual Credit Summer Program, June 5-30 at Americas High School.
The program, now in its second year and a first-of-its-kind in the area, is one of Team SISD’s endless opportunities that prepares students for college, careers and life. The four-week summer session will allow high school students to earn college credit for two courses. Students may take Education 1300, Speech 1321, Government 2305, Economics 2301, English 1301 or Criminal Justice1301 and 1306, at no cost.
More than 350 students have enrolled in the Summer Dual Credit Program, said Nancy Torres, SISD’s advanced academics coordinator.
“This year we are offering additional courses,” Torres said. “This is a great opportunity for 11th-grade students to earn college credit before their senior year of high school.”
The program is a collaboration between Team SISD and El Paso Community College. Transportation and cafeteria services will be provided for students.
What: Dual Credit Summer Program kick-off
Who: Students, SISD and EPCC administration, faculty and staff
Where: Americas High School, small gym 12101 Pellicano Dr.
In an effort to raise awareness and increase the number of organ donors within the state of Texas, student council organizations in the Socorro Independent School District partnered with Donate Life Texas to participate in “Dare to Dream. Dare to Do,” the annual Texas Association of Student Councils (TASC) campaign to help the cause.
The statewide project will allow Team SISD student council groups to educate the community about the need for organ/tissue donations, and encourage them to register as donors. The goal is to make a difference by saving lives.
According to Donate Life America, 125,000 men, women and children await lifesaving organ transplants, and every 10 minutes another person is added to the list.
“A few weeks ago I met a lady who shared her story of battling cancer for more than ten years and how grateful she was for her lung and kidney transplant,” said Flor Dominguez, senior student at Socorro High School and the student council community service chair. “It wasn’t until I looked into her eyes that I fully understood the impact a donor can have.”
Each campus will strive to meet its goal of 200 registrations to have a collective total of more than 1,000 registrations. The schools will promote registrations at basketball games, school assemblies, parent nights and on their school websites.
“This is a unique project,” said Lorraine Varela, student activities director at Americas High School. “It’s teaching students the importance of giving back and true service, helping one another. We are extremely excited to be a part of such a large project that will essentially help save lives.”
To learn more about the “Dare to Dream. Dare to Do” initiative click HERE. Below are the links for the SISD school campaigns.