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Monday , October 22 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: andress high school

Tag Archives: andress high school

Testimony Begins in Third Trial Against Daniel Villegas

Opening statements in the third trial against Daniel Villegas began in a packed 409th District Court Tuesday morning.

Villegas is accused of killing Armando Lazo and Robert England during a drive-by shooting in Northeast El Paso on April 10, 1993.

Eight women and five men were seated as the jury on Monday by Judge Sam Medrano. Early disputes between the prosecution and defense included whether or not John Mimbela could be called to the stand as a witness for the prosecution.

Mimbela was instrumental in the release of Villegas, after arguing that Villegas’ taped jailhouse confession at the age of 16 was coerced by EPPD officer Al Marquez.

Prosecutor Denise Butterworth argued to Judge Medrano that Mimbela should be removed from the courtroom as a pending witness. The judge ultimately ruled to swear Mimbela in as a potential witness, but did not order him to leave the courtroom during proceedings.

The trial is being framed as if it is the first-time Villegas has been on trial, and the jury was not told of the history or prior conviction in the case. Medrano has taken careful steps to ensure that prior testimony is not entered into evidence, potentially swaying the jury.

The prosecution is hoping that several witnesses who say Villegas admitted he was the triggerman back in 1993 will be enough to have him convicted of murder for a second time.

Spencer attempted to create reasonable doubt in the case from the onset of his opening arguments. Spencer argued that two brothers who ran in a gang along Fairbanks Ave. were responsible for the murders. According to Spencer’s opening statement, Rudy Flores admitted to being at a house party on Jamaica St. near the location where Lazo, England and two friends, Jessie Hernandez and Juan Medina were hanging out.

Witnesses at the time claim that Flores had previously threatened to kill Lazo. Rudy Flores was also at the scene of a second shooting less than 24-hours after the shooting about a block from his home.

Much of Tuesday morning’s testimony was from police officers and crime scene detectives who responded to the scene in 1993. The jury was shown diagrams and photographs from the scene on Electric and Oakwood (now Girl Scout Way and Oakwood).

The images depicted shell casings recovered at the scene and graphic photographs of England, who had been shot in the head and was lying dead in an adjacent field.

During a particularly interesting part of the morning’s testimony, prosecutor Denise Butterworth assumed the position of two now-deceased eye witnesses in the case. She sat in the witness box as co-counsel read questions and she recited Nancy and George Gorham’s responses from previous statements collected in the 1990s verbatim.

The Gorhams were the homeowners who first called 9-1-1 at 12:18 a.m. on April 10 after hearing gunshots outside their bedroom window.

Upon opening the door, they found Armando Lazo, bleeding from his abdomen, collapsed on their doorstep. Nancy Gorham was a teacher at Andress High School at the time of the shooting and recognized Lazo as a boy who attended the high school.

The couple were unaware that a second victim was dead in a field across the street from their home.

Villegas’ first trial ended in a hung jury and his second trial resulted in a life sentence. Villegas served 19-years in prison after the 1995 murder conviction, but he was released pending a new trial in 2014.

The District Attorney’s Office offered Villegas a plea deal just before the trial for a guilty plea in exchanged for time-served. Villegas declined the plea.

The trial will resume Wednesday morning.

Story in Many Pics: Andress Eagles Soar, Defeat Austin 30-12

Friday night featured a long-time rivalry renewed, as the Austin Panthers took on the Andress Eagles.

In the end, it was the Eagles who were able to pounce on the Panthers, en route to a 30-12 win.

Our very own Johnny Yturales was there and brings you his view of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics’

Andress High’s Black History Celebration Honors Contributions, Legacy of African-Americans

African-Americans have played a key role in the development of the United States and continue to have a tremendous impact on communities like El Paso, students at Andress High learned during the school’s annual Black History Celebration this week.

“We want to honor, uplift and recognize the important contributions that African Americans have made,” said Melissa Stokes, the parental involvement assistant at Andress. “Many of these contributions are not recognized in the history books. The books always start with slavery, but that’s not where our history began.”

The Northeast school has celebrated Black History Month for years with one of the largest gatherings of historians and influence-makers in El Paso. The celebration at Andress on Thursday was attended by students, teachers and community members.

Stokes and school registrar Allison Jones organized the event, inviting the community to learn more about Black History.

The Andress color guard kicked off the celebration with the presentation of colors and singing of the national anthem by Brown Middle School teacher of the year Anthony Stokes.

“I think that’s important that students learn that Black history is so rich,” Anthony Stokes said. “At Brown, I have the students do a project on Black artists – both current and some historical. I want them to learn about people who have made a difference in society and an impact in their respective field.”

The theme of this year’s celebration was African Americans in Times of War, and the celebrations included a Buffalo Soldiers reenactment by EPISD Trustee Chuck Taylor.

The event this year had a special guest, Andress alumna Shoshana Johnson, who was the first African-American female prisoner of war in U.S. history.

Johnson was a Specialist with the U.S. Army when she was captured and held as prisoner for 22 days during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

At Andress, she spoke about finding the strength to overcome the experience.

“When we were rescued, all I kept thinking was ‘I’m going home.’ Before I deployed, I used to watch those Lifetime movies where when something bad happened I thought ‘I would have a heart attack if that happened to me,’” she said. “When we were captured, I kept waiting for a heart attack, but it didn’t happen. Sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until you are tested. You are stronger than you think you are.”

Story by Alicia Chumley | Photos by Leonel Monroy / EPISD

Video+Story: Andress Officially Launches International Baccalaureate Program

EPISD’s second International Baccalaureate program officially launched this week at Andress High School with an open house designed to show off the international coursework to parents and potential new students.

Andress showed off the progress it has made in the difficult task of developing an official International Baccalaureate (IB) program to a crowd of interested parents and students in the school’s library on Tuesday night.

Attendees spoke to teachers and current students about the challenging curriculum and the opportunities that can come from having an IB diploma upon high-school graduation.

“It sends a clear message to colleges and universities that you are a student who understands hard work and dedication,” said Ivan Rubio, a junior who is part of the first IB cohort at Andress. “Because IB is so well known throughout the world, having an IB diploma tells everyone that you’re ready for college and for any challenge that comes after that.”

About 40 students have tackled IB classes at Andress since the semester began in August.

The IB program is a world-class curriculum overseen by the International Baccalaureate group based in Geneva, Switzerland. Andress participates in the Diploma Programme of IB, which focuses on interdisciplinary teaching and learning in language and literature, language acquisition, social studies, sciences, math and the arts.

Thelma Phillips, the coordinator of the IB program at Andress, said students who take IB courses tend to be better prepared for college and have higher acceptance rates to top-tier universities.

“This is a program for students who are striving to excel and seek higher training and learning after high school,” she said. “And because they’re receiving an education that is world class and world recognized, they’re learning in a much more rigorous environment.”

Andress’ IB is open to all students in El Paso County, and already Phillips said several students from other school districts and charter schools have transferred into the Northeast school to participate in the program.

The creation of the program was meant to give more students access to high-quality educational programming. For about 20 years, the IB program at Coronado High School has attracted students from throughout the region, but distance has kept many students from enrolling there.

“I was supposed to go to Coronado for IB, but I live in the Northeast and I didn’t want to go across town for school,” said Dawsen Rystad, an Andress junior who is enrolled in the IB program. “I’m so happy that I get the opportunity here. It’s a great way to stay connected to my peers at Andress but still challenge myself academically.”

Students wishing to enroll in IB are required to submit an application, but Phillips said all students are admitted into the program.

“Our philosophy is that if a student wants to take on the challenge, she or he should be allowed to do so,” she said. “This is a life-changing opportunity, and we will work with any and all students to make sure they have the tools they need to be successful. That’s our charge.”

Story and photos by Gustavo Reveles Acosta – EPISD

El Paso Chihuahuas Award Andress High School Western Refining Field of Dreams

The El Paso Chihuahuas and Western Refining are proud to announce Andress High School as the recipient of the Western Refining Field of Dreams, a program designed to help renovate a local area baseball facility in need of repair.

The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 4th at 11:30 a.m. at Andress High School’s baseball field.

“Receiving the Western Refining Field of Dreams was a dream come true,” said Andress’ head coach, Andrew Macias. “As this program’s first year head coach, one of my first obligation to the players and to the program was to improve the playing surface of our field.

“Our kids now have a sense of pride and ownership in our new field. We are extremely blessed and fortunate to have been a part of such a special project and we are extremely thankful to all of the individuals involved in the Field of Dreams, especially Western Refining.”

“It may seem like a small gesture in the community, but the Field of Dreams program makes a huge impact for our kids and our school,” said Lynn Gill, principal of Andress High School.

The renovations to the field began on February 11th and were completed by the Chihuahuas grounds crew. The renovations included tilling the infield, replacing the infield grass, laser grading the infield skin and rebuilding the mound and home plate.

“It is our privilege and our obligation to give back to our community and to perpetuate the game of baseball,” said Brad Taylor, the Chihuahuas general manager. “We are truly grateful to Western Refining for making this possible.”

The Western Refining Field of Dreams is entering its third year, here are former recipients:

·       2014     Jefferson High School

·       2015     Bel Air High School

Timeline of Field of Dreams:

·       February 11th, Removal of the infield dead grass

·       February 15th, Placed 100 tons of infield mix between the mound and infield

·       February 16th, Laser graded the field; rebuilt the mound; realigned the mound rubber and home plate

·       February 17th, Sod laid through the entire infield and edged

·       February 18th, Created base paths from base-to-base

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