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Tuesday , April 24 2018
Home | Tag Archives: Austin High School

Tag Archives: Austin High School

Health Dept: Possible Whooping Cough Exposure at Austin High School

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is working with officials at Austin High School to notify parents, students, teachers, and staff that they may have been exposed to a student with pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

“We don’t want to create alarm or panic for anyone involved in this possible exposure, but we do want to make sure that children, their parents, and any adults affected, recognize the importance of following the recommendations mentioned in the letter,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director.

Letters are being sent home to parents, and health officials are asking that students take great care in making sure the letters are reviewed in detail.

The letter suggests that they contact their primary care provider to let the doctor know that they may have been exposed to pertussis and to ensure that they are up-to-date with their vaccines. A physician should see anyone with a cough. If they are diagnosed with pertussis, they will be prescribed the appropriate antibiotic therapy. Anyone diagnosed should avoid public activities including school, sporting events, etc., until completion of a 5 day course of antibiotics.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is spread through the air by coughing. Pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms and a cough which become much worse over one to two weeks.

Symptoms also usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fits”) followed by a whooping noise. Intense coughing may be followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty in catching one’s breath. There is generally no fever involved. The cough is often worse at night and cough medications usually do not help control the cough.

For more information on the programs and service provided by the Department of Public Health, call 2-1-1 or visit their website in English or Spanish.

Austin High ‘Mathlete’ Earns Top Score at State

Like a true Panther from Austin High School, senior Derek Olivas showed off prowess last week in San Antonio by earning first place at the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association meet.

Olivas, who has been named the All-Austin Boy, earned the top award in the mathematics portion of the state competition. He also earned third place Top Gun for overall points in the 5A category.

“I was glad I could finally earn that first-place spot my last year here at Austin,” Olivas said. “My team has inspired me a lot. They always push me to shoot for the best. I am thankful to them and our coaches. It’s a great feeling to represent your school at the state level.”

Competitors participate in four different areas at the meet: Mathematics, Calculator, Science and Number Sense. In mathematics, students have 40 minutes to answer questions ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus.

Olivas has competed at the state meet the last few years, but this is first top award in an individual category. He also placed seventh and eleventh in Calculator and Number sense, respectively. The team moved up from last year, taking home sixth place in the math category.

Teams from Chapin earned sixth in the Calculator category and ninth in Number Sense and Math, as well as other individual category awards.

Coach Jaime Martinez, who has watched Olivas grow as a student and a person over the last four years, was overjoyed when they announced the senior’s name in San Antonio.

“He really took off his sophomore year and placed second that year for his age group,” Martinez said. “As a junior he placed third, so we were hopeful he would get that first-place spot his senior year. It feels awesome to hear Austin High School being called up.”

The Mathletes team starts studying at the beginning of the school year, practicing afterschool and during any free time. Former mathletes serve as mentors for the team, providing studying and competition tips.

“I like to remind the team, you are following in the footsteps of captains that have placed at state and advanced beyond that. They see that can be accomplished so that motivates them to do better,” Martinez said. “We have had two mathlete captains go to MIT and one to Caltech. I hope this win continues to bring positive light to our school. We have a lot of really smart and talented kids.”

Although Olivas has fine-tuned his skills in high school, math has always appealed to him.

“It’s something I have enjoyed since I was young. It fascinates me because it’s present in everything,” Olivas said. “I find there is a beauty in solving a problem. You discover what the answer is and it all makes sense. It’s a very enlightening and good feeling.”

In addition to the Mathletes Club, Olivas is part of the Academic Decathlon team, Philosophy club, Project Apex, Teen Against Tobacco Use, National Honor Society and High-Q.

“Mathletes is something I focus on the most. It’s the club I have been part of all four years,” Olivas said. “I’m really proud to have been in Mathletes. They are what shaped my high school experience.”

He is considering a career in the biomedical field but also has an eye on a degree in risk management from UTEP. He hopes his team continues to excel after he graduates.

“I’m really proud of my team, and all they have done all these years. This is where I discovered my closest friends,” he said. “It’s not just a place where you go and learn math. It’s more than that. It’s a place where you go to build bonds of friendship and you get to learn things you are going to be able to take with you and bring it into the rest of your life.”

Story and photo by Alicia Chumley

UTHealth School Houston Training El Paso Youth to Become Advocates for Tobacco Policy Change

HOUSTON –  To help train youth to become educators and advocates for tobacco policy change, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in El Paso is partnering with El Paso Independent School District high schools to create an innovative new program.

As part of its A Smoke Free Paso del Norte initiative, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation awarded UTHealth School of Public Health nearly $150,000 to implement Youth Advocating for Policy EXecution (APEX). The unique program will teach youth how to advocate for policy changes that will reduce tobacco use among adults, prevent tobacco use among youth and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.

The program, which begins in August, will start at three schools: Bowie High School, Chapin High School and Austin High School. The program may be expanded to include more schools in the future.

“We’re helping to train the next generation of policy advocates and helping foster long-term leadership and career development,” said Louis Brown, Ph.D., the program’s leader and assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso. “Most policy change initiatives are adult-driven and don’t involve youth. Youth APEX is not the standard paradigm. Instead, this is a paradigm shift.”

The program will operate as an after-school club at each school, allowing students to participate in five different policy and environmental initiatives throughout the school year. A campus coordinator at each school will recruit students and collaborate with UTHealth staff in trainings, as well as in the implementation of tobacco control activities.

The first activity will be retailer compliance checks, which will focus on enforcing the policies that are already in place to reduce the purchase of tobacco products by individuals under the age of 18. The compliance checks will be conducted in collaboration with the El Paso Department of Public Health and Aliviane, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health, treatment and recovery services.

For the next project, students will work on promoting the adoption of smoke-free apartment complexes.

“The students will survey residents about their views on smoke-free housing,” said Brown. “Our plan is to collect the data and share it with property owners to help them consider the pros and cons of smoke-free housing.”

Other activities in the program will include a social media campaign and collective action aimed at encouraging pharmacies to stop selling tobacco.

In the final phase of the program, students will write letters to Texas state senators and representatives advocating to raise the minimum age required to purchase tobacco products to 21.

“We often see youth as part of the problem instead of the solution. They are often underestimated because people don’t see the possibilities,” Brown said. “This is an important public health issue and youth have a powerful voice that is uniquely capable of attracting media attention, garnering sympathy and swaying public opinion.”

Austin High senior to attend Caltech on prestigious scholarship

Antonio Monreal, a senior at Austin High School, has received the prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship and with it early admission to the California Institute of Technology, one of the most exclusive universities in the United States.

The scholarship will pay Monreal’s full tuition, room and board and other expenses to Caltech – a university that has lower admittance rates than schools like Harvard and Stanford. He is only one of four students nationwide to receive early admission to Caltech.

QuestBridge last week announced the 657 scholarships it will award this year to exceptional students with above average academics and outstanding test scores who come from low-income neighborhoods. Monreal said the scholarship makes Caltech – his first choice for college – a reality.

“Caltech is the center of innovation in the United States. It’s where all technology comes from,” he said. “I think it’s the place for me.”

Monreal has not yet decided on a major, and he is considering chemical or materials engineering, mathematics and physics. Whatever route he takes, he says he wants to make a difference in his community.

“I want to change the world. I want to do more for people and give back to my community,” he added.

Austin Principal Craig Kehrwald said Monreal’s story is extraordinary not just because of his academic prowess, but also because of his language barriers. Monreal enrolled at Austin four years ago after moving from Juárez and speaking no English.

Within two years he exited the English as a Second Language Program while taking advanced math and science courses.

“Antonio epitomizes everything that is right with our education system,” Kehrwald said. “I am so proud that an Austin High graduate will continue his education at such a prestigious university.”

Author: El Paso ISD