Officials with the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) announced on Friday the appointment of two experienced educators as principals at Burges High School and Morehead Middle/Johnson Elementary School.
Christopher Smith is the new permanent principal at Burges and Peggy Gustafson is the new interim principal at Morehead/Johnson.
“Mr. Smith and Ms. Gustafson are long-time educators that understand EPISD’s vision of innovation and high-quality education,” Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera said. “I am confident that under their leadership, Burges and Morehead will continue to flourish.”
Smith, whose start date is July 15, comes to Burges after serving as principal at Manor New Tech Middle School in Manor, Texas. He previously served as principal at Terrace Hill Middle School at EPISD. A former staff sergeant with the U.S. Army, Smith taught math in EPISD and served as a track and field head coach during his previous tenure in the District.
He will replace Jason Long, who has served as interim principal at the school since March.
Gustafson will move to Morehead/Johnson, effective immediately, after serving as principal of Fannin Elementary School since 2014. The two schools are scheduled to consolidate as part of the voter-approved Bond 2016 school modernization program.
Gustafson previously served as principal of the Northwest Early College High School in the Canutillo school district and was an assistant principal at Bowie High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Dakota and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University.
Gustafson will replace former Morehead principal Dr. Armando Gallegos who is now the interim principal at Jefferson High School and Silva Health Magnet High School; and Johnson Principal Dr. Karla Montemayor, who will return to the Rio Grande Valley later this month.
Students, staff and alumni came together to turn the shovels in the ceremonial start of construction of the $58-million Bond 2016 modernization plan for Burges.
Just a few yards from the ceremonial groundbreaking sits a giant pile of dirt and heavy construction machinery – signaling the work that is about to start at the East-Central campus.
Construction includes new construction, renovations, a courtyard, softball field and repairs to the sewer line. Bond projects at Burges began in 2017 with the replacement of the football field and the running track.
“What a great opportunity that we have now to really dive into the 21st-century learning and making sure that all of our kids and all of our staff, all of our faculty are learning side by side,” said assistant principal Adriana Herrera. “Our students are incredibly proud of what’s going on here.”
Sophomore Mia Cadena looks forward to seeing the construction through. She’ll be a senior by the time the project is complete.
“I’m very excited to see how I turned it out,” Cadena said. “I’m in many different extracurricular activities such as Student Council and journalism so with the bond project I’m going to see a new student activity center and new journalism room.”
The modernization project updates the nearly 65-year-old campus in the quaint Cielo Vista neighborhood – boosting the pride of both the current Mustangs and its alumni.
“I think it’ll get more people to come to Burges that live outside of our neighborhood,” said sophomore Adrian Martinez. “They will see how much Burges really does have to offer.”
Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera said the modernization at Burges and throughout EPISD is a signal that the District is thriving.
“We are seeing a rebirth of our neighborhoods and our schools are a big part of that movement,” Cabrera said. “We know that by making our schools visually attractive, and given the high-quality programming we have in our classrooms, EPISD schools will continue to be the center of innovation in education.”
The ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 14.
Story by Reneé de Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD
In a game that saw a little bit of everything, including a technical delay that has the actual score of the game in doubt, the Parkland Matadors traveled up the road to take on the Burges Mustangs.
After a lightning delay that lasted just over 30 minutes, the lights on the visitor’s side at Mustang Stadium would not come back on, resulting in some sort of agreement that the game would end in a tie.
600ESPN’s Adrian Broaddus summed the entire night up in a tweet:
Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and brings you the action in this ‘Story in Many Pics’
When your kid is getting ready for a big weekend event, or a special evening like Burges High School’s upcoming prom, there are a lot of things to do. Dresses need to be bought, tuxes need to be rented, booze needs to be obtained.
Booze? Yes. We all did it when we were younger. We drank underage and most of us were able to live to tell the tale of our underage drinking exploits. But there are a lot of teens who won’t make it out of their teens alive because they either drove drunk or were in a car with someone who did.
Border RAC was in front of Burges High School Wednesday morning to show students there exactly what happens in a drinking and driving crash.
A group of Burges students were part of the re-enactment of a horrific crash on Edgemere. A student was arrested after hitting another vehicle and flipping his car.
As part of the re-enactment, one student was taken to Sierra Providence. Another was taken to UMC. One died on the scene and was taken away in a hearse. Yet another was taken by air ambulance.
Students who watched the scene unfold were silent. They witnessed their fellow students and adults enacting a parent’s worst nightmare.
El Pasoans grow up across the border from Juarez where booze is easy to come by. Parents have house parties because “it’s better that the kids drink at home than out on the streets.”
Stores and bars that sell to underage drinkers become well known and whispered about in school hallways.
Hopefully, seeing the aftermath of a drunk driving incident and watching their fellow students taken away by emergency crews, the students at Burges High School will think twice about drinking and driving.
Are kids going to drink before they are legally able? Yes, they are. What is the answer? House parties? You could be legally liable for any consequences because of the City’s new underage drinking ordinance.
Drive your kids around so they can drink? Most parents don’t want to do that, either. Uber? Underage kids can’t call an Uber, and it’s unlikely an Uber driver would want to ferry around a bunch of drunk teens.
We need to figure this problem out before the simulation in front of Burges becomes a reality.
Author: Joan Hendricks – Special to the Herald-Post
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded Burges High School two of its top national awards for excellence in student journalism – a feat that’s almost expected year in and year out.
The Hoofbeats yearbook and Stampede newspaper earned Silver Crowns from the association for their 2016-17 editions. The Crown is the highest award the association gives to student publications.
And while Burges’ journalism department has received unprecedented rewards over the years, students and teachers at the school said it’s still an honor to be recognized for their work.
“Getting awarded never gets old,” said Patricia Monroe, Burges’ journalism teacher and the advisor for both publications. “It’s a reflection of the students’ efforts.”
Burges publications have received top national awards several times. Just last year, Hoofbeats received its 14 Pacemaker Award, considered by many to be the Pulitzer Prize of student publications.
Marcela de la Torre, the assistant editor for the Burges publications, said the recognition from Columbia Scholastic Press validates the hard work and priority juggling the staff made over the last nine months.
“All those Saturdays and late nights doing interviews and getting photographs were worth it,” Del la Torre said.
While teamwork is a great part of putting a book this important together, students saw their own individual gains. Senior Victoria Brown has been photographing for Hoofbeats for three years and has seen growth in her skills parallel to that of the yearbook.
“I’ve seen myself improve throughout the years,” Brown said. “This award is validating and shows others see my hard work as well.”
Monroe said her students will have a strong impact on journalism and knows their work is worthy of recognition. She encourages her students to enter their best work into competition.
De la Torre thinks that while the awards bring a sense of pride to the school, the true reward of the process of seeing the printed material finally hit the hands of its intended users: the students and staff at Burges.
“As a group or individually, we create things,” De la Torre said. “We created a book, but when people buy it, it makes us professionals.”
Story by Andrea Cortez | Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD
Burges High School’s award winning yearbook once again earned another finalist nod for the prestigious Pacemaker Award. Hoofbeats has received 14 Pacemaker nominations in the past two decades and won eight times.
The award is known as the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism, the highest award a high school publication can receive.
“With the Pacemaker, it’s nice just to be nominated,” said journalism teacher Pat Monroe.
She credits her students’ passion and work ethic for consistently creating an award-winning book.
“We spend endless hours up here. This is really our first home,” she said. “My philosophy is that good things happen to those who work hard. You cannot put together a book in 42 minutes of class time. I always tell my kids to work from their hearts. Work from their head and work from their hearts. We do all of this with love.”
Editor Jasmine Tabler hopes to see a fourth Pacemaker in her future. Tabler student has worked on three books that already have earned the prestigious award.
“It feels good,” she said. “It’s rewarding. Every year, I’ve been in this program we’ve gotten nominated and we’ve won every year so far.”
She credits Monroe for her guiding students through the pages of the yearbook.
“I’m really thankful for her,” she said. “It’s because of her that we’re able to get it done.”
Fans of high-school basketball will have a chance to listen to a live radio stream of the Andress High School and Burges High School Sweet 16 matches in this year’s 5A Boys Texas State Tournament this Friday.
Through a partnership with Town Talk Radio, fans of the Eagles and the Mustangs will be able to follow along the games via a live radio stream available here.
The public also will have the option to download an app that will allow them to listen live on their smart phone.
Burges will play Fort Worth Eastern Hills at 3 p.m. El Paso time. Andress will play Northwest at 5 p.m. El Paso time. Both games are at Western Texas College in Snyder.
If both teams win, they will meet each other in the Elite 8 on Saturday. That game also will be available for radio live stream at the same website. The Elite 8 game starts at 1 p.m. also at Western Texas College.