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Friday , August 17 2018
Home | Tag Archives: Burnet Elementary

Tag Archives: Burnet Elementary

Video+Story: Students, Community bid Farewell to Burnet Elementary

On a day filled with memories, stories and even a few tears, students and teachers at Burnet on Friday gathered to mark the end of an era.

Burnet will merge with Travis, Powell and Logan elementary schools starting this fall, and students in this neighborhood will create new memories and traditions at their new combined campuses.

Students released 63 brown, gold and white balloons – one for each year the campus on Thomason Avenue was open – right as the last bell of the school year rang at Burnet.

“This is a celebration of the wonderful things that happened on this campus for so many years,” said Millie Williams, the interim principal at Burnet. “It is also a celebration of the great things that our students will accomplish as they move forward to their new merged schools.  They’re going to be in good hands.”

Festivities began mid-day for students to celebrate the legacy of the school and its current and former students with a parade and cookout. Evening events gave students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community a chance to reminisce and say a final farewell.

Students and guests left the campus with a special Burnet bear in remembrance of their school.

Each grade level marched around the campus for a parade, giving them a chance to have a final walk through of their school. After the parade, students headed outside to play games and have one last play day with their Burnet friends. They played with not a care in the world, easily forgetting the circumstances of the festivities.

“Today has been amazing. We had lots of fun,” fifth grader and All-Burnet Girl Noelly Cobos said. “It’s been a good way to celebrating the closing of the school by not being sad – just having fun.”

Former principal Carmen LaFarrell sat in the cafeteria, reminiscing about her days as principal in the 1980s. She had perfect recall of her role as the school’s leader, proudly talking about her reading and parental engagement programs.

“This school was very college-oriented,” she said. “We would say ‘when you go to college, not if you go to college.’ That was engrained in them the first day. I think that inspired them. This was a good school for the community.”

Grace Guzman spent Friday afternoon volunteering at her alma mater with her sisters cooking hotdogs and making sure the students enjoyed their last day. She glanced over at the fully-grown, mature trees providing subtle shade in the 100-plus heat.

“I was here when they planted those trees. I think I was in first grade,” said Guzman, a Burnet student in the 1960s. “I remember the big holes they dug.”

Guzman remembers her time at Burnet with fondness, recalling the good teachers involved in her education.

“It was like a security blanket,” she said. “It was a small school but very tight.”

Third-grade teacher Yolanda Fernandez spent 25 years teaching at Burnet – all but one year of her teaching career in EPISD.

“This is where I grew as a teacher. I’ve been here half my life,” said Fernandez, who also taught at Rusk Elementary.  “It’s sad for me but then I know we need to move on.”

The veteran teacher plans to follow Burnet students to Travis to continue serving the families she’s come to know and love.

“We’re a big a family here,” she said. “It is like breaking up a family but we will see each other again because a family never really breaks apart.”

Story by Reneé De Santos  |  Photos by Alicia Chumley  |  Video by Raymond Jackson/EPISD

Burnet Student Artist wins National Mexican Consulate Contest

An EPISD student artist is flying high after earning a top spot in the 2017 Concurso de Dibujo Infantil: “La Mariposa Monarca y su ciclo de vida en Norteamérica.”

Noelly Cobos, a fifth-grade student at Burnet Elementary, was one of only 12 winners chosen from hundreds of entries from all across the world for the drawing contest hosted every year by the Mexican Consulate. Her artwork will be on display at the Papalote Museo del Niño, Mexico City’s largest children’s museum, starting May and is featured in the 2018 IME calendar, which is distributed worldwide.

“I was really shocked because I didn’t know I had been picked,” Noelly said. “My mom was really happy. She was tearing up because she was proud.”

Two representatives from the consulate came to Burnet earlier this month to present her with an iPad, books, a copy of the calendar with her artwork, as well as an art print by Mexican-American artist Nicole A.S. Pellegrino.

The theme focused on the life cycle and migration of the Monarch butterfly — the only butterfly species that migrates during the winters. Monarchs can travel up to 3,000 miles from the United States to the Mexican state of Michoacan.

Noelly put her own twist on the theme, opting to incorporate her style and love of manga — a Japanese style of art that is akin to comic books — to create her drawing.

“I really like drawing people, so I wanted to incorporate a person in my drawing,” she said. “I drew a butterfly on her face and made a cocoon dress with butterflies coming out.”

Art teacher Heidi Gutierrez was over the moon when she found out Noelly has been chosen. This is the second year her classes participate in the contest, but the first time any of her students have won.

“I was so excited I almost cried,” she said. “One of my objectives it to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to show them what they do matters.”

Gutierrez built a lesson around the contest, teaching the students about the Monarch butterfly to get their creative juices flowing. She picked five student drawings from her classes to submit to the consulate.

“The more I talk about it, the more creative they get,” she said. “I chose the students based on their creativity and completeness because some kids have good intentions, but they don’t complete their work. I want to show them they have to finish a project and set those expectations.”

Noelly took several weeks to complete her drawing, which features detailed pencil and watercolor work.

She hopes to continue building her drawing skills and growing as an artist.

“I like the artwork, but I have improved a lot, so I see parts of it I would change now,” she said. “You need to practice every single day and look at other people’s art and get inspiration.”

Story by Alicia Chumley | Photos by Leonel Monroy / EPISD
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