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Home | Tag Archives: coronado high (page 2)

Tag Archives: coronado high

Unlikely Motivator Challenges Coronado Students to Leave Legacy

Mike Smith isn’t just a skater dude.

Look past the T-shirt, skinny jeans and tattoos, and you will find one of the most sought-after inspirational speakers credited with motivating students throughout the country to find their legacy, be kind to others and do good in the world.

Smith’s message – which he brought to the students at Coronado High School on Tuesday – is simple: an average guy with an average name can make a difference in the world.

The is founder and CEO of two non-profits, Smith is an author and a college lecturer who will be opening a high school for at-risk boys in the fall of 2018.

news2_2404_m“I’m so glad he’s here,” said Student Council President Emily Tavizon, who had seen him before at a leadership conference and wanted him to come to Coronado. “It’s important for our students to have a legacy. He motivates people to be the best they can be and focus on their character rather than their outer appearances.”

Smith’s family moved to a small Nebraska town as he was about to enter eighth grade. The skinny skater found himself to be a ghost in his new school – lost in a sea of boys who were much bigger and stronger.

When Smith entered his sophomore year standing 10 inches taller and 40 pounds heavier, he started thriving in sports – earning attention and getting into trouble.

“I was cocky and arrogant,” he said. “Then life hit me.”

A turning point in his life came at age 17, when his father was diagnosed with cancer.

“I wondered if my dad would be proud of me if he didn’t survive,” Smith said, interjecting that his “tough old farm dude” dad is thriving. “There’s no way my dad would be proud of me.”

So he started over. He made a commitment to refrain from alcohol, drugs and partying, and also set a goal to attend college with a basketball scholarship.

With a C average and a disappointing decline letter from one college, Smith’s determination to earn a basketball scholarship, become a better person and leave his own legacy grew.

He stepped away from his friends and their bad influences, practicing basketball everyday in the gym for two hours before school started. It was then that his life truly changed. That’s when he met Calvin, a shy student with disabilities who had steered away from other students after years of being picked on. Smith walked past Calvin one morning without even acknowledging him, which later bothered him.

“I felt like I was too good to talk to people,” Smith said. “Those kids are not impressed with you. They could care less. All they care about is how you treat people.”

He later approached Calvin and even invited him to practice with him. Calvin wouldn’t indulge him initially but it became Smith’s personal mission to get Calvin to play. Just when he was about to give up, a defeated Smith sat down next Calvin, who finally asked: “Do you want to go to the gym?”

Smith then started spending time with Calvin, getting to know him and elevating his high school experience.

“I spent my whole senior year fighting for this kid,” Smith said. “My friends couldn’t understand why I was picking Calvin over them.”

But as Smith explains, his time with Calvin changed him for the better. He is now Calvin’s legal guardian and remains his best friend.

“That kid changed me,” Smith said. “He’s the reason I’m here. Everyone matters – no one is more important than another.”

His passion for helping others and his love for skateboarding led to the creation of his two non-profits: The Bay, a skate park and youth outreach center in Lincoln, Neb.; and Skate for Change, a youth movement that empowers skateboarders to give back to the homeless.

He is the creator and executive producer of The Harbor by Jostens, an online video resource that facilitates character development in schools. Smith also has teamed up with Wienerschnitzel for Hotdogs for the Homeless, a project program that has provided 75,000 hotdogs to homeless shelters.

Just before posing for a massive selfie with hundreds of Coronado students, Smith challenged students to find their legacy.

“Everybody wants to be amazing,” he said. “Find your excuses and get rid of them and think: ‘What do I want to be remembered for?’”

Coronado High to House area’s First Marines JROTC Program

Four students dressed in fatigue pants and T-Bird T-shirts marched toward the flagpole in front of Coronado High School earlier this week using a U.S. Marine Crops formation they dug up by reading an old book.

The students are part of a 20-member Marine Crops JROTC Club that began two years ago and just this year was offered as a Zero Period class. Members perform flag duties and other community service, but because they are only a club they have been relegated to basic activities.

That is until this fall, when Coronado High School becomes the first school in El Paso to have a full-fledged U.S. Marine Corps JROTC program.

“The closest Marine Corp around is Albuquerque,” said JROTC Capt. Osman Reyes. “We wanted a different experience at our school.”

For some, the experience will lead to ultimately joining the military.

“I’ve always wanted to join the military and fight for my country,” said Daniel Meza Jr. “I knew JROTC would be a good way to get started.”

Jorge Almaraz got involved for the leadership experience.
“I’m learning a lot of about leadership and the history of the military,” he said. “I’m working a lot with PT, too.”

news2_2389_mMath teacher Glenn Adams, retired military and a former Army recruiter, has been working with the students and will continue until the new JROTC teacher comes on board in the fall. Adams is impressed by the focus of the student and their desire to learn and lead.

“They take command,” Adams said, looking over at the four students. “This is student led.”

Before Adams began working with the students, much of what they learned came from their own research about the Marine Corp.

“They learned how to do Drill and Ceremony from a book,” Adams said. “Marines do it differently than everybody.”

The students have been doing community service and recruiting potential cadets from the middle schools feeding to Coronado, hoping to grow the class to at least 50 members this fall. They also have connected with the retired USMC vets from the 19th Riffle Company to learn more about the Marines.

Freshman Michael Vinson’s father told him about his positive experience in JROTC in high school, which prompted him to join.

“I wanted to make friends and memories,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot out of it. I’m going to stay in it all four years.”

Moving Beyond Textbooks: Using New Tools to help Revolutionize the Educational World

From researching a simple paper for science class, all the way to being able to talk with someone from another country about their science class, technology’s impact on the educational world cannot be denied.

In the span of a student’s school life span they went from using notebooks to iPads, textbooks to laptops and letters to emails to texts. Today’s world has gone from knowing your next door neighbor to knowing someone from Japan.

Increasingly, school districts have realized technology can have a huge impact in the way a student learns.

“In the world in which we live, they [the students] breathe it [technology]. The students pick up their phone and go to Google. They do a search [and] you coal mine for information everywhere,” Micha Villarreal, the technology director for Ysleta Independent School District said.

Technology has been made available to students in different grade levels in the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD), Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), and Socorro Independent School District (SISD); all to be used in school and at home to allow for an ease of access of educational information.

“I think it’s a good idea, that we’re integrating technology, because now – around the world – kids around our age are using technology like our cell phones, iPads, things like that,” Joseph Krumm, Coronado High School 9th grader, said.

A few years ago, the most advanced technology students and teachers had in the classroom was a smart board; now each student carries around their own laptop. The laptop is used as an educational tool to be able to complete an assignment at home, learn more about a topic and connect with peers.

“The integration of technology is very important, because more and more jobs require some familiarity with word processing skills and web design; but also how to gather information from the internet,”  Brian Keen, an English teacher at Coronado High School, said.

The use of the technology can be helpful beyond the classroom, in student’s home and after high school. The student is no longer confined to the information provided at school, but can now explore the world beyond with internet access.

The technology isn’t just for assignments and entertainment, it can be beneficial to further a student’s knowledge and skills on technology to acquire jobs in the future.

“So, in order for us to meet the needs of our students, we have to make sure that they can compete with their peers here in El Paso, across the state, the nation and even the world,” Shelly Smallwood, the coordinator of innovated learning in YISD.

The internet is also an archive of educational videos that inform students about a certain subject. The educational information is easily accessed through websites such as YouTube, Khan Academy, Ck-12, Crash Course and many others. Additionally, these websites help students with the myriad of tests (STARR Test, PSAT, SAT, and ACT) they take.

Vsauce1One popular option for students is Vsauce, which has 9.6 million subscribers worldwide.

The creator of Vsauce, Michael Stevens, a London YouTuber, said he hoped for students to draw information from his videos.

He added that math and science do not have to be complicated or only understood by “smart people.”

Stevens believes there is a process by which someone learns a certain subject and the way the information is presented to the person, can help to make it easier for the average person to understand.

“Okay here is all the research that’s been done in a field, I’m reading the papers and I’m looking at all the websites then I have to take all ofVsauce
that, weeks and weeks of learning and condense it into one [20 minute] video,” Stevens said.

He hopes that someone will be inspired by that and do their own research and make themselves become informed about the topic the person is interested in.

“I want to show that, not only that everything can be understood by everyone, but that there’s a really cool side to everything,” Stevens said.

Authors: Allison Cadena and Shannell Diamos


Editor’s note: This is the first is a series of student-sourced stories that we will be publishing as part of our partnership with El Paso ISD’s Journalism Intern Project.  The project has students from three schools: Coronado, Chapin and Burges. All the content, interviews and research is done by the students themselves.

Coronado senior is top Advanced Placement Scholar in Texas

Luke Minton’s tour de force performance in the 25 Advanced Placement exams he has taken during his time at Coronado High School have earned the senior the rare Texas AP Scholar Award for the 2015-16 school year.

Minton, a senior at the West Side school, earned the top score in all but one of the 25 exams he took, making him one of the top Advanced Placement performers in Texas and the nation.

“To me it means that all my effort in studying had paid off,” Minton said. “In addition to the intrinsic benefit of learning so many new things, I was happy that I could be recognized for it.”

The AP Scholar Award is granted to the one male and one female student in each U.S. state with scores of 3 or higher on the greatest number of AP Exams, and then the highest average score on all AP exams taken. College credit is granted by many U.S. colleges and universities based on AP exam scores, which is scored on a 5-point scale.

Minton started taking AP courses his freshman year with geography and comparative government but the first time he took an AP test without taking the class was his sophomore year. The only test he received less than a 5 on was the 4 he got on the US Government test.

“It started off with the realization that I would never be able to take all the courses that I would be interested in taking, and so I began learning subjects such as art history as a hobby, which eventually grew into taking 18 tests last year,” Minton said. “The main factors that influenced me were the actual desire to learn the material as well as the hope that I could receive college credit, rather than just the award as a goal.”

Minton’s advice to students taking AP tests is to take advantage of all the resources they can access. “Don’t just rely on your schoolwork or even just a study guide,” he said.

When he enrolls in college next fall, Minton would start off with 60 credits already at a University of Texas flagship school. At a private college, he figures it would get him about a year’s worth of credit. Right now, Minton is undecided about what university he will attend in the fall and what course of study he’ll embark on but is considering a major in physics or computer science at Stanford University.

“Luke is a great role model and example of a well rounded high achieving student,” said Grace Garcia-Runkles, an assistant principal at Coronado. “He embodies the characteristics of a kind, helpful, self motivated, hardworking true academic scholar and is well liked by his peers and teachers. Anyone who knows him is easily impressed by his academic achievements and his positive, personable character. I am excited to see what his future holds for him.”

Minton has a long list of accolades besides his achievements on the AP exams. The International Baccalaureate student scored a 36 on the ACT Composite and a 2,400 on the SAT, was named a National Merit Semifinalist, was named to the All-State Choir and competed on the Coronado High Q Team that won the national Questions Unlimited Quiz Bowl Championship. He is also the only El Paso student to score above 9,000 in the Academic Decathlon. Even with so many accolades, he counts passing the art history AP test among his biggest accomplishments.

“The hardest thing I have ever done, and one of the hardest things I will ever have to do, is learn art history,” he said. “By far that was the most difficult test.”

Check out EPISD Live’s coverage of Luke’s award here!

Author: El Paso ISD

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