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Home | Tag Archives: henderson middle school

Tag Archives: henderson middle school

Henderson Middle Students Get Jump Start on Future Medical Career

Students at Henderson Middle School who are interested in the medical field were lucky enough to visit the Medical Center of the Americas recently.

The 60,000 square foot building consists of medical labs and research spaces that many healthcare professionals, life science researchers, and biomedical entrepreneurs use to collaborate.

The field trip was an excellent learning experience for students because they learned that working in the medical field does not mean that they have to focus on one specialty their entire career. Instead, they can expand and major in different medical areas at the same time.

“Overall, it was a great experience because these real-life researchers provided us with information of the steps needed to achieve success in the biomedical field,” said Henderson Middle eighth-grader Anahi Bustamante. “To me, that is invaluable.”

This is good for students since their thoughts of the medical field is limited, which leads them to not pursue their medical dreams. This experience also taught students more about the highly specialized medical equipment that exists and how to use it.  

Students can now use what they were taught to expand their knowledge in the medical field and look forward to the biomedical advances that researchers at the MCA make.

NOTE: The following article was written by Henderson Middle School student Serena Evans and first appeared in The Hive Newletter. 

Story by Serena Evans  |  Photos by Henderson Middle  – EPISD

From Pawns to Paint Brushes: Henderson Chess Club Helps Paint a Mural

The Henderson Chess Club traded pawns for paint brushes this summer, adding vibrant pops of color to a new abstract art project beautifying the Clardy Fox Public Library.

El Paso artist Adrian Lopez received a grant to beautify the school’s neighboring library. He teamed up with Saul Ramirez, Henderson’s art teacher and an artist himself, to draw the members of his nationally-recognized chess team to volunteer.

“I love painting and enjoy being outside in the field working,” said Ramirez, who was recently named EPISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year. “We found this perfect opportunity to introduce the students to more art and they love it. They’ve been out here everyday for three to four hours for the past three weeks.”

Students carefully filled in designs sectioned off by blue tape around the entire building. The color scheme continued onto the library’s signage, outside trash can and bike rack.

“My main push was give to give it a lot of really bold positive colors and keep the design abstract enough but still influenced by a lot of our culture,” Lopez said. “All of this is a reflection of our community and the brightest of it. There are color bursts that resemble some of the area’s plants and desert life and piñatas that are so festive. There’s a sarape feeling that happens with bands of color across the entrance.”

Students confidently took up paint brushes to finish up the designs, taking ownership and pride in the artwork they had a hand in.

“It’s very colorful,” said 7th grader Roxxane Enriquez. “It looks calming and it’s beautiful. It makes the neighborhood look better and people can come and enjoy the library.”

Nathan Ramos spent much of his morning coloring in diamonds and painting circles.


“I love painting and doing this in the summer is a dream come true,” he said.

After a morning of painting, the chess mates’ next move is back to Henderson for lunch and three hours of practice.

“I like doing both very much,” Nathan said. “Chess in the summer is good because we get more practice and get ahead of other people.”

The students are wrapping up the art project this weekend but will continue their chess practices throughout the summer. The design will be officially unveiled at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 8. The chess team will be recognized during the ceremony for their role in bringing Lopez’s creation to life.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without the kids because they’ve all contributed so much to the artwork itself – from painting to everything they did here,” Lopez said. “They are amazing.”

Henderson Students win local Do the Write Thing Competition

Two Henderson Middle School seventh-graders earned the Ambassador Award for the Do the Write Thing challenge Saturday, beating hundreds of students for the right to represent El Paso in a national competition.

Martha Rios and Joe Gonzalez will represent EPISD and El Paso in Washington, D.C., this summer. EPISD had 8 students qualify for the local tournament, including students from Henderson, Armendariz and Magoffin middle schools.

“Henderson is a force to be reckoned with. It’s nice for the students to see they can do it,” language arts teacher Bianca Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t matter from what side of town you come from, or what school you go to, as long as your heart is in it, you can do it.”

The Do the Write Thing program was launched by the National Campaign to Stop Violence to encourage middle-school students to examine the impact of youth violence on their lives. Teachers are provided with a lesson plan for classroom discussion and a writing assignment for students to begin the conversation on what can be done to reduce youth violence.

EPISD English and Language Arts facilitator Lisa Lyons shared the happy moment with the students.

042417Henderson010 copy“When it was announced that never in the history of the El Paso DTWT Program have the Ambassador Awards been selected from the same school, I was overcome with a wave of gratitude for the students’ accomplishments and sheer joy as I witnessed the ear to ear smiles beaming on their faces,” Lyons said. “I hope that Martha and Joe learned that through the power of the pen and the words they weaved together, their thoughts will be read and heard far beyond the projection of their voices.”

Rios focused on the bullying aspect of youth violence for her essay, writing about her own personal experience with bullying.

“I wrote about bullying, my experience with it and what we can do to help, as well as some ideas on how to prevent tragedies,” Rios said.

She was overcome with emotion when they called her name at the recognition reception.

“My heart stopped, and I felt like crying,” Rios said. “I’m looking forward to the national competition. We are going to compete with students from all over the U.S. who are also finalists.”

Rodriguez was not surprised Rios received the award.

“Since day one, she’s been an amazing writer. I had a feeling she was going to be selected because she put in so much emotion and personality,” Rodriguez said. “This was a very special topic for her so she really connected with it. She 100 percent deserves this award. I’m so proud of her.”

Student Joe Gonzalez also wrote about the bullying and how it has impacted close friends.

“I have many friends that have been bullied,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s important to talk about these issues and share this message with others.”

Gonzalez feels nervous to present on such a personal subject, but he is looking forward to meeting other like-minded students.

Teacher Luis Lopez is proud of the seventh-grader, noting a discernible change in his confidence after participating in the writing contest.

“He has a quiet confidence about him. He doesn’t talk in class much, but he’s very perceptive,” Lopez said. “Now he’s walking tall, and I think he’s realizing the kinds of doors this opens.”

Lopez had confidence in his student’s piece and was beyond happy for Gonzalez when he received the Ambassador Award.

“I immediately knew it was a strong piece when I read it,” Lopez said. “It just had so much emotion that it jumped off the page.”

The students will present their essays during National Recognition Week to national leaders, such as the Secretary of Education and the Attorney General of the United States, among others. Their writings will also be published and placed in the Library of Congress.

Henderson Middle Championship Chess Team Fundraising to Compete in US Supernationals

The championship chess team at Henderson Middle School is facing its biggest challenge yet and it had nothing to do with the sophisticated board game.

The team, which struggles to raise funds for competitions, is now looking for ways to come up with $40,000 to compete in the US Chess Federation Supernationals VI that will take place at Nashville in May.

To get there, the team must raise the $40k to cover travel and lodging. The chess team previously raised $16,000. Ramirez said the funds were used to cover regional tournament play. He added that the school and community have done an excellent job fundraising but more help is needed to reach the fundraising goal.

Henderson chess coach Saul Ramirez
Henderson chess coach Saul Ramirez

Seventh grader Carlos Palomino said playing chess helped him develop his thinking.

“It’s helped me change my perception of everything,” he said. “I see things a different way. If I’m walking I picture the chess board and think about my move—should I spend money should I save—something as simple as that.

Fellow teammate, Juan Ramirez said it has helped him concentrate and be more patient.

“It helps me in math and teaches me what to do in life, like teaching me how to do the right thing.”

Aime Argandona, said she likes her coach because he not only teaches chess, he teaches them about life.

“He teaches us how to become better people,” she said.

Ramirez, 31, has been playing chess since his formative years. Now in the running for teacher of the year, he has spent the last 7 years trying to teach students a game, he says, requires skills, patience and challenging work. The Henderson chess team just came off an impressive showing at state. A team of 34 players won the 2017 Texas Scholastic Chess Championship North/Central at Arlington.

During his tenure at Henderson, Ramirez and his team have amassed six state championships in chess and two national titles.

Photo courtesy EPISD

“They are walking with pride,” Ramirez said about his players. “Chess is a game that anyone can play but it requires hard work and dedication just like anything in life.”

The goal of the chess club is more than just win titles, Ramirez added. He wants to teach students about discipline, patience and leadership. Ramirez penned those teaching experiences on his upcoming book, “The Champion’s Game,” a book about how chess helped him and his students learn about life beyond the game and the classroom. His book is scheduled for release in May.

“I’m very strict,” Rodriguez said about his approach to coaching students and setting student expectations.

“There’s a lot that chess can offer to people. Discipline and practice that’s what got us to the championship.”

If you are interested in donating to the Henderson Middle School Chess Team contact the school at 915-236-0700.

Three-Peat! Henderson Middle School’s Chess Dynasty gets Champion’s Welcome

A swarm of cheering fans welcomed the Henderson Middle School chess team home from Arlington after claiming their third state title in a row.

The Hornets competed in the 2017 North/Central Texas Scholastic Chess Championships last weekend, earning top honors in the novice and junior varsity categories. The team earned a spot in the national competition in Nashville in May.

“The entire community is rallying together to welcome them,” principal Elizabeth Maldonado said. “We are proud of the students on their third state title.”

The Jefferson/Silva High School band joined Henderson’s band and cheerleaders setting the mood for the welcome party. Cafeteria staff joined in the jam clanking their pots and pans with spoons.

Chess player Ariana de la Cruz wasn’t expecting such a grand reception when she and her teammates stepped off the bus.

“It felt amazing to see so many people. We didn’t know it was going to be this big,” de la Cruz said. “We were all surprised, but it feels good to be appreciated and recognized for our hard work.”

Coach Saul Ramirez credits the students’ success at state to their steady drive and hard work.

“We work extremely hard. We have very rigorous practice every day after school. These students practice on top of their regular homework assignments,” Ramirez said. “We received a lot of good comments from the coaches and the directors, which just helps us set the tone for nationals.”

Sixth-grader Isaac Mendoza had never played chess before he joined the team, but much like his team, he has exceeded all expectations. He placed first in novice and is now one of the highest ranked players on the team.

“When I found out I had won first place, I was very excited,” Mendoza said. “The competition was very difficult because there were a lot of good players, but we have been practicing a lot so we earned it.”

Mendoza is looking forward to competing at the national level with his team.

“I am excited about nationals,” Mendoza said. “I am ready to play.”

Seventh-grader Paola Macias was also among the 34 students who competed in Arlington, placing 14th in the JV category.

“I’m very excited the team won because it means we can continue to put El Paso on the map, and that we can keep learning to play our best,” Paola said

Paola’s mom, Veronica Macias, met her daughter with a big hug and bouquet of flowers.

“I’m really proud of the students. This is showing them there are no limits,” Macias said. “My daughter started playing last year because she couldn’t play volleyball but now chess is her life.”

Paola agrees: “Chess has changed my life forever. If I had never learned how to play chess, I would not be the person I am today.”

National Champion Henderson Middle Chess Team Returns Tonight

The Henderson Middle School Chess Team are headed back to the Borderland with a National Championship.

Competing against schools (private and public) from throughout the country this weekend, the team is returning to the Sun City with a National Championship and a third-place trophy.

The team competed in two different categories at the National Junior High School Championships of the U.S. Chess Federation in Indianapolis over the weekend.

Henderson won the K-8 U750 category, with judges pointing out that they see a “bright future for the school.” The team also came in third in the K-8 U1000 category.

Earlier this year, the team brought home more than a dozen trophies and two first place wins in the novice and junior varsity divisions.

unnamed (25)The Henderson team was relatively unknown last year when they surprised everyone by winning the state title. But at the state competition in Brownsville during spring break, teams from throughout the state were ready to take on the defending champions.

“The competition was extremely difficult. We were behind a couple of points, but we were able to come together as a team and pull through,” Coach Saul Ramirez said. “They wanted it. They worked for it, and they earned it.”

The national champs will arrive at El Paso International Airport tonight at 9:15 p.m. in a flight from Phoenix.

To read a previous story about the chess team, click HERE

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