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Community Invited to Socorro ISD’s Fine Arts Madrigal Dinner

The Socorro Independent School District’s Fine Arts Department invites the community to its 2017 Madrigal Dinner “The Midwinter’s Dream Knight” December 1-3.

The annual dinner and theatre presentation will feature performances by the Eastlake and Socorro High School choir groups. The show, which is set in medieval times, will immerse attendees in an exciting experience through an interactive performance.

Participants will be treated to a renaissance-inspired meal prepared by the culinary arts students at Pebble Hills and Socorro high schools. In addition, guests will enjoy a special performance by the Socorro High School dance team and Eastlake High School orchestra.

The cost to attend is $30 per person or $20 for student groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SISD Education Center, 12300 Eastlake Dr. or at the door the day of the event.

For more information, contact the Fine Arts Department at 937-0435 or at 937-0438.

What:             2017 SISD Fine Arts Madrigal Dinner “Midwinter’s Dream Knight”

Who:               Eastlake, Socorro, Pebble Hills culinary arts, choir, orchestra, dance students; SISD Fine Arts Department; parents; and community members

Where:           Eastlake High School theatre, 13000 Emerald Pass

When:             6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

                        6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017

                        5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017

Story in Many Pics: El Dorado Survives Pebble Hills Comeback 49-44

In a battle between two of SISD’s – and the Borderland’s – top football teams, Pebble Hills and El Dorado, 4 quarters of football action was just enough to settle the newfound rivalry.

The game, which was a barn-burner for the second half featured a remarkable comeback by the Spartans that was cut short by the play of the Aztecs.

Our very own Andres Acosta was there, and brings you his view of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Pebble Hills vs El Dorado

Pebble Hills High Student Surprised by Army Dad’s Homecoming

When Sebastian Valdez, a freshman baseball player at Pebble Hills High School, took the head off of the school’s mascot at a student assembly, he received the surprise of his life: in the costume was his dad, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Arturo Valdez, who Sebastian hadn’t seen in three years.

The two were reunited at an elaborate surprise homecoming reunion in the gymnasium, planned by the Pebble Hills High School administration. Students were asked to go to the gym to kick off the school’s Importance of Character campaign.

A representative of every Sparta sport (Sebastian was the freshman baseball representative), was asked to come down to the floor. Each athlete took individual pictures with the Sparta mascot, Leonidas. Sebastian was last and was asked to help the overheated mascot take off the head of the costume.

“I didn’t have any idea,” Sebastian said. “When I took off his head, I still didn’t know who it was. But then he stood up straight and I just lost it. For him to surprise me like that, it seems like a dream.”

The two hugged each other and said “I love you” over and over again through tears. They were quickly surrounded by family — mom, siblings, grandparents and wife — who were all hiding until the surprise reunion.

“He was about shoulder height when I last saw him,” Arturo said. “But now he has passed me. I left when he was in elementary school in the fifth grade. He’s in high school now. Wow!”

Arturo Valdez was stationed in Naples, Italy for more than three years. Logistics and age made it difficult for Sebastian to visit his father.

“I wanted to surprise him,” Arturo said. “It was so heartwarming. He means the world to me. He has always been a big supporter of what I do.”

Both laughed when they talked about the minutes before the reunion. Arturo found it very difficult to not take the costume off and grab his son during the time he was performing. Sebastian wondered by the mascot kept wanting to touch his hair.

“I kept thinking this is weird,” Sebastian said. “Why is he picking on me?”

“When I was in the costume, I couldn’t leave his side,” Arturo said. “I wanted to hug him so bad. Here was my son and I had to wait.”

The Valdez family was lavished with many gifts thanks to radio station Power 102, KFOX (Channel 14), KDBC (Channel 4), the El Paso Chihuahuas and lawyer Michael Gopin. They were given gift cards, restaurant cards, Chihuahua shirts, caps, gloves and other memorabilia and a free night at the Chihuahuas baseball game, where Arturo will throw out the first ball.

Mark Torres, athletic director and head football coach, said he was close to tears. As a father, he couldn’t imagine not seeing his child for so long.

“How could I not cry,” he said. “Sometimes I am just gone for a few days and I miss my kids so much. What an incredible sacrifice this family, who is serving our country, has made. It makes what I do small potatoes.”

Melissa Parham, the principal of Pebble Hills, said it was the most emotional moment she has had as an educator. She is amazed at Sebastian’s strength.

“He didn’t have his dad for three years,” she said. “How blessed are we to have our family with us all the time. He’s an amazing young man. He has a real strong character, he is very smart and a great kid. It was a beautiful morning.”

For Sebastian and Arturo, a Ysleta High School graduate, the 15 days they will be together will be spent going to Chico’s Tacos, and a lot of baseball practice.

“We are going to go practice his arm,” Sebastian said. “This is a great feeling.”

After his leave, Arturo will be stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C, which will make it easier for Sebastian to visit him.

“We are going to make up for lost time,” Arturo said. “Now he can come visit me for Christmas, Father’s Day. Words cannot express what I feel. It has been an incredible morning.”

Socorro ISD Teens Learn About Risks of Texting while Driving, Drunk Driving

Law enforcement students at Pebble Hills High School saw first-hand the effects alcohol has on driving and what happens when texting behind the wheel.

As part of the class curriculum, instructor Rod Liston borrowed simulators from the El Paso Police Department’s Save the Community Program for students to use.

The simulators included video games that give the sensation one was drinking and driving; special goggles worn while trying to walk a straight line; and dark wrap-around glasses worn while driving a three-wheeled cart and attempting to go through an obstacle course.

“I wanted them to see how dangerous it is to drive while drunk or distracted while texting,” Liston said. “These kids are getting ready to get their driver’s license. This was the perfect opportunity for them to learn what not to do from the start.”

The challenge was a wake-up call for the 350 teens who participated. Many of them were surprised at how much coordination you lose if you drive drunk or how inattentive you are when you are texting or on the mobile phone.

“It was so hard,” said Julieta Moreno, a 10th grader who failed at walking a straight line with the goggles. “It was supposed to be easy, but I failed. I will never drive drunk or text while driving.”

Eleventh-grader Luis Rena tried the video, but found it blurred his vision. It was hard for him to see clearly.

“It was so scary,” Rena said. “No wonder there are so many accidents. You really lose control.”

Lt. Steven Schmidt, with EPPD’s Special Traffic Investigation, said teens drive faster and have less experience. Lately, there have been enough accidents and fatalities involving teens that it has become a concern among law enforcement officials. The safe community program has been visiting schools and showing students the simulators.

“Those are two factors, speed and inexperience, that make it even more dangerous,” he said. “That is why we target teens for this program.”

Kevin Salazar, 16, has his license and drives to and from school. He tried the video game and thought it would be easy.

“I wrecked so many times,” Salazar said. “It was so bad. After that game, I will never try to drive drunk. It scared me.”

Check all the pictures HERE

Socorro ISD to launch New Business & Finance Academy at Pebble Hills High

Incoming freshmen students in the Socorro Independent School District will benefit from more academic options at the start of the 2016-2017 school year as the district introduces its sixth advanced academics academy at Pebble Hills High School.

The Sparta Business Academy (SBA) is designed to engage students in the world of business and finance to prepare them for the college and career of their choice in the field. About 125 students will be in the first cohort at SBA.

The district will host an informational session for incoming SISD freshmen students who are interested in applying at 6 p.m. April 26 at Pebble Hills High School. Program coordinator Rachel Gomez will be the session presenter along with Dr. Robert Nachtmann, college of dean of business administration the University of Texas at El Paso.

The four-year program will help students work toward an associate’s degree through the El Paso Community College. Courses being offered include accounting, economics, finance and information systems.

The district is working with the University of Texas at El Paso to offer an actuary course, a profession where people analyze future financial value using statistics and theory in insurance and pension programs.

Aside from the wide range of curricular courses offered, SBA students also will have the opportunity to meet and shadow community members in the business industry to gain real-world experience.

Each year, 125 more freshmen students will be accepted to the program. Students who wish to join are required to complete the application process. Requirements include satisfactory grades, attendance, and good citizenship. SISD eighth-grade students may ask their school counselor for an application.

Other advanced academic academies include Libertas at Americas High School, the School of Advanced Technology Applications (SATA) at Eastlake High School, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at El Dorado High School, Montwood High School’s SYNERGI program and Health Professions Academy (HPA) at Socorro High School.

What:         Sparta Business Academy (SBA) information session

Who:          Incoming SISD freshmen with an interest in business and finance

Where:       Theater at Pebble Hills High School |  14400 Pebble Hills Blvd.

When:        Tuesday, April 26, 2016  6 p.m.

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