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Home | Tag Archives: Pebble Hills

Tag Archives: Pebble Hills

Pebble Hills students make edible water bottles in environmental conservation project

Pebble Hills High School students in an aquatic science class recently delved into exploring ways to conserve the planet, including an engaging lesson on creating edible water bottles as an alternative method for water consumption.

Aquatic science teacher Michelle Gomez said she hopes the project will help inspire students to reduce waste and find resourceful ways to use recycled materials.

“I just want to plant the seed to really help the students grow and think about how they can make this better or at the very least stop using single-use plastics,” Gomez said.

The project is part of their larger studies on plastics and their long-term effect on the environment. The students made the edible water bottles by combining two ingredients, calcium lactate, which works as a binding solution, and sodium alginate, which is what gives water in bottles its crisp taste.

Sodium alginate is safe to eat and is generally used in foods like cakes and cheeses, Gomez said. The sodium alginate coats the calcium lactate to cause spherification, which forms a bubble containing water that will dissolve once you put it into your mouth.

Some of the students sampled their edible water bottles and described the bubble’s texture as rubbery and jelly-like, but without taste.

Photo courtesy SISD

While they had fun with the interactive project, they also embraced the larger lesson of finding ways to help the environment.

“This project is very important and a big step towards us conserving the earth,” said senior, Hiram Zacarias. “We need to start right now, since we have problems like global warming.”

Gomez said part of their studies was learning about how trash from the inland, even from a desert city like El Paso, will find its way to the ocean.

It can take 20 years for one piece of plastic to end up in the water, but it never breaks down or decomposes, it just becomes smaller, she said.

“We need to target our youth to be able to make the changes that we want in the future,” Gomez said.

For their next environmental project, students will work on creating reusable tote bags using plastic shopping bags.

“I think this is amazing and we should share this class with more students so they can see the effects of waste and learn how we can work towards changing the world together,” said senior Audrey Hernandez.

Photo courtesy SISD

Pebble Hills students make edible water bottles event photos

Socorro ISD provides unique, hands-on preparation for careers in animal care

Students at Pebble Hills, El Dorado and Eastlake high schools are taking advantage of the SISD veterinary technology program to get a full understanding of a career in animal care services.

“I know a lot of kids say they want to be a vet, but this actually gives them the experience to decide if this is really what they want to do,” said Reanna Rodecap, an agriculture science teacher at Pebble Hills High School. “They may decide they don’t want to be a vet though they still want to work with animals, so I think this opportunity gives them the chance to explore all of the different avenues.”

The Career and Technical Education program gives students hands-on experience and the opportunity to earn a level-one veterinary assistant certification by graduation.

Freshmen begin by taking a basic introduction course on plants and animals, and later, as they progress through the program, they learn how to care for dogs, cats, and other traditional house pets.

During their junior year, students gain knowledge and skills in caring for livestock, such as goats, sheep, and pigs.

With that experience and coursework, the students can then pursue their veterinary assistant certification in their senior year. In preparation for the certification, the students learn the basic skills needed to work in a veterinary clinic.

“This year we are proud to have more than 300 students enrolled in the program, at Pebble Hills alone,” Rodecap said.

Students must serve 300 clinical hours at local veterinary clinics. Once they earn the hours, they can take the certification test. With the level-one veterinary assistant certification, students can be hired at a clinic right out of high school.

SISD partners with El Paso Animal Services and other veterinary clinics throughout the city to ensure students are getting real-life practice. Daily work in these facilities allows students to learn basic handling of the animals, observing surgeries and, at times, helping with administering anesthesia.

“We are an open enrollment shelter, so with in-take, more help, more care, more assistance is needed,” said Rose Janice, volunteer coordinator at El Paso Animal Services. “We are excited to see these students through their journey and are hopeful that we will see them graduate as vet assistants.”

Currently, 17 SISD students are working at El Paso Animal Services and collectively have earned almost 500 volunteer hours at the shelter. They have learned how to care, shelter and socialize the animals, about animal behavior management, and applying medical services.

The students also have been helping treat cats for ringworm, spaying/neutering, and giving other forms of treatment to help prevent the spread of illness.

“This helps me gain experience as I work alongside other vets and vet assistants who help me learn and grow,” said Maria Martinez, a senior at Pebble Hills High School. “Being able to start early is really great and I’m super happy to be a part of this program.”

Socorro ISD Veterinary Technology Program photos

Video+Story: Pebble Hills student wins Take Care of Texas Video Contest

Dominique Barraza, a student at Pebble Hills High School, has won the Take Care of Texas Video Contest by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The contest creates awareness on environmental protection and provides tips on how to keep our air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste.

“I am really grateful for this experience and I’m hoping that everyone will see the importance of taking care of the environment,” Barraza said. “It’s good to know that my video will motivate young kids and young adults to help the environment and lead by example.”

Barraza was one of six finalists in the 9th-12th grade category for the Take Care of Texas Video Contest by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Her video received 413 views and was voted as the best by the public, TCEQ commissioners, and representatives from Waste Management of Texas, Inc.

“Dominique has the eye for what professional video quality looks like,” said Benjamin Munguia, Pebble Hills High School audio/video production teacher. “She has the ability to take what she sees in her mind and actually go out and do it.”

As the winner, she earned a $2,500 scholarship that she will use toward her tuition at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she plans to pursue a career in multimedia digital production.

“If there is something I learned about this experience it is to think outside of the box,” she said. “There are many different ways to earn scholarships if you want to continue studying. You can make videos, draw, dance, solve math problems…there are opportunities out there for everyone.”

Barraza will be recognized by the TCEQ and representatives from Waste Management of Texas, Inc. at the 2019 Environmental Trade Fair and Conference in May.

SISD, Project Vida Team Up, Earn Grant to Provide Behavioral Health Services at Schools

The Socorro Independent School District and Project Vida Health Center recently launched a Community Mental Health Grant Program in three high schools and their feeder campuses.

“We are honored to be working with Project Vida Health Center and humbled to be the first school district in the region to reap the benefits of this grant and expand the services to hundreds of students in our schools,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D.

“With this program, we are working together to listen to our children, to watch over them daily, to give them help right on the spot, or to be able to direct them to assistance with other agencies, if necessary.”

The program has been implemented through the Community Mental Health Grant, an $800,000 award donated to the health center from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The five-year grant is the only one of its kind to be awarded in the El Paso region and aims to eliminate barriers for students and families to receive behavioral health services and provide easy access to services from Project Vida Health Center at the schools.

The program serves students at Montwood, Pebble Hills and Socorro high schools and will serve the feeder schools in those areas, as well. The program started last year with successful implementation of services by Project Vida Health Center at Eastlake High School and Desert Wind School.

As part of the district’s proactive commitment to Keep SISD Safe, the goal is to expand the Community Mental Health Grant Program services to all high schools and feeder areas in the district.

Tammi Mackeben, SISD’s guidance and counseling director, said it is highly beneficial and important to have access to the behavioral health services directly on campuses.

“There can be many barriers to our students’ educational learning and one of those is their emotional health,” Mackeben said. “So, providing a service in our schools helps to make that barrier a little bit smaller.”

Along with Dr. Espinoza and Mackeben, Project Vida Health Center leaders, other social and emotional health partners, and SISD administrators, principals, counselors and staff attended a special ceremony at Pebble Hills High School to celebrate the program launch.

“The fact that Socorro ISD openly embraced this initiative says a lot about the district,” said Aida Ponce, chief wellness and outreach officer for Project Vida. “The district really wants to help students’ wellness and well-being. We see that there is a necessity to address that and that is why we started this program.”

Carmen Crosse, SISD’s assistant superintendent of secondary education, said the district does not shy away from things like emotional health.

“We know there is a need,” Crosse said. “We want to help our students. This program is about supporting our kids at all levels.”

The Community Mental Health Grant Program is supervised by a project manager and project director and promoted and sustained by an in-school outreach facilitator. A Project Vida Health Center navigator provides students and their families access to behavioral health services as needed from Project Vida Health Center or other community agencies.

The innovative program gives counselors more support to provide early intervention access to behavioral health services for students and families. The grant also allows more students in Team SISD to benefit from mental health services with ease and convenience.

“We know that if our students don’t feel safe emotionally, it is very difficult for them to perform academically,” Mackeben said. “So, providing this in the school makes it so students don’t have to leave school for these services. The can get these services right here on their campuses.”

Pebble Hills Principal Melissa Parham knows the importance of making sure students have overall good health to succeed.

“We will continue to watch our kids, watch for signs,” Parham said. “Now, we can get them the help they may need here. Honestly, we have hit the jackpot with this program.”

The programs were announced in October.  To view a gallery of the event, click here.

Montwood, Pebble Hills Bands Advance to State Championships, Hanks Wins ToB

It was one of the busiest weekends yet for El Paso bands, with three separate contests taking place on Saturday. The end result was some great finishes for our local groups.

The first contest of the weekend was the 4-A Area contest in Lubbock. Mountain View and Clint represented El Paso, but neither band was able to advance past the preliminary round.

The largest contest of the season was simultaneously happening in Las Cruces. The 41st annual Tournament of Bands took place with some outstanding results for our local groups.28 bands took the field in 4 classes with the following results.

In preliminary Class B Awards, Irvin won Outstanding Music Execution, Burges won Outstanding Percussion, Alamogordo won Best colorguard, and Jeff/Silva won the Drum Major award. Riverside finished third, Irvin finished second, and Alamogordo finished in first place.

In preliminary Class A , Eastlake High School took Music Execution, Percussion, and Colorguard, while Parkland High School took home the Drum Major award. Top finishers were Las Cruces High School in third, Bel Air in second, and Eastlake in the top spot.

In preliminary Class AA, Hanks swept all captions. Cleveland High School from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, came in third, while Onate finished second and Hanks took the top spot.

The 10 bands advancing to finals were Albuquerque Eldorado, Las Cruces, Cleveland, Del Valle, Eastwood, Eastlake, Horizon, Onate, Bel Air, and Hanks High Schools.

Hanks High School ended the night as Grand Champions with their show ‘Pocket Full of Poseys.’ Other finalist finishes included Eastlake in second place, with Onate High School from Las Cruces in third and Bel Air High School finishing fourth. Cleveland was in 5th place, followed by Horizon High in 6th, Eastwood in 7th, and Del Valle in 8th. Las Cruces High finished 9th and Albuquerque Eldorao finished 10th.

Perhaps the biggest news of the days is El Paso has both the advancing bands from the Area A 6-A marching band contest. 14 bands competed in prelims, with seven bands advancing to finals. El Paso bands in finals included Americas, Coronado, Montwood, and Pebble Hills.

At the end of the second and final round of competition, Pebble Hills came in first, followed closely by Montwood. These two bands, both from the Socorro ISD, will now travel to San Antonio to represent West Texas at the State marching band contest.

Prelims for the 6-A contest will be held in the Alamodome on Monday, November 5, with the finals round taking place on Tuesday, November 6.

Directors of the Pebble Hills Spartan band are Maximo Sierra, Raul Chavira, Daniel Hunt, and Cecil Crabtree.

The Montwood “Mean Green” band is under the direction of Beto Pererz, Roman Lechuga, and Caitlyn Colette.


Graphic courtesy Musical Notes- The Blog


Author – Lorraine Kubala

The complete schedule can be viewed on the ‘Musical Notes- The Blog’ page on Facebook.

Galleries: Socorro ISD Bids Farewell to Class of 2018

The Socorro Independent School District celebrated more than 3,400 graduates at commencement ceremonies on May 31, June 2 and 3 at the Region 19 Chito Samaniego center and the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Graduates from Options, Pebble Hills, Mission Early College, El Dorado, Americas, Eastlake, Montwood, and Socorro high schools were cheered on by family, friends and Team SISD members, including Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., the SISD Board of Trustees, and school faculty and staff.
The graduates at all the high schools were honored with special awards, words of congratulations and praise from various speakers, and special moments such as singing of the alma mater and school cheers.
The presentation of diplomas was the highlight of all the graduation ceremonies in Team SISD.
In total, the SISD Class of 2018 earned more than $45.8 million in scholarships and grants, collectively.
Pebble Hills High School Early College High School

El Dorado High School

Americas High School

Eastlake High School

Montwood High School

Socorro High School

Socorro ISD Student Artwork Showcased at El Paso Museum of Art

Socorro Independent School District students recently made history, as they were the first SISD students to exhibit their work at the El Paso Museum of Art.

“I am really excited for our students,” said Macka Jones, visual art specialist for SISD. “This is an amazing experience and for many of them a dream come true. We are proud to be a district of endless opportunities and that is what we created today, an opportunity for our students.”

Young artists were thrilled to see their beautiful ceramics, diverse paintings and hand-crafted sculptures at the 59-year-old museum. Their art was placed next to an exhibit featuring artwork owned by the actor and comedian Richard Anthony “Cheech” Marin.

“It’s pretty unbelievable that my work is being showcased at the El Paso Museum of Art,” Saenz said. “We all worked really hard to get here so we could display our love of art.”

Photo courtesy SISD

The exhibit originated last September when students toured the museum’s permanent collection of art, the 7,000-piece Kress Collection.

The students were asked to choose a work that caught their eye and create an art piece inspired by that particular work.

“Working with the SISD students and teachers has been a great experience,” said David Hernandez, education curator at the El Paso Museum of Art. “The art work is impressive and it’s interesting to see the direct correlation between their work and what they saw at the museum.”

Marquez, a senior at Pebble Hills, was inspired by American painter Raphael Soyer.

“It took a long time to finish my piece but I’m really proud of it,” Marquez said. “My freshmen year I would have never imagined that my work would be featured in a museum. This is a really big deal!”

Photo courtesy SISD

Teachers and parents also were happy to see the student work at the showcase.
“During the process I saw tears, passion and joy and that is the creation of art,” said Veronica Chaparro, art teacher at Eastlake High School. “To see them release their emotions into something visual and tangible for the community to see is amazing!”

The student art was displayed April 21-23 and drew a large crowd of students, families, teachers and friends.

The student showcase featured the work of 27 high school students from Americas, Eastlake, El Dorado, Montwood, Pebble Hills and Socorro high schools.

The students featured are: Alimei Saenz, Ana Calderas, Ana Varela, Andrea Soto, Ariel Anguiano, Ashley Diaz, Ayleen Garcia, Blanca Gonzalez, Brianna Robles, Caleb Hernandez, Desiree Boykin, Isaiah Gutierrez, Kimberly Juarez, Leslie Cuellar, Lynette Baez, Marlena Ray, Mikayla Espineli, Natalia Quizz, Natalia Arzola, Noelle Marquez, Paul Sescon, Phoebe Lozano, Sergio Chavez, Stephanie Vazquez, Vanessa Najera, Victoria Aldaco and Viridiana Kropf.

Pebble Hills Boulevard $1.5m Upgrade includes Lighting Improvements, Amenities

Beginning the week of February 27th, 2017, the City of El Paso’s Capital Improvement Department will begin construction of the Pebble Hills Arterial Lighting project.

Motorists are advised to expect lane closures along the project limits until the late summer of 2017 when the project is scheduled for completion. Proper traffic control measures and signage marking the closures and construction will be place throughout the construction phase of the project.  The construction schedule may be modified in order to accommodate unforeseen conditions or events.

It will provide the following amenities and services to Pebble Hills Boulevard between Joe Battle Boulevard and John Hayes Street:

  • Furnish and install new street lighting from Joe Battle to John Hayes
  • Modifications to existing medians and additions of new medians
  • Installation of  new trees and landscaping for the medians, as well as an irrigation system

This project with a total approximate budget of $1.5 million will enhance the safety of Pebble Hills Boulevard, and is part of the City of El Paso’s commitment to enhance El Paso’s comprehensive regional transportation system.

This lighting and median project is funded by Certificates of Obligation and the 2013 Street Infrastructure Plan.

Pebble Hills Boulevard Extension Project to Open on Friday

The City of El Paso’s Capital Improvement Project is ready to open an important missing link in far East El Paso’s transportation network which will help motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists get where they’re going more quickly and more safely.

The Pebble Hills Boulevard extension, which stretches from Tierra Mina Drive to Zaragoza Road, will open atnoon on Friday, July 15, 2016.

Construction began in November 2015, and the project has reached substantial completion. The public should expect some lane closures for about a month. The lane closures are necessary to finish the project’s punch list items, which are minor modifications needed to ensure that the work meets contract specifications.

“When I was elected, my promise to the residents of District 5 was to connect Pebble Hills through Zaragoza and alleviate some of the congestion in other major intersections in our District. I am proud that after 5 years of working hard to secure this connection we are happy to fulfill this commitment to the constituents of District 5,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Dr. Michiel Noe, City Representative of District 5.

Noe added, “A promise is a promise, and I am proud to announce that on July 15th, we will be opening Pebble Hills Blvd. and connect it to Zaragoza Ave. This is a very much awaited thoroughfare street connection by residents, business owners and our school district. I want to thank the constituents of District 5 for their confidence and trust bestowed upon me to make this happen. “

This $2.5 million project filling in this missing link on Pebble Hills creates a continuous east-west thoroughfare running from John Hayes Street to Yarbrough Drive.

It will also give motorists an option to access Loop 375 while avoiding the intersection of Zaragoza and Montwood.

The project scope includes the installation of a new storm sewer system, sanitary and sewer lines, new striping for bicycle lanes, upgraded traffic signals at Zaragoza Road, as well as a new landscaping and ADA compliant sidewalks with illumination.

The project combines all of the components which are essential in creating a “Complete Street”. It includes the construction of a concrete roadway, the addition of buffered bike lanes, ADA compliant sidewalks, landscaping, street trees with their own irrigation system, and dark sky complaint street lighting. By providing all of these amenities, this project creates a space that is accessible to all forms of transportation including bike and pedestrians and not just vehicles.

One component of this project which is brand new to the El Paso area is the addition of green paint inside the eastbound bike lane on Pebble Hills Boulevard at the intersection of Zaragoza Road. The addition of this paint will help clearly identify the area that is designated solely for bikes at the intersection, which will help create a safe environment for automobiles and bicycles to interact.

The addition of this green paint will also be used in the near future for the “bike boxes” which will be installed as part of the Resler Boulevard Hike and Bike project.

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