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Thursday , November 15 2018
Home | Tag Archives: ross middle school

Tag Archives: ross middle school

Video+Story: Ross Middle Honors Retiring Teacher

Spanish teacher Amalia Muro thought she was attending just another pep rally for her beloved students last week. After all, during her 47 years of teaching she had been to so many.

This was no ordinary pep rally however.  Hundreds of students, co-workers and Ross alumni had gathered at the school to celebrate the career and dedication of an educator who had dedicated a lifetime to the service of the students at the East-Central school.

Muro was greeted by an earnest standing ovation — a clear sign that the she has earned the utmost respect from the students and staff at Ross Middle School.

“It’s time. I leave with a heavy heart (but) I need to heal,” Muro said referring to a disc surgery she recently had. “Otherwise, they would have to drag me dead from the school. I’d stay here forever.”

Muro is known for her commitment to education and her die-hard support of Ross Middle athletics.  She says she can count in one hand the number of football games she has missed throughout her tenure at the school.

Dozens of Ross alumni were at hand during the pep rally to announce the creation of a scholarship fund that bears her name. They handed her a plaque and a giant check that represents the initial donation into the scholarship fund.

The Ross football team also unveiled a special helmet sticker the team will wear in her honor starting this week. The sticker is of an apple with Muro’s name.

“She calls the players her babies,” said Rebels coach Roman Abuhamidan. “If you didn’t have someone to cheer you on, that was her job. She didn’t care if you had her in class or not. She was there for you.”

Abuhamidan presented her with a miniature helmet featuring the new insignia and a Ross jersey embroidered with No. 1 fan.

Principal Jason Yturralde presented Muro with a special plaque on behalf of the faculty and staff. He thanked her for her dedication to Ross and acknowledged the legacy she leaves behind.

“It has been my greatest honor to be here at Ross with you, Ms. Muro,” he told her, just before reading the heartfelt message engraved on the plaque:

In appreciation of your lifelong dedication to the education of our students

For believing in children, for guiding through example, for inspiring with passion

For living through love, for leaving an incredible mark on the future

For touching the human soul.

You have made all the difference.

Alum Joe Zubia read a special letter on behalf of his brother, J.D. Zubia, who fondly remembers Muro from his middle school days in the mid-1970s. The letter describes how J.D.’s school years were plagued by tough times at home and how he recalled Muro checking in and counseling him.

“Ms. Muro could have just left me alone and let me go about my school day but she has always loved her students enough to go out of her way for them,” the letter read. “I am now a school administrator and when, to this day, I train our teachers on what it means to care, I tell them this story about my favorite teacher – not just at Ross, but ever.”

The crowd rose to their feet when Ross Alumni Association president Edmundo Calderon announced the Amalia Muro Scholarship available only to Ross students.

“Ms. Muro has dedicated her life to her students and has made an impact not only in the classroom, athletic fields, after school programs, but in their lives,” Calderon said.  “The love and devotion she has given to the thousands of students can never be measured.  As alumni, we cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for us.”

The ceremony included appearances by former and current students and faculty and who offered a hug and a single rose. The Burges High School cheerleading squad and drumline, which included some of Muro’s former students, were also present to honor her.

A video showing photos of Muro’s tenure at Ross – from the black-and-white shots of her early years to the digital pics taken just this year – were greeted with cheers from the crowd.

“She understands us. She would be there for me,” said current Ross eight-grader Melissa Luna, who had had had Muro for two years. “I love her and will miss her a lot. I thank her for everything.”

The end of the pep rally ended with yet another standing ovation following Muro’s emotional message to the students and the entire Ross community:

“You know that I love you. You will always be my babies. I will love you forever,” an emotional Muro said. “Be good. Do well. Educate yourself. Respect your teachers and your parents. Know that my heart stays with you always.”

Story By Reneé de Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy | Video by Angel Dominguez / EPISD

Video+Story: ‘Make Your Move El Paso’ Offers Free Health, Meditation Classes

Two of EPISD’s premiere middle-school programs are joining forces to create a one-of-a-kind mental and physical health expo aimed at helping students and adults exercise both the body and the mind.

Ross Middle School exercise program Rossfit, along with Henderson Middle School’s nationally-recognized chess team will put together the first Make Your Move El Paso Fitness Festival from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 29, at Chapin High School, located at 7000 Dyer Street.

Free classes in yoga, weightlifting, nutrition, dance and meditation will be offered throughout the day by area fitness experts and local gyms.  The event also will feature chess classes and a chess tournament featuring the nationally-ranked Henderson chess team.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to learn more about living healthier lives while getting a taste of the different exercise options available in our city,” said Bobby Macias, Make your Move El Paso coordinator. “We are encouraging parents and students to join us to experience this workout of the mind, body and soul.”

Among the gyms offering classes: RKU Athletics, Peak Fitness, Casa de Yoga, Get Lifted, CrossFit 915 and Push Fitness.

Participants are asked to sign up online and once there, searching for Make Your Move El Paso classes.

To view a poster with more information on the event, click here.

Author: Reneé de Santos  |  Photo courtesy of Rossfit – EPISD

Miss Teen El Paso Delivers School Supplies to Ross Middle School

Miss El Paso Teen Raelynne George carried more than her crown and sash to Ross Middle School during a visit on Wednesday.

The beauty queen brought 30 backpacks filled with school supplies for students at the school.  George, a Burges Early College graduate, who chose education as her platform, was honored to help out fellow EPISD students.

“It feels absolutely amazing because EPISD has given me everything and made me the person I am today — whether it was through a teacher, a counselor and even principal,” she said. “They encouraged me to continue my education and get to the point I am now.”

George will study public relations and marketing at Texas A&M, but for now she is focusing on fulfilling her duties as Miss El Paso Teen.

She is fundraising to purchase uniforms for students in need and planning on visiting the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

“I come from a family of educators who always taught me that knowledge is power,” she said. “I want to instill that in our students and our community, starting at elementary and middle schools by making sure they have all the supplies they need.”

Eighth-grade teacher Yvonne Rivera knows the donation will make an impact on students.

“We didn’t know she would be coming by, but it was a pleasant surprise. It’s a needed resource for the students. I, along with many other teachers help out with supplies so this is really going to come in handy for the students,” Rivers said.

“I’m glad she’s taking the initiative to give back to her community. We are proud of her, and what she’s doing.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  –  EPISD

Summer Band Camp lets Ross, Wiggs Students Practice Their Skills

For students Ross and Wiggs middle schools, the summer break meant much more than long naps and time in front of the television. For these students, most of whom are new to band, the first part of the long break was spent jamming on percussion, woodwind and brass instruments.

“The summer band camp helps students stay in shape over the summer. Our main goal is to keep them playing,” Wiggs band director Jaime Orpinel said. “We want them to keep those skills up and start the year strong.”

Although the final concert has a patriotic focus, students are allowed to cut loose and play music outside of their usual repertoire.

“We like to do pop selections that are fun for the kids to play,” Orpinel said. “These songs have little thing they aren’t even aware they are doing, such as chromatic scales. The camp also gives students an opportunity to expand on their playing and even learn different instruments.”

The camp is divided into beginning and advanced classes. New students can get a jump on playing their instruments before the start of the semester and returning band students can work on techniques they have learned throughout the previous school year.

Ross eighth-grader Michael Genera loves practicing his skills on the tuba. This is the second year he participates in summer band camp.

“I have been playing for two years, and it’s awesome because music really expands your mind,” he said. “This is a great program to get you out of the house and instead do something. I get to hang out with my band mates and play with students from other schools.”

Former summer band students volunteer every year to help serve as mentors and motivate students to continue playing at the high school level. El Paso High students welcomed Wiggs student Amber Carrillo into the fold.

“I already feel like I am part of the band. The band family has already said, ‘hey come play with us,’” Carrillo said. “Summer band shows your commitment to the band program and that you really want to do it.”

The three-week summer band camp ended with a combined concert, featuring music from the Beatles and the Marches of the Armed Forces.

Video+Gallery+Story: Ross Middle School Community Honors Coach Walley Hartley

Friends, family, students and players gathered at Ross Middle School Saturday to bestow an honor on a beloved educator and coach.

“He wasn’t a very big man in stature. But he was not afraid to get in your face and be in your face. He didn’t care how big you were. He got toe-to- toe. I don’t know how he did that, I don’t know what he did, but that was one of my favorite memories about him,” said Joe Zubia, remembering Coach Wally Hartley

We all have a teacher, someone that reached us as no other could. In every school there is that one person that makes it their goal to see that each one the encounter will succeed, will have what they need, will make it no matter what.

For me, that was Paul Strelzin. He was the principle of H. E. Charles.

Mr. Strelzin was bigger than life. Whenever he wanted to be heard, he could be heard over several hundred rowdy kids without a microphone. He also had a heart to match, a heart that was larger than anything I’ve known.

When you needed school supplies and had no way to get them, Mr. Strelzin was there.  When you needed someone to talk to, he was there. If you just didn’t know what to do with your life, he was there to help you figure it out.

All these years I thought Paul Strelzin was a one of a kind; but on Saturday I learned about Coach Hartley. He and Mr. Strelzin come from the same stock.

Under his famous motto: “Pride Makes Champions,” Coach Hartley was the Head Coach at Ross Junior High from 1964-1984. During his tenure, Coach Hartley won over twenty District Championships in Football, Track, and Cross Country.

Some of those teams went undefeated during their respective seasons. He created a dynasty at the Junior High level that is unmated by few but desired by many.

On Saturday, many alums who either played under Coach Hartley, or were at Ross when he was there, gathered to dedicate the football field he built, to his memory. He is a man who touched the lives of many. I think he would be proud of his students and players today.

While sitting in the cafeteria, waiting to interview Edmundo Calderon, I discovered just how deep Coach Hartley’s commitment to the wellbeing of this players and students was.

As I was sitting there, listening to Mr. Calderon talk to many alums who passed by our table I heard him recount a bit of history.

“After I left, after I left Burges, I was at UTEP,” remembers Edmundo. “Coach would say ‘I want you back here by November 15th . Every six months I had to come back and check in with him.”

The coach would want to know when he was going to graduate, how he was doing, and if he needed anything. You don’t see this very often, an educator taking care of his students, current, and past.

In fact, hearing others talk about the Coach, before the dedication of the field, he had an impact spanning thirty-three years, and longer.

“I didn’t have a father figure in my life,” said Arturo. “He was that for me. He was there for me. If it were not for him, I don’t know what I would have become.”

Both Edmundo and Joe Zubia were classmates as well as team mates. After all these years they are still friends. In fact, Joe married his Middle School Sweetheart!

Somehow, in some ineffable way, Ross Middle seems to tie people together. Joe began by telling me about the man they came to honor, “Coach was a unique individual. He installed so much. But the biggest thing he did for us was instill pride.”“Pride is so important in respect,” says Joe.

Looking at the people that gathered for the dedication, and not just the alumni of Ross, but current students and their parents, I could see a level of pride not found anywhere else. Respect, and pride.

“What I remember most,” says Edmundo of Coach Hartley, “was the discipline he gave us. And, he had a rule that you didn’t have the be the smartest kid in class, but you had to be the best behaved. And you had to respect your teachers, your elders, your parents. If you didn’t, you suffered his discipline.”

That respect carried over to them. In Middle School, on Friday’s each member of Coach’s team had to wear a dress shirt, a tie, and have their shoes shined. When I was that age, the only time I ever dressed up for school was on Wednesdays when we had to wear our dress greens for JROTC.

“He wasn’t a very big man in stature. But he was not afraid to get in your face and be in your face. He didn’t care how big you were. He got toe-to- toe. I don’t know how he did that, I don’t know what he did, but that was one of my favorite memories of him,” said Joe Zubia, remembering Coach Wally Hartley

“My favorite memory,” says Edmundo, “I had already left school. I finished high school. I graduated from UTEP. I started refereeing football. One day I ran into him, and he gave me a little bit of hard discipline, I was an adult.”

Edmundo said, with tears beginning in his eyes, that he asked Coach Hartley why he always cared about his students. “He said, ‘When I looked into one of your guy’s eyes, and you looked back at me, you had something inside, you were worth it to me.’”

“It showed us how he really cared about us,” recalls Edmundo.

Coach Wally Hartley Field is the first Middle School field to be named after an individual, much less a former Coach. From what I learned, it is an honor he would have eschewed. He was not one to focus on himself, but on his students, his players, his
school.

Just like Mr. Strelzin made an impact on my life, Coach Harley has made an impact on the lives of those who knew him. The values, the respect he instilled has been instilled in children, grandchildren, and a new generation of students at Ross. It’s a tradition that
continues.

As people were walking the halls, visiting the locker room to see if it was the same, visiting old classrooms, and filling into the cafeteria, I knew it was time to end my interview. People were stopping by the table to catch up with both Joe and Edmundo, and the voices were beginning to echo off the walls.

Before we parted, I asked them if they wanted to share one last thing, anything.

“I think our country; our community could use a man like Coach Harley,” said Joe. We know that deep down inside that he probably wouldn’t be accepted as well, our society has changed. Not that what he did any type of corporal punishment, or anything, but the
discipline and respect that I think is sometimes lacking in our youth today is sorely needed. It’s the one thing Coach Hartley believed in and knew that if you instilled that in any individual he knew he had done his job.”

If you would like to watch the interview with Joe and Edmundo, click on the play button above.  (Author’s note: I do apologize for the volume of background voices, even with mics, I couldn’t do much to reduce it.)

Don’t let that stop you, watch the interview and you will see the love and respect these men still carry for their Coach.
To watch the dedication ceremony, click below.

‘RossFit’ Program kicks off at El Paso ISD’s Ross Middle School

The were no suits and ties or high heels at a recent ribbon cutting ceremony at Ross Middle School.

Instead, dozens of students, staff members and parents donned shorts and a RossFit t-shirt to officially inaugurate the workout area that includes an outdoor training rig that will be used by students in the after school club.

Participants in the ribbon-cutting ceremony put the equipment to good use in the final RossFit workout of the day (WOD), which included a 400 meter run, 40 squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push ups and 10 pull ups.

news2_2433_m“The most important thing is the inspiration Coach (Bobby) Macias gives the students here at Ross,” said principal Jason Yturralde. “These kids come out here everyday. They don’t complain, and they work out everyday. This isn’t just about the workout the kids get, which is great. It’s more about the self-esteem that it builds and more about the character building they get.”

The ceremony celebrated the success of RossFit, a CrossFit-inspired after school workout club funded through the Army Youth Program in Your Neighborhood. The new equipment included an outdoor training rig set in the grass in front of the campus — a red ribbon wrapped around it signified the growth of the program.

Macias started RossFit six years ago and has seen it grow every year. He recognized a need on his campus to help students with issues like childhood obesity, diabetes and lack of interest in healthful living.

“We have to start promoting a healthy body and mind starting at a young age,” Macias said. “I decided I wanted to do something about it.”

Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting included Burges feeder pattern principals, soldiers, UTEP cheerleaders, the Ross band and cheerleaders who came to get a glimpse of RossFit and help cut the ribbon. A group of CrossFit veterans and fitness experts judged the friendly competition, which was broken up into three categories: Ross boys, Ross girls and a third group made up of parents, teachers, EPISD staff and Yturralde.

news_2433_m“We decided to involve our community and invited in our own teachers, staff and members of our Armed Services who also are parents of our athletes,” Macias said. “My vision is to grow the program and foresee a day in the future where more schools will join together with their community to celebrate fitness and sweat together.”

A CrossFitter himself, Macias designed workouts based on exercises used in the popular fitness program including pull ups, ring rows, push ups, squats, wall ball shots, box jumps and running.

“Showing kids to train their entire body translates directly to their success in school,” Macias said. “I’ve seen it and I know it works. This program teaches self discipline, teaches respect for one’s self and for others and, more importantly, gets kids of the couch, away from staring at screens for hours at a time.”

The changes are noticeable too and not just in the students’ physical health but also their overall countenance.

“It has changed everything. First of all, it builds a community,” Macias said. “They don’t look at themselves as students anymore but as athletes. Everything from their STAAR scores to their self-respect and respect for others has been impacted in a positive way.”

Approximately 120 students participate in the popular outdoor workout throughout the year – sometimes fighting wind and bitter cold to complete their workout of the day.

Student Aaron Jackman, who joined the club after cross-country season, took to the program instantly. His enthusiasm and commitment — not to mention his after workout dance — earned him the “Beast of the Year” award.

“It’s a really good workout. I like getting out here and getting my sweat on,” Jackman said. “It helped strengthen my legs so I can do a better sprint.”

The CrossFit-based workouts have helped Jackman improve not only in track, where he has surpassed his own personal records, but also in school.

“The program is so good you don’t even notice that it helps you,” Jackman said. “I was confident when I was doing the STAAR test. Coach tells us to never give up, so I didn’t give on the test.”