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Home | Tag Archives: SISD (page 3)

Tag Archives: SISD

Middle, high school students invited to SISD Fandom and Comic Expo

Team SISD students will have the opportunity to foster their creativity and love for literacy at the 4th annual SISD Fandom & Comic Expo Novemeber 16 at Pebble Hills High School.

SISD middle and high school students are invited to the free event. Out-of-district sixth through 12th grade students also can participate in the competitions for a $5 entrance fee.

The unique event will feature a day of fun appearances from more than 35 vendors including local indie comic artists and authors. Other special guests will include the Imperial Border Squad, EP Ghostbusters, and the Amigo Man.

Students will engage in cosplay activities, muggle Quidditch, fandom trivia, card tournaments, comic sketch-off, escape rooms and more.

New this year will be the introduction of SISD’s first eSports League. They will battle it out, live in a single elimination tournament throughout the day. This program is designed to help provide a framework for student gamers that focuses on teamwork, responsibility, and social/emotional learning.

The first 500 students will receive a lanyard and a badge. To learn more about SISD Fandom & Comic Expo, visit the event website.

What:             4th Annual SISD Fandom & Comic Expo

Who:               SISD students, literacy, gaming, cosplay fans, local comic artists

Where:            Pebble Hills High School, 14400 Pebble Hills Blvd.

When:            Saturday, November 16, 2019  |  9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

SISD Homecoming festivities ignite school spirit for 2019-20 school year

Socorro Independent School District high schools revved up the school spirit at 2019-2020 homecoming celebrations, which included pep rallies, parades, football games, and dances.

Students, teachers, staff and alumni celebrated a week of festivities by showing off their school spirit and many enjoying victorious homecoming games.

El Dorado High School

El Dorado High School’s festivities were Sept. 9 to 14. The Aztecs theme was “Can I Have This Dance” from Disney’s High School Musical.  Their parade was Sept. 11 followed by the Birth of the Aztec Sun ceremony in the football field.

“Everyone is so excited for today, because the parade just starts the year off on a positive note,” said Theresa Maya, El Dorado student activities director.

They celebrated the pep rally on Sept. 12, followed by the El Dorado vs. Andress homecoming game at the SAC. Their homecoming dance was Sept. 14 at the Empire.

El Dorado High School homecoming parade photos

Pebble Hills High School

The Pebble Hills Spartans also celebrated their homecoming Sept. 9 to 14 with their theme “Don’t Stop the Music,” a tribute to music festivals. Their homecoming parade was Sept. 11. The homecoming pep rally was Sept. 13 followed by the homecoming football game, which they won against Chapin High School.

“Homecoming is important because it’s the kick off to the start of the school year and it’s just a fun way to bring the community together,” said Emily Cancellare, student activities director at Pebble Hills High School.

The homecoming dance was Sept. 14 in the Pebble Hill’s courtyard.

Pebble Hills High School homecoming parade photos

Socorro High School

The theme for the Socorro High School homecoming was “Deep In the Heart of Texas,” which was celebrated Sept. 16-21. The homecoming parade and the pep rally were on Sept. 19.

“The parade is pretty important because it shows our school spirit, not only of Socorro High School, but of the district, because there are other schools involved in the parade from the elementary and middle schools,” said junior Jennifer Betancourt, who performed with the Socorro High School mariachi group.

The homecoming game was against Burges High School Sept. 20 at Socorro High School. Their homecoming dance was Sept. 21 at the Pit.

Socorro High School homecoming parade photos

Mission Early College

Mission Early College High School celebrated its homecoming week Sept. 16 to 21 with a pep rally Sept. 20 and homecoming dance Sept. 21.

“We didn’t always have homecoming, but for a lot of students it’s a coming of age thing and we didn’t want them to miss out on that,” said Ben Ortega, principal of Mission Early College High School.

Mission Early College High School homecoming parade photos

Eastlake High School

The Eastlake High School Falcons celebrated their homecoming the week of Sept. 23 to 27 with the theme “Around the World.” A parade and a community pep rally took place Sept. 25.

“We’re here today for my son, and my daughter is next in line. He’s going to be the first one graduating and then, hopefully, going off to college, so this is a big deal for us,” said Adan Martinez, a parent from Eastlake. “We try to be involved as much as we can with all his extracurricular stuff so we’re definitely excited for the parade.”

The homecoming football game was against Pebble Hills Sept. 26 at the SAC and Sept. 27 was the homecoming dance in the main foyer of Eastlake High School.

Eastlake High School homecoming parade photos

Montwood High School

Montwood High School homecoming was Sept. 23 to 28 with the theme of “Rams Take Over the World.” A parade and carnival were celebrated on Sept. 25 at the school.

“Homecoming is one of the events that brings the community together and that makes our community better,” said Humberto Galindo, a senior at Montwood High School.

The Rams won the homecoming football game against Eastwood Sept. 27 at the SAC and had their dance Sept. 28 in the school gym.

Montwood High School homecoming parade photos

Americas High School

The Americas High School Trailblazers celebrated their homecoming the week of Oct. 21 to 26 with the theme “New York State of Mind.” The homecoming parade was Oct. 24.

“I think homecoming is a great way of getting all the schools in the feeder pattern involved, which brings the community together,” said parent Viviana Amezcun, who attended the parade to support her Trailblazer, as well as her son and niece from the Vista Del Sol soccer team.

The Trailblazers won their homecoming football game against Pebble Hills High School Oct. 25 at the SAC. Their homecoming dance theme was “A Night in New York” Oct. 26 at Americas High School.

Americas High School homecoming parade photos

Paso del Norte community unites to walk for breast cancer awareness

Paso del Norte Elementary invited parents and families to walk with their children for breast cancer awareness during their physical education classes last month.

The families wore pink as they walked the track three times to honor breast cancer victims, survivors and bring overall awareness and support for those being impacted by the disease. After the walk, students and parents were invited to physical activity and play with basketballs, hula-hoops and jump ropes.

“We’re walking around with our parents and friends for breast cancer,” said second grader Victoria Enciso. “It feels amazing to be out here walking with everyone.”

Popcorn and water were available for purchase with proceeds being combined with the funds collected from other breast cancer awareness events in the El Dorado feeder pattern and donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Parents at Paso del Norte are regularly invited to walk with their students on Fridays, but this Friday was particularly special because it had a whole different meaning. It gave parents the opportunity to explain the importance of supporting those fighting against cancer.

“Unfortunately, I have gone through it with some of my family and when we did, we had a lot of help, so we want to make sure we return that favor by doing the same for others,” said Christopher Vitela, parent of a kindergartener.

Paso Del Norte faculty, staff and administration said there are cancer survivors among them, while others have family who have battled the disease, making the walk particularly meaningful for them.

“We want to honor those survivors, those that have been taken, and those who are still fighting this battle,” said Karla Valdez, Paso Del Norte family engagement liaison.

Counselors visit business, industries to learn about workforce opportunities for students

Socorro Independent School District counselors spent two days during intersession visiting area businesses to get a better understanding of the opportunities available for students in the workforce.

Counselors from various SISD schools participated in the externship, visiting Jordan Forster Construction, Prudential Financial, El Paso Electric Company, and Keats Southwest. They learned about certifications and licensing necessary for students who are considering careers that don’t require a four-year college degree and about the internships available at the businesses.

Counselors who participated in the externship say they know how important it is for students to attain skills and knowledge in various fields, which can help them obtain a job that will pay them a solid wage.

“The purpose of today was to show us all jobs available, so as to better educate and guide to our students to all possible industries,” said Options High School counselor Aileen Stewart.

The partners in education at the business and industries were eager to show the counselors how they can prepare their students for opportunities in the workforce.

Aimee Saldivar, who works in the Human Resources Training and Development department for El Paso Electric, said the company partnered with SISD to assist in educating students on the positions available to them if they are not leaning toward the college route. She said they want to let students know sooner than later, so that they are fully aware and prepared by the time they graduate.

“There are some high school programs that students can take advantage of that are steppingstones to a career shortly after graduation. We’d like to help them with that,” said Aimee Saldivar, Human Resources Training and Development for the El Paso Electric.

The counselor externship also gave the educators a look into fields that students can take advantage of to earn a paycheck right after high school and/or help them work their way through college. Industries such as automotive or cosmetology provide job and career opportunities for students that they can embark upon immediately after graduation.

“This experience was very helpful because now we feel better equipped to guide our students by letting them know that technical programs are an option, which they can make a good living doing,” said Claudia Preciado, an Americas High School counselor.

The visits took place in October.

Counselors visit businesses event photos

Socorro ISD counseling programs win LSSSCA awards for being best in Texas

Five Socorro Independent School District counseling teams have won a 2019 Lone Star State School Counseling Association Award, a prestigious distinction that deems them the best in Texas.

“We are so proud of our school counseling program Lone Star Award winners,” said Tammi Mackeben, SISD director of guidance and counseling. “These phenomenal school counselors have created an outstanding data driven ASCA Model school counseling program that benefits all students.  Our school counselors are the lifeline of the school and Team SISD thanks each one for their dedication.”

LSSSCA has three awards levels: bronze, silver and gold.  Each level is met with increased levels of rigor designed to elevate school counselor programs to national recognition through the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) awards.

Purple Heart Elementary School earned a gold award and Escontrias Elementary earned a silver award. Dr. Sue Shook, O’Shea Keleher and Sierra Vista elementary schools won bronze awards.

“I’m honored to accept this award,” said Arturo Escajeda, counselor at Purple Heart. “This would not be possible without my counseling partner Bea Issa and everyone at Purple Heart Elementary School. I am grateful for the children of Purple Heart for whom I have been called to serve to the best of my abilities.”

Escontrias counselors, Enrique Viramontes and Clarissa Cortez, said they were grateful to have participated in the awards program because it helps them become more effective counselors.

“We get to see what areas we need to improve in and it pushes us to do better,” Viramontes said. “Three years ago, we won the bronze prize and this year we won silver. Our goal for next time is to win gold.”

Awards criteria for winning counseling teams is based on a number of things, including the program goals, mindset and behaviors for student success, core curriculum action plan, lesson plans, program and an evaluation reflection.

SISD award winning counseling teams will be recognized at the LSSSCA annual conference Nov. 3-5 in Frisco, Texas.

Game in Many Pics: Montwood stops Socorro 54-14

The original Socorro ISD rivalry hit the field under Thursday Night Lights as the district namesake Bulldogs took on the Montwood Rams at the SAC.

While the Bulldogs had their typical hard-hitting style, the Rams bested Socorro 54-14.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the matchup in this ‘Game in Many Pics.’

Montwood earns top honors at UIL BEST robotics competition

Socorro Independent School District students showcased their talent and knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at the 2019 UIL BEST Robotics competition.

William D. Slider Middle School and Montwood, Americas, Eastlake and El Dorado high schools participated in the recent competition.

“Our students did extremely well this year,” said Veronica De Avila, career and technical education facilitator. “Students were tasked with finding a solution to a real life natural disaster where they had to use their robots to repair electrical lines and supply electricity to an area.”

From the 24 El Paso and New Mexico teams that competed, Montwood won the overall prize. El Dorado and Slider also took home awards for their engineering notebook and exhibit.

The Rams, who are now advancing to the state contest, won first place in the UIL team category, first place in the marketing presentation, and first place for their engineering notebook. The Rams also won two second place awards for their robotics game performance and the coveted BEST Award.

“Our team has come a long way from four years ago,” said Jesus Hernandez, a senior and Montwood robotics president. “We have worked very hard to come up with better plans on how we approach things, and to see it all work out is an amazing experience. I am looking forward to seeing how we fare against other Texas and New Mexico area teams at state. I have high expectations.”

Slider won second place for their engineering notebook, which is a comprehensive report where students document potential solutions, their design process and strategies they employ.

“We are extremely proud of our students,” said Sophia Benavidez, Slider co-coach and team mentor. “They did really well and had to go up against high school and early college students at this competition. They produced nothing but quality work. By the time they get to high school they will be phenomenal.”

El Dorado won third place for best team exhibit, which is the visual display of the project. The Aztecs also placed third for the interview, a category in which students share knowledge and understanding of their work.

“Competing at BEST was a good experience,” said Julissa Artiaga, a senior at El Dorado. “When you’re in robotics you have fun and build a family. Students should join because there is something for everyone, like marketing, programming and team spirit. It teaches you professionalism, life lessons, and the importance of working as a team.”

12th annual SISD Foundation Golf Tournament raises funds for scholarships

Community sponsors joined Team SISD board trustees, faculty, staff and administration for a fun day of golf to raise proceeds for scholarships at the 12th Annual SISD Foundation Golf Tournament.

The event raised $50,000 for scholarships for graduating seniors in the Socorro Independent School District.

Tom Eyeington, SISD Chief Operations Officer and a key organizer of the golf tournament, said the annual event is beneficial for students to excel in college and, later, their careers.

“The students are well deserving of it and this gives them the opportunity to have some money for their future,” Eyeington said.

The golf tournament is a major fund raiser for the SISD Foundation’s scholarships. It attracts golfers and supporters of Team SISD from the Socorro community, the region, and across the state.

“I keep coming back because I enjoy working with this fantastic school district and this event gives us the ability to give back to the community through the Foundation,” said Kit Caldwell of Piper Jaffray Investment Banking Company, who has participated in the golf tournament every year since its inception.

The SISD Foundation was established 14 years ago and has awarded $508,000 in scholarships to more than 300 students. In May, the Foundation gave $90,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from the Class of 2019.

Foundation scholarship funds also are collected through employee and community donations.

Students interested in applying for the scholarships and community members or employees who wish to donate to the Foundation, should visit the Foundation web page.

The tournament took place on October 4th; to view photos of the 12th annual SISD Foundation Golf Tournament event photos, click here.

Paso Del Norte counselor named as finalist in national awards program

Amanda Bustamante, a school counselor at Paso Del Norte School in the Socorro Independent School District, is a finalist in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) 2020 School Counselor of the Year awards program.

Bustamante previously was named the Lone Star State School Counselor Association (LSSSCA) 2019 Texas School Counselor of the Year, which put her in the running for the national recognition as the representative for the state of Texas.

“I am extremely honored and humbled by this opportunity!  I hope to be an impactful advocate for ALL kids, as well as the profession of school counseling,” Bustamante said. “The role of school counselors is pertinent to the social and emotional well-being of all stakeholders in the educational setting. I am excited to be able to learn from school counseling leaders across the nation so that I can be the best school counselor for my students.”

The ASCA national award honors exemplary school counseling professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for the nation’s students, helping them achieve success in school and in life.

“We are so proud of Amanda.  She is a phenomenal leader with an enormous heart for students,” said Tammi Mackeben, SISD director of school counseling. “Amanda is committed to following the ASCA national model and providing a data driven program for all students. She is a true advocate for students and community as well.”

Bustamante is one of four finalists from across the nation. The other three finalists are from Missouri, Georgia and Ohio.

“These School Counselor of the Year finalists have demonstrated their commitment to the values and mission of the school counseling profession,” said Richard Wong, Ed.D., ASCA executive director, in the association’s press release. “The research is clear: school counselors have a significant impact on students’ academic achievement, social/emotional development and postsecondary planning. The annual School Counselor of the Year award highlights their dedication, contribution and excellence.”

The School Counselor of the Year judges panel selected the finalists based on several criteria, including school counseling innovations, exemplary comprehensive school counseling programs, leadership and advocacy skills, and contributions to student outcomes.

“I have the best calling in the world and I am blessed to be able to do what I do every day,” Bustamante said. “A synergistic approach to educating the whole child is a powerful thing, and I look forward to collaborating with my campus team, our district leaders, and the amazing counselors that I will be building relationships with to make this world a better place one child at a time.”

ASCA will announce the 2020 School Counselor of the Year in late fall. Bustamante will be honored at the National School Counselor of the Year Gala in January in Washington, DC.

Bustamante previously was a counselor at Hurshel Antwine Elementary School and a math and science teacher at Lujan-Chavez Elementary School and Sun Ridge Middle School.

Burlington donates $1,000 to Jane A. Hambric School for school supplies

A Burlington store in El Paso donated $1,000 to Jane A. Hambric School fifth-grade teachers and students for school supplies through the Adopt-A-Classroom program.

Jim York, manager for Burlington on Zaragoza Road, presented the school principal, Joanne Anguiano, and fifth-grade teachers with the donation check in the library at the school.

“We honestly didn’t think we’d get selected for Adopt-A-Classroom, so we were ecstatic when we saw the email that the fifth grade of our school was chosen,” said teacher Isabel Ramirez.

The educators plan to use the donation for supplies and materials for a new science lab, which they hope will engage their students in science and technology.

Schools may apply to Burlington’s Adopt-A-Classroom program, which helps campuses fund needs for students and teachers. The applications are considered based on certain criteria, including how the school will use the donation to help students learn and educators with their instruction.

“The students are the future and what better way to invest money and spend money than for the kids,” York said.

When the Burlington opened in the neighborhood last year, the store also donated $10,000 to Jane A. Hambric School as part of its grand opening festivities and Adopt-A-Classroom program.

Burlington store donation to Jane Hambric Shool event photos

Socorro ISD marching bands prepare for big season contests

Socorro Independent School District fine arts students are gearing up for the University Interscholastic League Region Marching Contest and the SISD Marchfest.

The UIL region contest will be Oct. 12 at the SISD Student Activities Complex. This year, Eastlake and El Dorado High School will have the opportunity to be among Class 5A marching bands to advance to the 2019 UIL Area Contest Oct. 26 at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

“SISD has quality directors and talented students at all schools who are working very hard to perfect their skill for these contests,” said Ron Pingor, assistant fine arts director. “Last year, Pebble Hills and Montwood marching bands went to state and we feel very good about El Dorado and Eastlake advancing this year, too.”

The UIL Region contest is one of the most important contests for all marching bands. Each group has eight minutes to perform and impress the crowd and judges with their music and production.

“We are very excited to compete,” said Daniel Vega, Eastlake’s head band director. “The kids have been working very hard since last year to prepare both musically and visually. We are making sure everything is in line, and hope to make a mark in area and hopefully state.”

Other SISD marching band directors also say they feel positive about their bands delivering powerful productions that align cohesively with the music, drill bodywork, and story.

“Be ready to be blown away,” said Alexandro Contreras, head band director at El Dorado High School. “Our students and directors are super energetic and we all have high expectations. Advancing to state is what we dream about, and what we work for.”

Marching bands also are excited about the SISD Marchfest on Oct. 19 at the SAC. The contest, now in its 27th year, will feature close to 30 high school marching bands from El Paso and Las Cruces who will perform in front of professional judges from around the country.

“Marchfest is going to be a big affair this year,” Pingor said. “The contest allows participants to receive some of the greatest comments from excellent drum corp instructors on how to improve their shows.”

The marching bands are judged based on the Bands of America scoring rubric, a national competition standard with a preliminary/finals format. Six bands from the small group (Class B) and eight bands from the large group (Class A) will advance to the evening finals. Awards will follow the final performance.

Marchfest is open to the public and offers great family entertainment. General admission fee is $5; children under the age of three are free. The UIL State Contest is November 4-6 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Socorro ISD celebrates 10 years of Father-Son Building Ties Conference

Boys and young men in the Socorro Independent School District got to bond with their fathers  and learn about careers and educational opportunities at the SISD 10th Annual Father-Son Conference – Building Ties at Pebble Hills High School.

The longtime, successful conference encourages strong connections between boys and their dads, which helps improve family engagement and student performance.

Some of the classes offered at the conference this year were 10 First Aid Things Every Father and Son Should Know provided by the Socorro High School Health Professions Academy, Teen Dating Violence Prevention by the County’s Attorney Office, Animation Studio Class by Snapology of El Paso, Human Trafficking 101 and the Danger of Social Media by Paso Del Norte Center of Hope, and Automotive Technology by the Automotive Technology at Socorro High School.

“I really wanted to see some of the programs, like animation, since I’m in a program for audio and video,” said Daniel Vela, a Socorro High School senior. “We’ve come other times to this event and since I am going to graduate already, we decided to come for the last time and I’m excited.”

The participants learned about the district’s early college programs, advanced academics academies, and college and career opportunities. Workshops on cyberbullying, self-esteem, and self-confidence were available, as well.

Games, team building, and physical activities also were part of the day’s events, including a rock wall, a zorb balls collision course, Jacob’s ladder, a 60-foot obstacle course, a football challenge, a basketball throw, and a soccer kick challenge.

Fernie Vasquez, SISD assistant director of state and federal programs and coordinator of the father-son conference, said many times parents think they know what their child likes and doesn’t like. But when they attend the conference, they realize there is so much that they didn’t know. The conference provides the avenue for fathers and sons to learn more about each other, as well as the opportunities available in Team SISD and the greater community.

“Fathers and their sons will have to communicate with each other in order to accomplish the activities that we have for them and hopefully those activities will help them unite,” Vasquez said. “The idea is to get them to bond and learn more about each other.”

This year’s keynote speaker at the opening session was former ABC-7 news anchor, Rick Cabrera, who shared his story about his relationship with his own father, as well as his own experiences of being a father to his two children, Madyn and Andrew.

“The title I’m most proud to have is father,” Cabrera said.

Andrew also spoke at the conference describing his dad as his best friend. He shared his admiration for his father’s career, his father’s constant support of him, and his admiration for his comics collection.

The inspirational opening session set the tone for the fathers and sons, who recognized the need to nurture their love and support for each other.

“It’s important to build these relationships,” said Robert Maldonado, who attended the event with his son Isaiah, a sixth-grade student from Col. John O. Ensor Middle School. “Without proper guidance, children can find mentors in the wrong people, which can lead to bad situations.”

Roberto Galvan, a parent of an Americas High School senior said the conference is a great idea because it brings fathers and sons together and it exposes students to different activities and different career paths that might interest them as they get older.

“Today is very special because now a days it’s harder to spend time with your kids because everyone is busy with work, school,” Galvan said. “This gives us the opportunity to spend time with our sons.”

The Father Son Conference was held on September 28, click here to view event photos

SISD schools rally against bullying though special events

Schools in the Socorro Independent School District have been celebrating with rallies to bring awareness to anti-bullying, positive behavior and kindness.

Earlier this school year, Sierra Vista and H.D. Hilley brought students, staff and community together for their annual anti-bullying events with a focus on ways students can support each other and be proactive to prevent bullying.

Sierra Vista Elementary had its anti-bullying rally in the gym at Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle School. The community, representatives from the El Paso Fire Department and the Americas High School cheer and dance teams and drum line were invited to attend.

Sierra Vista Principal Christine De La Cruz said the school emphasizes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, and a zero tolerance for bullies in its social and emotional learning for students.

“We want students to be aware that we are here to support them, and we want them to know that they are safe here,” De La Cruz said. “If students feel safe, they can focus on learning.”

Sierra Vista also promotes their anti-bullying efforts with the BOOTS idea, which stands for Best Wrangler manners, Ownership, Opportunity, and Teamwork.

“Our anti-bullying rally today is all about getting up and being kind,” said Sierra Vista first-grade teacher Amanda Livingston. “Teachers will model BOOTS, school staff will, too, so that way kids can be familiar with making those positive choices and implementing them in their daily routines.”

The pep rally included the PBIS team introducing the school’s BOOT expectations, performances from Americas, Clarke and the Sierra Vista cheer teams, guest speakers from the El Paso Fire Department, and a surprise dance performance for students by Sierra Vista faculty and staff.

The H.D. Hilley Mustangs gathered for their 915 Day Kick-Off at the school.

The message of the rally was to spread kindness in the community and the world, after the shooting that happened August 3 at the El Paso Walmart. The school staff wanted students to know and to help remind others to stay united and to remain El Paso Strong.

“It is important to instill this in our students because we need to remind them at a very young age … to be respectful, to be safe, to be responsible; and, above all, to treat each other with courtesy and kindness,” said H.D. Hilley counselor Elena Fuentes.

Special guests at the 915 Day event included SISD police officers, representatives from the Border Patrol, and the Sanchez Middle School cheer team and drumline.

The event also had students and the community members reflecting on how they’ve gone out of their way to bring joy to others and to try to recall if anyone had ever done so for them.

Fuentes said thinking about positive actions is a great way to get the conversation rolling on how we can be better individuals within our community.

H.D. Hilley event photos    |    Sierra Vista event photos

EPKicks donates shoes to help students in HANDS program

Nonprofit organization EPKicks recently gave more than 100 Nike and Adidas sneakers to the Helping the Academic Needs of Displaced Students or HANDS program in the Socorro Independent School District.

EPKicks partners Ken Benckwitz and Sebastian Rumler said the more they became aware of the need of shoes for children in the community, the more they wanted to help.

Both of their children attend school in SISD, so they wanted to give back to the campuses near and dear to their hearts.

“Seeing a list of kids from the same school that my kids go to is eye opening. It’s hard to see the need, not only for shoes, but so much more,” Benckwitz said. “I hope this will motivate other people to give back and get involved, even if it’s just one pair of shoes, a jacket, or a backpack, anything that makes a difference.”

The HANDS program assists children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate residence. EPKicks delivered the shoes to the District Service Center, so that the teacher’s assistants in the HANDS program could take them back to their campuses.

The shoes will be shared with students in elementary, middle and high school.

“There is a need for shoes as kids go through shoes pretty quickly. We are very blessed that (EPKicks) has offered to help our program,” said Title 1 Specialist Lorena Cartagena in the SISD State and Federal Programs department.

The teacher’s assistants, who picked up the sneakers to distribute at their designated schools, said it is rewarding to help students, not just academically, but also in their life by bringing them encouragement and motivation to come to school every day.

“I can’t wait to see their faces light up because I know they are going to be grateful, and that’s what I’m looking forward to because I know they get so excited,” said Leticia Padilla, an SISD teacher’s assistant. “It’s a wonderful experience and I’m really glad to be a part of it.”

EPKicks plans to continue their mission to help children who need new shoes.

The non-profit organization started in November 2018 by collecting donations on a GoFundMe account created in honor of Rumler’s birthday. Their initial goal was to raise $500, which they easily surpassed by collected $1,200.

Moving forward, they will keep collecting and donating to help more students.

The delivery of the shoes was made on September 24th.

EPKicks donates to Hands program event photos

Socorro ISD’s Myrtle Cooper dedicates Little Free Library to first responders

Myrtle Cooper Elementary students, faculty and staff invited first responders to the opening of their Little Free Library in front of the school.

Principal Alicia Miranda and school librarian Elizabeth Chavez said they wanted to dedicate their Little Free Library to El Paso’s finest for everything they do for the community on a regular basis.

“Sometimes we forget that when big events happen, these guys are the first ones to respond, so we took our love of reading and we invited first responders to put in that first book,” Chavez said. “Hopefully that solidifies how important reading is, but also show the type of community that we have here in El Paso.”

Students held signs of thanks and recognition as they received first responders outside the front of the school with cheers and applause.

Those in attendance included the El Paso Police Department, the Socorro Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, and the El Paso Fire Department.

Lieutenant Aldo Padilla of the El Paso Fire Department’s Health & Safety Division had the honor of cutting the ribbon for the opening of the Little Free Library.

“I think this is fantastic,” Padilla said. “This is actually the first time I’ve been honored this way.”

Padilla along with other first responders were the first to place books inside the Little Free Library.

The purpose of the Little Free Library is to promote literacy and provide students with year-round access to books.

Little Free Libraries are open to the community 24/7 and stay open during intersession, summer and holidays. Students can take a book and leave a book in its place for someone else to enjoy.

“With society nowadays there is so much going on, for example video games, lots of technology, and it’s good to go back to our roots, to that love of reading and books,” Chavez said.

At the end of the ceremony, first responders lined up to shake hands with students who thanked them with framed plaques, and then they were treated to breakfast in the library.

“Every career requires lifelong learning, so never stop learning, and reading is absolutely vital to your success,” Padilla said.

Little Free Library event photos

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