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Home | Tag Archives: yisd

Tag Archives: yisd

Ysleta ISD announces 2020 Summer Food Service program

The Ysleta Independent School District will launch its 2020 Summer Food Service, which will take place from June 8-25 at 13 campuses to coincide with the dates of the district’s S2TAY@Home virtual summer school.

Officials say that, although the Summer Food Service Program ends June 25, Ysleta ISD plans to continue offering the Grab & Go meal service because it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve school meals into July, officials said.

On Thursdays, children will receive an extra breakfast and lunch meal for Friday.

Summer “Grab & Go” meals will be distributed on a drive-through basis from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday for children under 18 at the following 13 sites:

Hacienda Heights Elementary School, 7530 Acapulco Drive, 79915
REL Washington International School, 3505 Lee Trevino Drive, 79936
Desertaire Elementary School 6301 Tiger Eye Drive, 79924
Constance Hulbert Elementary School, 7755 Franklin Drive, 79915
Bel Air Middle School, 7909 Ranchland Drive, 79915
Del Valle Middle School, 8674 North Loop Drive, 79907
Eastwood Middle School, 2612 Chaswood Drive, 79935
Del Valle High School, 950 Bordeaux Drive, 79907
Eastwood High School, 2430 McRae Blvd., 79925
Hanks High School, 2001 Lee Trevino Drive, 79936
Parkland High School, 5932 Quail Lane, 79924
Riverside High School, 301 Midway Drive, 79915
Ysleta High School HS, 8600 Alameda Drive, 79907

Children do not need to be inside the vehicle to receive meals. However, drivers MUST provide one of the following items to receive school meals for children who are not present:

  • Official letter/email/electronic school application from school that lists child(ren) enrolled;
  • Individual student report card(s);
  • Attendance record from YISD Home Access Center, printed or electronic, that includes names of child(ren);
  • Birth certificate for child(ren) not in school; or
  • Student ID card(s)

Families that previously provided this documentation were issued a Windshield Card as part of the Grab & Go program; they may continue to use the Windshield Card to pick up school meals during the Summer Food Service program.

Ysleta ISD honors 2020-21 Support Employee of the Year

In a special online announcement Thursday, Ysleta Independent School District officials named, Kathleen Gaytan from Pasodale Elementary School the 2020-2021 Support Employee of the Year.

Immediately following the 6 p.m. announcement on Facebook live and the district’s YouTube channel, Gaytan was surprised at her home by her principal, David Medina, and colleagues bearing congratulatory signs and flowers, as well as a parade of vehicles with well-wishers and co-workers honking their car horns in support.

Gaytan, who has worked for the district for four years, is an attendance clerk at Pasodale Elementary School. She routinely goes above and beyond in her duties, including organizing talent shows and helping make decorations and photo backdrops for special school events. In addition to her job duties, she is also resourceful in helping coordinate fundraisers, which have helped pay for school items like student T-shirts and entertainment for school events.

In particular, Gaytan helped organize the sixth-grade lunch banquet and graduation last year at Pasodale Elementary School, raising enough money for robots on stilts, a candy table, centerpieces, and a special slideshow during the event. She also organized a Movie Club every month for students with perfect attendance and no tardies, as well as a pizza party every nine weeks for the class with the best attendance in their grade level.

If asked, Gaytan said her co-workers would cite her positive attitude and contagious smile as her best attributes.

“I work very well with others and have patience,” Gaytan said. “If we do not agree on something, we brainstorm to come up with the best solution.”

Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were: Neri Quiz de Gonzalez (Hacienda Heights ES); Kristin Pacheco (Ysleta Pre-K Center); Javier A. Zaragoza (Del Valle HS); and Rita Althoff (Hanks HS).

Ysleta ISD kicks off registration for virtual summer school

Officials with the Ysleta Independent School District announced the start of online registration for the new virtual summer school program.

The new Summer School via Technology Across Ysleta – dubbed S2TAY@Home – is open to all Ysleta ISD students and slated to start Monday, June 8.

“While the innovative approach to instruction in the S2TAY@Home program works best in a virtual/online setting, Ysleta ISD has created both low-technology and high-technology options to fit the needs of all of its families,” district officials shared. “The program will offer new and innovative approaches to instruction for students in pre-K through high school.”

In addition, the instructional programs and resources available through YISD’s current virtual learning platform, THEDISTRICT@Home, will continue to be available to all students throughout the summer.

“This summer program is simply another way Ysleta ISD aims to deliver excellence and provide engaging instruction throughout the year,” YISD officials added.

For a full catalog of available S2TAY@Home courses or to register students for the summer program, parents should visit their child’s home campus website, or the S2TAY@Home webpage for more information.

Registration for the S2TAY@Home program runs from May 12-22.

Video+Story: Ysleta ISD reveals 2020-2021 Teachers of the Year

Constance Hulbert Elementary School teacher Maria Armendariz and Hanks High School teacher Yvette Gonzalez were surprised at their homes Thursday evening by their principals and colleagues with the announcement that they were named YISD’s top 2020-2021 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year.

Armendariz, a physical education teacher at Constance Hulbert Elementary School, has enjoyed a 31-year career in education, teaching at several Ysleta ISD campuses and the children’s program at El Paso Community College. She has coached a variety of sports over the years at local middle and high school campuses, including volleyball, basketball, softball, and tennis. She also spends much of her summers leading local youth fitness and sports camps.

She was inspired to become an educator by two teachers from her youth, who taught Armendariz about organization, respect, making learning fun, and the true meaning of sportsmanship – qualities that she hopes to inspire in others with her teaching.

“My personal passion is being a mentor, encouraging and motivating colleagues in the teaching profession,” Armendariz said, adding that her students would describe her as a caring teacher who always encourages them to “be good to everyone.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from UTEP.

Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Amber Rae Bishop (Mission Valley ES), Lauren Catlett (Del Norte Heights ES), Vanessa Gomez (North Star ES), and Michael Hernandez (North Loop ES).

Gonzalez, a family and consumer science teacher at Hanks High School, is a 10-year teaching veteran who also dedicated 11 years of her life working in the high-fashion industry, where she says she never truly felt she had a purpose.

“At that point, my family of educators – specifically my brother – fostered within me a desire to pursue my true calling: Education,” said Gonzalez, who holds a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University.

“I do my best to provide a safe classroom environment that not only allows students to learn, but gives them the structure they might not otherwise have,” Gonzalez added. “I truly believe my students would tell you that I teach them to learn from their mistakes, and I push them to be the best version of themselves.”

Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were Melissa Bradley (Ysleta MS); Carina Lujan (Parkland MS); Veronica Garcia (Del Valle MS), and Michelle Vidalez (Young Women’s Leadership Academy).

Armendariz and Gonzalez will now go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year competition for Region 19.

A list of all 2020-2021 YISD campus Teachers of the Year can be found on the district’s main website at www.yisd.net

Hanks High School teacher Yvette Gonzalez (lf) and Constance Hulbert Elementary School teacher Maria Armendariz (rt)

Valle Verde, Eastwood earn top rankings in city on ‘Best High Schools’ list

Valle Verde Early College High School and Eastwood High School are the city’s top-ranked public high schools, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools list.

“We have set up a successful blueprint and instructional framework that works, thanks to the persistence, dedication, and commitment of our teachers within the four corners of the classroom,” said Dr. Xavier De La Torre, Superintendent of Schools at Ysleta ISD.

Additionally, Ysleta ISD claimed four spots on the top 10 list of the city’s highest-ranked, comprehensive public high schools.

“The 2020 rankings show Ysleta ISD high schools surpass the city’s other public high schools when it comes to preparing students to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills, as well as readiness for college-level work,” YISD officials shared.

Ranked 70th in Texas and 453rd in the nation, Valle Verde ECHS easily outscored other early college high schools within the city. Valle Verde has won numerous recognitions in recent years, including being named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School, 2019 Texas Honor Roll School, 2019 AVID Site of Distinction, and 2019-2022 Apple Distinguished School.

Among the city’s comprehensive public high schools, four YISD campuses ranked in the top 10:

Eastwood (#1 in city, #297 in Texas, and #3,587 in the nation)

Del Valle (#2, #300, and #3,609)

Bel Air (#4, #321, and #3,820)

Hanks (#7, #359, and #4,311)

This means 62% of Ysleta ISD high schools (Valle Verde, Eastwood, Del Valle, Bel Air, and Hanks) are ranked among the top 400 in Texas, far surpassing El Paso ISD high schools (33%) and Socorro ISD high schools (43%).

The 2020 Best High Schools list ranked 17,790 U.S. high schools. The goal is to provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills, as well as readiness for college-level work, according to the publication.

Every spring, U.S. News & World Report releases its Best High Schools list, which numerically ranks high schools nationally and within each state based on six areas:

College Readiness (30%)
Math & Reading Proficiency (20%)
Math & Reading Performance (20%)
Underserved Student Performance (10%)
College Curriculum Breadth (10%)
Graduation Rate (10%)

For more information on the rankings, click here.

Eastwood High principal announces retirement

After a lengthy career in public education in the El Paso area, Eastwood High School Principal David Boatright announced Wednesday he will retire at the end of June after 22 years of service at the Ysleta Independent School District.

“Retirement to me is not what I am retiring from, but what I am retiring to,” said Boatright, who has served the last three years as Eastwood High School principal. “I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work in the Ysleta Independent School District for most of my professional career.”

YISD officials say Boatright’s outstanding and thoughtful leadership in the Eastwood Learning Community made him a “highly respected and trusted figure among students, parents, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members.”

Thanks to his vast experience with Trooper traditions and knowledge of secondary curriculum, Boatright and his administrative team successfully navigated an extensive two-year, $93 million renovation of Eastwood High School that saw a reconstruction of nearly 90% of the campus.

The bond-funded renovation was completed earlier this school year, marked by a festive campus celebration that featured past principals, noted alumni, and student-led tours of the school’s impressive, state-of-the-art academic, athletic, and fine arts facilities.

The celebration also featured a special nod to the Troopers of the Class of 2020, who spent nearly two years in portable classes during the reconstruction.

The remarkable Class of 2020 now serves as Boatright’s final graduating class, during an extraordinary spring semester marked by school closures and stay-home orders due to COVID-19.

Boatright’s career in education began in 1991 as a P.E. teacher at Irvin High School, where he remained for two years before moving to Eastwood High School in 1993 to coach and teach social studies.

In 2007, he became an assistant principal at Montwood High School, then returned to Ysleta ISD in 2012.

During his 29 years in public education, Boatright spent 21 years in the Eastwood Learning Community, serving as a world history teacher, world geography teacher, wrestling coach, Eastwood High School assistant principal, and Eastwood Middle School principal before assuming leadership of Eastwood High School in 2017.

“Thank you, Eastwood High School, for the friendships and lessons learned,” Boatright added, in his typical jovial and lighthearted manner. “I salute you!”

VIDEO+Story – YISD: Students won’t return to class this year, Virtual Summer School planned

Due to the city’s recent extension of the Stay Home emergency order, students in the Ysleta Independent School District will not physically return to classrooms for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, and the final day of virtual learning instruction has been set for mid-May, officials announced Wednesday.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre said the official last day of instruction for 2019-20 for students with passing grades is Friday, May 15. Students with an “incomplete” in their lessons will have until Friday, May 22, to complete their instruction.

As a result, teachers and administrators will have additional time – from May 18 to June 5 – to complete end-of-the-year tasks, such as submitting final grades, determining grade-point averages (GPA) and class ranks, and packing up classrooms. During these three weeks, leadership will also consider possible Class of 2020 commencement exercises, and plan the launch of a Virtual Summer School.

“By doing this, we will relieve some of the burden for our teachers,” Dr. De La Torre said. “Our high school principals can also plan for what commencement may look like this year – without committing to a time or date or location – in the event these ceremonies will be allowed to take place.

“The school closures and stay-at-home orders in effect these past several weeks have been a sobering experience for people everywhere, to say the least,” Dr. De La Torre added. “Providing this extra time for our teachers, principals, and instructional leaders will not only aid them to smoothly close out this uncommon end to the school year, but to examine the public school system through a different lens and prepare for instruction this summer and fall.”

In a letter to Dr. De La Torre and the Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees, Ysleta Teachers Association (YTA) President Arlinda Valencia commended the commitment, loyalty, and dedication shown to all students, staff, faculty, and the community during The District’s closure, which began March 23 after a weeklong Spring Break.

“The fact that employees are being paid without needing to take sick, personal, or family/medical leave shows the great commitment to everyone associated with the Ysleta District,” Valencia said, adding that she is in support of ending the school year early.

“In a school setting, social distancing is unattainable. While other businesses may be able to function, education cannot,” she added.

“Keeping children and employees safe at home should be the main priority. We look forward to returning to normal operating procedures when this crisis ends, but until then, we thank Superintendent De La Torre and the Board for making this experience as easy as possible.”

More details on Ysleta ISD’s Virtual Summer School will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, district officials said. In addition, students will be allowed to keep their district-assigned digital devices over the summer to use for instructional purposes and continue their learning online; however, arrangements will be made to pick up devices from high-school seniors.

For any questions or concerns, students and parents are encouraged to click on the “Ask The District” tab located on the bottom right corner at www.yisd.net while the school closures remain in effect.

East Point ES robotics team wins the Superintendent’s Cup at VEX IQ competition

East Point Elementary School robotics team won the Excellence Award, also known as the Superintendent’s Cup Award, at the YISD Superintendent’s Cup VEX IQ competition held last month.

The team, under the direction of Susana Medina, was one of 5o-plus teams participating in the competition.

In addition, they came in 2nd place for Robotic Skills and 2nd place for the Teamwork Challenge.

The Superintendent’s Cup is a robotics competition among all the elementary schools in Ysleta ISD. In years past, the competition consisted of different challenges.

This is the first year that the Superintendent’s Cup consisted exclusively of VEX IQ robotic challenges.

The VEX IQ Challenge Squared Away is played on a 4’x 8’ rectangular field where two robots compete in the Teamwork Challenge as an alliance in 60-second long teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points.

Teams also compete in the Robot Skills Challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible. These matches consist of Driving Skills Matches, which is entirely driver-controlled, and Programming Skills Matches, which is autonomous with limited human interaction.

The competition was held February 22nd, and the win qualified them to compete in the Texas Region 1 VEX IQ State Championship held on March 7.

Photo courtesy YISD

Ysleta ISD names 2020-21 campus teachers, support employees of the year

On Monday afternoon, officials with Ysleta ISD announced the 2020 – 2021 Campus Teachers and Support Employees of the Year.

“These dedicated teachers and support staff were selected by their campuses to represent the hard work and a determination to help all children succeed,” YISD officials shared.  “They are honored for outstanding leadership, excellence, and inspiration to students, their colleagues and the community.”

The campus Teachers of the Year will be honored at a reception on March 4 where the top ten teachers will be announced. The finalists will undergo another round of interviews to compete for the top spot as Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Ten finalists for Support Employee of the Year finalists will be announced at a later date. Five finalists will be named and the Ysleta ISD Support Employee of the Year will be announced at the gala in May.

All employees will be honored at the 2020-2021 Teacher and Support Employee of the Year Gala on Friday, May 1, 2020 at the Centennial Conference Center and Banquet Hall on Ft. Bliss.

The program will begin at 7 pm. Tickets will go on sale on March 9 for $30 per person. For ticket information, call 434-0690.

The 2020-2021 Teachers and Support Employees of the Year are:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS  
Campus                 Teacher of the Year Support Employee of the Year                
Alicia R. Chacon Int’l Jesus Quintero Yvonne Munoz
Ascarate ES Antonia Esquivel Mayela Garcia
Capistrano ES Sandy Siqueiros Maria Martinez
Cedar Grove ES Hilda Casas Joshua Medina
Constance Hulbert ES Maria Armendariz Luis A. Acosta
Del Norte Heights ES Lauren Catlett Ashley Montes
Del Valle ES Vanessa Garcia Gustavo Gonzalez
Desertaire ES Lucy Gurrola Cecilia Montes De Ortiz
Dolphin Terrace ES Lourdes Ortiz Edna M. Enriquez
East Point ES Gabriela Graham Shannon A. Adams
Eastwood Heights ES Frances Mendez Graciela Gonzalez
Eastwood Knolls Int’l Daniella Monsivais Cody P. Johnson
Edgemere ES Michelle Gamboa Sylvia Ozaeta Moreno
Glen Cove ES Gloria Lopez Prescilla Kinstler
Hacienda Heights ES Travis Balandran Neri Quiz de Gonzalez
Lancaster ES Kimberly Quintana Elbert W. Baird
LeBarron Park ES Jennifer Aguilera Grecia I. Picazo
Loma Terrace ES Margaret Marquez Georgina Rodriguez
Marian Manor ES Yamel Iborguen Evelyn C. Araujo
Mesa Vista ES Natalie Casarez Nancy V. Valenzuela
Mission Valley ES Amber Bishop Maribel Mendoza
North Loop ES Michael Hernandez Teresa Torres
North Star ES Vanessa Gomez Jose R. Lopez
Parkland ES Alyce Acosta Yaribeth F. Ayala
Parkland Pre-K Analy Gomez Edna Aguinaga
Pasodale ES Melissa Comas Kathleen Gaytan
Pebble Hills ES Elizabeth Hernandez Daniel Cardona
Presa ES Simon Valdez Angelica E. Gil
Ramona ES Vivian Ochoa Silvia Gamboa
REL Washington ES Christina Razura Velma G. Olivas
Sageland ES Vanessa Armenta Marilyn E. Ortiz
Scotsdale ES Michelle Valdez Araceli Garcia
South Loop ES Irais Chavez Aida M. Molinar
Thomas Manor ES Letty Pele Luz E. Pillado
Tierra Del Sol ES Luis Ramos Jessica Melendez
Vista Hills ES Irene Villasenor Virginia Sepulveda
Ysleta ES Cesar Soto Humberto Orozco
Ysleta Pre-K Patrice Bedell Kristin J. Pacheco

 

SECONDARY SCHOOLS  
Campus Teacher of the Year Support Employee of the Year                
Bel Air MS Alejandro Vasquez Jr. Margarita H. Alba
Del Valle MS Veronica Garcia Covina Aguilar
Desert View MS Javier Aguinaga Oscar R. Nieto
Eastwood MS Jessica Medrano Veronica Beltran de Pardo
Indian Ridge MS Vanessa Contreras-Garcia Diana M. Escobedo
Parkland MS Carina Lujan Gloria G. Widas
Rio Bravo MS Melissa Castillo Lorenzo Soto
Riverside MS Dora Valero Jorge R. Luna
Young Women’s Leadership Michelle Vidalez Tammy E. Silva
Ysleta MS Melissa Bradley Myrna Enciso
Bel Air HS Hugo Rucobo Diana Y. Rivera
Cesar Chavez Academy Emmanuel Lopez Ernesto Portillo
Del Valle HS Richard Sanchez Javier A. Zaragoza
Eastwood HS Christian Carrasco Alejandro Almeralla
J. M. Hanks HS Yvette Gonzalez Rita A. Althoff
Parkland HS Nancy Vanley Naomi Castro
Plato Academy Dr. Marisela Pineda Maria A. Hermosillo
Riverside HS Sergio Ramierz Manuelita D. Yanez
Tejas School of Choice Guadalupe Valles Jorge A. Chavez
Valle Verde ECHS Catherine Diaz Hector Arellano
Ysleta HS Adria Hernandez Rodriguez Laura Avalos
YCLC NA Ana M. Ortega
     
Central Office NA Alejandra Gonzalez
Central Services NA Blanca A. Robles

Ysleta ISD dominates at wrestling, mariachi state championships

Ysleta Independent School District students dominated their peers at state competitions this past weekend, with Eastwood High School winning the UIL 5A state championship in girls wrestling while several musicians were named outstanding performers at the 2020 State Mariachi Festival.

The 2020 UIL Wrestling State Championships took place in Cypress, with YISD taking the top two spots in girls wrestling for the first time in recent history in the El Paso area.

Eastwood High School girls wrestlers took the 5A state championship while Hanks High School – which went into the contest as the six-time defending state champion – came in second.

In addition, 10 YISD wrestlers from Eastwood, Hanks, and Parkland high schools won individual gold, silver, or bronze medals in boys and girls wrestling at the state championships.

They include gold medalists Sarah Martinez (Eastwood), Angelina Prado (Eastwood), and Zoe Hankins (Parkland); silver medalists Kylie Robledo (Hanks), Victoria Nunez (Hanks), Angelina Baltazar (Hanks), Alexis Montes (Eastwood), and Aaron Hernandez (Eastwood); and bronze medalists Victoria Hinojo (Hanks) and Trevor Moreno (Eastwood).

At the UIL State Mariachi Festival, mariachi groups from both Del Valle and Hanks high schools received a Division II rating, with seven students from Del Valle High School being named Outstanding Performers.

Those Outstanding Performers were Isabel Torres (violin), Nathaniel Anguiano (trumpet), Juan Garcia (trumpet), Joseph Jasso (trumpet), Rudy Garcia (trumpet), Javier Sotclo (trumpet), and Sama Pacheco (vocalist) .

Scotsdale Elementary student duo honored by YISD Board

The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees recently honored two students from Scotsdale Elementary School with the President’s Award for their work in school and for the community.

“Arturo Moreno and Neveah Perez demonstrated great leadership and service among their peers with their compassionate commitment to help others in need in the El Paso community,” YISD officials shared. “Arturo and Neveah not only embody YISD values, but they routinely put those values into action for the betterment of others. They are wonderful examples of the hard work, kindness, and service excellence we highlight at The District.”

As president and vice president of the school’s Student Council, Arturo and Neveah are constantly looking for needs in the community so they can lend a helping hand.

During the 2019 holiday season, they organized a blanket drive for the El Paso Women’s Shelter. Flyers were sent home with each Scotsdale student, with the goal of collecting 100 blankets — but over the course of 10 days, they doubled their goal by collecting nearly 200 blankets for shelter residents!

This was one of several initiatives that Arturo and Neveah have led this school year as part of the Scotsdale Elementary School Student Council.

They held a Breast Cancer Awareness coin fundraiser that raised nearly $900 for the American Cancer Society, and they are currently collecting toothpaste and toothbrushes to be donated to the Salvation Army.

The President’s Award is given by the President of the Board of Trustees to a YISD student who has demonstrated exceptional and/or innovative, out-of-the-ordinary service to others, particularly those within the YISD community.

Eligible YISD students must be nominated for the award by a school principal, assistant principal, or Trustee; and must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

YISD Superintendent surprises Eastwood Senior with National Merit Scholar Award announcement

Sarunas Budreckis, a senior at Eastwood High School, was surprised in class Wednesday morning by Ysleta ISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre, who announced that Sarunas is a finalist a 2020 National Merit Scholarship for outstanding academics and leadership.

Sarunas is among about 14,000 students nationwide to be named a 2020 National Merit Scholarship finalist, which offers more than $31 million in college- and corporate-funded scholarships.

Sarunas first qualified for the National Merit program in 2018, when he earned one of the country’s highest scores on the PSAT taken by more than 1.5 million high-school juniors.

Over the last few years, Eastwood High School officials say Sarunas has had an impressive impact on the school. He established a new Programming and Game Design Club, where he teaches students to code and design games.

The group has won state- and national-level competitions with more than 30 members, and is now working on an Eastwood-based mobile game, with overwhelming support from fellow students and teachers.

National Merit Scholar Sarunas Budreckis | Photo by YISD

Sarunas is also the president of Speech & Debate; president of the Math Club; head coder in Robotics, where he wrote code to represent Eastwood in the VEX Robotics World Championships; and a member of Future Business Leaders of America, Science Bowl, High-Q, National Honor Society, and varsity Orchestra.

Outside of school, Sarunas plays violin in the El Paso Youth Symphony, regularly performing at the Plaza and Abraham Chavez Theatre. He is also the Cadet Commander of the El Paso Squadron in the Civil Air Patrol, where he organizes and oversees its activities, including large community service projects like Wreaths Across America, and has amassed more than 500 community service hours in his high-school career.

Last year, Sarunas was a NASA High School Aerospace Scholar, which allowed him to complete design challenges, technology writings. and monthly webinars with NASA scientists and engineers.

Because Sarunas was among the program’s highest-achievers, he was invited to NASA for a weeklong camp at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

National Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference

Three types of National Merit Scholarships are being offered this spring. Officials say 2,500 National Merit scholarships will be awarded on a state-representational basis; about 1,000 Merit Scholarships will be provided by corporations and business organizations; and about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 Merit Scholarships for students who subsequently attend those institutions.

***For the record…

An earlier version of this story had Eastwood High School senior Sarunas Budreckis being awarded a National Merit Scholarship.  District officials released that he is a finalist only at this point, not a scholarship awardee as they had previously announced. The 2020 National Merit Scholars are set to be announced later this year.   

We apologize for the error.

YISD’s East Point, LeBarron Park robotics teams headed to UTEP for State competition

East Point and LeBarron Park elementary schools are headed to the VEX IQ state competition at UTEP on March 7.

East Point’s ‘N.A.K.’ and LeBarron Park’s ‘ThunderBots’ both qualified for state at the YISD VEX IQ Robotic Tournament, held back on January 25.

‘N.A.K.’, coached by Susana Medina, won the Robot Skills Championship and the Excellence Award.   The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition.

“This award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality VEX Robotics program,” YISD officials shared.

As for the ‘ThunderBots,’ they earned first place in the Teamwork Competition and also won an award for the best robot design previous competition.

The upcoming VEX IQ state competition at UTEP will be another challenge for all qualified teams.

VEX IQ Challenge Squared Away is played on a 4’x 8’ rectangular field where two robots compete in the Teamwork Challenge as an alliance in 60-second long teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points.

Teams also compete in the Robot Skills Challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible. These matches consist of Driving Skills Matches, which is entirely driver-controlled, and Programming Skills Matches, which is autonomous with limited human interaction.

Ysleta ISD officials add that these teams are just two of many campuses within the district that have qualified for the state tournament.

YISD Board honors six Ysleta Elementary School students at meeting

The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees honored six students from Ysleta Elementary School with the President’s Award at the January Board of Trustees meeting.

The students are called the “Genius Hour Students,” for participating in their school’s blended-learning pilot program that also raised money for cancer research.

The six Genius Hour Students are Adelaide Carbone, Montserrat Flores, Valerie Lopez, Devin Promesse, Victoria Najera, and Emiliano Zuniga.

These students used their passion for academics, soccer, and community service to organize a benefit soccer game with El Paso Locomotive to raise money for cancer research.

“The students researched, created posters, designed T-shirts, interviewed doctors, and created a slide presentation for their project, which they presented to the school’s blended-learning teachers and administrators,” YISD officials shared.  “The goal was to demonstrate what any student might be capable of, given the right tools, opportunity, and support!”

District officials say the group’s community service didn’t stop there.

“The Genius Hour Students also spearheaded a campuswide campaign to write Christmas letters and collect teddy bears for cancer patients at local hospitals, which they called the Care Bear Project. These students are wonderful leaders who not only work toward achieving their full potential, but pave the way for other students to do so as well,” YISD officials added.

The President’s Award is given by the President of the Board of Trustees to a YISD student who has demonstrated exceptional and/or innovative, out-of-the-ordinary service to others, particularly those within the YISD community.

Eligible YISD students must be nominated for the award by a school principal, assistant principal, or Trustee; and must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

EPCC, YISD open Career Center at Riverside Pathways in Technology Early College High School

Tuesday morning, officials with El Paso Community College (EPCC) in partnership with the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) held a grand opening for their new automotive-centered tech center.

EPCC President, Dr. William Serrata welcomed YISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier de la Torre and students from YISD High Schools to the Career Center at Riverside Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) at the Valle Verde Transportation Training Center.

Officials share that the Career Center at Riverside P-TECH is a collaboration focused on career and technical education. 

“The P-TECH experience that has been established by the Ysleta Independent School District and EPCC is designed to have strong academic and career-orientated results which will benefit both students and our workforce.” Dr. William Serrata said.

According to school officials, P-TECH offers studies in the areas of Automotive Technology, Diesel Technology and Computer-Aided Design.

“Students can couple their high school experience with their experience at a community college and make a solid living wage, contribute to our economy and contribute to their own quality of life,” Dr. Xavier De La Torre said.

P-TECH provides an opportunity for high school students to earn a high school diploma and an associate of applied science degree, a post-secondary certificate or industry certification and work-based training through internships.

As a result of the P-TECH experience, students will become skilled employees that will excel in today’s global economy.

L-R Dr. Armando Aguirre, Dr. William Serrata, Dr. Xavier de la Torre, Mr. Carlos Bustillos
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