Friday, May 26, 2017

Volume VIIl, Issue 35

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Good afternoon LISD,

As we observe Memorial Day weekend, I ask that you pause to remember the valiant dead and honor the sacrifices experienced by our soldiers and their families. Our students will have the day off on Monday, while our teachers attend Staff Development. 

On Friday morning, the LISD Board of Trustees hosted the annual Memorial Day Observance in the Memorial Middle School gym. Always a somber event, the ceremony featured the Webb County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard, the Laredo ISD Police Department Color Guard, the Memorial Middle School Band under the baton of Wesley Evans, MMS students Harley Degollado, Brandom Ortega, Noah Rivera, Ilynne Arriaga, Juan Marines, Katrina Haynes, and Isabella Trevino. You could hear a pin drop as the students read the names of all the Laredo soldiers who died from World War I, World War II, Korean to the latest conflict. The keynote address was given by General Alfred Valenzuela, a highly decorated veteran with 33 years in the U.S. Army. Valenzuela published, " No Greater Love: The Lives and Times of Hispanic Soldiers," with all the proceeds going to the families of the 21 Soldiers he buried from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. 

Two LISD facilities were dedicated by our Board of Trustees this week. The J.W. Nixon High School Tennis Courts were named in memory of the late Josephine B. Nixon, while the Concession Stand was named in memory of the late Jose Angel Molina on Monday morning. Family, friends, and classmates of Jose Angel “Mo” Molina gathered to honor his life. Speakers included LISD Board of Trustees Secretary Rick Garza, David Trevino, who reminisced about the late Josephine Nixon. Molina’s parents, Jose Angel and Nadia Molina, and brother, Nicholas spoke about their treasured memories of their son and brother.

The Board of Trustees also dedicated the M.B. Lamar Middle School Cafeteria in memory of the late, Norma Zuniga Benavides, the first woman elected to the LISD Board of Trustees. The Benavides family gathered to honor her life with a welcome by LISD Board Vice President Hector Noyola. In the 1960’s Mrs. Benavides was a Laredo Independent School District/ Laredo Junior College board member where she served as Secretary. During her tenure, many reforms occurred, including the beginning of the LISD school lunch program. She also broke ground as the first woman in Laredo’s history to be elected to a city-wide position. Alejandro Mauricio Benavides, grandson of the honoree, spoke on behalf of the family. 

Four LISD eighth graders were celebrated for their scholastic achievements and recognized as Outstanding Eighth Graders of the Year by the Laredo Police Department and KGNS. Stephanie Ontiveros of Cigarroa Middle, Gael De La O of Christen Middle, Krista V. Lopez of Lamar Middle, and Preston Salazar of Memorial Middle School were selected to represent their respective campuses after submitting an essay on what would be the best way to put an end to bullying.  These four students had previously been selected as 8th Graders of the Month early on this school year.  Congratulations to these hard working students, parents, and nominating educators. 

What an exciting week it has been for several LISD student-athletes who had the unique opportunity to sign their national letter of intent to continue pursuing their academic and athletic career. Cigarroa High School student Catherine Leija will continue her basketball career at Taft Community College, which is located in Taft, California. Nixon High School athlete Joseph Diaz will continue his dream of running cross-country and track at William Penn University, which is located in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Martin High School also has a trio of athletes moving on to the collegiate level. Marlon Amador will run Cross Country at TAMIU. Abril Escamilla will take her talents to Texas A&M Corpus Christi where she will run Cross Country. Kaitlyn Roycroft will continue her basketball career at Otero Junior College, which is located in La Junta, Colorado. Congratulations and best of luck on your future endeavors Catherine, Joseph, Marlon, Abril, and Kaitlyn.

I would like to thank Dr. Martha Villarreal and her wonderful team for the outstanding SoundTown Dance last Friday.  I was honored to be recognized at this event and the students were absolutely amazing.  I especially enjoyed the plaque and poem presented by Christian Terrazas.  Also, Joe Arciniega was an unexpected yet touching surprise.  My deepest gratitude to Ric Cortez, Bobby Lopez, and all of the other talented staff and students from VMT that made this evening so special for me and my colleagues.  Thanks again. 

The search for LISD’s next superintendent continues with a series of community meetings next Tuesday and Wednesday. Community members and staff are invited to articulate the qualities they expect and prefer in the next superintendent. Open this link for complete details. The meetings will be conducted by the search firm that was hired recently by the LISD Board of Trustees.

Enjoy your weekend.

Dr. Marcus Nelson

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ash

“El heroísmo verdadero es notablemente sobrio, no muy dramático. No es el deseo de superar a todos a cualquier costo, pero las ganas de servir a los demás a cualquier costo." – Arthur Ash

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