harlandale insider week of Oct. 29

Rayburn Elementary hosts powerful anti-bullying rally

In light of National Bullying Prevention Month, Rayburn Elementary hosted an anti-bullying rally on Oct. 31.

Students received a powerful anti-bullying message from SA Bully Free Campaign Founder Epi Quiroga, who started the campaign in honor of his late brother, Robert “Pikin” Quiroga, San Antonio’s first world champion boxer.

Quiroga shared that a bully, who acted out of hate and jealousy, tragically ended his brother’s life when he was just 34 years old. His mission today is to share his brother’s story and inspire young students to be the change.

“We want to change behaviors, and the opposite of hate is love,” Quiroga said. “We have to share this with our kids – love, compassion and kindness is the key to our community’s success.”

The kids recited an anti-bullying pledge and received an anti-bullying dog tag as a reminder to always “be nice” and avoid any bullying behavior.

“The presentation was powerful, and the kids related to the emotions behind it,” Rayburn Elementary Principal Faith Molina said. “The most powerful emotion is love, so if we can convince our children to convey that regularly, then we can come together as a community and change the world.”

The campus also received anti-bullying signs and a bully-free flag to continue to educate children and help prevent bullying in our community.

Way to go, Rayburn Elementary!

Harlandale ISD students present at Project Lead the Way Summit

Harlandale ISD students present at Project Lead the Way Summit

Gillette Elementary fifth grade students Jenna Clark and Antonio Ruiz presented at the National Project Lead the Way Summit held at the San Antonio JW Marriott Hill Country on Oct. 29.

Project Lead the Way is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for students and teachers across the country. The organization creates an engaging, hands-on classroom environment and empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills. Through Project Lead the Way, teachers receive resources and the support they need to engage students in real-world learning.

As GT students, Jenna and Antonio have been a part of Project Lead the Way since first grade.

During their presentation, Jenna and Antonio talked about their experience with the organization and how it has helped them gain knowledge and skills in the last five years.

Antonio gave his full presentation in Spanish, which led into Project Lead the Way President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram announcing that Project Lead the Way programs will be offered in Spanish starting next fall.

Prior to the presentation, Jenna and Antonio sat down with Dr. Bertram for an hour. Dr. Bertram spoke to the students about the importance of developing their skills and staying curious. To conclude their meeting, Dr. Bertram gifted the students a 3D printing pen and his New York Times Bestseller book, “Dream Differently.”

Both students were thankful and excited about the opportunity to meet Dr. Bertram and to present at the summit. They thanked Harlandale ISD GT Coordinator Anthony Khosravi and GT Facilitator Sonia Cuellar for their support.

Project Lead the Way also stopped by Bellaire Elementary, Harlandale Middle School and STEM Early College High School to tour the campuses and to see how Harlandale ISD is implementing Project Lead the Way programs.

Harlandale High School celebrates Day of the Dead

Harlandale High School celebrates Day of the Dead

Harlandale High School ESL students created a colorful altar this week to celebrate the lives of their loved ones who have passed in honor of “El Día de los Muertos.”

The traditional Mexican holiday, also known as Day of the Dead, originated centuries ago, and it is still widely celebrated to this day.

The ESL students decided to create the altar to bring a piece of their culture to the campus and to remember their relatives and friends, as well as other famous people who have inspired them.

HHS sophomore Juan Sanchez created an “ofrenda” for his cousin who passed away a few months ago.

“I wanted to honor his memory and say goodbye because I didn’t get a chance to before,” he said.

The altar is tall and captures the attention of students passing by as it is adorned with creative and colorful pieces such as drawings, letters, special messages and photographs.

“All of the items were made by our students, so to see the kinds of ideas and projects that they brought to the altar is amazing,” Harlandale HS ESL Teacher Gisela Cancela-Alvarado said. “They took every effort to make the altar look beautiful and respectful, and it gives me a good idea about how much their loved ones meant to them.”

The school librarian also included a few books related to The Day of the Dead for students and staff to read while they visit the altar and learn more about the popular Mexican tradition.

HISD students advance to Regional Spanish Spelling Bee

HISD students advance to Regional Spanish Spelling Bee

Harlandale ISD hosted the fifth annual Spanish Spelling Bee for elementary, middle school and high school student on Oct. 27.

First, second and third place winners from individual campus Spanish Spelling Bee competitions qualified to participate.

After several rounds of spelling out words like adquisición, azabache and cetáceo, the top spellers prevailed.

Congratulations to the winners!

This year’s top finishers are:


1st- Gael Ponce, Collier Elementary

2nd- Arely Rodriguez, Morrill Elementary

3rd – Sofia America Morin, Schulze Elementary

Middle School

1st- Marlene Baez, Leal Middle School

2nd- Valeria Araujo, Harlandale Middle School

3rd – Andrew Alonso, Leal Middle School

High School

1st – Isaac Arriaga, McCollum High School

2nd – Samuel Gurrola Godina, McCollum High School

3rd – Ailyn Aguirre, STEM Early College HS

All first place winners will advance to the Regional Spanish Spelling Bee Education Service Center Region 20 on Feb. 2, 2019.

MHS football players show appreciation to mothers

MHS football players show appreciation to mothers

The McCollum HS football team celebrated its first annual Cowboys and Ladies Mother/Son Dinner on Nov. 1.

The banquet style celebration was held in the MHS cafeteria, where the tables were beautifully decorated with flowers and balloons. Mothers walked in beaming with joy as their sons escorted them to their seats for the evening, where they were served a delicious meal catered by Longhorn Steakhouse.

To show the importance of family in this program, not only did the young football players bring their mothers, but the coaches did as well.

Head Football Coach Matthew Uzzell created this dinner celebration to show appreciation for all of the sacrifices that a mother or surrogate mother makes for the young men in this program, whether they are their biggest cheerleaders, Uber drivers, personal chefs or nurses.

“We want to raise young men to be great husbands, fathers, sons and contributors to society and those characteristics begin at home,” Uzzell said. “We want to take the time to foster those environments so that our family becomes stronger.”

The family atmosphere for the team started at the beginning of the year when they hosted the Father/Son Helmet Branding Ceremony, so they felt it was right to host a ceremony for the mothers as well.

“I believe that holding events like this show the importance of sacrifice and unconditional love which are vital to becoming a great teammate and person,” Uzzell said. “This event, along with others that we have, and will continue to celebrate, showcase examples of great leadership, teamwork and ultimately the love we are striving for.”

STEM ECHS students create Día de los Muertos altar

STEM ECHS students create Día de los Muertos altar

For the second year in a row, STEM Early College High School is celebrating the lives of those who have passed.

Spanish students Benjamin Mora, Ariel Rodela, Aleksandr Strelnikov and Alexander Rodriguez decided to build a memorial altar in honor of the Mexican holiday “Día de los Muertos,” celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2.

Working together, the students built a three-layered altar to celebrate their loved ones with photographs, food, drinks and decorations to remember what they enjoyed in life.

“The students worked really hard, totally student-led, and they did a great job,” STEM ECHS Spanish Teacher Mary Zenk said. “One class did the marigolds, another did the papel picado and the other did the sugar skulls. They were very organized and did a fantastic job.”

The students placed the altar in the entrance of the school to encourage students and staff to participate in the project as well.

As the students designed altar boxes and sugar skulls, they said they were glad to have a reason to focus on the history and tradition of the holiday.

“It’s been a nice experience,” Ariel said. “It just really opened up our eyes to the traditions that are part of our heritage.”

Alexander added, “It really helped me appreciate Mexican culture as to why they do this and what it represents, which is to celebrate the lives of our passed loved ones.”

Way to go, students!

Lady Braves cap perfect season with volleyball championship

Lady Braves cap perfect season with volleyball championship

The Harlandale Middle School Volleyball eighth grade A Team finished the season with a perfect record 13-0 and captured the Conference Championship on Oct. 27.

This is a special win for the team because it proved that their hard work and extra hours at the gym paid off.

“The girls worked so hard over these nine weeks, and they pretty much showed it when they left it out on the court this past Saturday,” Coach Lilly Rost said. “I am very proud of these girls. They really wanted to win, so it’s been a very rewarding experience for them.”

Way to go, Lady Braves!

Leal MS volleyball team wins conference championship

Leal MS volleyball team wins conference championship

The Leal Middle School Volleyball seventh grade A Team earned first place in their zone and won the Big 17 Conference Championship on Oct. 27.

“We had a great season! The girls set a goal for themselves at the beginning of the year and worked hard every single day to make sure they met that goal,” Leal MS Volleyball Coach Donicia Rodriguez said. “They were very deserving of this championship, and we are all very proud of them.”

Way to go, Lady Apaches!

Lady Trojans earn volleyball title

Lady Trojans earn volleyball title

The seventh and eighth grade Lady Trojan Volleyball B Teams won the Big 17 Conference Championship last Saturday. Both teams were awesome this year and ended the season with nine wins and zero losses.

Coaches Heather Morgan (eighth grade) and Ester Ramirez (seventh grade) are so proud of the girls!

“This is not an easy feat!” Coach Ramirez said. “They worked hard all season and were true teammates. You start the season working to be the best and when it happens, there is no greater feeling. They are true winners!”

Coach Morgan added, “I’m very proud of the girls for all the effort they put in this season, they worked really hard and it paid off.”

Congratulations, Lady Trojans!

Stonewall Flanders hosts luncheon for first responders

Stonewall Flanders elementary hosts luncheon for first responders

Stonewall Flanders Elementary hosted a First Responders Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 26.

The campus hosts this special event every year to thank all first responders for their help in the community.

Kindergarten through fifth grade students got to spend quality time with the police officers during their lunch periods and also surprised them with special handwritten thank you cards.

Harlandale Highlights

Harlandale highlights

The Harlandale HS volleyball team beat Lockhart 3-1 and advanced to the next round of playoffs! Show your support to the Harlandale Lady Indians as they prepare for their next playoff game against Harlan at South San HS today at 6 p.m. Good luck, Lady Indians!
Harlandale ISD Extended Day Afterschool Programs recently celebrated the 19th Annual Lights On Afterschool event. The nationwide event celebrates afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The goal is to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things. Here at Harlandale ISD we are fortunate enough to offer our families two quality Extended Day Afterschool Programs. The 21st Century ACE Program and the L.E.A.P. Program offer an array of academic enrichment activities such as science, technology, skating, robotics, gardening, dance, college, career, military readiness and much more. Theses activities help expose students to new skills in a safe, productive environment.
Bellaire Elementary showed their school spirit during Red Ribbon Week! Teachers and students went all out dressing up each day of the week according to theme. They rocked crazy hair, sock day (From Head to Toe I'm Drug Free), bright color day (Too Bright for Drugs), wear orange/black day (Drugs Are Scary), pajama day (Your Choices are the Key to your Dreams), and team sport day (We are a TEAM). Way to go, Bellaire!
Gillette Elementary celebrated "Día de los Muertos" on Nov. 1! Students and teachers dressed up and made altars for their loved ones who have passed away. Parents stopped by and enjoyed "pan de muerto" with hot "abuelita" chocolate. Way to go, Gillette Elementary!
Harlandale ISD KSHAC students recently volunteered for the 2018 abilitySTRONG Parade and Annual AccessAbility Fest. The students served as the banner carriers for the Fiesta Especial Royal Court which is a community engagement program of disABILITYsa. Way to go, KSHAC!
The ACE program at Stonewall Flanders recently had the SA Fire Department come and talk to students about fire safety, careers in emergency services and proper times to call for help. The students were able to try on the fireman uniform, see the fire truck and get autographs from the firemen. ACE site coordinator Francine Reyes partnered with her ACE parents to plan this event. This event is a part of our College, Career, & Military Readiness Speaker Series.
Vestal Elementary hosted its very first Trunk-or-Treat event on Oct. 30. Kids not only enjoyed the decorated vehicles, candy and awesome music, but they were also able to walk through a spooky, scary haunted house put on by the school’s creative parent room parents! The campus is already looking forward to next year’s Trunk-or-Treat event. Awesome job, Vestal Eagles!
Wright Elementary students in third, fourth and fifth grades read Halloween stories to students in lower grades as part of Wright’s Buddy Reading Program. The program was started by Wright’s ELAR Committee. Teachers did an awesome job organizing the event and students loved it!
Wright Elementary teachers enjoyed a spooky potato bar during lunch on Halloween! The lounge was filled with tricks and so many yummy treats.
Harlandale Middle School sixth grade ELAR students gathered around a cozy campfire in the library to share their annual Harlandale original "legends" on Oct. 31. School librarian Irma Arocho set up the library to resemble a campsite complete with a tent and "roaring fire." Many of the 300 sixth grade students shared their stories to the delight of their peers. Way to go, Braves!
Gilbert Elementary students and families took to the streets as part of their Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 31. More than 50 students and parents took advantage of the opportunity to get outside and walk to school at the urging of the Gilbert KSHAC. The students wanted to encourage their classmates to be healthy and to enjoy nature at the same time. All walkers were provided with reflectors and pedestrian safety information that was donated by the City of San Antonio’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program. This is the second consecutive year that Gilbert Elementary has participated in the Walk to School Day event. Great job, Mustangs!

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