AHHS Journalism Students Share Lessons Learned
By Patti Pawlik-Perales
Campus life at Alamo Heights High is diverse and interesting. Each of the school’s 1,500 students holds their own unique, personal story. Sharing these stories falls to a group of writers and photographers who collect and capture these moments throughout the course of the year, binding them into the monthly newspaper, The Hoof Print, and annual yearbook, The Olmos, that will eventually become the captured memories of graduates.
AHHS journalism students also had the opportunity to expand their audiences this past year and publish their stories in 78209 Magazine. The students shared their excitement and appreciation for the opportunity, and the lessons they learned along the way.
AHHS senior, Patricia Long shared, “I love writing for my school newspaper, but in particular, learning about and sharing other people’s accomplishments. It’s rewarding to know that I am able to take an individual story and share it with the rest of the school and 78209 communities. Being published in two publications has been an amazing accomplishment for me.”
“I really enjoyed attending the various sporting events and capturing the special moments of players in photographs. Knowing that I was able to catch a special memory for a player was a wonderful feeling. Realizing that the moment was shared in a professional magazine, with a larger audience seeing the success of the moment and the player’s story, made me so proud,” shared senior, Melanie McDaniel.
There are nine Hoof Prints published during the school year from September to May. Students begin every yearbook on the final day of school and it is not completed until the following summer, taking over a year to complete.
“Being involved in the field of journalism is important and beneficial because students learn real world skills such as written and verbal communication, time management, the importance of deadlines and most importantly, they discover talents they never knew they had,” shared teacher and advisor, Kristin Cade. “This is the ultimate prize for me as a teacher. I love being able to watch their success when they write the perfect article or run to me because they are so proud of the perfect photo they have captured. I absolutely love what I do! Being able to share the work of my students with the community via 78209 Magazine has been the icing on the cake for our entire program!”
Photo ID for Students: (Front row, left to right) Maci Coleman, Katherine Holmes, Melanie McDaniel; (back row, left to right) Jordyn Caruso, Patricia Long and Sarah Hawk
AHISD Moves Forward with Character Education Program
Alamo Heights ISD, in conjunction with the Character Education Partnership (CEP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and nonsectarian organization that supports and promotes social, emotional, and ethical development in youth, defines character education as “the deliberate effort by schools, families, and communities to help young people understand, care about, and act upon core ethical values.” The district adopted “The Eight Keys of Excellence,” a character education program that provides consistent language used at each of the five campuses, that is integrated into the curriculum so that character education traits are taught and internalized through classroom activities and outside projects.
Some of the ways you will currently see character education in action at the schools includes:
Howard teachers and staff enfold character education into every aspect of the instructional day; connecting character ed with the school’s discipline efforts, both of which utilize The Eight Keys of Excellence. At the earliest level, Howard students are provided concrete experiences so concepts of character can be internalized. The students are currently focused on the character trait of independence and how important it is as students prepare to transition to first grade and a new campus.
Cambridge students developed the “Kindness Group” in an effort to help ensure peer-to-peer kind actions and words with and toward each other. Counselor Diana Cashion helps guide the students through their mission.
Each grade level at Woodridge Elementary is currently involved in a service-learning project. The students are providing much needed supplies and materials to SNIPSA, Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald House, SA Reads, and Haven for Hope.
AHJS students created the Cyber Seniors. Each week, a small group of students make the trip to the Alamo Heights Health and Rehabilitation Center, spending an hour teaching seniors how to use social media and sharing other online resources. The seniors have even made the trip ‘back-to-school,’ joing the AHJS ‘student teachers’ on their own turf to learn more. Project creator and teacher, Jean O’Brien and her students call the experience, “Amazing!”
AHHS celebrated Chain Reaction Week, April 18-22, kicking it off with “Chalk Talk” featuring positive messages written by students and posted on the walls and walkways of the school, to encourage and inspire their peers. The idea, one kind act encourages another, creating a chain reaction of kindness. Other activities included: students writing and sharing Thank You Notes with peers or teachers to share appreciation for a kind act or positive influence, sharing lunch together on the AHHS practice field, creating a paper chain linked with positive messages from students, and more.
AHISD Issues New Start and End Times for 2016-2017 School Year
All five AHISD campuses will have new start and end times for the 2016-2017 school year because of a new law passed by the 84th Texas Legislature. This new law amends the Texas Education Code that used to require 180 days of instruction and now requires a minimum of 75,600 minutes of instruction/ year. The state law also requires AHISD to be in school for a minimum of seven hours of instruction per school day.
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AHISD administration has worked to make decisions around start and end times that support the needs of our learners through various developmental stages. Input from the community and staff members was taken into consideration before making decisions that impact all campuses. To be in compliance with this state mandate and best meet the needs of learners, start and end times at each campus will be altered as follows:
Howard Early Childhood Center: 7:50 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cambridge and Woodridge Elementary: 8:20 a.m – 3:30 p.m.
Alamo Heights Junior School: 8:45 a.m – 4 p.m.
Alamo Heights High School: 8:45 a.m – 4 p.m.
The later start times at the junior school and high school campuses support the large body of research showing that adolescents need more time for sleep. Research also indicates that younger children perform better earlier in the day. The most significant change will be an increase in minutes at Howard Early Childhood Center. A leadership team at Howard is making plans for the schedule to include time for a new “specials” rotation time during the day to include either music or art instruction. This specials rotation will continue to include physical education “gym class” throughout the week.
Although we were not looking to make these changes to the Howard schedule, this will allow our kindergarten students more time for engaging experiences and enrichment and better align their school start and stop times with the other elementary campuses. Parents will find more information about the exciting updated Howard schedule later this spring.
AHISD Calendar of Events
Night of Reflections
Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine, 5-7 p.m.
The annual Night of Reflections event honors all who have earned special accolades and awards during the academic year. It is a time to reflect on those who give so much of themselves to AHISD students. The event is generously sponsored by Richard and Brooke Peacock and hosted by Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine.
Alamo Heights High School Prom
Witte Museum, 8-11 p.m.
AHISD Board Meeting
Alamo Heights ISD Administrative Offices, 7 p.m.
Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, 4-6 p.m.
Memorial Day Holiday
Schools and offices closed. (Inclement Weather Day)
Laurie Auditorium, Trinity University, 7:30 p.m.
Last day of school
The 2015-2016 school year is completed for all K-11th graders.
June 6 – July 1
Summer at Heights
Woodridge and AHJS sports facilities
AHISD’s Summer at Heights enrichment camp provides creative courses in a full- or half-day setting for incoming K – 8th graders, offering a summer’s worth of activities and fun, featuring certified teachers and area professionals who continue to bring life to learning. Registration is available online at www.ahisd.net, or forms may be printed and dropped off at Central Office,7101 Broadway. Register early, as these classes fill quickly! For additional information, email SAH@ahisd.net.
June 6 – June 30
Mules in Training (MIT)
Summer strength and conditioning for AHHS athletes.
AHHS athletic facilities
Monday – Thursday, 6:30-8:30 a.m.
AHHS’ Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Bruce Fink Earns 500th Win
Alamo Heights High School boys varsity soccer coach Bruce Fink has earned his 500th win at Alamo Heights. He is AHHS’s first soccer coach, earning two state titles and over 500 career wins. Fink was recently inducted into the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame for his lifetime commitment to students.
Athletic director Gene Phillips says, “Bruce Fink has been the backbone of the Alamo Heights athletic program. He truly cares about kids, as is evident in the character of his players and those who have played under his leadership. He has earned numerous accolades during his tenure, providing amazing leadership to his teams over the course of 32 seasons.” AHHS boy’s soccer assistant Sergio Alcala added, “Bruce has been a tremendous mentor; as a coach, a teacher and as a human being. I thought I knew the game of soccer. I thought I knew kids when I first arrived at Heights 10 years ago. My education had just begun then, and every day I learn something new from him.”
Alamo Heights High School Rugby One of Few in Texas
Alamo Heights High School offers an array of extracurricular activities and options for students, each with its own season and fan base. One relatively new club, Rugby, is making strides at AHHS and across the nation. AHHS is the only high school in San Antonio and the surrounding area to offer the sport of rugby to students. This began about 10 years ago, after rocketry teacher Colin Lang, a former Canadian player and coach, realized an interest from students. Inspired to share the fun and team building provided by the sport, he started the Alamo Heights club.
The club and team have grown over the years through Lang’s experience and leadership, the dedication of parents, generous support provided by the Alamo Heights Mule Team and the love of the game by players. The team kicked off the 2016 season with “Ruggapalooza” in Houston, featuring teams from across the state in 15’s and 7’s matches in a one-day event tournament.
The season continued matching Alamo Heights with nationally ranked teams from throughout Texas to include well-established programs like Houston’s St Pius Panthers, St. Thomas Eagles, Lamar rugby and the Katy Barbarians. AHHS rugby traveled to Corpus Christi to take on the Sharks and is set to wrap up the season in Austin, competing with Leander/Cedar Park, Westlake and Vandegrift. The season finale includes an alumni game that will be held at Alamo Heights Junior School May 7.
“Rugby is a lot of fun! As a player, you are constantly in motion. It is a fast-paced, hard- hitting game that is 90 minutes long consisting of 2 4-minute halves, with no timeouts and only a 10-minute half -time. All players play both defense and offense at any given time. Everyone has a specific position and role to play, but depending on where the ball is played, any player can end up supporting another in a ruck or with an offensive carry toward a try,” says senior
player Julian Perales. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to play all four years of high school,” commented senior Zach Seidel. “I have really grown in my knowledge of the game and am excited about the opportunities that are provided in college to continue playing this sport.”
Photos courtesy of Don Seidel.