School News

Winning the Year

AHHS Journalism wins the UIL Award of Distinctions Merit for the 2020 Yearbook. This is the state’s highest honor and the gold medal in publishing. This is the 13th year in a row the school has won the award. This award is even more special to the students and their sponsor, Kristin Cade, who completed 217 of the 399 pages while away from the school during the pandemic!


Cavalier Artists

The Texas Cavaliers awarded Woodridge Elementary student Max Hedgepeth, the City Council District 10 Winner of the Texas Cavaliers’ River Parade Art Contest. The group honored Brinley Dell Leavitt as Runner-Up. The pair of fifth graders are under the direction of Art Teacher Anika Blanco.

As a first-place winner, Hedgepeth will receive a check for $3,000 to go toward the school’s art program.  Leavitt will receive a check for $1,000, which will also go toward the school’s art program. Congratulations to these two artists!

Pictured: Max Hedgepeth with his winning art.


Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Names Students of the Year

Alamo Heights & St. Mary’s Hall

Team Alamo, a team of Alamo Heights and St. Mary’s Hall high school students, worked from January 8-February 27 to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Joining the organization’s fifth annual Students of the Year Campaign, the students participated in a fundraising competition, alongside 21 other south Texas teams, to support the life-saving mission of LLS: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma. Team Alamo had an aggressive fundraising goal of $100,000.

Unfortunately, the lives of each of these team members have been touched in some way by cancer. At Alamo Heights High School, team members share that many are friends with a classmate who has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. LLS’s work on behalf of patients is inspiring. As the world’s largest health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, it has invested more than $1 billion in research to help all blood cancer patients live longer, healthier lives.

Team Alamo team members consisted of Mitchell Patterson, Lily Boddy, John Marco, Lauren Hale, Mary Case, Madison Cox, Jack Sawyer, Emma Thompson, Hailey Soupiset, Reese Moorman, Jane Clark, Cole, and Lauren Gustafson.

Mitchell Patterson and his team, Team Alamo, earned the distinction and honor of being named the 2021 San Antonio Student(s) of the Year. This team raised over $140,000 to support the fight against blood cancers! Congratulations to Mitchell and each of these amazing team members.

Students of the Year is a philanthropic leadership development program during which students foster professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and project management to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest nonprofit fighting blood cancer. The title Student(s) of the Year is awarded to the candidate or co-candidates in each community who raises the most funds during the competition. 

Pictured: Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital CEO Jeff Wilson provides a check for over $5,000 to Mitchell Patterson and Team Alamo, on behalf of the hospital employees who donated to the student campaign and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

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Most Decorated in Texas

You work hard, day in and day out. You face challenge with hope and continue to pursue your goals, even when it is difficult. These are just a few of the ways that the Alamo Heights High School Cheerleaders persevered in a year like no other.

The Alamo Heights Cheerleading Program is now considered the most decorated in Texas history! To date, the teams have earned four Gold State Medals/State Rings and two State Silver Medals over the history of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Spirit Championships! The squad earned the Silver Medal in the 5AD2 Division in 2021.

The teams have taken their talent to the national stage, competing annually with top teams from around the country, making a name for themselves, ranking consistently in the Top Ten. The teams earned the Bronze Medal in the Junior Varsity Game Day routine, 7th Place in the Large Varsity Game Day routine, 4th Place in the Small Varsity, and 4th Place in the Junior Varsity Performance categories.

The National Cheer Association (NCA) has a tradition of awarding the “Go Be Great” award at NCA High School National competitions. The “Go Be Great Award” is presented to a coach, team, or program that goes above and beyond to make the world a better place outside of cheerleading. This year’s “Go Be Great” winners were Alamo Heights High School cheerleaders, honored for leading with kindness in their communities. This young leaders’ program kicked off the holiday season by collecting gifts and raising funds for a local ministry serving more than 850 children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. It didn’t stop at the holidays for this cheer team. This group also gave back to their wonderful school custodians and district nurses by raising over $2,000 to provide gift cards to their local grocery stores right before the holidays amid a pandemic. The girls credit their peers on the Spurs Dance Team and the Churchill cheerleaders for their help and support in earning the “Go Be Great award.”

Coach Ashley Johnson says, “Community is important to our program. We see the value that service teaches-acquiring life skills and knowledge beyond the scope of your own team or school. I’m beyond blessed to work with a group of young ladies that want to give back and see that being a cheerLEADER means being a leader beyond the team, into the larger community.”

Johnson earned her own accolades this year, named the Texas UIL Cheer Coach of the Year and National Federation of High School Coaches, Texas Girls Spirit Coach of the Year.

Dancing Their Way to the Top

The AHHS Spurs Dance Team took the stage by storm as they competed in the Showmakers of America national dance contest. The team earned the coveted Sweepstakes and Judges Awards, along with top honors in Showmanship and Choreography in all three of their routines. They earned distinction in Technique in HipHop and Pom, Precision accolades in HipHop, with an overall 4th Place ranking in HipHop, and a 2nd Place ranking in Pom.

Their coach, Jessica Marie Sanchez, calls them “The most competitive, resilient team she has had the  pleasure to coach!”


A Spring Specials Showcase at The Circle School

This year The Circle School is hosting an all outdoor, socially distanced Spring Specials Showcase for adults & children to attend together. 

At The Circle School we believe in the development of the whole child by cultivating the body, mind, heart, and spirit. Specials classes such as art, music, PE/yoga, and gardening are just as important as academic core subjects in a whole child education. Integration of subjects, both academic and active, is to weave parts into a greater whole, to generate a curriculum that is an education for life.

This event will provide the opportunity for adults to experience Specials at The Circle School, as a family or on their own. Each admission allows a family or individual adult to rotate through four small group classes: Music, PE & yoga, Gardening, and Nature education. 

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Summer at SMH Camper Graduates to Counselor Role

Senior Isabela “Izzy” Castillo is well versed in the Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) experience. She is a camper turned counselor. Attending the summer program since first grade, Castillo decided to try her hand at counseling for the first time in 2019 and enjoyed the experience so much she chose to return this summer from May to July.

“It is such fun and gives you great job experience,” said Castillo. “I also love that it isn’t just Saint Mary’s Hall people, but rather there are students from many schools that come to work, so it gives me the opportunity to meet new people.”

Castillo, who has been a student at SMH since Montessori, said she particularly values the professional experience she receives being a counselor for the program due to her interaction with parents, campers, administrators, and fellow counselors/volunteers. With approximately 800 to 1,000 campers, the program typically has around 16-20 counselors and 20-25 volunteers every summer, with more than 50% returning to serve the following year.

When asked what inspired her to return for another year as a counselor, Castillo said, “I continually return because I love what I do, who I work with, and who I work for. I also think it is so fun that I used to be a camper because now, as a counselor, I can look at the kiddos and think, ‘Wow! That used to be me!’”

Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall offers half-day and full-day camps for ages 3-18, with academics, arts, athletics, and enrichment camp opportunities.

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At 78209 Magazine, we have our finger on the pulse of these communities located in the heart of San Antonio. Our staff of talented writers and photographers is dedicated to bringing you quality content that spotlights the local residents, businesses, lifestyles, and culture of the neighborhoods that make up the ’09 area. From political issues to restaurant openings, if it’s happening in 78209, we want you to know.

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