School News

by | December 5, 2017 | School News

Alamo Heights Football Players Embrace Yoga
By Ron Aaron Eisenberg

It’s hard not to do a double take at first. But there they are. Alamo Heights Varsity Football players doing yoga every Monday night at Alamo City Yoga. (Check out The Scoop for more on Alamo City Yoga.)

Going to yoga began when one of the players was told his chronic back injury might benefit from practicing yoga. And so, he tried it. With great results.

Soon other members of the team, from quarterback, Reed Anderson, to offensive linemen embraced it. Anderson explained, “Will Hoffman’s mom emailed all of us and our parents and said there was a really cool Yoga place in Alamo Heights. It’s helped me become a better player.”

Now, like clockwork, every Monday night at 7:30pm the players participate in an hour- long yoga session.

Lady Jackets Volleyball TCAL 3A State Champs!

St. Anthony Catholic High School (SACHS) Lady Jackets Volleyball made school history as they took the 2017 TCAL 3A State Championship.  This is the Lady Yellow Jackets first season in the league.

The team rode to success in the semi-finals, beating Christo Rey Jesuit 3-0 (25-15, 25-5, 25-3), ultimately leading to a win over Clearlake Christian 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-12) in the state finals. Junior, Arriana Alvarado, was named MVP and senior, Kendall Stafford, and junior, Tammy Jo Grohman, were honored with All-Tournament awards. The Lady Jackets were also named the All-Tournament Team.

“It has been a great year. The team worked hard and it paid off.  We had some great wins this year and we are very excited and proud to our first state victory,” said SACHS Volleyball Head Coach Lucy Munoz. Munoz has coached the Lady Jackets for 11 years.

St.​ ​Luke’s​ ​Episcopal​ ​School​ ​Celebrates​ ​Good Times

SLES shattered the glass ceiling and broke a school record for “fun”raising on October 26th at its annual Kaleidoscope auction. HOS, Tom McLaughlin was joined by Board of Trustees chair, Will Collins, in raising  a glass and toasting the 70th anniversary of the school. Leading the way to a lively and festive good time were Chair, Whitney Schones and Co Chair, Kristina Collm

Saint Marys Hall Fine Arts Provides Experiences Like No Other

Saint Mary’s Hall provides one-of-a-kind experiences students can’t receive anywhere else. These experiences extend across the curriculums to include SMH’s robust Fine Arts Department with five major programs. A recent Upper School media arts project as well as a Lower School music performance at an Orff conference are just two of many examples of these unique, educational opportunities.

Students in Upper School 3D Art Teacher Nate Cassie’s Beginning 3D Art and Design class, mainly composed of Form 9 students, created “party food” out of clay and glaze for an art project. The designs were created to mimic the color and texture of foods commonly served at parties. The term used in relation to the project is known as trompe l’oeil, French for “fool the eye.” Mr. Cassie’s goal is to eventually have 2D Drawing and Design Teacher Logan Blanco’s students paint the works of art to compliment the 3D pieces.

SMH Studio Art and Advanced Placement classes offer Upper School students the opportunity to create compelling images and meaningful expressions through cross-curricular themes in 2D and 3D art as well as art history. Students use a myriad of mediums such as graphite, color pencil, ink, charcoal, paint, and clay. Student artwork is showcased within galleries on and off campus, and in a number of regional, state, and national competitions (such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the Visual Arts Scholastic Event) with award-winning results.

In November, led by Lower School Music Teacher Liz Troutwine, the SMH Orff Ensemble was invited to perform for nearly 1,000 music educators from across the nation. The performance was as part of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. The students received a standing ovation for their performance.

Developed by German composer Carl Orff and his colleague Gunild Keetman in the 1920s, Orff is a developmental approach used in music education, combining music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons similar to a child’s world of play. The Lower School Music Program is Orff-centered, allowing students to learn at their own levels of understanding while engaging with music both physically and mentally. Programs in singing, rhyming, dancing, and playing instruments are designed to stimulate student’s response to music by multiple means.

Saint Mary’s Hall is committed to developing, enhancing, and improving students’ creativity to channel the arts in exciting ways. The Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall offers by far, the most extensive fine arts curriculum in the region, with nearly 50 different courses, led by an impressive faculty of more than 30 visionaries in their respective fields. To learn more, visit

Dude. Be Nice.

In a gesture of sincere appreciation, Alamo Heights High School students surprised Chris Evans, the school’s lead custodian, as part of the school’s Dude. Be Nice. initiative. Band, Cheer, Dance, Student Council and students came out to celebrate Evans and tell him how much he is loved and appreciated. AHHS student, Hunter Lee, led Evans through a huge student spirit line. Students were cheering loudly, presenting him with balloons that contained positive words of encouragement. The AHHS Band began playing the school’s fight song as Evans made his way along the long corridor of support.

Upon reaching the front of the crowd, Lee explained to Evans what was happening and why. Evans was extremely emotional and honored, sharing, “This honor goes to everyone on my team!”Norm Collins, Assistant Principal, shared some final words of encouragement. Evans was moved to tears by the expression of love and support he received from students, colleagues and friends! See the video: https://youtube/e-yDIz7vwzk

Dude. Be Nice. is an initiative implemented at Alamo Heights High School by two teachers, Andrew Walton and Emily Brand Rangel, in conjunction with the student council. Dude. Be Nice. is a national platform to inspire people to build a positive community by recognizing a person or group in a fun, creative, and meaningful way.
Learn more:

The following stories were provided by Alamo Heights High School’s Journalism Department:

Alamo Heights JROTC Program
By Reed Sechler
Students at Alamo Heights High School pride themselves on success, and the JROTC Program is the very definition of success. The program is much more than students in uniform presenting the colors at football games. JROTC is a national program that teaches character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership and diversity. The senior cadets coordinate this program with help from Instructors, First Sergeant, Jasper Miller and LTC, Joe Perez.

“JROTC has given me the chance to expand myself as a leader,” junior Cadet Sergeant Zyrwealthon Flores said. “I’ve loved helping others and as a result, have become a better person.”

JROTC is entering its 22nd year at the high school and its legacy continues to play an important role. Junior and sophomore members lead the freshmen through multiple task courses, such as learning how to read maps, performing physical drills and becoming disciplined in all endeavors. The younger cadets are inspired by their leaders to always give maximum effort in everything they undertake. After acquiring all their new skills, the cadets leave the program a better version of themselves.

“I was struggling with my self-confidence for a while and then I realized that when I joined JROTC I didn’t just join a program, I joined a family,” freshman Cadet Private Mary Vallar said.

Every year, the members of JROTC train for multiple competitions. Last year at the state contest, they won first and third in the Cyber Patriot IX Competition and they secured third place Leadership Team at the JROTC Academics and Leadership Bowl.

“I love all the activities we do in JROTC,” senior Lieutenant Colonel Abigayle Zepeda said. “But my favorite is when we go to Daytona Beach for Nationals.”

The cadets of JROTC are great role models to everyone. They make an impact on so many people and inspire them to be the best they can be. First Sergeant Miller and LTC Perez lead by example, making sure their cadets learn to be respectful, have a positive attitude always and give their maximum effort at all times. The JROTC cadets take on different challenges throughout the year and they are one of the best examples of how to represent the school.

“I am always so honored to put on the JROTC uniform and represent our school in everything we do,” freshman Cadet Private Kayla Strickland said. “It makes me proud to be a part of such a great program.”

Soaring To New Heights – Students Building and Designing Rockets
By Hallie Hardaway
Each summer, the newly graduated seniors of the Rocketry II Program at Alamo Heights High School travel to White Sands, New Mexico to launch the rocket that they built throughout the school year. The trip takes a lot of preparation and is a rite of passage for those involved with the program.

“It’s crucial for each member of Rocketry II to make time to contribute to the rocket,” senior Lea O’Grady said. “If even one individual doesn’t pull his or her own weight, it puts the entire group at a disadvantage, especially for those who must pick up the slack.”

Each grade level works on a different facet of rocket building. In both the junior and senior classes, students are selected to create a flight profile containing all the dimensions and information necessary to create that year’s rocket and are then required to present their team’s plan to a NASA engineer.

“The classes work separately until it is time for the fabrication of the rockets. Last year, I had upperclassmen help me build my nose cone when I got confused,” senior Saaren Thorn said. “Working together in rocketry provides an opportunity to share knowledge, through drawings, calculations or the how-to of fabrication.”

Freshmen take a concepts of engineering class, where they are taught how to use different tools and machines, the different branches of engineering, the design loop and how to present professionally. Sophomores learn how to draft by hand and become certified on a computer aided design program, a skill they will use throughout the entire high school program and beyond.

“The Rocketry Program encourages me exponentially to explore my love and desire for designing, drawing, manufacturing and testing projects of a deeply complex scale,” sophomore Blake Emerson-Price said. “I enjoy the challenging objective lessons of the Rocketry Program in which thinking outside the box is critical. Plus rockets are just plain cool.”

Juniors are taught the math and physics that go into building a stable rocket. Then they are required to build four different generations of rockets with the final one being a transonic rocket that is taken to a launch in Fredericksburg.

“The most difficult part of building a rocket is trying to make sure everything goes right, even though you know something will probably go wrong,” junior Emmy Henshaw said. “You often have to troubleshoot to solve problems with limited time and supplies.”

Seniors learn the history of space and rocketry, and dive into the research, design and fabrication of a supersonic rocket, the one that is eventually launched at the White Sands Missile Testing Range in New Mexico during the summer after their senior year. For all of this to work, as it should, functioning in harmony is a big focus throughout the class.

“The key to building a rocket is good teamwork,” senior David White said. “Time management is also key to completing the rocket on time.”

In order to minimize mistakes, many of the Rocketry II students work on the different aspects of the rocket outside of class, without the stress of a 50-minute time limit.

“Being in the Rocketry Program for four years, I’ve grown to know my peers and teacher, Colin Lang, very well. Because of the importance and complexity of our tasks, there are times when we disagree with each other,” senior Sam Roark said. “These conflicting ideas are what create and solve problems that are necessary to fulfill our projects. The statement, ‘Failure Leads to Success,’ is what I believe to be a guiding law of the program. It’s what makes the Rocketry Program so special.”

At the launch site, the members are taught about each component of the launch and how to complete the procedure safely and effectively. Both the senior and junior rocket launches are very similar in procedure, with the differences being size, complexity and location.

“Compared to other schools, we were over-prepared for the launch. We brought four toolboxes and were ready to launch when we got there,” senior Josh McDaniel said. “Our preparedness reflects well on the skill level of our Rocketry Program as well as our teacher, Mr. Lang.”

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