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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Quintana, Love win student, educator honors

Staff Writer

A Pecos High School student currently ranked first in his graduating class of 2004, was named Student of the Year by the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce and honored during the awards banquet held last Thursday evening.

Daniel Quintana, a senior at Pecos High School, was awarded the University of Rochester Humanities and Social Sciences Award; is a member of the student council and serves as their vice-president, is president of the National Honor Society, continues his membership with the Latin Club, the Eagle Band, and the Eagle Swim Team. He is active in church activities including the choir.

The Chamber of Commerce and the nomination committee picked out six Pecos High School seniors as nominees, for their outstanding work they have accomplished. They also selected a group of six P-B-T ISD workers for Educator of the Year honors, before naming superintendent Don Love winner of the award for 2003.

"The students' involvement in school, civic, and church activities are only a few reasons they were chosen for this prestigious award," said Jimmy Dutchover, who presented the award to Quintana. "The committee looked at their character, leadership skills and their involvement in community activities."

Each student provided the committee with an essay listing his or her accomplishments. In addition, each student was asked to obtain a letter of recommendation from an educator, friend, or community leader. "I cannot thank these individuals enough for the kind words they had to say about their student. It truly made the selection process a very difficult one," said Dutchover.

Quintana said that he would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce for picking him for the honor this year. "I know it was a tough decision, there are five other students nominated, they all have great talents and strive for excellence," said Quintana.

"I'd like to thank my parents and grandparents, who came out to support me," said Quintana. "Most of all, I'd like to thank God, for blessing me with all this,"

Quintana said, "Abuela te queiro mucho and gracias por todo."

Quintana's sponsor wrote: "Daniel has been raised to fully strive to do his very best at everything he is involved in. He is considered an exceptional role model in all aspects of his life - in church, in school and in our community."

Dutchover also read out the accomplishments of the other nominees, beginning with Kaci Harrison.

Dutchover said she is a member and vice-president of the Pecos Youth Advisory Commission, a member of the FFA, was named to Who's Who Among American High School Students, a member of the UIL Team, and was selected the Pre-Calculus Student of the Year and received the 2003 Kodak Young Leaders Program Award.

Harrison' sponsor wrote: "Kaci's parents have instilled in her a fundamental belief in traditional values and have provided strong moral and ethical guidance."

Sarah McKinney is a member of FFA, a member of the Latin Club where she serves as the Secretary, a member of the National Honor Roll and was named to Who's Who Among American High School Students. She was a member of the 2003 State Runner-up girls golf team, the Pecos Youth Advisory Commission, and a participant of the National Dairy Cattle Judging Team.

McKinney's sponsor wrote: "Sarah's involvement and success in all her activities can be attributed to self-motivation, work ethic, dependability and attitude."

Natalia Ornelas is a member of the high school tennis team, Mighty Eagle Band, UIL, student council, National Honor Society, was named to Who's Who American High School Students, FFA, Latin Club, Spanish Club and is involved in other organizations. She is a member of her church choir, teaches summer Bible school and volunteers for Meals On Wheels. She was elected as the 2003 Homecoming Queen, Miss Pecos High School and a nominee as PHS Best All Around Student.

Her sponsor wrote: "At the present time Natalia has a GPA of 3.76 and is ranked 12th in her class. She is an outstanding, cheerful young lady and has demonstrated potential in her academic and extra-curricular activities."

John Parent is a member of the 2003 District Championship Track Team, an accomplishment which had not taken place in 53 years. He has been All-District for the past three years in football; received All-District honors in the 400 Meter Relay and named Most Valuable Field Event Athlete for the discus. He was named to Who's Who Among American High School Students and devotes his time coaching Pee-Wee football and helping elementary students with their academic studies.

Parent's sponsor wrote: "John is one of the most personable young men that I have ever known. He has an engaging personality and a fine mind, and his interest in making the world a better place is genuine."

Nominee, Maritza Sandoval is our reigning Golden Girl of the Old West. She is a member of the Eagle Band, the 4-H Club, a member of the Ladies Eagles Volleyball Team, a member of the National Honor Society, Who's Who and the Mariachi Band.

Sandoval's sponsor wrote: "I have known Maritza since she was a young girl and have watched her grow into a mature and multi-talented young lady."

This year's nominees for Educator of the Year were chosen differently before Love was selected for the honor, Dutchover said.

"Over the course of the past year, the Chamber of Commerce has looked closely at the educators we have in our school system. We looked for the classroom teachers who work late into the evenings to prepare themselves for the challenges their job will bring to them," said Dutchover. "We looked at the administrators who have to make all the tough decision and get little or no recognition."

In the past, the Chamber of Commerce allowed each campus to choose nominees for this award. "However, their selection process is based on different criteria. Therefore, the committee came up with seven names they felt demonstrated an excellence for the care and responsibility of our children," said Dutchover.

During the process, each nominee to have a colleague write down accomplishments they would like for the chamber to consider during the selection.

"This type of process made our selection a very difficult one. Each of the names and accomplishments I am going to share with you, will make you better understand why we had a tough time in our selection," said Dutchover.

Love said that the district had a great group of people working for them and that we wanted to thank them and the parents of all the students. "They are the ones that help with the children to make our jobs easier and there are 364 people that do an outstanding job for PBT-ISD," he said.

Nominees included: Juan Abrigo. He is currently the junior high art teacher at Crockett Middle School. He has been with the district for 30 years, came to Pecos via the encyclopedia, Dutchover said.

"He had graduated from Texas A&I and was looking for work. He took out the encyclopedia and found Pecos on one of the maps," said Dutchover. "His discovery has been the blessing of so many of our children."

During the summer, Abrigo travels throughout the world. He brings home his experiences, and used them in the classroom. His travels to name a few include Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Tina Doan is the Pecos Eagles Girls Golf Coach and has been with the district for the over 20 years. She started coaching golf based on her love for the sport. She took advice from those who would give it and she ignored the naysayers when they questioned her dedication to her student athletes. In the spring of 2003, Tina led a group of five girls to the State Runner-Up title.

"Her dedication to a six-year project, which started in 1997, paid off in 2003 with the first state trophy since 1987 for the P-B-T ISD," said Dutchover.

Nominee Cindy Duke moved from the middle school classroom to the administration role four years ago. She took a leap from the management of students to the management of faculty. She has been instrumental in developing projects for kindergarten through 3rd grade. She encourages teachers to not just focus on individual subjects, but to incorporate as many disciplines in each lesson.

"Those who have direct contact with her admire her. Those who see her accomplishments from afar respect her," said Dutchover.

Sue Parent has been in the teaching field for 25 years. She has been the Gifted and Talented Facilitator for Pecos Kindergarten. A teacher for the Reading Academy, a member of the Campus Improvement Plan Committee.

"The teachers at Mrs. Parent's campus wrote, parents realize she has high standards for herself and her students, therefore this translates into the great amount of respect they have for her," said Dutchover.

Brian Williams has been employed for 24 years with this district. He has coached, taught Driver's Education and taught the different types of Social Studies at the high school level. Currently, Williams serves as the Chairman of the Social Studies Department and the UIL Coordinator. He has served as a Sunday school teacher and as a church deacon for the St. James Baptist Church.

"If you ask around, how does Brian receive so much respect from his students and peers, they will tell you, he gives respect in hope that he will get it back," said Dutchover.

Crissy Dominguez-Zuniga is a highly respected individual. Upon graduation she returned to Pecos to begin teaching. Although her degree was in Business Administration she began working at the juvenile detention center. What turned out to be a job to start with, has turned out to be a passion.

While completing her undergraduate degree, she received countless awards. None more prestigious than the National Business Education Association Award of Merit. She teaches computer classes at the Pecos Technical Training Center, tutors students at Pecos High School in the mornings and is working on her Masters Degree in counseling.

Realignment appeals seen as unlikely

Staff Writer
Pecos Eagle coaches are all expecting tougher competition over the next two years in athletics, with the addition of the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes and Seminole Indians as new district rivals for Pecos.

Seminole and Lamesa are staying in District 3-3A for the next two years, but are losing their four district rivals - Snyder, Sweetwater, Merkel and Denver City - while five of the current six District 4-3A schools, including Pecos, will be moving over into the new district.

"I just wanted to know who we were playing so we could get things going," said Eagles' head football coach and athletic director Patrick Willis. "I'm just glad it's over and we now know who we're going to face."

Willis said the Eagles already have their pre-season scrimmages arranged, and have their five pre-district games also tentatively set. Pecos will scrimmage the Andrews Mustangs and Cohoma Bulldogs this coming season, and are scheduled to open regular season play for the second year in a row against the Midland Christian Mustangs.

The Eagles will play at Midland, and will kick off their home schedule against Seminole and Lamesa's former district rival, Denver City. They'll then play their ex-district foe, Kermit, which is dropping down to Class 2A next year, and will face Crane before hosting Sweetwater to close out the pre-district schedule.

District 3-3A will be a seven-team circuit, but with Presidio having dropped football, that will mean no bye weeks in October or November for district teams this season. But it will mean a trip of 305 miles for Lamesa and 290 miles for Seminole to their games in Presidio, both among the longest district trips in the state.

In realigning West Texas schools in Class 3A, the UIL left District 2-3A in the Lubbock area with only five teams, none of which are further than 130 miles from Seminole or Lamesa. But officials with both school districts say they have no plans to appear the UIL's realignment in order to cut down their travel over the next two years.

"At this time we don't play to petition," said Lamesa ISD Superintendent Ken McCraw. "We know Presidio has to play somebody. I wish we wouldn't travel as much as we will, but the UIL has to do certain things not everybody agrees with."

McCraw said Lamesa, which is also within 150 miles of all the schools in the new District 4-3A that is based between Snyder and Clyde, might appeal the UIL decision is Seminole did, but a secretary for Seminole ISD Superintendent Doug Harriman said, "We won't be petitioning to the UIL," to move the Indians into another district.

The addition of Seminole and Lamesa in place of Kermit, which finished last each of the past two years, figures to have the biggest impact in girls' volleyball. Pecos has made the playoffs for the past eight season, but as the district's third place team each of the past two years.

"It's going to be tough. Picking up two teams that are in the playoffs year after year," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado. Pecos has lost to Lamesa in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs each of the past two seasons, and split two regular season matches with Seminole this year.

Basketball will also be tough with the addition of two teams, though both of Kermit's basketball teams are playoff-bound.

"It's going to be a real tough district, since both those schools have strong basketball programs," said Eagles' coach Joe Flores, whose team hasn't face Seminole this year but did manage a win at Lamesa back in December.

Pecos' baseball team swept Seminole in the bi-district round of the playoffs last May and hasn't faced Lamesa in several seasons. "Seminole is a playoff team every year, and Lamesa's been down for a while, but they were a state (runner-up) a few years ago," said Eagles' coach Elias Payan.

"I look forward to it. Day-in, day-out we're going to have some tough games. We're a young team, and I'm looking forward to the challenge," Payan said.

Willis said the district superintendents, athletic directors and other coaches would hold a meeting on Feb. 20 to decide on some of the schedules for the 2004-05 season. McCraw said Lamesa might look at the possibility of some neutral site games with Presidio, to cut down the travel time as much as possible,

"We're talking about it. We just want to make sure it's fine for them and us," he said. "The last time we were in a 4A district with Pecos and Fort Stockton (in the 1980s), those were about 140-150 mile trips. We've never had a trip like this before.

"I've talked to Reagan County, which was in the same district as Anthony (a 370-mile drive), to see how they handled it. Then we'll just talk to Presidio and see what they want to do," McCraw added.

Citizen's academy seeking members

The fourth class of the Citizen's Police Academy is scheduled to start on the Wednesday, Feb. 18, according to the program's director, Pecos Police's Community Involvement Officer, Mike Balog.

The program has five spots remaining for a class that should be more exciting and informative than the preceding ones, Balog said The academy is an 11-week course. For more information please contact Mike Balog at the Pecos Police Department at 445-4911.


High Monday 63. Low this morning 40. Forecast for tonight: Increasing cloudiness with a chance of rain or snow at higher elevations. Lows between 30-35. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and windy with highs in the low 50s. Wednesday night: Clearing and cold, with lows in the mid-20s. Thursday: Clearing and warmer, with highs in the mid-50s. Thursday night: Clear and cold, with temperatures in the mid-20s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs around 50.

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