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VALEDICTORY SPEAKER - Pecos High School 2004 valedictorian Daniel Quintana thanks his family for helping him become a success in school, during Friday night’s graduation ceremony at Eagle Stadium. Seated to Quintana’s right is Odessa College President Dr. Vance Gipson, who was the guest speaker at this year’s commencement exercise.

Speakers tell grads to remember PHS experience


Staff Writer

Pecos High School seniors were told to hold on to their memories and to make the right choices in their future lives on Friday night, by the featured speakers at the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2004 at Eagle Stadium

The class of 145 graduates accepted their diplomas from the newest member of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board, former athletic director Bubba Williams, and from PHS principal Danny Rodriguez, who is retiring with the end of the current school year. P-B-T Superintendent Don Love, who also is leaving his job at the end of this month, also congratulated the students and parents after they received their diplomas.

Before then, students, parents and others at Eagle Stadium heard from Odessa College President Dr. Vance Gipson, this year’s guest speaker, along with 2004 valedictorian Daniel Quintana and salutatorian Kaci Harrison.

Quintana thanked his family in both English and Spanish, along with others who had helped him over the years.

“As we go our separate ways, always remember and cherish the memories that were made,” said Quintana, who’ll be attending the University of Rochester in the fall. “Now that high school is over we’re opening a new chapter and starting a new life, make the right choice and anything is possible.”

Harrison, who spoke first during the ceremony, told teachers, “Our class always dared to be different, but you didn’t give up on us.”

She also thanked her family, friends and others, and told the graduates,, “Now that it is time to step out and face life on it’s own, let’s not forget what Pecos High School has taught us.”

Gipson began his speech by criticizing the Texas Legislature and Texas Gov. Rick Perry over proposed cuts in funding for education and plans to finance education programs through legalized gambling. “I think this is earthshaking and something we should be concerned about,” he said.

He went on to urge graduates to continue their education in college, saying that only 13 percent of Texas high school students manage to graduate from college within three to six years.

“Only five states have poorer records than Texas right now, which is something we all should be concerned about,” Gipson said. “Tonight I want to continue your education. I want to encourage you to give college a try.”

Gipson cited reports showing higher salaries that were available for college graduates, as compared to those only graduating from high school, but also warned students about getting too far into debt through use of loans to finance their higher education.

Friday’s ceremony lasted two hours, and those in attendance filled up most of the west stands at Eagle Stadium.  The 145 students - and three beach balls, which made their appearances amid the seniors at random times during the ceremony - were seated at midfield at the stadium, which also handled its final event with a natural grass field. Construction workers are due to begin tearing out the field sometime next week, for installation of a $475,000 artificial turf playing surface that is due to be ready by the time Pecos’ football team holds its first 2004 home scrimmage in mid-August.

P-B-T gets 25 applications for superintendent


Staff Writer

Twenty-five individuals have applied for the position of superintendent for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and board members will narrow it down to five applicants next week.

P-B-T ISD has been searching for a new superintendent since Don Love announced his retirement plans back in February. Love will leave the post he’s held for the   last 6 1.2 years on June 30, and school board members retained officials with the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) to help in their search and has been receiving updates.

The group met Monday evening and Don Killough, with TASB was on hand to discuss the issue. He told the group that they had received 25 applicants, which was a normal number. “This is an average number, we expected between 20-30,” he said.

Killough discussed the dates that the board would interview the top five applicants. “We’ll narrow the field down to five during the first round and down to three during the second round,” said Killough.

“During the first round of interviews we really need to have everyone there, because it’s critical,” said Killough.

Killough said that if all the board members could not be there during the first round of interviews, they would have to rely on their fellow board members to select the five.

“You’ll have to rely on the other board members on the three that you want to invite back,” said Killough.

The first round of interviews will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The second round will take place on June 14-16, according to Killough.

Killough declined to release the names of the 25 applicants, and under state law the names of potential applicants during early stages of a superintendent search do not have to be released.

Sec. 552.126 of the State of Texas Government Code states that, “The name of an applicant for the position of superintendent of a public school district is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021,” which requires that public information be made available to the public at a minimum during normal business hours. However, the rule goes on to say “the board of trustees must give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered for the position at least 21 days before the date of the meeting at which a final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the person.”

The board will hold their regular monthly meeting on June 10. Killough said that he would be in a conference in San Antonio, but would try to make that board meeting to meet with the group.

Killough met with the group in closed session to discuss the questions that they could ask prospective applicants and other items pertaining to the interviews. He said that the group would narrow it down to three and then meet with them again and meet their spouses as well.

“It’s very important that you see them in that light, in that type setting,” he said.

“We’ve put a packet together for the interviews with questions you would use during the interviews,” said Killough.

Board members also reorganized their administrative positions for the 2004-05 school year during the special meeting. Board president will again be Billie Sadler; vice-president, Lila Cerna and secretary, Crissy Martinez. The group welcomed new board member Bubba Williams.

BHS valedictorian dedicates speech to late classmate


Staff Writer

The top-ranking student for the Class of 2004 at Balmorhea High School dedicated his valedictory speech to a soldier and former classmate who died recently while in training with the U.S. Marines, during graduation ceremonies Friday night at the Balmorhea ISD gym.

Balmorhea High School valedictorian Kevin Machuca dedicated his speech to Jerry Lee Mendoza, who died while serving in the U.S. Army in California. Mendoza was a Class of 2002 graduate who died in a San Diego hospital after falling ill while training at the Twenty-nine Palms Marine Base in the California desert.

Machuca also talked about forged friendships, the many experiences in high school and about his beloved hometown during his valedictory speech.

He was one of 14 graduates who received their diplomas on Friday evening in the Balmorhea School Gym.

Salutatorian Raquel Contreras said that she would miss Balmorhea, but that she expected a lot out of her classmates. She wished each and every one of them good luck and quoted a passage in the Bible at the end of her speech.

Guest speaker for the event was Dr. Carl Hoffmeyer of the University of Texas-Permian Basin, and several scholarships and awards were handed out during the evening.

Other graduates include: Keith Baeza, Urban Baeza, Vanessa Baeza, Amber Briceno, Desiree Contreras, Stoney Iniguez, Trina Jurado, John Keeper, Robbie Mendoza, Joe Morales, Vanessa Natividad and Saul Rios.

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