The NBHS Varsity Mixed, Varsity Treble and Non-Varsity Treble choir groups performed at the UIL Concert and Sight-reading contests April 5 and April 7 at Canyon High School. All three groups were commended for their performances including one Sweepstake trophy for the Varsity Treble Choir.
The Varsity Treble Choir won its sixth consecutive Sweepstakes trophy for receiving “Superior” ratings in both portions of the contest. The Varsity Mixed Choir earned an “Excellent” rating from each judge in both the concert and sight-reading portions. The Non-Varsity Treble Choir earned a “Superior” rating for their concert performance and an “Excellent” in sight-reading.
For the concert portion, each group performed three songs they have rehearsed throughout the season. After the concert portion, each group sight-read a piece of music that they’ve never seen before. The Varsity Treble Choir’s Sweepstakes designation means that each judge gave the group the highest rating possible for both the concert and sight-reading portions.
“I'm very proud of how the Unicorn choirs finished the 2016-2017 season,” said Chris Thomasson, NBHS Choir Director. “We continue to compete at the highest levels of musicianship in UIL contests, earning nothing less than Superior and Excellent ratings.”
In addition to UIL, the choir finished off their season with a series of festival and concert performances.
The Varsity Mixed Choir participated in the Lone Star Showcase of Music festival in Dallas on April 21. They received a “Superior Trophy” for earning top ratings from all three judges. In addition, the Varsity Mixed Choir received a “Runner-up in Class Trophy” for ranking 2nd-best mixed choir at the contest.
The NBHS and NGC’s annual PopShow was held on April 25. Both the NBHS and NGC performed, donning masks and fans to accompany their performance of “Masquerade” from Phantom of the Opera. Several students also performed a solo or in a small ensemble during the show.
“I am especially proud of our senior solo and ensemble performers, Kody Tatum, Hannah Rivera, Amber Guyton, Emmalee Custard, Jensen Narvarte, Kristen Scott and Kassedy Morales for their standout performances during the show. Several underclassmen had standout performances as well,” said Thomasson.
Unicorn Choir students also found individual success this season, with top performances at the UIL Solo and Ensemble and TMEA Region Choir Contests.
With a talented stable of students, Thomasson says that 2017-2018 promises to be a break-out year that will continue to show growth and success.
“With our current prospects, we hope that our Varsity Mixed Choir will make its first Superior ratings since the 1990s.”
The choir’s last performance this school year will be during the NBHS Graduation Ceremony on May 25.
TOP CAPTION: The Varsity Treble Choir won its sixth consecutive Sweepstakes trophy at UIL
BOTTOM CAPTION: The Varsity Mixed Choir earned an “Excellent” rating from each UIL judge in both the concert and sight-reading portions.
Gordon Korman, a #1 New York Times best-selling author of more than 75 books for kids and young adults, visited Seele Elementary on April 19 to speak to the school’s 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students.
The students got to hear a short lecture from Korman followed by a question-and-answer session. The visit was concluded with a book signing with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Seele Elementary.
“We are so excited to have such a notable author visit our school and speak about his love for writing and reading,” said Abby Saunders, the Seele Elementary librarian. “We have a long-standing partnership with Scholastic Books with our annual book fairs and they made arrangements for him to come visit.”
According to the biography provided by Scholastic, Inc., Gorman began his career at the age of 12 and had his first novel published as a freshmen in high school. He is now a full-time writer with more than 17 million copies of his novels in print and translated into 17 languages.
His books included Jingle, The 39 Clues: Unstoppable - Book Four: Flashpoint and the Swindle series that was brought to life in a made-for-TV movie by Nickelodeon. His latest book titled Slacker is based on his 18-year-old son and was a top pick for the book-signing event.
When asked by a student which of his books was his favorite, Gorman said that he gets most excited about the book that is newest and that becomes his favorite.
CAPTION: On April 19, Jakob Jackson (3rd grader), Kristi Schindler (3rd grade teacher), Marian Ethridge (3rd grader), Effie Walker (3rd grader), Isabella Cantu (3rd grader) get their books autographed by Author Gordon Korman at Seele Elementary.
NBISD Superintendent Randy Moczygemba has announced that Melinda Guerrero will be the assistant principal for the new Voss Farms Elementary opening in August 2017. She is currently serving as a Bilingual Math interventionist at Klein Road Elementary in NBISD.
Guerrero has been an educator for the past 15 years and joined the NBISD family in 2006 as a 4th grade Dual Language Math and Science teacher at the former Memorial Intermediate School. In 2008, she moved to Klein Road Elementary to teach 1st Grade Dual Language Self-contained and 4th Grade Dual Language Math and Science. In 2013, she became a Bilingual Math interventionist at Klein Road. She also worked as a teacher in Pasadena ISD for four years before coming to NBISD.
Guerrero has a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Concordia University. She is certified in Bilingual/ESL-Spanish, Grades 1-8, Self-Contained, Early Childhood and Special Education Supplemental.
She lives in New Braunfels with her husband, Carlos, and their three daughters.
The NBISD Board of Trustees honored the Teachers of the Year at the April 17th board meeting held in the NBISD Education Center Boardroom.
In addition to the 12 Campus Teachers of the Year, NBISD has selected Brande Schriewer (Sh-ree-ver) of Lone Star Elementary as District Elementary Teacher of the Year and Lt. Col. Mark House, USMC (Ret.) of New Braunfels High School as the District Secondary Teacher of the Year.
These outstanding teachers were chosen from this year’s Campus Teachers of the Year that applied for the honor by writing a handful of essays and sitting through a local interview panel. Schriewer and House will compete at the regional level this summer with hopes of ultimately being named Texas Teacher of the Year.
Lone Star Elementary School
2017 NBISD Elementary Teacher of the Year
Brande Schriewer has been an educator for the past 26 years and a teacher in NBISD for the past 16 years. She worked in North East ISD and Coppell ISD before coming to NBISD in 2001. She currently works as a fifth-grade English Language Arts and History teacher at Lone Star Elementary. In her teaching career, she also worked as a third-grade and fifth grade self-contained teacher.
She received her bachelor’s degree from The University of North Texas and also attended the University of Oklahoma for her undergraduate degree. She is a member of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the NBISD Technology Committee and a Lifetime Member of the Parent Teacher Association.
Her past honors include being selected twice as an NBISD Education Foundation Grant Recipient and as a Habitat for Humanity Door Finalist. She is very active with the District’s technology initiatives and has been spotlighted by the Technology Department on the NBISD Transform website for technology integration and is an elementary resident expert and badge recipient. In 2006 she was selected as Campus Teacher of the Year at the former Memorial Intermediate School.
LtCol Mark House, USMC (Ret.)
New Braunfels High School
2017 NBISD Secondary Teacher of the Year
LtCol Mark House retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2010, and has worked the past seven years for NBISD in his current role as the Senior Instructor of the Marine Corps JROTC. In this role, he has coordinated and supervised more than 1,500 community service events in the New Braunfels area focused on NBISD activities and non-profit requests.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Public Administration from National University. His past educational experience includes teaching at the postgraduate level for the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.
House is a member of the American Legion, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Marine Corps League, and Veterans of Foreign Wars where he currently serves as the VFW Post 7110 Ceremonial Honor Guard Commander. He was named NBHS Teacher of the Month in October 2016, and March 2012 and was awarded the VFW Post 7110 Citizenship Education Teacher Award in 2015.
He and his wife of 22-years, Allison House, have three school-age children; a son, Ethan, and daughters, Blaise and Scout.
The following teachers were also recognized in this year’s awards program and named 2016-2017 Campus Teachers of the Year.
Carl Schurz Elementary – Yolanda Grijalva, 4th Grade Dual Language teacher
County Line Elementary – Tina Kalebick, 5th Grade Teacher
Klein Road Elementary – Stacey Roff, Life Skills Teacher
Lamar Elementary - Hayley Parsons, 3rd Grade Teacher
Lone Star Elementary – Brandee Schriewer, 5th Grade Teacher
Memorial Elementary – Amy Prenavo, Special Education Teacher
Seele Elementary – Tonya Heffington, 1st Grade Teacher
Walnut Springs Elementary – Brittney Brittain, 2nd Grade Teacher
New Braunfels Middle School – Richard (Robin) Hataway, 7th Grade Science Teacher
Oak Run Middle School – Kristen Bryant, 8th Grade Math & Algebra Teacher
Ninth Grade Center - Joshua Brake, World Geography Teacher
New Braunfels High School - Lt. Col. Mark House, USMC (Ret.), Senior Marine JROTC Instructor
The NBISD Board of Trustees honored all of the recipients during the regular monthly board meeting held April 17.
Pictured left or on top: Superintendent Randy Moczygemba, District Elementary Teacher of the Year Brande Schriewer and Lone Star Elementary Principal Heather Salas during the surprise visit to announce the district winner on April 17.
Pictured right or on second: NBHS Principal Kara Bock, District Secondary Teacher of the Year Lt. Col. Mark House, USMC (Ret.) and Superintendent Randy Moczygemba during the surprise visit to announce the district winner on April 17.
CLICK HERE to view more information about the Teacher of the Year program.
The New Braunfels High School Jazz Ensemble performed at the Palo Alto Jazz Festival on April 7 and was selected as “Outstanding Band” in the 5A/6A Division.
Tori Oelsen (clarinet), JT Chapman (vibraphone) and Selma Espino (drums) were awarded with “All-Star Soloist” recognitions for their solo performances.
Two-time All-State Jazz musician Chris Bauer was selected as “Outstanding Soloist” for the entire festival with his performances on the saxophone and clarinet.
The group will travel to Katy, Texas, on April 21 to perform at the Katy Jazz Festival and San Antonio on April 29 to perform at the Fiesta Jazz Festival at St. Mary’s University.
The ensemble is under the direction of David Eckert.
A student that attends County Line Elementary accidentally brought a handgun to school in her bag this morning and immediately reported it to the teacher who took possession of the loaded handgun. At no time was the handgun displayed or shown to any others in the class. The school contacted the New Braunfels Police Department immediately to report the incident.
The parent of the child was notified and has taken full responsibility for inadvertently leaving the handgun in the child’s bag. Since it has been determined that there was not an intent to commit an offense by those involved, this situation was resolved without incident.
We greatly appreciate the assistance of the New Braunfels Police Department in handling this situation and helping NBISD ensure a safe and secure environment for our students.
The New Braunfels ISD Board of Trustees honored this year’s Silver Unicorn recipients during the regular monthly Board meeting held April 17 in the NBISD Education Center Boardroom. This year’s inductees include Karen Barganier, Eloisa Gomez and Mary Thompson.
Karen Barganier has served the NBISD community as a dedicated citizen, lifelong educator and has been a major influence in the fabric of the Unicorn Community for more than 40 years. After retiring from NBISD as a middle school math and computer literacy teacher in 2011, she returned to the classroom as a substitute for the past five years.
Bargainier is an outstanding person, a dedicated teacher and a lifelong Unicorn that has been an inspiration to so many over the years. It is estimated that she has taught more than 6,500 students during her career, not including her years as a substitute teacher.
During her teaching career, she was also involved in several clubs, committees and school organizations. She has always felt it was not only her job, but her social obligation as a member of this community to be involved in all aspects of the Unicorn World.
Eloisa Gomez, a paraprofessional in the LIFE Skills classroom at New Braunfels High School, has served the students of NBISD for the past 14 years. She is a true example of what it means to give with a servant’s heart. She assists the special needs students who have severe disabilities and require assistance with all activities of daily living. Her colleagues have given her the nickname of St. Loisa.
According to her nominator, Gomez deserves accolades and recognition because she not only serves the students of NBHS, but serves many out in the community. She is kind, loving, giving, compassionate, caring and all other descriptive words that describe a selfless individual.
Mary Thompson spent the last 60 years of her life preparing thousands of young musicians in the NBISD band program for success and long-term growth. She has helped students prepare for auditions to move successfully from 6th grade through college and taught summer band master classes, sectionals and prepared many solos and ensembles. Over the years, she has helped the soloists and ensembles earn hundreds of UIL medals.
Her students learn not only about music and their instruments, but also how to be leaders in their band, school and community. She teaches students for the sheer job of seeing them be successful musicians and to appreciate the art of music, and she loves them unconditionally.
Outside of the time she spends teaching these students, she attends every band concert, football game and marching contest. She also keeps up with her students after graduation.
Thompson has been a true mentor, friend and colleague to all of the NBISD band directors and is considered a special part of their hearts and musical lives.
CLICK HERE to view photos from the ceremony and board recognition.
CAPTION: (Left to right) Mary Thompson, Karen Barganier and Eloisa Gomez were honored by the NBISD Board of Trustees on April 17, 2017, during their regular monthly board meeting.
Due to the construction at several railroad crossing in town, NBISD’s afternoon bus service may be delayed for Routes 48, 53, 72 and 51 to the Wald Road area. For more information, call the NBISD Transportation Department at 830-627-6150.
Senior Isabella Rolon (pictured left or above) represented New Braunfels High School at the FCCLA State Conference held April 7 in Dallas and won a plaque for her 6th place finish in the Teach and Train competition.
Teach and Train requires students to demonstrate their ability to teach or train. Participants create a professional portfolio, prepare and execute a complete lesson plan and an oral presentation. Seniors also complete a shadowing experience with a mentor teacher in their district.
Rolon shadowed and taught a lesson on Newton’s Law to students at Oak Run Middle School under the mentorship of Margret Smith, an Oak Run science teacher.
Stacy Kell, NBHS teacher and Rolon’s FCCLA sponsor, says Rolon’s work ethic contributed to her success at state.
“Isabella has remained a motivated member of FCCLA this year,” said Kell. “She not only competed in Teach and Train, but also has volunteered in and helped coordinate community service events.”
She along with Senior Amber Seidel advanced to the state competition after placing high enough at the FCCLA Region V Leadership Conference in January. Siedel advanced to the state level in the Illustrated Talk category, but was unable to attend the state competition.
Illustrated Talk requires students to prepare an oral presentation about issues concerning Family and Consumer Sciences. Participants prepare a file folder, an oral presentation, and visuals.
Rolon will be recognized at the May 15 board meeting for placing in the Top 6 at the FCCLA state competition.
On March 31, NBHS Senior Madison Almquist (pictured left or on top) qualified for the national level of competition through the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) after winning 3rd place at the state conference held in Corpus Christi.
She qualified in the Transcultural Healthcare category that includes a written test requiring competitors to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information related to transcultural healthcare.
Almquist will travel to Orlando, Fla., to compete in Nationals on June 21-24. The NBISD Board of Trustees will also honor her on April 17 for this accomplishment.
NBHS Senior Kendall Kasper (pictured right or second) also qualified for the HOSA State competition after competing at the Area level in January. Kasper did not attend the State conference, but qualified in the Health Career Photography category.
Dear NBISD Parents:
We wanted to make you aware that schools will dismiss at the regular time this afternoon. We will hold all students that are walkers until it is safe.
Bus service will also be delayed in 30-minute increments until the water has subsided. All after-school tutoring bus services have been cancelled.
The Dual Language Program Parent Interest Meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at Carl Schurz Elementary has also been cancelled.
For more updates and event cancellations, go http://www.nbisd.org/page/pi.eventupdates.
The Special Olympics Bowling Team from New Braunfels Independent School District completed their season in February at the State Bowling tournament held in conjunction with the 2017 Special Olympics Texas Winter Games. The team comprised of 16 athletes brought home 12 state medals including two gold, three silver and seven bronze.
The state medalists will be honored at the April 17 Board meeting. The competitors that earned the designation as a state medalist in bowling at the 2017 Special Olympics Texas Winter Games include:
David Castro, 4th
Savannah Cayce and Jonathan Parker, 5th Unified Doubles
Joe Hernandez, 3rd
Lauren Louden, 2nd
Noah Mullen, 3rd
Quinn Perry, 4th
Jovana Vasquez, 3rd
Kristen Brown, 3rd
John Coombes, 2nd
Jonathan Cruz, 3rd
Gabriel Gomez, 3rd
Abygail Gonzalez, 1st
Marlaina Graves, 3rd
Robert Jara, 1st
Jacob Madden, 2nd
The competition included more than 2,000 athletes from across the state competing in four events; bowling, powerlifting, table tennis and volleyball. These bowlers earned a spot in the state tournament after competing at the area level in November. At the state level of competition, the bowlers are ranked by age and bowling average.
This year, NBISD had one Unified bowling team go to State to compete and in the Spring they will have multiple teams competing in track and field. In the past NBISD has had a variety of Unified teams in the area of bowling, bocce ball, tennis and track and field.
“Special Olympics Unified sports were created to dedicate the promotion of social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences,” said Catherine Archer, NBISD special education coordinator. “Unified Sports strive to join people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team. Special Olympics Unified teams were inspired by the principal - training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship.”
LEFT (OR TOP IMAGE) NBHS Bowling Team: (Front Row L-R) Noah Mullen, Lauren Louden, Jovana Vazquez, David Castro and Savannah Casey; (Back Row L-R) Jonathan Parker, Joe Hernandez and Quinn Perry
RIGHT (OR BOTTOM IMAGE) NBMS Bowling Team: (Front Row L-R) Abygail Gonzalez, Miguel Loyola, (Back Row L-R) Robert Leyva, Jasin Mendoza, Jordin Davidson, Jacob Madden. Not pictured: Kristen Brown and Marlaina Graves.
Walnut Springs Elementary held their Annual Career Day on April 6 and April 7 at the school. On April 6, the guest speakers were set up in the cafeteria for the students to hear about their respective careers. On April 7, the career day featured its Vehicle Day with the guests sporting their work vehicles outside on the school grounds.
On the first day, the students got to hear from a photographer, speech therapist, meteorologists, physical therapist, active military serviceman and a pair of engineers. These interactive sessions helped introduce the students to these particular careers and allowed them to ask questions about the job and what it takes to enter that career field.
On the second day, the students got to go outside and tour the vehicles including a fire truck, ambulance, and the AirLife helicopter.
“This event allows students to become aware of more possibilities for their future and it gives them a chance to see that what they are learning in school relates to future careers,” said Nina Grigsby, Walnut Springs Elementary counselor. “We are very grateful for all the community members who share their time and expertise with our students.”
CLICK HERE to view more photos from the event.
CAPTION: Air Life helicopter personnel with first-graders at the Walnut Springs Elementary Career Day on April 7, 2017.
The Business Professionals of America from New Braunfels High School competed at the State Leadership Conference held March 1-4 in Dallas and brought home four medals.
The students competed both in team and individual events with the following results:
Jada Webb and Cameron Welch – Computer Animation Team, 6th
Santiago Uribe – Entrepreneurship, 4th
Lauren Callahan – Interview Skills, 6th
Kolbe Eoff – Payroll Accounting, 6th
The following students also qualified for state, but did not place high enough to earn a medal:
Jonathan Maldonado, Fundamental Spreadsheet Applications
Jose Pablo Uribe, Banking & Finance
Joann Herring, Fundamental Spreadsheet Applications
Adyson Lincoln, Personal Financial Management
Corrie Kaufmann, Fundamental Desktop Publishing
Andres Uribe, Computer Animation Team
Hayley Stroud, Interview Skills
Emily Devers, Jonathan Pierce and Cooper Kaufmann – Broadcast News Production Team
Cameron Corzine, Kaleigh Corbell, Jaquile Athayae, Daniela Martinez – Small Business Management Team
Jordan Stewart, Nathan Downey and Olivia Esqueda – Computer Animation Team
Out of these students, several were awarded the Business Professionals of America’s Torch Awards Program. This program is designed to promote professionalist and leadership in both career development and personal growth. Students complete activities in seven Torch categories – Leadership; Service; Cooperation; Knowledge; Friendship; Love; Hope; Faith; and Patriotism. The following BPA members were honored with the Torch Award:
Cameron Corzine, Nathan Downey, Kolbe Eoff, Joann Herring, Cooper Kaufmann, Jonathan Maldonado, Jonathan Pierce, Jordan Stewart, Andres Uribe, Jose Pablo Urive and Santiago Uribe.
Kolbe Eoff was also selected as a National Candidate for Texas and will compete in Orlando with the aid of his campaign manager, Santiago Uribe. His campaign “Klimb With Kolbe” is based on the idea of climbing to success. He and his campaign manager are the only two traveling to Orlando to attend the BPA National Leadership Conference in May.
“I chose to run because of my love for BPA,” said Eoff. “I hope to learn a great deal of leadership, confidence, and communication. Three things I believe you can always improve upon.”
The BPA sponsor for NBHS is Beverly Trollinger.
CAPTION: Kolbe Eoff, Jada Webb, Cameron Welch, Santiago Uribe and Lauren Callahan
On March 24, Carl Schurz Elementary’s Gifted and Talented (GT) students came together as a team and participated in a high-stakes space station survival simulation titled “Space Station Alpha” as part of this semester’s project-based learning project.
The project started with mission preparation that takes place over the majority of the semester. The curriculum had a heavy emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts. Since the “Space Station Alpha” mission involved dealing with massive solar flares, the students learned about topics like the electromagnetic spectrum, fission and fusion, different kinds of radiation, states of matter and many topics covering properties of the sun.
During mission preparation, the students were split into teams specializing in radiation, life support, crisis management and communications.
The project culminated with mission day, a live simulation held in Carl Schurz’s library involving an online video feed between the team and “mission control”. The team used the concepts they’ve learned to complete the mission.
What could be described as organized chaos, the team came together to solve the problem in a whirlwind of group work that connected each small specialized team together to accomplish the main goal.
“I had given several of the students the role as leader of their team, and found that the experience helped them discover a strength in that area that they didn't realize they had,” said Melanie Bowen, Carl Schurz Elementary librarian and GT coordinator. “It was such a pleasure getting to see the students blossom in so many areas during this project.”
She, along with a few teachers, principals and parents were present to see the action unfold, though the work that was done completely by the students.
“I was immensely proud of them, as I have never seen that group work as well and as hard and as cohesively as I did that day,” said Bowen. “The experience was more than a science and problem-solving lesson, but an opportunity for students to discover their other talents.”
CAPTION: The Life Support Team members Ben Grijalva, Ella McKeown, and Tomlin Fischer take part in the “Space Station Alpha” simulation on March 24 at Carl Schurz Elementary.
New Braunfels ISD recently announced a number of administrative changes related to campus administrators throughout the district. The following individuals currently employed by NBISD will have new administrative positions for the 2017-2018 school year.
Sandra Lindsey, an assistant principal at New Braunfels Middle School, will be moving to County Line Elementary as assistant principal.
Christie Lawson, an assistant principal at New Braunfels High School, will be moving to New Braunfels Middle School to be an assistant principal.
Kelly Spencer, the current assistant principal at Memorial Elementary, will be moving to Veramendi Elementary as assistant principal.
Marisela Lopez, the current assistant principal at County Line Elementary, will be moving to Walnut Springs Elementary as assistant principal.
Jennifer Huffty, an assistant principal at Klein Road Elementary, will be moving to Lamar Elementary as assistant principal.
NBISD will have three vacancies next school year for assistant principals at Memorial Elementary, Voss Farms Elementary and Seele Elementary. All open positions will be posted on the Employment Opportunities page.
On March 19, the New Braunfels High School Varsity Winterguard made school history by performing in the finals of the Winterguard International Southwest Power Regional for the first time.
After an intensive fall season with the marching band, the outdoor colorguard ensemble transforms into the winterguard comprised of three indoor ensembles – varsity, junior varsity and cadets.
“Winterguard is a lot more intimate than the fall season,” said Geoffrey Sperling, NBHS Director of Colorguards, citing that the audience is physically closer to the performers in a closed setting like a gym or coliseum. “It demands a lot more from the performers from a theatrical standpoint.”
The ensembles combine their existing colorguard skills with theater, dance and props to tell a story. This year’s varsity production is called “Somewhere Forgotten.”
All three ensembles have placed in every competition they performed in this season including local and national circuits.
Most recently, the varsity ensemble competed in the Winterguard International Southwest Power Regional in Denton, the largest national-level competition in Texas that was comprised of more than 60 groups from six different states. Out of the all the groups competing, 40 of them were in the same classification as the NBHS varsity ensemble. NBHS’s varsity ensemble earned a spot in the finals for the first time in school history.
Sperling attributes the success of the NBHS winterguard program to years of upward growth and the student’s increased technical ability created by the passion they bring forth.
“The kids have worked so hard to build the program that they have,” said Sperling. “They found something that they can take pride in and find self-worth in, and that at the end of the day it is the mission of the New Braunfels High School colorguard.”
Varsity Cast List: Kayla Arredondo,Lindsay Bueche, Bailey Dimas, Deann Castilleja, Ariana Sandoval, Hannah Rivera, Brianna Gutierrez, Monika Mendoza, Dawson "Reed" Rogers, Mackenzie Poole, Tristan Rogers, Chloe Uelman, Amber Seidel, Mikayla Stump, Autumn Burrell, Amber Guyton and Graciela Herrera.
LINK TO VIDEO STORY: https://youtu.be/a9J8oZepM1g
During spring break, the Walnut Springs Elementary (WSE) robotics competition team brought home the First LEGO League Alamo East Region - Regional Championship Research Award for their creative ingenuity put forth towards strengthening human-animal relationships.
The team qualified to compete in the regional tournament after rising to the top against more than 200 teams at the qualifying tournament in San Antonio on Feb. 4.
Both tournaments consisted of two portions, robotic and research, that the team prepared for in advance. For the robotic portion, the team is given complex missions and objectives for their customized LEGO MindStorm robot to complete in a set timeframe.
The second portion is a research-based project. This year’s theme was “Animal Allies” and it challenged teams to solve an existing real-life problem. The solution should result in a strengthened human-animal relationship.
The problem identified by the team was the loss of law enforcement canine lives while on duty. The team noticed that a large percentage of lives were lost to either gunshot wounds or heat exhaustion. This was due to the dogs being fitted with either a cooling vest that exposed the dogs to gunshot wounds or a ballistic vest that could overheat them.
The team wanted to engineer a modular zipper-vest that both cools the dog and also provides ballistic protection. Since no such combination exists, the team needed to do research to figure out a solution.
The team shared their vest idea with experts from the field to gather advice on feasibility, safety, technological requirements, product effectiveness and cost projections. They started with the New Braunfels Police Department’s K-9 unit.
“We asked them questions about the vest and the concerns they had about their canine partners’ vulnerabilities,” said Seth Garza, a fifth-grader at WSE.
The team also reached out to a veterinarian for expert advice. “She said she liked the idea and thought it would benefit K-9 officers,” said Soloman Johnson, a fifth-grader at WSE. “She also said the cooling packet placement would be effective and safe.”
The end result was a high-tech combination of the two types of vests that utilizes a mobile rapid cooling system to recharge the cooling packets inside the vest.
They shared their solution with the NBPD K-9 unit that helped them get started.
“The officers responded very positively to our design and would definitely use it if it were available,” said Garza.
They also shared their solution with a mechanical engineer, Comal County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit, Glacier Tech, Igloo Coolers and even the Air Force and FBI.
For their presentation at the competition, the team created mock-ups of the vest and the rapid cooling system.
Their hard work and efforts were rewarded. Out of the 58 teams present in the regional tournament, the team was one of 12 to win a championship award. This was the first time the team made it to the championships out of the three years of competing.
Next year, opportunities to join the Robotics Club and Competition Team will expand into the middle school level with one team at Walnut Springs and up to two teams at New Braunfels Middle School. Volunteers Matthew and Lisa Sargent will serve as the coaches for the teams again next year.
CAPTION: Pictured (L-R): Allen Reed, Alpcan Meek, Dylan Furman, Solomon Johnson, Ian Clark, Nathan Aguirre, Seth Garza, Jonathon Stowe, Liam Lusby and Nicholas Sargent.
Several members from the NBHS SkillsUSA Criminal Justice and Auto Tech Teams advanced to the state level of competition after winning first place at their respective district meets.
NBHS had criminal justice students compete in the SkillsUSA district meet held Jan. 21 in Temple.
The criminal justice students competed in crime scene investigation, felony stop and job exhibit competitions at the district meet.
The crime scene investigation and felony stop teams both placed first and will compete at the state meet scheduled for April 6-9 in Corpus Christi.
The crime scene investigation team includes: Larissa Maurer, Jackeline Leyva and Itzel Lopez Gallegos. Serafin King and Nathan Ritzema make up the felony stop team.
The following criminal justice students entered their job exhibit posters and received an “Excellent” rating at district: Rylan Wolfe, Zane Mims, Logan Jordan, Jonathon Laurel, Serafin King, Nathan Ritzema, Larissa Maurer, Jackeline Leyva, Itzel Lopez Gallegos, Monica Suarez, Mercedes Suarez, Eric Marsh and Trey Barwick. Their sponsor is Jennifer Thompson.
The following auto tech students competed in the district job exhibit competition held on Feb. 3 and 4 in Waco and are eligible to advance to the state competition after winning 1st Place in their respective categories: Vail Ellis, Gerardo Cruz, Jesus Aguilera and David Mock. Their sponsor is David Maupin.
Auto Tech State Qualifiers: Vail Ellis, Gerardo Cruz, Jesus Aguilera and David Mock
Criminal Justice State Qualifiers: (Back Row L-R) Serafin King, Felony Stop; Nathan Ritzema, Felony Stop; (Front Row L-R) Jackeline Leyva, Crime Scene Investigation; Itzel Lopez Gallegos, Crime Scene Investigation; and Larissa Maurer, Crime Scene Investigation.