Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas Agriculture Commissioner grants South Texas College’s DEMSA $100K

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples awarded $100,000 to South Texas College’s Starr County Campus Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA). At the grant check presentation from left are STC President Shirley A. Reed, Texas State Representative for District 31 Ryan Guillen, STC Starr County Campus Site Coordinator Ruben Saenz, STC Associate Dean of High School Programs Nick Gonzalez, Rio Grande High School DEMSA Student Jose Luis Garcia Jr., STC Coordinator of Dual Enrollment Academies Guadalupe Chavez, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, and STC Vice President for Academic Affairs Juan Mejia.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples awarded $100,000 to South Texas College’s Starr County Campus Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA). The academy provides qualifying Rio Grande City and Roma high school students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in biology weeks before graduating high school.
The grant is made possible through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s new Parallel Pathways to Success Pilot Grant Program, an initiative designed to provide eligible high schools, institutions of higher learning and other similar organizations with funding for programs that give rural Texas students the opportunity to learn workforce skills and training, and earn college credit prior to high school graduation.
“South Texas College has created an innovative model for other schools around the state,” Commissioner Staples said. “A program like the Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy at South Texas College is a terrific example of a parallel avenue offered to students to earn the skills they need to fill local jobs and enter the workforce. This creates careers for our young adults and keeps top-notch businesses in and coming to Texas.”
Students apply for the two-year dual enrollment academy as sophomores and are accepted based on their academic achievements and commitment to personal enrichment. Through STC’s DEMSA participants have access to unique opportunities like internships at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, college tours, college scholarship application assistance, receiving certifications in CPR and first aid, receiving academic and life success counseling and participating in community service programs.
"STC's DEMSA is creating invaluable opportunities for students like me and help us make good decisions," said Jose Luis Garcia Jr., Rio Grande High School DEMSA student. "Before I never thought about going to college and whenever someone mentioned the word college to me, all I thought about was thousands of dollars in tuition and big, thick books. Joining DEMSA was the best decision of my life because now all I see is my future as a doctor. I want to thank Mr. Staples for his investment in our futures. I can assure him we will not let him down."
To date, more than 40 students have graduated from STC’s DEMSA, going on to study at premier colleges across the state including Baylor University, The University of Texas-San Antonio Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and The University of Texas-Pan American.
“According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 39 percent of Rio Grande Valley residents over the age of 25 do not earn a high school diploma, much less a college degree and that statistic is startling,” said Dr. Shirley A. Reed, STC president. “STC’s DEMSA students are the exception. They have a passion for the medical field motivating them to complete high school and two years of college while, at the same time, juggling a full academic schedule with extracurricular activities, volunteer work, family life and work obligations. We are so proud to now partner with the Texas Department of Agriculture to further extend our commitment to reaching even more Starr County students through our innovation with DEMSA. “
In total, TDA selected five programs to receive funding through the Parallel Pathways to Success Pilot Program. For more information about the program, visit TDA’s Web site at
For more information about South Texas College visit For more information about the college’s DEMSA contact Guadalupe Chavez at 956-872-3499.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alto Bonito Elementary Remembers 9/11


Even after eight years, the events of September 11, 2001, remain fresh in the minds of all Americans. We are certainly still reflective of the sacrifices made by the public safety workers and others who rushed toward danger that day, and of the sacrifices members of the nation's armed forces continue to make in Iraq and Afghanistan to help keep them safe and us Free. Alto Bonito Elementary honored local heroes in a short program. They had a moment of silence and rang bells at the time each plane hit the Towers, The Pentagon and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Maria Bazan’s Kinder Class sang “This Land is Your Land”, Mrs. Sandra Sanchez’ 2nd Grade Class sang, “It’s a Grand Ole Flag”, and Mrs. Cindy Solis’ 4th Grade Class sang a song entitled “We Remember”. The Event was a great success and we would like to Thank everyone that took part in organizing it. Most importantly we would like to Send out a Great Special Thank You to the local Heroes that attended this celebrated event. Pictured above are: Mrs. Bazan’s Kinder Class, Mrs. Sandra Sanchez’ 2nd Grade Class, Mrs. Cindy Solis’ 4th Grade Class, and our Local Heroes: Lilliana Zarate, RN, Edith Hernandez, LVN, Edel Cadena, LVN, Santiago Zarate, Constable, Robert Benavidez, School Nurse, Armando Acevedo, Fire Fighter, Jose Guerra, Jr., Fire Fighter, Pedro Morin, Fire Fighter, Juan Cisnero, Fire Fighter, Sergio Contreras, Fire Fighter, Ricardo Trevino, La Grulla Police Dept., Rolando Rangel, La Grulla Police Dept., Desi Olivares, La Grulla Police Dept, and Gilbert Garcia, La Grulla Police Dept.

Picture & Article by: Alto Bonito Staff

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rio Grande City High School Principal presented with Gift


Rio Grande City High School Principal Mr. Jorge Recio is presented with a gift in appreciation for his hard work and dedication by his staff. The high school has achieved a "Recognized" rating by the Texas Education Agency. This honor that Mr. Recio attributes to his students, teachers and all other support personnel who play a vital role in the education of students. (RGCCISD Photo).

Rio Grande City High School Administration Honors Staff


Rio Grande City High School Principal, Mr. Jorge Recio, honored all of his staff in a grand way on Friday, August 21, 2009. The high school was ranked by the Texas Education Agency as a "Recognized" campus. Texas is home to 83 5A high schools and only 5 of the 5A campuses received this rating.

Mr. Recio was elated with the scores and credits the parents, students and teachers for their dedication and hard work. A feast was prepared in honor of all of the high school staff from the cafeteria personnel, custodians, teachers, and all support staff. Special guests inlcluded were Board Members, District Administrators, Principals, Community Leaders and City Officials. The Rio Grande City Mighty Cascabel Mariachi serenaded the audience as they gathered and and took a moment to socialize with colleagues.

The invocation was given by Mr. R.C. Salinas followed by the Presentation of Colors by the Rio Grande City High School JROTC. Mr. Recio was accompanied by his Assistant Principals and Deans of Instruction in honoring the staff in a very special ceremony.

"Rio Grande City High School is a community of learners we have really made a difference and we have met our goals with much excitement," said Mr.. Jorge Recio. He also thanked the the school Board of Trustees for their role in insuring that the students and teachers are given tools to pursue great things.

The Honorable Ryan Guillen was at hand to congratulate the staff for the accomplishments and the school board for providing the tools for a good foundation by allowing the teachers to succeed. "I am honored for the opportunity to represent you in the Texas House of Representatives," he said. Representative Guillen emphasized the importance of educators and how it is not an easy job, but one of the most vital ones. He feels very thankful for the education that he received in Rio Grande City and applauds the hard work that teachers do to educate the students in the community. To the teachers he said, "Everyday you are confronted with the reality that a life is in your hands. It is an amazing responsibity".

The Honorable Judge Alex W. Gabert was also present and spoke of how proud he is to be a product of the Rio Grande City School District and a Rattler. He reminisced on his own education and the values instilled in him by his teachers. He still lives by this standards and attributes much of his success on his eduction in the Rio Grande City Schools. He also credits his mother for making sure he got a good education. He stressed on the sacrifices made by parents everyday so that their children can achieve a good education.

Several other past principals of Rio Grande City High School were invited to the celebration to share in the great accomplishment of this high school. Mr. Israel Ybarra and Mr. Mike Villarreal both attended this event, as well as, other special guests that included Dr. Robert Zamora and Dr. Richard Irizarry. Pictured are Rio Grande City High School educators. (RGCCISD Photo).

Bitsy Margo Honored as Outstanding Clubwoman Volunteer


Elizabeth “Bitsy” Margo was honored by the GFWC/TFWC Florence J. Scott Study Club of Rio Grande City as their Outstanding Clubwoman Volunteer for 2008. She was later selected as the Outstanding Clubwoman Volunteer of the Year for the South Texas District of TFWC, which was announced at the Spring Convention in Kingsville. She was subsequently recognized at the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs state convention in Westlake, Texas, where she was congratulated by the State and International presidents.

Bitsy Margo has been very active in all club programs and projects since she joined the Florence J. Scott Study Club in 1974. She was involved when the club planned its very first A.I.M. Banquet and has been instrumental in its success. Having taught for 15 years and served as an elementary counselor for 16 years, Bitsy is very dedicated to serving youth and to education, the dual purpose of the annual A.I.M. event. Honorees from Rio Grande City High School are chosen for their exemplary achievements. The honor is very competitive and much sought-after. This event is held during April, so the club celebrates Federation Day by informing the youth and their guests about the club and federation and their goals and purposes. In 2007, Bitsy gave the Federation Day Program at the banquet, and the event was a big success with her able leadership.

Other participation in the F. J. Scott Study Club includes having held the offices of president twice, 1989-91 and 1993-94, corresponding secretary, recording secretary, and parliamentarian. Bitsy has served on the following committees: program, yearbook, membership, finance, service, amendments & revisions, publicity, reports, social, scholarship and telephone. She has chaired the Education, Special Projects, Home Life, and the Arts Departments.

Bitsy’s community involvement is quite extensive. She and her husband of 36 years, Javier, are active members of Immaculate Conception Church and are active in El Cid Caravan 106, she with the Sultanas. A Life Member of the Girl Scouts of America, 32 years, and Troop Leader for 16 years, she served as community cookie chair for five years and Council and Troop Advisor, six years. She received the Elizabeth Anne Seton Religious Medal presented by Tip of Texas Girl Scout Council and the Diocese of Brownville for religious education to Girl Scouts. A member of Beta Sigma Phi since 1993, Bitsy has served as president, parliamentarian, and chapter sweetheart of Beta Eta Tau, which honored her as Woman of the Year in 1997. She also served as president, parliamentarian and chapter sweetheart of Beta Zeta Omicron, which bestowed the honor of Woman of the Year in 1993. She served as the Miss Rio Grande City Pageant Chairwoman for eight years.

Bitsy attended Rio Grande City Schools, has a B.A. in Elementary Ed. with a minor in History and a Masters of Adult Education with certifications in Counseling, History, Bilingual Education and Special Education. A highly respected educator, Bitsy is a member of A.T.P.E., the Association of Texas Professional Educators, and the Texas Counseling Association, was named Roque Guerra, Jr. Elementary School’s “Teacher of the Year” for 2000-2001, and has received three nominations to Who’s Who among American Educators. She has served her school as Cheerleader sponsor, Student Council sponsor, Safety Patrol sponsor, and has been on the Site-based Decision Making Committee, six years; Campus Leaders’ Committee, two years; Language Proficiency Assessment Committee, 14 years; and Gifted and Talented Campus Committee, 12 years.

Other organizations include the American Association of University Women, six years, D.A.R., two years, 4-H Adult Leader, and SCAN, the Starr County Coalition for the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.

Activities and Charities which have benefitted from her volunteer service and tremendous organizational skills are the annual Math-a-Thon for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 20 years, Bike-a-thon for St. Jude’s, three years, March of Dimes, Jerry’s Kids (MDA), M. D. Anderson Hospital, and Toys for Tots. She has coordinated annual Food Drives for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Red Ribbon Activities, and Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns. She has served for many years as a Starr County Youth Fair projects judge and has been involved in fundraising for United Way, Ronald McDonald House, and Pennies for Patients for children who are leukemia patients. These many accomplishments were achieved while raising two children, Javier David Margo, Jr. MD and Denise Yvette Margo Moy. She and Javier now have two granddaughters, Kara Elizabeth Moy and Gabriella Rose Margo. Despite a busy family life, work schedule, and volunteer service, she enjoys her hobbies of baking, sewing, crafts, scrapbooking, and photography.

She has held TFWC District Chairmanships, including MD Anderson, Texas Heritage, Special Projects, Home Life, and the Arts. She has always faithfully and promptly reported to TFWC from her South Texas District appointments. She has been an important leader in hosting numerous District Level Fall Board meetings and Spring Conventions over the years. The F. J. Scott Study Club is proud to announce Bitsy Margo as our Outstanding Clubwoman/Volunteer for 2008 and to congratulate her for South Texas District and TFWC honors.