The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Science teacher Belle Rehder

Science teacher Belle Rehder helps students at Cochiti Middle School

Bernalillo Public Schools science teacher wins State Teacher of the Year award

The Air Force Association (AFA) named Belle Rehder, science teacher at Cochiti Middle School “State Teacher of the Year.” The award recognizes the exceptional performance of a teacher who educates and encourages youth in the fields of math, science, and technology. Cochiti Middle School is in the Bernalillo Public Schools (BPS) District.

“Ms. Rehder was nominated for the award by the Albuquerque AFA Chapter to recognize her excellence in providing her students with quality education and stimulating their interest in aerospace-related subjects,” said John Toohey, AFA Vice President, Albuquerque Chapter 258. “The New Mexico State AFA organization annually selects one teacher from New Mexico who goes the “extra mile” to increase student interest in math, science, and technology.”

According to Mr. Toohey, Ms. Rehder is an active participant in the AFA’s “Visions of Exploration” program, which is a cooperative program with USA TODAY Education, aimed at developing the skills necessary for success in math and science among the nation’s elementary and middle school students.

“I am very proud of Ms. Rehder’s selection as ‘State Teacher of the Year’ by the AFA,” said Cochiti Middle School Principal Michael Weinberg. “She is an exemplary teacher and has worked hard to bring innovative programs into the classroom that make the exploration of science fun and interesting.”

To honor Ms. Rehder, a recognition celebration was held at the Cochiti Middle School gymnasium in May. At the celebration, Ms. Rehder was presented with a certificate award, a check for $1,000, and a personalized jacket by Retired Col. Ed Tooley, New Mexico State AFA President.

Placitas Elementary Science Fair winners

Placitas Elementary Science Fair winners: (left to right) Front row: Joshua Mallett, Matthew Salopek; Second row: Elizabeth Davila, Garret Greene, Becca Beachler, Tino Verdugo; Back row: Mariah Archibeque, Mathias Perez, Carly Albert, Brooke Reiche, David Romero.

Placitas Elementary honors Science Fair winners

A fantastic array of science was on display April 26 at the Placitas Elementary School Science Fair. Students from third through fifth grades scientifically investigated questions ranging from the effects of prolonged earthquake shaking to whether dogs inhale or exhale while barking (they inhale). Judges had a tough time choosing the winners among the competitive third, fourth, and fifth grade entries. But after interviewing every student and giving careful deliberation, the judges decided on the following top entries:

Third Grade:
Honorable Mention—Mikayla Olson, “Tootsie Roll Licks” (Ms. Madrid)
Third—Matthew Salopek, “Archimedes Principle” (Sra. Ortiz)
Second—Brandy Olson, “Warmest Cloth” (Sra. Ortiz)
First—Tino Verdugo, “Bottle Rocket Challenge” (Sra. Ortiz)

Fourth Grade:
Honorable Mention—Elizabeth Davila, “Heart Rock” (Mr. Sheehan)
Honorable Mention—Garrett Greene, “BB Ballistics” (Mr. Sheehan)
Third—Joshua Mallett, “Egg Drop” (Ms. Chavez)
Second—Becca Beachler, “Markers and Solvents” (Ms. Chavez)
First—David Romero, “Salty Soil and Worms” (Ms. Chavez)

Fifth Grade
Honorable Mention—Carly Albert, “Is Learning Fun?” (Ms. Griego)
Third—Brooke Reiche, “Growing Mold” (Ms. Griego)
Second—Mathias Perez, “Chromatography” (Ms. Griego)
First—Mariah Archibeque, “Acid Rain and Materials” (Ms. Griego)

Judging the entries were Bill and Helena Swift, Scotia Kurowski, and Larry O’Hanlon.

Evan Rounds

Rounds graduates from college with honors

Evan Rounds, graduate of Placitas Elementary School and Rio Rancho High School’s Class of 2003, graduated with distinction from the University of Oklahoma in May 2007. He earned a Bachelor of Art in Sociology-Criminology with two additional honors. Son of longtime Placitans Roger and Lynn Rounds, Evan stayed on the Dean’s List or President’s List the entire four years at OU and has been accepted to OU’s graduate school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Counterterrorism.

Marguerite Sheehan honored by National Society

The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) announced that Bernalillo High School student Marguerite V. Sheehan, daughter of Vince and Teresa Sheehan, from Placitas, has been selected for membership. The Society recognizes the top scholars in the nation and invites only those students who have achieved superior academic excellence. The announcement was made by NSHSS Founder and Chairman Claes Nobel, a senior member of the Swedish Nobel family.

“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and commitment that Marguerite has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence,” said Mr. Nobel. “Marguerite is now a member of a unique community of scholars—a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”

NSHSS has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships since its inception just four years ago. For more information, visit

Youth demand information on APS military recruitment

Since January 2007, the youth of the SouthWest Organizing Project and Another Side, a project of the Peace and Justice Center, have been waiting for the results of a study on the status of “Equal Access” in Albuquerque Public High Schools. They have been organizing around decreasing enlistment of young people, who are not given the opportunity to make informed decisions about their futures. “Equal Access” commits campuses to provide objectivity and fairness in presenting all sides of an issue. Last month at the District Relations Committee of the APS School Board, they demanded the report be heard and action be taken immediately. The report was once again rescheduled for May 3.

“We don’t have the opportunity for objectivity; we get bombarded to join the military with phone calls and advertisements that sell us heroism and freedom. But what about the freedom to make the most informed choice for myself? I need to hear about the options I have to contribute to society, and that it’s not related to killing innocent poor people,” states Rodrigo Rodriguez, former Albuquerque High School student.

“The meetings for this report have been cancelled month after month since January. This month, the meeting was cancelled for a party that the school board is attending. Equal access should be a priority to the school board. I hate to see my friends being put on the front line,” stated Julian Moya, former student of West Mesa High School. He read a letter to the board written by both organizations pushing for the release of the report.

APS has been discussing the study since the summer of 2006 and in October, the superintendent made a request for it to begin. On January 25, the District Relations Committee was to report on the findings, but have consistently canceled or rescheduled the results of the study to this day.

“We believe the results will speak to the heightened military recruitment for the war in Iraq. APS doesn’t want it to be known that they are funneling our youth into this unjust effort. They should be held accountable,” stated Maria Santelli of the Peace and Justice Center. “We are asking for education, not militarization.”

For more information, contact Casandra Stewart at (505) 615-8699, Rodrigo Rodriguez at (505) 620-1476, or Maria Santelli at (505) 268-9557.

Five years of Early Head Start in Sandoval County

In May, Early Head Start (EHS) in Sandoval County hosted its five-year anniversary celebration. The celebration took place at Haynes Park in Rio Rancho with lots of food and fun.

Early Head Start is for pregnant women and for children under the age of three. The program was created as a result of the increasing number of research studies regarding the brain that showed the importance of early development and learning before the age of three, and even before birth.

In April 2002, Presbyterian Medical Services’ Sandoval County Head Start began its Early Head Start home-based program. In the program, a home visitor meets with a family each week for ninety minutes to share ideas and activities that can help children grow and learn. Since the parent is the child’s first teacher, EHS wants to help each parent become the very best that he or she can be. The home visitor also assists the family with any issues or concerns and helps the family to access community resources. Each week, three home visitors visit twenty-seven pregnant moms and children in Rio Rancho and Bernalillo.

Recently, the Early Head Start staff looked back over the past five years and found that over one hundred seventy-six pregnant moms and children have been served during approximately forty-five hundred home visits. Children who were newborns when the program began are now in kindergarten or the first grade.

The original three staff members—Francelle Alexander, Veronica Estrada, and Gwen Piper—continue to be with the program and a new home visitor, Michelle Romero, has been added. The home visitors are now a little older, wiser, and “travel-worn,” but they continue to find their work and play with young children highly rewarding.

For more information or an application, you may call 896-1885.

Donovan Candelaria

Donovan Candelaria

San Felipe student to receive National Park Service award

Donovan Candelaria, a Bernalillo High School senior from San Felipe Pueblo, has been selected by the National Park Service (NPS) for a summer internship as a park guide at Bandelier National Monument. The award is given as part of the Place and Native Voice Program, which gives visitors to national parks, monuments and historic sites the rare opportunity to learn about the plants, animals, and special places from the point of view of the culture of the people who are indigenous to the area.

The program is co-sponsored by the NPS and the University of Colorado’s Graduate School of Public Affairs. Its purpose is to train college and university students whose family, clan, or tribe has a traditional cultural or historical affiliation with an NPS site as cultural resource interpreters under the NPS Interpretation Division.

“I feel very encouraged by the award,” said Candelaria. “I can teach other people my culture. I think it is very important that we all teach each other about where we came from. I am excited about the opportunity.”

Candelaria and his family have been a part of the Cultural Demonstration Program at Bandelier National Monument for many years. Candelaria has been making pottery since he was four years old and also demonstrates Native American dance. He was taught pottery-making by his father and mother Roger and Diane Candelaria. The tradition was handed down from Candelaria’s grandmother, famous potter Isabelle Candelaria.

Candelaria will begin his internship on May 22 and will live in the forest near Bandelier Monument. “I enjoy the outdoors—the fresh air, the sound of the trees and birds,” he said. “It feels wide-open; you see nature and the birds.”

Drawing is also a passion of Candelaria. He will attend CNM upon graduation and plans to major in AutoCAD architecture. Candelaria will receive three college English credits as part of his internship.

“Donovan is very deserving of this opportunity,” said Superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder. “He is a good student—articulate, knowledgeable of the history of his culture, and multi-talented in the arts. We are so proud of this young man.”

MDO Second Annual
Toddler Olympics held in Placitas

The Placitas Mothers’ Day Out Program (MDO) will host its second annual Toddler Olympics, Saturday, June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, at Homestead Village Shopping Center, on Highway 165. This free event, which will give younger children the opportunity to show off their keen motor skills, is part of Placitas Appreciation Day.

This year’s Olympics feature a tricycle/bicycle/scooter agility course, a step up from last year’s tricycle races. “We decided to make it a little more challenging for the little ones this year,” says Debbie Stueber, director of the MDO Program. According to Stueber, the agility course will include wet and dry obstacles, traffic cones, and other challenges. “All children between the ages of 18 months and six years are invited to show off their talent in this fun activity.”

In addition to the agility course, other children’s activities will include a basketball toss, activity table, bubbles, and more. Every child who participates will receive a ribbon, says Stueber. All equipment will be provided by the MDO program, so children just need to show up ready for fun.

Placitas Mother's Day Out (MDO) is a non-profit, cooperative childcare program that provides children with a safe and caring environment in which to play, share, and “be children.” As the only community-based child care option in Placitas, the program also offers a much-needed respite for moms and dads with pre-school-age children, says Stueber.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” says Stueber, adding that the event is made possible by the generous support of local sponsors. “In addition to our corporate sponsorships, we are hoping to raise funds by offering several gift baskets for raffle,” she said. The baskets include a variety of items such as front-row, behind-home-plate tickets to an Albuquerque Isotopes game, beauty salon gift certificates, gift certificates to local businesses, and more.

For more information about the event, contact Debbie Stueber at 867-5718 or Jennifer Delaney at 867-8015. Additional contacts regarding Placitas MDO are Larry O’Hanlon, 867-4311, and Cathy Garber 615-3261.



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