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
“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: (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,
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:
Honorable Mention—Mikayla Olson, “Tootsie Roll Licks”
Third—Matthew Salopek, “Archimedes Principle”
Second—Brandy Olson, “Warmest Cloth” (Sra. Ortiz)
First—Tino Verdugo, “Bottle Rocket Challenge”
Honorable Mention—Elizabeth Davila, “Heart Rock”
Honorable Mention—Garrett Greene, “BB Ballistics”
Third—Joshua Mallett, “Egg Drop” (Ms. Chavez)
Second—Becca Beachler, “Markers and Solvents”
First—David Romero, “Salty Soil and Worms” (Ms.
Honorable Mention—Carly Albert, “Is Learning Fun?”
Third—Brooke Reiche, “Growing Mold” (Ms. Griego)
Second—Mathias Perez, “Chromatography” (Ms. Griego)
First—Mariah Archibeque, “Acid Rain and Materials”
Judging the entries were Bill and Helena Swift, Scotia Kurowski,
and Larry O’Hanlon.
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 www.nshss.org.
Youth demand information on APS military recruitment
—SOUTHWEST ORGANIZING PROJECT
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,
For more information, contact Casandra Stewart at (505) 615-8699,
Rodrigo Rodriguez at (505) 620-1476, or Maria Santelli at (505)
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
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
For more information or an application, you may call 896-1885.
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 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
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