Presidio High Band Director Wins Prestigious Music Award

When longtime Presidio Independent School District Band Director Lucy Ferguson heard she had won the prestigious Marcia McEntye Zoffuto Hero Award, it was quite unexpected.

In her 27th year with Presidio ISD, Ferguson said some of the people she was up against had a lot more contest experience and had won awards.

“I was surprised that really wasn’t their focus for this award. I was pretty honored and humbled and the same time,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson will receive the laurel during the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale performance of Mozart’s Requiem at 7:30 p.m. March 5 at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center. John Gillian, an Ector County Independent School District elementary music teacher and an administrator in the fine arts office, said the award will be presented during the intermission around 9 or 9:15 p.m.

Presidio doesn’t have football, so it doesn’t offer field marching. It has parade marching instead. “The other big activity we do in the fall is … a fall musical,” Ferguson said. She added that this is for the whole district – mostly high school and middle school, but some elementary students, as well.

“We also have a pretty thriving jazz band in the spring,” she added. The group enter solo ensemble in the region competition, but the big University Interscholastic League competitions were something of an “esteem basher” for her students.

“There’s a lot of kids who don’t have the family history of being in band,” Ferguson said. Their parents may not speak English and may have attended schools in Mexico.

“It’s kind of like us fitting a square peg in a round hole at contests. I wanted to look at it in a different way, a different light,” she added.

Ferguson grew up on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, the youngest of 12 children. In addition to being a farmer and school bus driver, her father Anthony was a steel guitarist in “Cousin Merle & the Maple Leaf Cowboys.” When she was 5, Ferguson joined her sisters in a vocal ensemble called “The McBride Sisters.”

She took up the trombone in fifth grade and knew she wanted to be a band director. She attended the University of Northern Iowa where she studied music education and trombone. She also was involved in marching band, concert band, jazz ensemble and several community groups.

Her husband, John, is from Dallas and was in graduate school at the University of Northern Iowa. When he was ready to graduate, Ferguson still had two more years of school left.

“He sent applications to all the local schools and Presidio was the only one that responded,” Lucy Ferguson said. “That was 29 years ago. He got his first job down here. Two years later, they actually created position for me. When I started, they started a middle school band for me. He was an elementary music teacher and the high school band director.”

About seven years ago, John Ferguson, who also is mayor of Presidio, became high school counselor, so Lucy took over the band program and was put over the whole district.

Gillian said the Scores for Music Committee, which he chairs, starts soliciting Hero award nominations in August. The award is named for Marcia McEntyre Zoffuto, daughter of legendary Permian High School band director J.R. McEntyre and his wife, Evelyn.

Zoffuto, a Permian graduate who was an outstanding music educator at Coyle Middle School in Rowlett, died in August 2008. She inspired many students and colleagues to greatness, according to information from Gillian.

Full Story at Odessa American

Presidio ISD Earns Distinction from State

School districts in Far West Texas met the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) accountability rating standards this year, including Presidio ISD, which also received academic distinctions and achievements.

Superintendent Dennis McEntire said the district’s success is a group effort.

“The credit for performance of the district is too often given to administrators and programming,” said McEntire. “If things are going well in a school, it is a result of the time and effort put in by teachers, students and parents.”

He added that these dedicated teachers, engaged students and supportive parents make things go well if they focus on the positives.

Lucy Rede Franco Middle School received some distinction designations, which are awarded for outstanding academic performance, including academic achievement in social studies and postsecondary readiness. Presidio Elementary received academic achievement in science, top 25 percent closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness.

McEntire said the district has to adjust options, programs and opportunities to fit the community needs. In Presidio, that’s continuing education beyond high school. PISD has done with this through the T-STEM Academy and early college high school.

“First generation, at-risk college-going students have to have support systems in place and a financial incentive that works with a low income population,” said McEntire.


Full Story at Big Bend Sentinel

Presidio City Council Facing Budget Challenges

At Thursday’s city council meeting, the city’s grim financial situation provided the backdrop for a number of agenda items, including the potential dissolution of the Center for Business Education & Entrepreneurship (CBEE), a push to maximize interlocal cooperation, and a discussion of setting up a franchise for supplying natural gas to the city.

Manuel Fausett, the co-project manager of the CBEE approached the council to give a status report on the organization: “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news and I understand the financial situation that the city of Presidio is in,” Fausett said. “We may have to close our doors unless we find another way to sustain it.”

He added, “Unless the city helps out in some way economically, this is going to shut down and take a lot more resources to get it going again.”

The organization, which provides youth in the community with the resources to obtain real-life business experience, and offers paid internships to its participants, has been open since June 2014, and has relied on grant funding to exist. However, now that its grant is set to expire, the organization must find funding elsewhere.

Fausett added that Presidio ISD has been pivotal in mitigating some of the organization’s primary expenses—including office space, utilities and access to Wi-Fi. However, there are still some expenses that cannot be covered by the school district.

City administrator Marco Baeza said, “It looks like a good program but I’m not sure the city can come up with the funding.”

Councilmember Dimitri Garcia asked Fausett how much it would take to keep the organization up and running. Fausett said he estimated something in the ballpark of $24,000.

“We love working there and working with the kids,” Fausett said. “The kids gain life experience by working on projects. With our supervision, they gain a lot of experience.”

Baeza requested that Fausett provide a detailed budget proposal so that the city could assess where it could provide help.


Read More at Big Bend Sentinel

Presidio ISD Police Dept. Offering EMT Training

The Presidio ISD Police Department will be offering an EMT basic course through their office beginning on the weekend of September 12.

The course will mostly be administered online and Officer/EMT-I Saul Pardo will be offering a classroom component at the PISD Police Department office on weekends to make it viable for those working during the week.

A fee of $600 will cover tuition, books and clinical rotations. Once students complete the course and pass the national registry exam, they will have the opportunity to have a career as an EMT basic anywhere in Texas, and nationwide.

More Details at Big Bend Now

Presidio Principal of the Year

Dr. Edgar B. Tibayan, principal of Lucy Rede Franco Middle School in Presidio, has been selected to represent the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) as a Region 18 Outstanding Principal of the Year. As such, Tibayan will be eligible to compete for the state title of Texas Principal of the Year.

TASSP recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from the twenty region Education Service Centers in the state. School administrators are nominated and chosen by their peers within their regions. Nominations are based upon exemplary performance and outstanding leadership.

Dr. Edgar B. Tibayan (Photo Courtesy Big Bend Sentinel)

Dr. Edgar B. Tibayan
(Photo Courtesy Big Bend Sentinel)

Tibayan, who has served at the middle school since 2011, attended Cavite State University in the Philippines, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in agriculture with a major in education and a minor in economics. He received his Masters of Education degree with a major in educational management from De La Salle University in Dasmarinas, Phillipines, and later completed his Doctor of Education degree in 2002, when he received the “Highest Distinction Award.”


More at Big Bend Sentinel

Border Leaders Gather at UTEP to Seek Solutions

West Texas leaders from the border headed to El Paso today, for day one of the U.S. Mexico Summit.

Hundreds were in attendance from both sides of the border, discussing the most pressing issues between both nations.

Leaders from both sides of the border packed the University of Texas at El Paso for the 2015 U.S. Mexico Summit.

“I think just these informal moments where we’re talking to each other, and learning from each other’s experiences are going to be profoundly important in moving our agenda forward,” said Congressman “Beto” O’Rourke of the 16th District of Texas.

Panel members included Mexico Senators, Texas congressmen, Susana Martinez, the Governor of New Mexico, and officials from both public and private sectors – just to name a few.

West Texas leaders from Presidio were front row center.

“Presidio, Odessa, Ojinaga and Chihuahua City are all coming together now and I think we’re on the verge of something really, really big. Conferences like [this] just reinforce that we’re barking up the right tree,” said Brad Newton, the Executive Director of the Presidio Municipal Development District.

Conversations about the importance of education, and harmonious relationships triggered applause.

Most – if not all – are on the same page. Mexico and the United States can’t function without each other.

“We have some tricks that they don’t have, but they have manufacturing we don’t have. When we meet those two together, it’s a perfect partnership,”

The exchange of business and educational ideas, and successful partnerships between the public and private sectors – like sports and world renown museums – were only examples of the potential both countries have working with one another.

“Talk about the issues and try to work together and not let the sometimes negative political rhetoric damage that relationship,” said Alejandra de la Vega, the Chief Executive Officer of Almacenes Distribuidores de la Frontera.

Presidio is on the front lines of doing business with Mexico. The Trans Pecos Pipeline is one of many big projects happening there which will benefit both countries.

“The 42-inch gas pipeline that will bring 1.4 billion cubic feet of Texas natural gas to Mexico. Second is the expansion of the port of entry bridge from two lanes to four. Then, of course, repair the railroad bridge and also make it a cattle crossing,” said Newton.

It was Mayor John Ferguson’s first time at an international meeting.

“We just want to keep these lines of communication open,” said Ferguson.

Story Continues at News West 9

Exhibition: Landscapes of the American West and Texas

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, presents the exhibition “Frank Reaugh: Landscapes of Texas and the American West.” The exhibition explores the life and work of artist, educator, inventor and naturalist Charles Franklin Reaugh (1860–1945), pronounced “Ray.” One of the Southwest’s earliest and most distinguished artists, Reaugh worked in the vein of American Impressionism and devoted his career to visually documenting the vast, unsettled regions of the Southwest before the turn of the 20th century.

The exhibition, which runs from Aug. 4 through Nov. 29, offers a rare opportunity for visitors to experience a historical survey of the most significant works created by an artist often referred to as “the Dean of (early) Texas Artists.”

Born in southern Illinois, Reaugh arrived in Texas by covered wagon in 1876 and was sketching memorable scenes by the early 1880s while riding with trail drivers at the height of Texas’ cattle roundups. The vast southwestern prairie and native Longhorn cattle quickly became lifelong subjects of study for Reaugh. “No other artist had the opportunity or the desire to paint such subjects,” Reaugh once stated. “Now the subjects have passed. They will not be painted with like authenticity again.”

Drawing on more than 100 artworks in the Ransom Center’s Frank Reaugh collection, as well as other archives, museums and private collections across the state, the exhibition examines Reaugh’s mastery of the pastel medium and his sophisticated yet direct approach to the challenges of landscape painting, particularly en plein air (painting outdoors). Although Reaugh’s contributions have often been linked to the region, his work holds broad historical precedents within the evolution of art of the American West.

“As a witness to the cattle drives of the 1880s and the trail drivers’ way of life, Reaugh gave his artworks an authoritative quality that will undoubtedly sustain his well-deserved reputation as the painter of the Texas Longhorn for many years to come,” said Peter F. Mears, curator of art at the Ransom Center. “Yet Frank Reaugh was more—far more—than simply a cattle painter.”

Read More at UT News

Inspiring Story of a Presidio Teacher

In the middle of the Texas desert, on the border with Mexico, sits the tiny town of Presidio.

If you’re a kid looking to escape the poverty and isolation of Presidio, there’s really no greater vehicle than the Presidio Rocket Club. It was launched a few years ago by a firecracker of a science teacher named Shella Condino.

“I wanted to teach the kids: You want something so bad, you put your heart into it,” she says.

Her goal isn’t really to make future rocket scientists; it’s more just to make futures.

“In rocketry, you don’t have instructions on how to build it,” says tenth-grader Marla Baltazar. “And that’s how life is. It doesn’t come with instructions, you have to make it on your own.”

Her teacher knows all about that. Born dirt-poor in the Philippines, she came to the U.S. on a temporary work visa. She came to Presidio because no American teachers would.

See the Video at CBS News