Pharr San Juan Alamo High School

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Edinburg CISD, UIL issue statements on football incident between player, referee

December 5, 2020

EDINBURG — A few dozen members of the Edinburg High football team gathered Friday afternoon at city hall to petition the city and school district for the right to play the bi-district playoff game that the team qualified for by virtue of its win over PSJA High on Thursday night.

However, the school district released a statement stating that the decision to forfeit the playoff berth wasn’t necessarily left only up to the district, following an ugly on-field incident that saw the team’s star defensive player instigate a physical confrontation with a referee during the first half of that contest.

The district had released a statement earlier in the day, but clarified it Friday evening, explaining the University Interscholastic League’s stance on the incident.

“The UIL has made it clear to Interim Superintendent Gilbert Garza Jr. that UIL would have removed the football team from the playoffs if the district did not withdraw the team,” the Edinburg CISD statement said. “Under Texas law and district policy, the interim superintendent was authorized to move forward with the decision. Mr. Garza has confirmed this after consulting with the district’s legal counsel.”

Edinburg CISD’s earlier statement said only that the district had decided to remove the Edinburg High Bobcats from postseason play in response to senior Emmanual Duron charging the referee and colliding with him, sending the referee sprawling to the ground and needing medical attention.

“The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020. We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family. On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologize to the athletes, staff, and our school community,” the Edinburg district said in a written statement.

“We will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident. The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation.”

The incident led to Duron, an 18-year-old listed as 5-feet-11, 225 pounds, being charged with a class A assault during an arraignment Friday morning at the Edinburg Municipal Court. His cash surety bond has been set at $10,000. According to jail records, he posted bond later Friday through O. Castaneda Bail Bonds. He was released later in the evening.

The district’s announcement came on the heels of an emergency, last-minute school board meeting which was called for early Friday morning.

Edinburg High (3-2, 2-1) defeated PSJA High (1-4, 0-2) in a win-or-go-home District 31-6A zone play-in game 35-21, but the victory was marred after Duron, a star defensive end, physically attacked an official on the field.

Duron had been ejected from the contest following two flags on one play: one for roughing the passer after the whistle blew the play dead and a second for exchanging words with the official, 59-year-old Fred Gracia, who has been a referee with the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) for 27 years.

Duron was escorted out of Edinburg’s Richard R. Flores Stadium by Edinburg CISD police officers after his physical altercation and ejection. He was not handcuffed and did not return to the premises Thursday night.

Gracia, meanwhile, was able to walk off the field under his power to cheers from the crowd on either side of the stadium. He was medically evaluated for a shoulder injury and concussion-like symptoms in an ambulance outside of the stadium.

Gracia did not return to the game and the officials carried on short-handed for the rest of the night.

Gracia’s daughter, Iris, tweeted a health update on her dad, stating, “He’s tough and I’m happy he was able to walk off the field on his own. Others aren’t always so lucky.”

The TASO and the (UIL), which oversee officiating and public high school sports across Texas, respectively, announced in a written statement that the organizations plan to launch an investigations into Thursday night’s on-field incident in Edinburg.

“On the evening of Dec. 3, 2020, another vicious and deliberate assault was inflected on a TASO Football Official by a player who had just been ejected from the contest. Unfortunately, this type of blind-sided assault on an official while working on the field is not new to Texas Football,” TASO said in a written statement Friday morning.

“Though this latest incident is only hours old, TASO has begun our investigation and started collaboration with the UIL to bring this matter to a suitable disposition.”

“The UIL strongly condemns the unsportsmanlike behavior displayed in the Edinburg vs. PSJA high school football game on December 3, 2020. Physical contact with a sports official is never appropriate,” the UIL said in a written response to an inquiry from The Monitor. “Our thoughts and well wishes are with the official involved. We applaud the Edinburg CISD administration for addressing this situation swiftly and taking appropriate action in removing themselves from the playoffs and for dealing with the student involved in the incident.

“The conduct witnessed in the Edinburg, PSJA game in no way represents the values taught through interscholastic activities including high school football,” said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the UIL, in a written statement. “Respect, responsibility, fairness and concern for others are vital components of educational competition. Strong and appropriate measures are being taken by the school district and we hope that healing can come from this teachable moment.”

The result in regards to the playoffs means that Edinburg North and PSJA North will take both of District 31-6A’s two remaining playoff berths after PSJA High’s loss and Edinburg CISD banning the Bobcats from postseason play.

Edinburg North, the third seed in 31-6A’s north zone, and PSJA North, the second seed in the district’s south zone, were scheduled to play in the second of two zone play-in games at 7 p.m. Friday at PSJA Stadium in Pharr. That game between the Cougars and Raiders, who played once this season already in October, will be played as scheduled but without the high stakes.

As a result, the bi-district playoff matchups for every Class 6A team in the Rio Grande Valley are officially set.

PSJA North will travel to Brownsville Hanna in the opening round of the Class 6A DII playoffs next week, while Edinburg Vela will host Weslaco High in their first-round 6A DII matchup.

Mission High, meanwhile, will host San Benito in the first round of the Class 6A DI playoffs, and Edinburg North will go on the road to face Harlingen High in a 6A DI bi-district playoff tile.


James Glenn "Jim" Henderson

1943 - 2020

McAllen - James Glenn Henderson, born on June 17,1943, passed away of natural causes at 77 years old, surrounded by his wife and children on July 23,2020. He was born in McAllen, Texas to Robert and Lujane Henderson. He graduated from PSJA High School, and then attended Lamar (as a member of a National Championship tennis team), UCLA, and completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Pan American. After graduating, he proudly served in the US Air Force. Jim moved back to the Valley where he made a lifelong career selling packaging to the produce industry. He adored the industry and all the wonderful friends he met along the way.

Jim is survived by his wife of 53 years, Karen, and his four children, Ashlee (Lance), Brandon (Flo), Chris (Tiffany), and Jimmy (Brenda), his brothers Bob (Genie), Bill (Jody) and sister Sarah (Gary). He was loved and entertained by his 13 grandchildren, Braxton, Brynn, Haden, Jonah, Finn, Gunnar, Westyn, Mallory, Emmory, Colton, Macy, Hailey, Lori and many nieces and nephews.

Jim passed away just as peaceful as his spirit. He never met a stranger. Jim was a life-long learner and bought books on a variety of topics that piqued his interest. He had the kindest heart and was loved by all. Jim lived an unabashedly adventurous and joyful life, even at the height of his Multiple Sclerosis. He did so with courage and would often respond with, "I'm too blessed to complain." He was an avid outdoorsman, swimmer, and accomplished boater. He continued exercising until his final days. His adventurous spirit led him and his good friend, Robert Yzaguirre, to pilot an 18ft ski boat from Port Isabel, Tx through the winding intracoastal waterway to New York City and onto The Great Lakes. Their only qualifications being ambition and the wild streak to pull it off. He pulled off another adventure with Karen, John and Betty Fasano by recreating the Lewis and Clark Expedition a few years later. Jim was able to convince a few other friends to join them along the way - a testament to his salesmanship!

For their entire married lives, Jim and Karen could be found attending sporting events, dance recitals, school events and drama performances. His love for his children and grand-children was always on display.

A private, family service will be streamed via Facebook live on Wednesday the 29th at 2:00pm at St. John's Episcopal Church in McAllen, TX. Visit the to find the link. A drive by procession will take place at 7pm for anyone wishing to offer condolences. It will depart from St. John's and pass by Jim and Karen's home. The family will be available outside the home from 7-9pm if you can't make the procession.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to St. John Episcopal Church, where the funds will be split between the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the St. John's Food Pantry.

Susan Boggs Bennett

CRANE, TEXAS - Longtime Fort Stockton resident, Susan Bennett, died in Crane, TX on November 4, 2019. Susan was a devoted member of St. Agnes Catholic church. Always quick with a smile, Susan found joy in her church, family and friends.

Susan grew up in Alamo, TX with her parents, Alvah and Anne Boggs, and sister, Luanne. She graduated from Incarnate Word College, and married Len Bennett soon after. They moved to Fort Stockton in 1968 to raise their family.

Susan worked as Pecos County's home economics extension agent for over 20 years, providing outreach and education for families and individuals throughout the county. She especially enjoyed the young people she taught in 4-H programs. An active member of her church and community, Susan served as a CCD teacher, minister of the Eucharist, garden club officer, school volunteer, and cub scout and brownie leader.

Like her mother and sister, Susan had a green thumb and seemed to be able to make anything grow. She loved spending time with her grandsons and family and playing bridge and laughing with her friends. She also had a special place in her heart for stray dogs.

Susan is preceded in death by her parents and sister, Luanne Butler; grandson, Christopher Mehan; and husband, Len Bennett. She is survived by son, David Bennett and husband, Joe Reiter of Seattle; daughter, Patricia Cates and husband, Corey Cates of Kermit; and grandsons Blake and Michael Mehan, both of Odessa.

Memorials may be made to the Matthies-Bennett 4-H scholarship fund. Please mail to: Zan Matthies, P.O. Box 1723, Ft. Stockton, TX 79735.

Visitation will be Thursday, November 7,2019 from 5-7PM with a Prayer Service at 7PM at Heritage Funeral Home, 301 N. Main, Fort Stockton, Texas. Services will be held on November 8, at 10AM at Our Lady of the Guadalupe, North Campus, formerly known as St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Published in Odessa American on Nov. 7, 2019

McAllen Monitor November 24, 2019

PHARR - Rene R. Salinas, 77, went to be with the Lord surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, November 21, 2019 in Edinburg, Texas. Rene retired after 32 years of faithful service with Good Year Tire Company.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Manuel B. and Emilia Salinas. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Maria Luisa Salinas, children; Olivia (Ruben) Garcia, Sandy Salinas, and Lisa Marie (Joe) Barberena. He also leaves behind his grandchildren; Ruben III and Olivia Renee Garcia, Javier Rene and Kassandra Renee Lara, Christopher Joe, Jolisa Marie, and Joe Jr. Barberena and his siblings; Lydia Arcaute, Manuel Salinas, Omar Salinas, and Eluid Salinas.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 24, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with a Celebration of Life at 7:00 p.m. at Funeraria Del Angel Palm Valley, Pharr. Funeral service will be held on Monday, November 25, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Funeraria Del Angel Palm Valley, Pharr. Interment will follow to Palm Valley Memorial Gardens in Pharr. Funeral services and arrangements are under the care of Funeraria Del Angel Palm Valley of Pharr.

Chubby Lopez 1941-2019


As you know, Chubby was a defensive starter on our 1960 PSJA district champion football team. He played the position of down lineman and Gilbert Muzquiz played the linebacker position next to him.  Gilbert and Chubby became close friends during those days, a friendship that lasted a lifetime. In recent years, they often attended early mass together.

We all remember his big smile. RIP Chubby.

Chubby at our 2012 football reunion:


Jesus M. Lopez

OCTOBER 7, 1941 – FEBRUARY 8, 2019

Jesus M. Lopez, 77, of Pharr, Texas passed away on Friday February 8, 2019. Jesus was born to Reymundo Lopez and Antonia Martinez on October 7, 1941 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Left to cherish his memory is his beloved wife: Berta Lopez; children: Eli Lopez, Norberta Palomin, Emilia Rodriguez, Lisa Lopez; grandchildren: Bryana Palomin, Alexis Palomin, Jordan Palomin; great-granddaughter: Abigail Moreno; siblings: Eliseo Lopez, Luis Lopez, Inocencio Lopez, Nereo Lopez, Guadalupe Lopez, Jeronimo Lopez, Juan J. Lopez, Francisca Lopez, Catalina L. Godina, Lala L. Gonzalez, Oralia L. Soto, Virginia L. Luna and Josephina Lopez. Family will receive friends Monday, February 11, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM with a rosary recited at 7 pm at Funeraria Del Angel Palm Valley, 4607 North Sugar Road, Pharr, Texas 78577. Funeral service will be held at 1 pm, Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at Funeraria del Angel Palm Valley in Pharr. A cremation will occur at Heavenly Grace Crematory, La Feria, Texas. Burial of ashes will take place Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 11 am at Palm Valley Memorial Gardens in Pharr. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Lopez family.


Wife: Berta Lopez

Children: Eli Lopez, Norberta Palomin, Emilia Rodriguez, Lisa Lopez

Grandchildren: Bryana Palomin, Alexis Palomin, Jordan Palomin

Great-granddaughter: Abigail Moreno

Siblings: Eliseo Lopez, Luis Lopez, Inocencio Lopez, Nereo Lopez, Guadalupe Lopez, Jeronimo Lopez, Juan J. Lopez, Francisca Lopez, Catalina L. Godina, Lala L. Gonzalez, Oralia L. Soto, Virginia L. Luna, Josephina Lopez

Jock, nerd, or class president — how popular you were in high school still affects you today


  • Bad news for some of us. 
  • NBC June 2017-The Business Insider

You're an adult now, you may think, and the number of parties you were or were not invited to when you were 16 is meaningless.

But you'd be wrong, according to Dr. Mitch Prinstein, one of the world's foremost researchers on the psychology of popularity.

We spoke with Prinstein about his new book, "Popular," and took his Coursera class, adapted from the one he teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"I believe that what we know is that people's status may change; their internal experience does not," Prinstein told Business Insider. "The research shows that the ways that our brains are built and developed, we really pull on those old adolescent memories far more often than we realize. Even when we're processing things in current day."

Bear in mind that there are two types of popularity: social reputation (status) and social preference (likability). You can have one without the other, but you're better served by having both — and your level of each influences your life far beyond high school.

Check out how your place in the high school ecosystem is likely affecting you today.

You were part of a cool clique, and the rest of the school respected or feared you more than they liked you.

• High status 

• Low likability

The idea of "peaking in high school" feels intuitive when we go to high school reunions and find that the years haven't been kind to some, but there's research that suggests it's a real phenomenon for those who had high status but low likability.

"There is some evidence to suggest that 10 years later, 20 years later, they are having some more difficulties with relationships, those that were high in status in adolescence," Prinstein said. "They are having more difficulties with addictions — not in every case, obviously, but far more so than those who may not have been as popular."

For example, those that fit into the popular jock and "mean girl" archetypes of American culture tend to demonstrate aggression and displays of dominance on their peers, and when they leave the context of high school, they struggle to create meaningful, fulfilling relationships, which then leads to lowered self-worth.

You were a geek, but a charming one.

• Low status 

• High likability

High intelligence in adolescence does not, of course, guarantee low status, but the kids who outwardly express their fascination with academics and niche subjects tend to be labeled nerds, and usually aren't spotted at the lunch tables among high-status athletes.

But, if these low-status teenagers happen to have some degree of interpersonal skills that allows them to build relationships, they shouldn't worry.

In fact, Prinstein told us, these charming geeks have a good chance of achieving success as adults, because the same high intelligence that got them shunned as adolescents becomes rewarded in a collegiate and then professional setting, and their likability makes people want to help them.

You could hang out with anybody, and everyone liked you.

• High status 

• High likability

If a teenager is lucky enough to achieve both high status and high likability, then they have a solid foundation for their adult life.

Prinstein noted that likability is far more important than status when it comes to potential for success and happiness. Pursuing status at the expense of likability is typically harmful, but that doesn't mean high status or the pursuit of it are inherently bad things.

You were a reject, and school was rough.

• Low status 

• Low likability

The kids who had the toughest time in school unfortunately tend to have the toughest time as adults, too.

As noted above, those who were low in status but had the capacity to build relationships can do quite well in life, but the teenagers who are total social outcasts enter adulthood with a shaky foundation.

Those whose professional and personal well-being suffer the most are what Prinstein calls the Rejected-Aggressives, the kids who were not only rejected but reacted to this by engaging in fights or even becoming bullies themselves. It creates a vicious cycle of increasingly lowered status and likability that can be difficult to escape.

Even if an adult thinks they outgrew their problematic behavior in high school and now have a great job and a family, they are usually still hindered by their experience as a teenager. "The thing that's interesting is that if you speak with those who have those impressive résumés who may not have been so likable and may have had some difficulties with their popularity as kids, they still feel insecure, no matter how many achievements they accrue professionally," Prinstein said. "They still feel a sense of inferiority, a concern about being rejected by others, a hyperfocus on potential rejection signals."

Your fate is not set in stone.

Prinstein clarified that one's status as a teenager, for better or worse, is a strong indicator of how their adult life will unfold, but it doesn't have to be permanent.

He said that he wants people who read his book to think about their own experience with popularity as an adolescent and instead of writing it off, to understand it. When you can come to terms with who you were, you are then able to focus on who you are today.

He also recommends that everyone focus on improving their likability — in a genuine way.

We should make "efforts to try and do things that are attentive to others' needs and to show people that we genuinely want to interact with them, not use them for our purposes," he said. "Because the more likable you are, the more advantage you have in every sphere. I mean, it's amazing how much we give the benefit of the doubt to likable people, and how much we are willing to do for them and how much we just naturally think good things about them."

Prinstein said likability is one of "the most valuable social commodities" in all aspects of society. "We should be investing in it as much as we invest in anything else that we hope will help our lives," he said.


Donald Johnstone passed away December 15, 2017

I started the first grade at James Bowie school in Alamo. I lived a half block from the school. I distinctly remember meeting Donald during the first days of school. How can I be so sure? Well, he was from “the country” and I was from “the town”. Now I realize, he lived just a few miles north of Alamo and that isn’t that far, or very exotic, but to a six-year old in 1949, it was amazing. It was exciting. I had never been to “the country”. I was a “town kid”.

There were 15 of us in that first-grade class at James Bowie. I have attached a newspaper article listing the students. Earl Hamburg published this article in his weekly newspaper, The Alamo News. That shows how times have changed, maybe not for the better. Here in Dallas, they don’t publish names of first-grade classes. Must not be newsworthy in Dallas, but Earl Hamburg thought it was news in Alamo so many years ago. This article was sent to me by Donald. He told me his mother saved everything. I thought my mother was the champion hoarder, but she didn’t save this article.

During our James Bowie days, I remember going to “the country” to visit Donald and his nearby friend Arthur Nash. It was a different world. The country. I remember the visit like it was last week. Recently, I asked Donald if he was in touch with Arthur Nash. He told me Arthur passed away years ago.

I am so sorry we lost Donald. He was a good person. No one ever said anything negative about Donald because there was nothing negative about him. I remember him as a good student and he was always enjoyable to be around.

Recently, Donald called me to tell me that Sherry and he were moving to the Austin area to be near their son and his family. I told him that sounded like a good plan to me.

Tom W White



We of the James Bowie School in Alamo were saddened to learn of the loss of one of our classmates, Donald Johnstone.

One of my favorite memories of Donald was his proud ownership of a King Midget.  What is a King Midget you say?  You can Google it.  A King Midget was a “micro car” built by King Midget Motors in Athens, Ohio.  It was produced from the mid-1940s until 1970.  The vehicle was a sporty little 2-seater that had a top speed of about 50 mph and was powered by a 9 hp engine.  I believe it had 2 speeds forward but no reverse.  Since it weighed only about 500-600 lbs, 2 people could pick up one end and turn it around.  It was originally sold as a kit, but years later sold fully assembled.  It was also street legal.

I remember Donald driving around an oval track he had prepared in a field adjacent to his home.  If I recall correctly, eventually he drove it to school after getting his driver’s license.  He may have also taken road trips with his close friend and neighbor, Arthur Nash.

I believe there exists today a King Midget club whose membership is made up of hard-core current (yes, many have preserved their vehicles) and former owners of the car.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Donald was a member.

Terry Denzer


Donald Johnstone

Growing up in Alamo during the 1940’s and 1950’s was a delight because of many reasons but one important factor was knowing most of the kids who attended James Bowie School. Many of us were together in the elementary grades for all five years, and Donald Johnstone was one of our classmates throughout those years.  With Bowie School having five grades and five teachers, we spent lots of time with each other in the classroom, at recess and at lunch. We all were taught by Mrs. Cyphers, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Cheney, Mrs. Reed and Mr. Streckfus.

I remember a particular project where each student in our class was to grow a garden of some sort and at the appointed time, the class would spend a day visiting each person’s project. I recall Donald having a stupendous outcome with his agricultural skills while my poor little radishes barely made it above the ground!

Donald’s home was in the country, which to us was quite a trek from town. I can still picture his mother, a very considerate and polite woman. I believe his family had a strong faith in God and lived their lives accordingly. They were very good people.

It was a lovely experience to visit with Donald and Sherry at our 50th Class Reunion. It is a sad experience to realize Donald has passed away. His death is a vivid reminder of how fragile life really is and the importance of our relationships.

Randa Hollon

January 2018


Need a Psychological Boost? Try Nostalgia

Research suggests that thinking about the good old days can offer some surprising benefits

By: Jennifer Breheny Wallace

The Wall Street Journal : Dec. 7, 2017 10:53 a.m. ET

The smell of your grandmother’s cookies, a dog-eared photo of your children all dressed up in their holiday best, a song that recalls an old friend—feelings of nostalgia peak at this time of year. Research suggests that taking the time to savor such memories can offer some surprising psychological benefits, from boosting self-confidence to buffering against anxiety and loneliness.

What separates nostalgia from ordinary personal memories is its bittersweet quality. Nostalgia is happy and comforting but also tinged with a sense of loss or sadness about a time that can never be captured again. That longing does more than evoke a warm, fuzzy feeling. Psychologists say that it can inspire us to live fuller lives by bringing into focus the people and experiences that have mattered most to us in the past.

When we’re sad, cherished memories make us happier.

Certain personality types are more likely than others to experience nostalgia. Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., developed a 20-item survey that has been used by researchers over the past 20 years to measure proneness to nostalgia as a trait. Using a nine-point scale, individuals rate the things they miss from their youth—“your house,” “not having to worry,” “how society was” or “holidays”—and how much they miss them.

“The higher the score,” Dr. Batcho says, “the more nostalgic a person tends to be.” A growing body of research suggests that those who are prone to nostalgia also tend to value relationships more and to be both more resilient and psychologically healthier.

In times of transition—when young adults move out on their own, for example, or when a family is grieving the loss of a loved one—researchers find that people tend to look back longingly to the stability and comfort of the past as a way to regulate their anxiety about the future. When we’re sad, cherished memories make us happier. When we’re lonely, looking through old photos of fun times with friends can offer what researchers call a “social snack”—a quick way to feel a sense of belonging when real social interaction isn’t available.

Nostalgic longing offers more than a coping strategy or temporary fix. It propels us to want to build and nurture our current social lives too, according to a series of seven studies published in 2015 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In one study, researchers recruited 338 adults online and randomly assigned some of them to write about an ordinary or a positive memory, while others were asked to write about a moment when they experienced nostalgia (which was defined for them, as a prompt). The researchers then administered a questionnaire that assessed relationship goals. Participants were asked to rate how much they agreed with statements like “I want to enhance the bonding and intimacy in my close relationships.”

Compared with the other memory groups, participants primed with nostalgia reported stronger intentions to pursue their social goals. Researcher Clay Routledge, a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University, suggests that such nostalgic reflection bolsters a person’s confidence about being able to meet future social goals.

If nostalgic yearning motivates us to make friends, the researchers wanted to know, could it encourage us to work harder to keep friendships too? To test this theory, the researchers recruited nearly 100 college students to complete an online questionnaire. To induce nostalgia this time, some students were asked to search YouTube for a song that made them feel nostalgic, while those in the control group were asked to find a recently discovered song that they liked. Both groups were asked to write about how the song made them feel.

Participants were then told to imagine that they’d had a disagreement with a close friend, and that now there was a “wedge” between them and the friend was acting “cold and distant.” Students were asked questions about the likelihood of saving the friendship by rating how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like “I would dedicate myself to solving this conflict.” Those in the nostalgic condition reported feeling more optimistic and responded more proactively in wanting to resolve the conflict.

The power of nostalgia, says Dr. Batcho, lies not just in honoring the past but in bringing it forward to the present to make our lives richer and more meaningful: “It isn’t necessarily about wanting to go back.”

—Ms. Wallace is a freelance writer in New York.

Northern Utah veterans tell harrowing stories of their time as Vietnam War POWs

FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2017 - 5:00 AM

SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

Retired Air Force officers and Vietnam era prisoners of war Jay Hess, left, Lynn Beens, center, and Bill Spencer are shown here Thursday, April 27,
at Hill Aerospace Museum. All three will speak Saturday during a Vietnam Veteran Salute event at the museum.

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Jay Hess was a 37-year-old father of five when he was taken as a prisoner of war.

It was August 1967, during the height of the Vietnam conflict.

Hess was on a recovery mission, looking for two downed pilots when his F-105 was shot down, catching fire over the northern portion of Vietnam. Hess ejected from his plane, but the event left him unconscious. When he woke up, he found himself face down on a dirt trail.

• RELATED: Northern Utah's Vietnam vets remember, reconnect and heal

He drew his pistol when he saw a figure approaching him in the distance, but put the gun down when that figure turned out to be a young boy. 

Moments after the boy screamed to alert authorities nearby, Hess was captured by the Chinese. 

“I never got off my stomach before I was captured,” he said. 

Hess was later transferred to North Vietnamese forces and taken to the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” POW prison.

He was moved around among POW camps, each varying in their dereliction. All told, he was held captive there for nearly six years.

Bill Spencer and Lynn Beens were part of the “Christmas help” of 1972 — mass bombings that were ordered by President Richard Nixon after peace talks broke down between the United States and North Vietnam. 

“We were excited because we knew guys like Jay were over there,” Spencer said. “We thought we’d help bring them home.”

Spencer was shot down piloting his F-4 in July of that year. Beens, a navigator in a B-52 Bomber, was shot down the following December. Both ended up in the Hanoi POW prison with Hess. Spencer was 29, with a wife and daughter. Beens was 26, also married with a young daughter.

• RELATED: Northern Utah Vietnam veteran hopes to help others exposed to Agent Orange

The trio of former POWs — all Davis County residents — are scheduled to speak about their experiences at a Vietnam veteran celebration this weekend. The event begins at noon Saturday at the Hill Aerospace Museum, 7961 Wardleigh Road, Hill AFB. 

Though they all endured torment and anguish, Spencer and Beens are adamant that Hess’ POW ordeal was the worst.

The retired colonel, now 87, rolled up to the gates of the Hanoi prison in a jeep. As he arrived, he was immediately blindfolded, tied up, interrogated and tortured.

North Vietnamese tied his hands behind his back and pulled them up over his head, far enough to connect them to his feet. Hess stayed in that position for hours, sweating profusely and becoming dehydrated to the point of hallucination. 

“I lost feeling in my hands and you hallucinate so bad, you’re not in the real world anymore,” he said. 

After three days of comparable treatment, Hess was finally brought a bowl of soup. He ate the soup and began regaining feeling in his hands, but torture tactics continued for a few weeks. He remembers being forced to hold his arms in the air all day, for several days, at gunpoint. 

He was eventually put in solitary confinement. He said his mentality and survival plan changed constantly.

“It all happens so fast,” he said. “My first thought was, ‘I gotta get away from this place as fast as I can.’ Eventually you realize you’re not going to escape and your mindset changes to, ‘OK, I gotta make it through this next day,’ then ‘OK, I gotta make it through the next minute.’”

• RELATED: Longest-serving POW: 'Live to fight another day'

Spencer and Beens were both put in isolation, and interrogated. Before arriving at the prison, Beens remembers being taken to a village, walking through a line of people screaming, kicking and punching him. 

At the prison, they subsisted on soup and a few vegetables. Spencer recalls being fed pumpkin soup, “then being given a piece of pumpkin as an entree.” Bread and water were staples. Sometimes they were given pig fat for protein. They were allowed to bathe maybe once a week, if they were lucky.

After 2 1/2 years captive, Hess was finally allowed to write a letter home, telling his loved ones he was alive and thereby changing his war status from missing in action to POW. Later, he was also able to receive a letter from home, his son telling him he’d become an Eagle Scout.

Though Spencer and Beens suspected the war was near its end when they were captured, all three POWs said their time in prison was full of uncertainty. When would they be released? Would they ever see their families again? Would they survive?

Though he acknowledges it seems counterintuitive, Hess said not knowing actually helped him endure.

“You had to have faith, you know, ‘maybe I’ll get out soon,’ ” he said. “If you knew you were going to be in there for six years, I don’t know what the approach would have been. I guess you’d just bang your head on the floor.”

All three POWs were released and sent home in March 1973. 

Hess said he felt like he wanted to “explode” when he finally embraced his wife and children.

“For everybody, life has its ups and downs, but (the POW experience) made you realize how extreme they can be,” Hess said. “Being captured was the ultimate low, but then finally seeing my family, that was a happiness you can’t describe.”

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at


WFAA-ABC Dallas July 12 2016

PHARR, Texas ─ A South Texas educator is revolutionizing the way schools approach higher learning and college transition.

It’s a model that has now been replicated across the country. 

“I would love to come to PSJA over here and probably become a teacher, even like a specialist to try to help the kids, anything I can do to help out back the way that CCTA helped me," said Jonathan Sanchez.

The now-college junior was once a high school dropout. He, like so many others, living in poor, bi-cultural communities along the border, struggled to stay afloat. The party scene and his run-ins with the law, side tracked his studies

"In a regular high school, you have thousands of students. It’s very easy to fall through the cracks," he said.

That was until Sanchez learned about the college career and technology academy. An early college program from the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo district. Since its inception in 2007, the program aims at getting 18 to 26-year-old students to complete high school and get their diploma.

“At that time, PSJA had very high dropout rate, more than double the state average, the district was losing almost 500 students a year,” said Dr. Daniel King, PSJA’s superintendent.  

That’s 500 out of about 32,000. Dr. Daniel king first needed to figure out how to bring kids back to school to complete their remaining credits or to prepare for state exams.

“Part of my thinking was ‘I need a hook to get them in the seat so they can motivated to come to school every day’,” he said.

So he devised a comprehensive approach that included a partnership with local colleges and businesses to guarantee employment or to earn credits toward a certificate or associates degree.

The move has paid off. Since then, dropout rates are now half the state average, with graduation at 90 percent. Other schools have taken notice and have replicated the program to help more than 6,000 young adults complete high school. An accomplishment recognized by President Obama.

"Everything that you would want from a school, they would provide about 10 times more. It's really the support that a teenager needs," said Sanchez.

Dr. King said there is much more to be done. Texas lags behind in college completion. He hopes Texas and other states shift their focus from standardized testing to an approach more in line with the needs of a new economy.

Success has put Dr. King in the spotlight. This is catching the eye of multiple school districts who would like him to help them succeed, however, he said his focus at this time is on PSJA


‘Early college’ offers chance to achieve in high school


Teacher Marcia Ziegler (right) observed calculus students at PSJA Early College High School as they solved equations.

By Michael Levenson                                                                                                      GLOBE STAFF DEC 07, 2015

PHARR, Texas — Lorena Gonzalez took her first college course — music appreciation — when she was 15. Intimidated by the older students on campus, she would have her mother drop her off and pick her up at the doors of the class.

Now, just two years later, she is taking organic chemistry on that very same campus and has already earned 62 college credits, enough for an associate’s degree.

Most students on such an accelerated path are high achievers from wealthy districts. But Gonzalez, the daughter of Mexican immigrants who never finished high school, lives in one of the poorest counties in Texas.

She is attending one of a growing number of high schools across the country that offer free college courses to low-income students in an effort to help them make the transition from high school to college — and afford the rising cost of a degree.

“This is really just like a stepping-stone for a lot of us,” said Gonzalez, who wants to become a doctor and has applied to 10 colleges, including several beyond her home in the Rio Grande Valley. “Now I see that I can go out of state, I can go outside of the valley, and hold my own against people that have much better advantages than most of us do.”

Learning Curve special section

School districts in Boston, and in cities across the country, are beginning to rethink the high school experience,     turning to the early college model, as well as a variety of others, to address persistent socioeconomic and racial achievement gaps.

Just 40 percent of Boston’s Hispanic and African-American high school graduates go on to earn college degrees, compared with more than 70 percent of its white and Asian students.

Many parents set their sights on exam schools, or successful charter high schools, for their children. Those whose children don’t get in sometimes leave the city, or turn to parochial schools, frustrated that many of the city’s traditional high schools have higher dropout rates and lower college graduation rates.

Boston has sought to close the achievement gap in recent years with specialized high schools focused on the arts, clean energy, health care, and technology. At least four schools have also launched small early college programs that send a few students to free college classes.

City officials see the approach as one of the most promising ways to prepare poor and minority students academically and socially for college, while saving their parents thousands of dollars in tuition costs.

“Love it. Love it,” said Rahn Dorsey, Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s chief of education. “It’s the wave of the future. It adds to the rigor that we need at the high school level, and we’ve learned that high school students can step up to the challenge . . . Why not acclimate you to that level of work as early as possible?”

Students at these schools are more likely to get a high school diploma, go to college, and, just as critically, to stay in college and get a degree, according to the American Institutes for Research, which compared students who enrolled in early colleges with students who sought to enroll but were rejected by a lottery.

More than 280 early college high schools have opened across the country since 2002. Last year, the Obama administration awarded $15 million to start more in South Texas and Denver, calling the schools an “innovative model with a proven record of improving student outcomes and closing achievement gaps for high-need students.”

Ziegler worked with 11th-grade student Amber Colunga in her AP/DC Calculus class.

“If you agree with the premise that, for most jobs, you need at least some post-secondary education, this is an extremely successful strategy,” said Nancy Hoffman, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and a vice president at Jobs for the Future, a Boston nonprofit that helps to launch these schools nationwide.

But even students and teachers who embrace the model say that pushing high school students into college has its hazards.

Students at early college schools say they sometimes struggle with the logistics of scheduling classes at nearby colleges and finding transportation there. Some complain that their long commutes and reading lists leave them with no time for sports and clubs. And the college courses they attend can be large, impersonal lectures, the antithesis of the small, hands-on classes that help teenagers stay focused.

“College teaching, as a rule, is not what I would call centered on student engagement,” said Linda Nathan, a founder of Boston Arts Academy and former codirector of Fenway High School. “It’s often a lot of rote learning. It’s not particularly innovative.”

Boston, which opened the nation’s first high school in 1821, could be bolder, Nathan said. Why not, she said, divide senior year into thirds devoted to community service, work, and college classes? Why not have students tackle problems in their neighborhoods?

“Early college doesn’t fundamentally rethink what we value, and how we think about teaching and learning for adolescents,” Nathan said. “It just says we want more kids to go college. And do we know that, as a society, is the right thing?”

Bill Rawlinson, who works at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers in Boston, which is sending 11 students to an English class at Bunker Hill Community College this year, said he sees both the necessity for early college and the potential downsides.

“The drawback may be that we are trying to make kids grow up too fast,” Rawlinson said, “but with the competitive nature of colleges, we almost have to do that.”

Massachusetts provides only a small amount of funding for early college, forcing most participating colleges to waive the students’ tuition. The burden on colleges has made it difficult to expand the programs. Texas, however, pays the full cost of tuition for its early college students.

That has helped Daniel P. King, the superintendent of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District, home to 30,000 students on the US-Mexico border, to launch the nation’s most audacious attempt yet to meld high school and college.

While most early college schools take only the students motivated enough to sign up, King is trying to push all of his 9,000 high schoolers — 90 percent of whom are low-income and more than 98 percent of whom are Hispanic — into early college classes. To qualify, students must pass an exam that tests whether they are ready for college-level work.

This year, 4,300 are taking college courses. Some take a 15-minute bus ride to South Texas College. Most take college-level classes in their high schools with teachers accredited by the college.

On a recent Tuesday at PSJA Early College High School, banners for Harvard, Yale, and the University of Texas fluttered from palm trees in the courtyard.

The tri-city public school district has been a model for dropout prevention.

Students in a college-level calculus class worked on a formula known as the chain rule. A few doors down, a physics class calculated when two carts moving in the same direction at different speeds would collide. Students in a Spanish class discussed a 16th-century poem while wearing paper hats labeled with literary terms — verse, stanza, and sonnet.

“In the beginning, it’s really hard,” said Eric Garza, a 17-year-old senior originally from Mexico, who wants to go to the University of Pennsylvania next year. “You’re coming out of eighth grade. You’re a child. But I feel it’s helped me, and I feel prepared for any university of any kind.”

The district launched its first early college classes in 2007, along with special high schools for teen mothers and for dropouts ages 18 to 26. The results are drawing nationwide attention.

Since 2007, the dropout rate has plummeted from 19 percent — double the statewide average — to 3 percent, while the rate of students earning a high school diploma has jumped from 62 percent to 90 percent. This summer, 1,000 students took voluntary, free classes at South Texas College.

“When you go around, the number of students talking about their master’s and even their PhDs — these are things that are not typical,” King said. “Whether it’s a student who has really struggled or a student who is doing very well, we’ve seen a lot of positive results from it, and it’s changed the conversation among students in our high schools.”

Students said they appreciate the added responsibility and independence that are central to the early college experience. At one high school in Pharr, students have to get themselves to class on time; there is no bell at the end of class. In Boston, early college students at Bunker Hill Community College are issued college IDs and can use the campus gym and library.

“I even told my teacher, I would prefer coming here than going to school,” said Stephanie Cardoso, a junior at the Community Academy of Science and Health in Dorchester, who is taking English at Bunker Hill. “Nobody’s like, ‘Go here. Go there.’ You just have to know what time it is, where your class is.”

Boston’s attempt to reinvent its high schools was prompted by a study that found that just 46 percent of the city’s high school graduates go on to get a college degree within seven years of getting their high school diploma. That figure drops to just 35 percent for students who do not graduate from one of the three exam schools such as Boston Latin.

Dorsey said Boston needs to do a better job preparing all of its students for colleges and careers. City officials will focus initially on revamping Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury, which has been plagued by low test scores and graduation rates.

While officials are venturing cautiously toward new models, gathering community input and considering whether a large-scale transformation is advisable, students in early college programs say they have already reimagined high school — and their academic trajectories.

“When I’m here, I feel like I’m a college student,” said Jenel Miller Cairo, a 16-year-old junior at the Community Academy of Science and Health, who is taking English at Bunker Hill. “I don’t even think about high school.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.

December 2015 Gilbert Muzquiz

Tomorrow, December 3, at 9:00 am, there will be a viewing of the renovation of our old PSJA High School Building for everyone that ever attended this 100 year old bldg.  There will be refreshments served for all who attend.  I will try and be there...late as usual to see IF:

The fire escape slide across Mr. Lee's Spanish Class is still standing,
The boys’ rest room next to Mrs. Emery now flushes,
The stairs are still one way, up on the west side - down on the east side,
The rest rooms in the basement still smell,
And return my overdue library book.

Had a great time at PSJA.

There is a prize for the ex that finds Richard Clemens' pants between the principal's office and Miss Carmen's Algebra Class; where they were last seen.  If the attendees are lucky they may see the ghost of Mabel Harrington in the halls.  Good Luck to All.

There is supposed to be a dance tomorrow evening...$50 a person.  I think I still remember how to dance but I understand that the dance will start after 6:00 pm which of course is now past my bedtime.  If some of you night owls go please let me know how things turned out.

PSJA Forever
Gilbert Muzquiz



Good Afternoon

Just got back from the tour of the new 100 year old Building, formerly known as PSJA High School, now called the Thomas Jefferson T-Stem Early College High School.  I like the old name better.  Your 1961 Class was represented.  Alejo Romero and I were there to hold our banner high.  We ran into some students from other classes:  Gabriel Avendano, Juvention Alvarado and his wife Edelmira, and Rick Diaz, Class of 62, Roel Moreno, Class of 63, Kiki Trevino and wife Irma, Class of 60,and Olivia de la Fuente, Class of 59.  Man everyone got old...except for me and Alejo... just like the rest of the 1961 class.

The building is beautiful.  I took pictures but you can get a better look if you go online and see the pictures they posted.  Al and I both commented that everything looks much smaller.  Al said so were we in 1961.  The auditorium is gone and now a computer lab.  Gone also are the old cafeteria, band hall, and boy scout house..  The old baseball field is now a parking lot.  The Big Freezer is now a Texas Smokehouse.  The High School Basement now has hardwood floors and Mr. Darnell and Davila’s labs now exist only in our minds...those of us that still have them.

Beautiful building but nothing like what we remember.  I promised the faculty that due to my disappointment I would return for the next 100 year reunion.  Only Mabel's ghost will represent us.  However,... for just a brief moment, I think I saw some of our female classmates, clad in jeans (must have been Friday) with the old maroon ribbons, "Beat the Bulldogs" walking down the stairs and the faint voice of Coach Charlie Williams echoing "Let's get them guys", and then...YES, I am at PSJA High School.  Home of the Battling Bears, the Mighty Mites, the Border Bandits, the Undefeated District Champions supported by the Band, Bearettes, Y Teens, FHA, FFA and the greatest student body ever assembled.  I sincerely wish you guys’ good health and hopefully we will meet again before too long.  I have enjoyed your friendship and I make this feeble attempt of writing to let you know you were fondly remembered today.

PSJA Forever
Gilbert Muzquiz





DOYLE RAY SLAYTON, SR. HARLINGEN - Doyle Ray Slayton, Sr., 72, died Friday, December 19, 2014, at Harlingen Medical Center. Born and raised in Pharr. After graduating from PSJA, he went on to play college football at the University of Houston and McMurry University under Grant Teaff. Following his playing career, he coached at various South Texas Schools and at the college level in Missouri. He is preceded in death by his parents, Irene and George Alton Slayton. Mr. Slayton is survived by his wife, Catherine Champion Slayton of Harlingen; five children, Tracy (Mark) Self of Edinburg, Doyle (Leanne) Slayton of Dallas, TX, Laura (Nicer) Perez of San Antonio, TX, A.J. (Cathy) Longoria of New Braunfels, TX, Jeanie (Jesse) Aguilar of Laredo, TX; and eight grandchildren. Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 23, 2014, at Memorial Funeral Home, 208 E. Canton in Edinburg. Funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 23, 2014, at Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Edinburg. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Edinburg. Funeral services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in Edinburg.

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Published in The Monitor on Dec. 22, 2014

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PSJA's Williams dies at 83-The Monitor-Feb 27 2014

Charlie Williams, perhaps the best football coach in Valley history, died on Sunday in Longview. Williams was 83 and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. He is survived by his wife Joy, his son Randy and his daughter Ronnie.

When The Monitor ranked the Valley’s all-time coaches during the “100 Greatest” series in 2008, Williams landed the top spot. In 1998, Williams was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

He was best known for taking PSJA High to consecutive state title games in 1962 and ’63 — his first two years on the job. Williams racked up a 188-57-12 record and 12 district titles in 24 seasons between PSJA, McAllen High, Harlingen High and Alice. He went 96-34-7 in his two stints at PSJA, making him the school’s all-time winningest coach. He also coached at McHi from 1974-80, winning an outright district title in 1979, which would be the school’s last outright league title until the 2013 season.

Williams was 17-3-1 in two seasons with Harlingen in the early 80s and coached future NFL player Johnnie Jackson.

“He was a heck of a coach based just on the way he was able to motivate the kids to play together and play tough and play beyond our capabilities,” said Julio Ayala, who played safety under Williams at PSJA in the early 60s. “He showed us how to win.”

Williams was credited with being among the first to implement a two-platoon system, with offense and defense as separate units. Traditionally, the best 11 players had played both sides of the ball.

“That was a heck of an idea that no one had ever done before,” Ayala said. “We delivered. We went to the big time.”

Despite all of his success in terms of wins and losses, many of his former players remember Williams more for what he did on a personal level.

“His records speak for themselves, but more importantly is that he changed the lives of so many of us,” Ayala said.

Many of Williams’ players, like halfback Poppy Rodriguez, grew up without a father figure. Williams was often there to fill that void, and Rodriguez said he and his coach “were very close.”

Quarterback Carlos Vela and Ayala said Williams played a major role in his players’ education. They estimate that about 90 percent of the players on the ’62 and ’63 teams went on to earn a degree beyond high school.

“We now know why we are successful men in our later years is because he showed us how to handle ourselves and how to give it the very best effort, whether it’s school or at work,” Ayala said. “We’re very grateful for what he did for us.”

Williams was also influential in Rodriguez’s decision to become a coach. After playing under Williams at PSJA, Rodriguez became a backfield coach on Williams’ McAllen High staff in 1974. Rodriguez stayed there until 1980, when he became the head coach at McAllen Memorial.

“I became a coach because of how he handled me and how he handled my teammates,” Rodriguez said. “With a few different deals, I ran his type of offense. A lot of his philosophy in coaching was instilled in me.”

Despite their previously close connection, Williams had lost touch with most of his former players. Williams moved into a nursing home a few years back. Like many struggling with Alzheimer’s, Williams had good days and bad.

The players had hoped Williams might be able return to PSJA to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary last year, but he was not healthy enough to travel.

Ayala is attempting to gather as many former players as possible to travel to Williams’ services, which will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at First Lutheran Church in Longview. Rodriguez said he plans to be there.

“He was very influential in my life as far as being there whenever I needed him,” Rodriguez said. “He would do anything.”


Hall-of-Fame High School Coach

Charlie Williams Passes Away

            The Advance News Journal got word Monday that longtime RGV high school football coach Charlie Williams passed away Sunday night.

            Reached by phone Tuesday, one of Williams’ former players at PSJA, Gilbert Muzquiz, says his former coach was always a special sort of guy.

            “Charlie came from a poor, humble family in Refugio, Texas, so he was able to relate to the many poor players in this community.  That was his biggest asset in getting us to believe and follow him.  He was an innovator on both offense and defense, and his record proves it”.

            On the Texas list of high school football coaches with the most wins, Williams stand at number 111.   After 24 years spent marching up and down the sidelines, he left the field with 186 wins, 56 losses and 15 ties.

            “Charlie came here in 1958 with Jack Harris and Ken McCullough” says Muzquiz. “He coached me in ‘60 and then took the ’62 and ’63 PSJA teams to the state finals.  When I left for college, he told me, hurry back because I want you to work for me.  So after I graduated, I came back here and coached with him at PSJA for five years.”

            Williams stayed with the Bears until he left for Alice in 1974.  Then he came back to the Valley and coached at Harlingen, McAllen, and then back to PSJA in the late 1980s.

            After his coaching career was over, Williams was inducted into both the RGV Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

            Despite the passing years, though, Muzquiz kept in contact with Williams.  It was his way with kids that endeared him to so many of his players, he say, “He had just a magnetic personality.  After finding out about his death, I sent an email to some of the guys who played football with me under Charlie.  And here’s what some of them wrote back.  What I’m doing is collecting these in a notebook, and then I‘m going to give it to Charlie’s wife, so she can see how much we all thought of him.”

            On his passing, some of the 1960 players wrote:

Robert Harrington, San Diego, CA: “He would put his hands on my shoulder and make me believe I could run through walls.  I will miss him”.

Bill Spencer, Utah: “I admired him.  He was an impressive man.”

Tom White, Dallas: “RIP Coach Williams….a classy guy.”

Jim Henderson, McAllen: “And so goes a wonderful coach and man. So sorry.”

Yoyo Isaguirrie, Rapid City, SD: “End of an Era!!!  May he rest in peace”.

            Williams had been ill at the Alpine Home in Longview, Texas, for the past four years and in the hospital twice last year due to two broken hips, according to Muzquiz.

            Charlie Williams’ funeral will be this Saturday at 10 am at the First Lutheran Church in Longview, Texas.  Rader Funeral Home in Longview is in charge of the services.

            “Charlie Williams was a friend, a mentor, a member of my family who I will miss for the rest of my life,” says Gilbert Muzquiz.

Advance News

February 26, 2014


Benefits to Grandchildren

The benefits to children of a close connection to their grandparents include:

  • Children have a better sense of who they are and where they've come from.  They have roots, a history, and a sense of continuity and perspective.
  • Children develop higher self-esteem, better emotional and social skills (including an ability to withstand peer pressure), and can even have better grades in school.  Children need adult influences in their lives (some research says anywhere from four to six involved, caring adults) to mature.
  • Children feel special.  They're "spoiled" a little.  Believe it or not, research shows this is a good thing.  Children know that being with their grandparents is special.  They don't expect the rest of the world to treat them the way their grandparents do, so it's really not "spoiling".  A grandparent's love is the unconditional stuff of fairy tales.  One girl explained it this way: "Grandparents are great because they don't always tell you what you're doing wrong.  They just like what you do, any way you do it."
  • Children can get undivided time and attention from grandparents that tired, busy parents often can't give them.  A six-year-old girl told me, "I love my grandma because she's always happy for me to show her things other people don't bother with."  Another girl said, "Every time I go shopping with Mom she goes fast and says hurry up, hurry up.  But when I visit with Grandma and go shopping, she always has plenty of time and lets me look at whatever I want to."
  • Children have someone to talk with and confide in.  While children may want to be different from their parents, they often don't mind being like their grandparents.  This gives grandparents a lot of power and ability to influence a troubled or confused child.  One girl told me, "Granny fills the gap Mommy and Daddy leave out."  A teenager told me that she can tell her grandmother things she would "never, ever" tell her mother.  "My grandmother understands me," she said.
  • Through sharing in a grandparent's interests, skills, and hobbies, children are introduced to new activities and ideas.  Grandparents can be very patient, effective teachers.  Knowledge, skills, and attitudes children pick up from grandparents tend to stick with them through life more than those picked up from other sources.

New York Times
March 15 2013

March 15, 2013

The Stories That Bind Us


I hit the breaking point as a parent a few years ago. It was the week of my extended family’s annual gathering in August, and we were struggling with assorted crises. My parents were aging; my wife and I were straining under the chaos of young children; my sister was bracing to prepare her preteens for bullying, sex and cyberstalking.

Sure enough, one night all the tensions boiled over. At dinner, I noticed my nephew texting under the table. I knew I shouldn’t say anything, but I couldn’t help myself and asked him to stop.

Ka-boom! My sister snapped at me to not discipline her child. My dad pointed out that my girls were the ones balancing spoons on their noses. My mom said none of the grandchildren had manners. Within minutes, everyone had fled to separate corners.

Later, my dad called me to his bedside. There was a palpable sense of fear I couldn’t remember hearing before.

“Our family’s falling apart,” he said.

“No it’s not,” I said instinctively. “It’s stronger than ever.”

But lying in bed afterward, I began to wonder: Was he right? What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?

It turns out to be an astonishingly good time to ask that question. The last few years have seen stunning breakthroughs in knowledge about how to make families, along with other groups, work more effectively.

Myth-shattering research has reshaped our understanding of dinnertime, discipline and difficult conversations. Trendsetting programs from Silicon Valley and the military have introduced techniques for making teams function better.

The only problem: most of that knowledge remains ghettoized in these subcultures, hidden from the parents who need it most. I spent the last few years trying to uncover that information, meeting families, scholars and experts ranging from peace negotiators to online game designers to Warren Buffett’s bankers.

After a while, a surprising theme emerged. The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.

I first heard this idea from Marshall Duke, a colorful psychologist at Emory University. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Duke was asked to help explore myth and ritual in American families.

“There was a lot of research at the time into the dissipation of the family,” he told me at his home in suburban Atlanta. “But we were more interested in what families could do to counteract those forces.”

Around that time, Dr. Duke’s wife, Sara, a psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, noticed something about her students.

“The ones who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges,” she said.

Her husband was intrigued, and along with a colleague, Robyn Fivush, set out to test her hypothesis. They developed a measure called the “Do You Know?” scale that asked children to answer 20 questions.

Examples included: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush asked those questions of four dozen families in the summer of 2001, and taped several of their dinner table conversations. They then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

“We were blown away,” Dr. Duke said.

And then something unexpected happened. Two months later was Sept. 11. As citizens, Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush were horrified like everyone else, but as psychologists, they knew they had been given a rare opportunity: though the families they studied had not been directly affected by the events, all the children had experienced the same national trauma at the same time. The researchers went back and reassessed the children.

“Once again,” Dr. Duke said, “the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient, meaning they could moderate the effects of stress.”

Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?

“The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” Dr. Duke said.

Psychologists have found that every family has a unifying narrative, he explained, and those narratives take one of three shapes.

First, the ascending family narrative: “Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you. ...”

Second is the descending narrative: “Sweetheart, we used to have it all. Then we lost everything.”

“The most healthful narrative,” Dr. Duke continued, “is the third one. It’s called the oscillating family narrative: ‘Dear, let me tell you, we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.’ ”

Dr. Duke said that children who have the most self-confidence have what he and Dr. Fivush call a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Leaders in other fields have found similar results. Many groups use what sociologists call sense-making, the building of a narrative that explains what the group is about.

Jim Collins, a management expert and author of “Good to Great,” told me that successful human enterprises of any kind, from companies to countries, go out of their way to capture their core identity. In Mr. Collins’s terms, they “preserve core, while stimulating progress.” The same applies to families, he said.

Mr. Collins recommended that families create a mission statement similar to the ones companies and other organizations use to identify their core values.

The military has also found that teaching recruits about the history of their service increases their camaraderie and ability to bond more closely with their unit.

Cmdr. David G. Smith is the chairman of the department of leadership, ethics and law at the Naval Academy and an expert in unit cohesion, the Pentagon’s term for group morale. Until recently, the military taught unit cohesion by “dehumanizing” individuals, Commander Smith said. Think of the bullying drill sergeants in “Full Metal Jacket” or “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

But these days the military spends more time building up identity through communal activities. At the Naval Academy, Commander Smith advises graduating seniors to take incoming freshmen (or plebes) on history-building exercises, like going to the cemetery to pay tribute to the first naval aviator or visiting the original B-1 aircraft on display on campus.

Dr. Duke recommended that parents pursue similar activities with their children. Any number of occasions work to convey this sense of history: holidays, vacations, big family get-togethers, even a ride to the mall. The hokier the family’s tradition, he said, the more likely it is to be passed down. He mentioned his family’s custom of hiding frozen turkeys and canned pumpkin in the bushes during Thanksgiving so grandchildren would have to “hunt for their supper,” like the Pilgrims.

“These traditions become part of your family,” Dr. Duke said.

Decades of research have shown that most happy families communicate effectively. But talking doesn’t mean simply “talking through problems,” as important as that is. Talking also means telling a positive story about yourselves. When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people, just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship. This skill is particularly important for children, whose identity tends to get locked in during adolescence.

The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.

“This Life” appears monthly in Sunday Styles. This article is adapted from Bruce Feiler’s recently published book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: How to Improve Your Morning, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smart, Go Out and Play, and Much More.”

New York Times-July 8, 2013

What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows


SOUTHAMPTON, England — Not long after moving to the University of Southampton, Constantine Sedikides had lunch with a colleague in the psychology department and described some unusual symptoms he’d been feeling. A few times a week, he was suddenly hit with nostalgia for his previous home at the University of North Carolina: memories of old friends, Tar Heel basketball games, fried okra, the sweet smells of autumn in Chapel Hill.

His colleague, a clinical psychologist, made an immediate diagnosis. He must be depressed. Why else live in the past? Nostalgia had been considered a disorder ever since the term was coined by a 17th-century Swiss physician who attributed soldiers’ mental and physical maladies to their longing to return home — nostos in Greek, and the accompanying pain, algos.

But Dr. Sedikides didn’t want to return to any home — not to Chapel Hill, not to his native Greece — and he insisted to his lunch companion that he wasn’t in pain.

“I told him I did live my life forward, but sometimes I couldn’t help thinking about the past, and it was rewarding,” he says. “Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships. It provided a texture to my life and gave me strength to move forward.”

The colleague remained skeptical, but ultimately Dr. Sedikides prevailed. That lunch in 1999 inspired him to pioneer a field that today includes dozens of researchers around the world using tools developed at his social-psychology laboratory, including a questionnaire called the Southampton Nostalgia Scale. After a decade of study, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be — it’s looking a lot better.

Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.

Nostalgia does have its painful side — it’s a bittersweet emotion — but the net effect is to make life seem more meaningful and death less frightening. When people speak wistfully of the past, they typically become more optimistic and inspired about the future.

“Nostalgia makes us a bit more human,” Dr. Sedikides says. He considers the first great nostalgist to be Odysseus, an itinerant who used memories of his family and home to get through hard times, but Dr. Sedikides emphasizes that nostalgia is not the same as homesickness. It’s not just for those away from home, and it’s not a sickness, despite its historical reputation.

Nostalgia was originally described as a “neurological disease of essentially demonic cause” by Johannes Hoffer, the Swiss doctor who coined the term in 1688. Military physicians speculated that its prevalence among Swiss mercenaries abroad was due to earlier damage to the soldiers’ ear drums and brain cells by the unremitting clanging of cowbells in the Alps.

A Universal Feeling

In the 19th and 20th centuries nostalgia was variously classified as an “immigrant psychosis,” a form of “melancholia” and a “mentally repressive compulsive disorder” among other pathologies. But when Dr. Sedikides, Tim Wildschut and other psychologists at Southampton began studying nostalgia, they found it to be common around the world, including in children as young as 7 (who look back fondly on birthdays and vacations).

“The defining features of nostalgia in England are also the defining features in Africa and South America,” Dr. Wildschut says. The topics are universal — reminiscences about friends and family members, holidays, weddings, songs, sunsets, lakes. The stories tend to feature the self as the protagonist surrounded by close friends.

Most people report experiencing nostalgia at least once a week, and nearly half experience it three or four times a week. These reported bouts are often touched off by negative events and feelings of loneliness, but people say the “nostalgizing” — researchers distinguish it from reminiscing — helps them feel better.

To test these effects in the laboratory, researchers at Southampton induced negative moods by having people read about a deadly disaster and take a personality test that supposedly revealed them to be exceptionally lonely. Sure enough, the people depressed about the disaster victims or worried about being lonely became more likely to wax nostalgic. And the strategy worked: They subsequently felt less depressed and less lonely.

Nostalgic stories aren’t simple exercises in cheeriness, though. The memories aren’t all happy, and even the joys are mixed with a wistful sense of loss. But on the whole, the positive elements greatly outnumber the negative elements, as the Southampton researchers found by methodically analyzing stories collected in the laboratory as well as in a magazine named Nostalgia.

“Nostalgic stories often start badly, with some kind of problem, but then they tend to end well, thanks to help from someone close to you,” Dr. Sedikides says. “So you end up with a stronger feeling of belonging and affiliation, and you become more generous toward others.”

A quick way to induce nostalgia is through music, which has become a favorite tool of researchers. In an experiment in the Netherlands, Ad J. J. M. Vingerhoets of Tilburg University and colleagues found that listening to songs made people feel not only nostalgic but also warmer physically.

That warm glow was investigated in southern China by Xinyue Zhou of Sun Yat-Sen University. By tracking students over the course of a month, she and colleagues found that feelings of nostalgia were more common on cold days. The researchers also found that people in a cool room (68 degrees Fahrenheit) were more likely to nostalgize than people in warmer rooms.

Not everyone in the cool room turned nostalgic during the experiment, but the ones who did reported feeling warmer. That mind-body link, Dr. Wildschut says, means that nostalgia might have had evolutionary value to our ancestors long before Odysseus.

“If you can recruit a memory to maintain physiological comfort, at least subjectively, that could be an amazing and complex adaptation,” he says. “It could contribute to survival by making you look for food and shelter that much longer.”

Finding a Sweet Spot

Of course, memories can also be depressing. Some researchers in the 1970s and ’80s suggested that nostalgia could worsen a problem that psychologists call self-discontinuity, which is nicely defined in “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” by Stephen Stills: “Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now.” This sense of loss and dislocation has repeatedly been linked to both physical and mental ills.

But the feeling of discontinuity doesn’t seem to be a typical result of nostalgia, according to recent studies. In fact, people tend to have a healthier sense of self-continuity if they nostalgize more frequently, as measured on the scale developed at Southampton. To understand why these memories seem reassuring, Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University and other psychologists conducted a series of experiments with English, Dutch and American adults.

First, the experimenters induced nostalgia by playing hit songs from the past for some people and letting them read lyrics to their favorite songs. Afterward, these people were more likely than a control group to say that they felt “loved” and that “life is worth living.”

Then the researchers tested the effect in the other direction by trying to induce existential angst. They subjected some people to an essay by a supposed Oxford philosopher who wrote that life is meaningless because any single person’s contribution to the world is “paltry, pathetic and pointless.” Readers of the essay became more likely to nostalgize, presumably to ward off Sartrean despair.

Moreover, when some people were induced to nostalgia before reading the bleak essay, they were less likely to be convinced by it. The brief stroll down memory lane apparently made life seem worthwhile, at least to the English students in that experiment. (Whether it would work with gloomy French intellectuals remains to be determined.)

“Nostalgia serves a crucial existential function,” Dr. Routledge says. “It brings to mind cherished experiences that assure us we are valued people who have meaningful lives. Some of our research shows that people who regularly engage in nostalgia are better at coping with concerns about death.”

Feeding the Memory Bank

The usefulness of nostalgia seems to vary with age, according to Erica Hepper, a psychologist at the University of Surrey in England. She and her colleagues have found that nostalgia levels tend to be high among young adults, then dip in middle age and rise again during old age.

“Nostalgia helps us deal with transitions,” Dr. Hepper says. “The young adults are just moving away from home and or starting their first jobs, so they fall back on memories of family Christmases, pets and friends in school.”

Dr. Sedikides, now 54, still enjoys nostalgizing about Chapel Hill, although his range has expanded greatly over the past decade. He says that the years of research have inspired strategies for increasing nostalgia in his own life. One is to create more moments that will be memorable.

“I don’t miss an opportunity to build nostalgic-to-be memories,” he says. “We call this anticipatory nostalgia and have even started a line of relevant research.”

Another strategy is to draw on his “nostalgic repository” when he needs a psychological lift or some extra motivation. At such moments, he tries to focus on the memories and savor them without comparing them with anything else.

“Many other people,” he explains, “have defined nostalgia as comparing the past with the present and saying, implicitly, that the past was better — ‘Those were the days.’ But that may not be the best way for most people to nostalgize. The comparison will not benefit, say, the elderly in a nursing home who don’t see their future as bright. But if they focus on the past in an existential way — ‘What has my life meant?’ — then they can potentially benefit.”

This comparison-free nostalgizing is being taught to first-year college students as part of a study testing its value for people in difficult situations. Other experiments are using the same technique in people in nursing homes, women recovering from cancer surgery, and prison inmates.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t be indulging in nostalgia? People who are leery of intimate relationships — “avoidant,” in psychological jargon — seem to reap relatively small benefits from nostalgia compared with people who crave closeness. And there are undoubtedly neurotics who overdo it. But for most others, Dr. Sedikides recommends regular exercises.

“If you’re not neurotic or avoidant, I think you’ll benefit by nostalgizing two or maybe three times a week,” he says. “Experience it as a prized possession. When Humphrey Bogart says, ‘We’ll always have Paris,’ that’s nostalgia for you. We have it, and nobody can take it away from us. It’s our diamond.”



Alfred (NMI) Sorensen

Mr. Alfred Sorensen was born on the 24th of May, 1890, in Gerlaw, Illinois, a small town approximately 150 miles west of Chicago.  Both of his parents were born in Denmark and immigrated to the United States.  Alfred attended school, worked on the farm with his family, and excelled in the classroom.  He attended college in Illinois where he met Beulah Mae Angell.  Alfred fell in love with her and proposed via telegram…she accepted, and they were married in 1916.  Alfred was a highly gifted athlete and played football and ran track.  In one track meet he represented his school in 7 different events.  They moved to Effingham, Kansas, where they had three children.  Alfred farmed and taught school while they lived in Kansas.  They moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 1919, where Alfred bought a 7 acre farm north of San Juan, Texas, and began teaching in the PSJA School District in 1923.  Alfred taught math, science, mechanical drawing, carpentry, among other subjects, and was a highly respected track, basketball and football coach for many years.  In 1928 Alfred earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville, Texas.  In 1938 Alfred began work in the school district as a carpenter during the summer months working on the high school library, cafeteria and other projects in that facility.  Thus began his employment by the school district for 12 months each year for many years.  They moved into San Juan in about 1947 and lived on 11th Street for a number of years raising a large family of 12 children.  Alfred also helped to build the Peoples Covenant Church in San Juan.  This church was founded in 1912, but Alfred donated his time in the completion of the interior construction of the facility as it was remodeled from time to time, much as he did in the PSJA High School in later years.  Alfred also taught Sunday school at the Peoples Covenant Church for many years.  He taught children as well as a young married adults’ class each Sunday. Alfred worked hard and denied himself of many things in order to provide for his large family.  He was an excellent example of a devoted husband and father and was a highly respected member of the community.  He had a profoundly positive effect on hundreds of children and young adults in the PSJA School District for many years.  He was the type of man that set the standard in many ways for all members of the community to emulate in both his kindness, his loving attitude, and in his standards of discipline and conduct.  The way he lived his life was reflected in the lives of his children in many ways.  They also were respected for their integrity and service to others and to the community.  That was the way they were taught to live by a man who was a great and noble teacher…a man who dedicated his life to improving the lives of others through learning.  Alfred retired from the teaching profession in 1951, after having served for over 28 years in the PSJA School District.  Alfred died on February 4, 1959, and was buried beside Beulah, his wife of 38 years, in Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, Texas.   

Owen Chaney
, PSJA class of 1961, passed away 6/7/2013 at 8:30 PM in the home of his sister, Harriet [Chaney] Martin.  Memorial services will be held on 6/15/2013.

Owen Edward Chaney was born October 19, 1943 in Little Rock, Ark. to parents Eddie Lee and Kathryn Kreidenweis Chaney.  For five and 1/2 years, he fought a brave battle with leukemia, renal cell carcinoma and COPD. Owen attended Carnahan, Edison Jr. High and PSJA (Class of '61).  He was a heavy equipment operator all his life around the state of Texas.  He also contracted with Boots and Coots putting out oilfield fires in West Texas.  He was married five times and had no children of his own.

He is predeceased by both parents and grandparents.  He is survived by his sister, Harriet [Chaney] Martin (PSJA class of 1960), and her husband, Robert; nephew Steve Richardson and his children, Sidnie, Steven and Samantha; and, by his niece, Millie Keithley and her son, Jacob.  He was a resident of Buchanan Dam, Texas at the time of his death.

Our old PSJA High School building-remodeled and renamed in 2012

Our old PSJA high school building was remodeled and updated in 2012. It has been renamed as Thomas Jefferson Early College High School.  The enrollment is 500 students and it has 24 classrooms, six science classrooms with interactive white boards and full AV capabilities. The contractor was Texas Descon and the architect was Ero Architects. The square footage is 48,277. The original building was built in 1915.  It has been designated as a historic landmark. Accordingly, the exterior style had to match the original 1915 structure.

A video of the first day of school at Thomas Jefferson Early College High School is shown below and also available at:

Go to that web site and look for the video "First Day of School at Murphy Middle School and PSJA Thomas Jefferson ECHS". 
The school district adds videos and moves the videos on the site.  At some point, this video will probably rotate off the site.

Also, to view photos and other information, go to the architect web site at:

The photos on that web site are shown below:


To: PSJA 1961 Classmates-January 9, 2013:

Classmates who no longer live in the RGV may not know that our old PSJA high school building was totally renovated in 2012 and renamed as Thomas Jefferson Early College High School. If interested, go to our psja1961 web site at: to view photos and a video of the first day of school in the remodeled building. You will be highly impressed with our old building. It sure didn’t look that nice back in the day!
We all remember Sorensen Elementary School in San Juan and many in our class attended school there. But you may not know that in 2012, Sorensen moved to a new building located at 701 E. Sam Houston, San Juan 78589. You also may not know that Sorensen Elementary was named for Alfred Sorensen who was Bill Spencer’s grandfather.  Bill is named William Alfred Spencer after his grandfather.  An interesting story is that Bill and Divi dropped by Sorensen during the PSJA 1961 Padre Reunion. They talked to the Sorensen principal who told them discussions were underway on naming the new building that was being built to replace the original Sorensen building. The principal wanted it to be named Sorensen, but a decision had not been made. Bill told her all about Alfred Sorensen and soon thereafter, the PSJA School District decided to name the new building, Sorensen Elementary School.  Good job Bill and Divi!
The new Sorensen building will be dedicated on April 11 at 9 AM.
And you may or may not know about The Edith and Ethel Carman Elementary School located at 100 West Ridge Road, San Juan, TX 78589. And also the Elvis J. Ballew High School is located at 715 S. Standard St, San Juan, TX 78589. Names from the past.
If you have newspaper clippings, class photos, or other interesting class of 1961 information, please scan it and email to . Or mail the originals to me at my mailing address below and we will scan them and I promise to send the originals back to you.
Also, if you would prepare an update of your life after PSJA, we will add it to our web site. It can be as short as a paragraph or two-maybe places you have lived, kids/grandkids, jobs/careers, colleges, etc. Your classmates would be interested to have an update on what has happened in your life since PSJA.
We would like to add information on a regular basis to our web site. Our psja1961 web site has proven to be surprisingly popular. We have had almost 7000 visitor “hits” to our web site since inception and volume continues to increase. Not exactly a threat to Google or Facebook but that volume is impressive for a high school class web site.  Be sure to tell classmates of all years about our web site. Tell them to do a Google search for: psja1961. They may find it interesting, or maybe not!
By-the-way, we all get too many emails. If you want to be dropped from our PSJA1961 email list, just email , and ask to be dropped. Or, if you need to make a change to your email address on our class list, or add someone to our list, email us.

Tom W. White
White Capital Management, Inc.
8350 Meadow Road, Suite 262
Dallas, TX 75231

The Annual PSJA Football Awards were announced yesterday for 2012.  The Results:
Most Handsome Award: Again a tie...Robert Harrington and Chubby Lopez. Can anyone really tell these guys apart?
Comeback Player of the Year: Rene Salinas.  Who Else?  Way to Go Rene...keep up the good fight.
Inspirational Player Award: "Curley" Bill Spencer-a real inspiration to all of us.  Maybe one day Bill will show us how he uses the Head Make-Up trick to fool us into thinking he is bald when we know he is not.
Humanitarian Award:  Danny Cramer who was the only guy that could spell humanitarian, or maybe Douglas Peel?
Best Baller Award: Jim "Scratchy" Henderson -I hope they were talking Tennis Balls
Tough Man Award: Humberto Romero...who came by and took whatever trophy he wanted and nobody said anything.
English as a Second Language Award: Tommy Ward...who used to talk like us but now is speaking something that sounds like English.
I know "Tank" Award: Richard Clemens...whose only claim to fame was his brother Tank, unless you remember that Pass in Falfurrias that moved him to Right Tackle after starting as an End.
Most Likely Not to Succeed Award: Tom White...we will again hold the annual benefit BBQ to help Tom make ends meet.  Remember he is counting on us.  Poor Tom….at least he married well.
Do you Remember What Play we Called Award: Oscar Cantu...Great runner
Best Mustache Award: Nieves "Quinnie" Cortez...again
Strong Man Award: Doyle Slayton...who else?
Remember Me? Award: Yoyo Isaguirre...Who???
Best Manager Award: Again a tie between Tom Kruger who wanted to trade the award for razor blades and Alan Shipp who traded the last one for a guitar.
Best Teammate Award: Eddie Flores...nicest guy on the team.
Most Taped Player Award: The Jolly Jolting Charlie Jordan...PSJA is still trying to pay for all the Tape Jordan used on his hands.
Most Gifted Athlete Award: Gilbert Muzquiz...I tried to tell them I wasn't that good but the all-girl selection committee insisted I keep the award.
 Not present for these awards:  Players : Gilbert Ramirez, Milton Martin, Lucio Calzada, Eloy Hernandez, Mike Sanchez, and Felipe Elizondo. Coaches: Alton Slayton and Poochie Reynolds.
 Remember these guys in your prayers.
Well, that's it for this year.  I hope I have not offended anyone and if I did, you should remember...I really don't care.  I call them as I remember them and when I don't remember...I make it up.  It was a pleasure being in the huddle with you guys.  PSJA Forever, Gilbert Muzquiz



Posted on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

WASHINGTON–Today, Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) announced that James Bowie Elementary School in Alamo, Texas, is one of 314 schools nationwide to receive the 2009 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

“I want to congratulate the students, faculty, and staff at James Bowie Elementary School for earning this distinguished distinction.  Their hard work and dedication make us all proud.”  Congressman Hinojosa said. “This honor is not only a testament to the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff, but also to that of our students.  I wish them continued success and hope they can continue to achieve this high standard of excellence moving forward.”

The school’s principal and one teacher will be invited to an awards ceremony on Nov. 3 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., where each of the schools will receive a Blue Ribbon Schools plaque and flag to showcase at their respective schools. Of the 314 schools, 264 are public and 50 are private. For the past 27 years, more than 6,150 of America’s schools have received this coveted award.

“These Blue Ribbon Schools have shown that all children can learn with appropriate supports,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “They are producing outstanding results for their students. Some have shown dramatic improvements in places where students are overcoming the challenges of poverty, and others serve as examples of consistent excellence that can be a resource for other schools.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: 1) schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests; and 2) schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that demonstrate dramatic improvement of student performance to high levels on state tests or nationally-normed tests.

In addition, public schools must meet Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, in reading (language arts) and mathematics. Each state — not the federal government — sets its own academic standards and benchmark goals.

A total of 413 schools nationwide can be nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Chief State School Officer (CSSO) nominates public schools, and the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) submits private schools’ nominations. The schools are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a Blue Ribbon School.

James Bowie Elementary School is one of only two schools in the 15th Congressional District of Texas to receive this award.

For more information about this award, go to

Thomas Krueger wins the 2011 SEC Faculty Appreciation Award in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering seniors Darlene King and Stacey Chan present the award to Dr. Krueger.

AUSTIN, TEXAS—April 7, 2011

Dr. Thomas Krueger was recently honored with the 2011 Student Engineering Council (SEC) Faculty Appreciation Award for Mechanical Engineering. This award was given during The Faculty Appreciation Week, a time-honored tradition of giving back to faculty and professors for the great things they have done for the students. The Academic Affairs Committee within in the SEC had a nomination and voting round to select the most influential professor in each engineering department. Based on the first round of nominations and second round of voting, the students in the Cockrell School of Engineering selected Dr. Krueger as the Distinguished Professor for the Mechanical Engineering Department.


Faculty Appreciation Award

Darlene King and Stacey write "Dr. Krueger has been teaching courses at The University of Texas at Austin since 1994, most notably for ME 302. This introduction to engineering design and graphics is a course which all first-year mechanical engineering students take. Dr. Krueger is a very kind, friendly and all around wonderful instructor who always takes time to meet with students, whether they are currently taking his course or in need of a design principles interview. In addition, Dr. Krueger dedicates much time as a graphics advisor to senior design projects."


Dr. Thomas J. Krueger is a Senior Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his B. S. from Concordia Teachers College in 1966 and his M. Ed. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1971 and 1975 respectively. Before coming to The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Krueger taught at Texas A&M University, Brazosport College, and Texas State University. His research interests are in Engineering Design Graphics curriculum development, Solid Geometric Modeling, and Engineering Computer Graphics.

In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Krueger is a coauthor on several editions of three textbooks that are used at various universities. These books are titled Engineering & Computer Graphics Workbook, Using SolidWorks 2010, Engineering Design, Graphics Sketching Workbook and Visualization, Modeling, and Graphics for Engineering Design (Dr. Krueger coauthored chapters 5 and 8 of this book).

Mostafa Pirnia, Senior Lecturer

"I am proud and blessed to be working in an area with colleagues like Tom and others. He is a great leader and is willing to work as a team, sharing his experience with others. For me he is not only a great colleague, but he is a great friend, as well. I congratulate him for his great work and this well deserved award."

- Mostafa Pirnia

Dr. Tom Krueger and Senior Lecturer Mostafa Pirnea at the award ceremony

Billy Wood, Senior Lecturer

"I have had the pleasure of working with Tom at two universities. He always puts his students first and has an open door policy. He is glad to assist a student at any time; office hours or not. Tom has a congenial personality that makes him popular with students. The first thing you notice about him is his smile and the laugh that follows. Tom has never met a student, staff or faculty member that he didn't like. He is a genuine asset to our program."

-Billy Wood

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