Category: Feature

Evangelina Garza: Para Que No Trabajes Como Un Burro

She was embarrassed, just waiting for me to arrive, she didn’t want me to see her house. It was shortly after seven in the morning before the UIL meet when I finally arrived, an inspired young lady, Evangelina Garza.
She welcomed me to her house where she sat on a torn, moldy mattress on the dirt floor. She was surprised that I was not shocked by her house, I didn’t give an ugly look when I saw her room and her sisters separated with only a curtain, nor did I say anything about the dirty floors and walls.

But when I saw her trophy case as the center of her house I smiled and winked at her.

Said Evangelina Garza.
Evangelina Garza Substituted Assistant Principal

Currently severing as a substitute assistant principal Evangelina Garza has made many want to be better individuals. She has taught her former students to value education and to take advantage of every opportunity given.

Mrs. Garza, Carter’s vice principal is a retired professional. Her long trajectory of success speak and say a lot of who she is today.
Mrs. Garza worked at East Academy where she was tough but fair. She worked at Juarez-Lincoln where she loved her students and taught many that humble beginnings can lead to a long meaningful life. Her work ethic at Cesar Chavez and Memorial middle school showcased the true meaning of being a professional educator. While at Cavazos Elementary Mrs. Garza, with her personal stories, hoped to inspire young students to dream big.

Growing up as she saw her parents work hard they constantly told her “Para que no trabajes como un burro,” that build her character and inspired her to get an education no matter the obstacles she has to face. To Mrs. Garza being Mexican-American doesn’t limit you to achieve your dreams.

“Our culture, those guys from Mexico, all of those immigrants that are crossing are super bright especially in math, so we have nothing to fear. We might have difficulty in speaking because we don’t practice the English language, but other than that “no nos ganan en nada.” Mrs. Garza said.

Although Mrs. Garza encourages any student she comes in contact with to follow their dreams and get an education she has a special bond with students from La Joya. She like many students from this district come from humble beginnings she is from the “Rancho” as she calls it, Sullivan City.

“I want you to achieve. I want you to get ahead.” Mrs. Garza said. “ If your mother works hard and your father works hard why shouldn’t you.”

By being strict she teaches students how to be responsible and to not waste time. Sometimes she may yell because “es que soy de rancho, acarriaba vacas y a las cabras”.
Macarena Hernandez a former student of Mrs. Garza is a perfect example of the impact Garza can have on students. Macarena is a journalist that focuses on Latino issues such as immigration and education. Macarena now teaches at Baylor University.

Many of the staff at Carter have come into contact with Garza during her accomplished stay with La Joya ISD. Mr. Arias, pre-Calculus teacher, is an example of someone who was her student and has come into success.

“Mrs. Garza taught me to be responsible and always to be prepared to do my best. She was strict but fair and a nice lady; she expected us to do our best. She was very approachable.

At Jimmy Carter Garza hopes to better the school’s culture to keep it as a distinguished school.

Garza’s passion to make a difference for her students is incredible. She puts her heart a soul into education to help students achieve their American Dream.


Feature Story: Sister Norma Pimentel

As she saw a young Salvadorian girl get separated from her parents by border patrol, inspiration for helping others struck and many followed, that would alter her goal of restoring human dignity.

Restoring human dignity has always found a way in Sister Norma Pimentel’s life, who received praise for her volunteer work, by being bestowed the Hispanic Heritage Award for her service helping immigrants and refugees. Sister Norma Pimentel’s mission “is to help families restore their human dignity.”

“When I see a child’s face with a smile, I see a lot of hope because they are the future of humanity and giving them an opportunity to be a child that gives me a lot of hope it gives me a sense that I am doing the right thing,” Pimentel said. “My mission for me is to help families restore their human dignity, I believe that all human life needs to be respected.”

Pimentel seems to have a passion for helping those who face adversity. Mrs. Rodriguez, volunteer at the respite center, has seen her in action and knows what it takes to help others.”

“Most people are not happy about helping others, but Pimentel is different she has the ganas (desire)of helping those who face adversity,” said Rodriguez. “I am lucky to know her.”

Having Mexican parents and being born near the border, Sister Norma Pimentel has been exposed to immigration and has realized that under her eyes everyone is equal.

“Because I am a native here of the Rio Grande Valley, I grew up here right by the border I was exposed with people coming and going. They were immigrants from Mexico, Salvador, Honduras … and we always saw each other as a community the fact that some are here that are not legal that does not mean they are different,” Pimentel said.

Almost everyone in Sister Norma Pimentel’s life have supported her goals, yet she has dealt with many critics. That does not stop Nun Pimentel from expanding her mission and goals to go beyond the borders of the city, and she hopes that one-day humanity will learn, “how to respect one another so that we can find solutions to differences without destroying human life.”


Teacher of the Month



Mila Obnial, a dedicated Math teacher at Jimmy  Carter Early College High School, has been voted Teacher of the Month by Red Gold News .

Ms. Obnial is someone that truly showcases what the job of a teacher is, not only in academia but also as a key role model to her students, and these attributes have made her a better person.

With her signature phrase, “Liars go to hell,” she teaches her students to speak the truth, even when others don’t. Two years ago, she asked the principal at the time, Ms. Zepulveda, if she could be given the advanced math students to train them, and within the time together, both Ms. Obnial and the students grew a bond that was special. “We treat each other like family,” said a previous student that belonged to that group, Janie Cruz.

Hardworking, dedicated, organized, motivational, outgoing, and intelligent are a few words to describe Jimmy Carter’s teacher of the month. Her personal goals are to improve every class period and to make sure that her student doesn’t leave the classroom without having understood the topic discussed. “I will not go on until everyone has mastered it,” is what she’d say.

The confidence she has in her students is genuine and from the heart. Mrs. Obnial will continue to go above and beyond to build positive relationships with her students. 

Jimmy Carter Gets Nominated as a Blue Ribbon School

Jimmy Carter Gets Nominated as a Blue Ribbon School

Jimmy Carter gets nominated as a U.S Department of Education

National Blue Ribbon School

Getting nominated for this award is nearly impossible, and it is a great achievement.                                                                        Related image

 The Importance Of Being Nominated

Being nominated as a Blue Ribbon School means that our school is performing significantly, and is performing well academically. It also means that our students are improving in academic achievements. The National Blue Ribbon School Program was founded in 1982, and it recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students are performing at very high levels. Since the program’s founding, the U.S. Department of education has given the award to more than 7,000 schools.

The Process Of Getting The Award

After getting nominated as a Blue Ribbon School, you have to submit an application for the award. The application will go through two phases of getting reviewed. The first time it gets reviewed it will be checked for completeness, quality, accuracy, and potential eligibility. Then after that, it gets reviewed for eligibility criteria.”I am honored to part of this campus. I am officially ready to work even harder, so I’m rolling up my sleeves for hard work.” said Dr.Villareal.


Will The Status As A Blue Ribbon School Ever Expire?

Once a school receives the award, it remains a Blue Ribbon School.

What Happens After A School Gets The Award?

National Blue Ribbon schools serve as role models for other schools. The application that they’ve submitted is posted on the U.S. Department of Education website. Representatives from the school are honored at an annual ceremony in Washington. The school will then be given an engraved plague and program flag with the official seal.

Our District

It has been over thirty years since any school in La Joya ISD has been nominated as a Blue Ribbon School. It’s a great achievement that we got nominated.

Awards Previously Received

In 2011-2012 Jimmy Carter school was nominated by the Texas Education Agency as an “Exemplary” campus.
In 2016, jimmy carter received recognition as a Texas Honor roll school. In 2016 rankings we received a bronze medal.
In 2017, we got a silver medal in the 2017 rankings.
In 2018, we got nominated as a Blue Ribbon School.
Jimmy Carter has met standards throughout 2013-2017 and has received several distinctions.
The ranking is data on more than 22,000 public schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools are awarded bronze, silver, and gold medals based on their performance on state exams and how they prepare students for college.


Student and Staff Opinions


Ever since Jimmy Carter got nominated as a Blue Ribbon School, everyone has something to say. From our staff to students, everyone has an opinion on this. One of our students Daniel Sarabi said,” I feel like it’s a great honor for our school.” It is a very well deserved award for us, for we have a very hardworking staff. Our Avid teacher Ms.Bangsalud said,”I am so proud! I feel honored to be part of a school that has been nominated.”Furthermore, our entire school and staff all deserve our appreciation, for we all made this possible.



Later Schedule

Have you ever noticed that students get to school late? One of the main reasons that students arrive at school late is because they have to wake up early. Even though some students may wake up early, it has become a problem for them because they do not get sufficient rest. Students arrive at school very early, but they might also not be able to concentrate because of the early schedule. If students are not able to focus, they will not learn what they are supposed to learn. Students who go to school early will always be falling asleep in class. This affects the students because they do not get their proper sleep and they do not concentrate. Obtaining not enough sleep can make the students fail their classes.

According to the centers for disease control and prevention they have proven that starting school later may help teenagers get enough sleep and improve their health, performances, and quality of life. It has also become common among all high school students and is associated with several health risks including overweight, drinking alcohol, using tobacco and using drugs, as well as reduced academic performance. The ( American Academy of Pediatrics ) has recommended that middle school and high school start at 8:30 or later to give students the opportunity to get the amount of sleep they need, but most adolescents start school too early.  About 42 states have reported that most (75%-100%)  public middle schools and high schools start school earlier than 8:30 am. Adequate sleep enables improved academic performances.The American Academy of sleep medicine has recommended that teenagers from 13 to 18 years should regularly sleep 8 to 10 hours per day for good health. Those who do not get enough sleep are most likely to

  • Be overweight 
  • Suffer from symptoms of depression
  • Perform poorly in school
  • Engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as drinking,  smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs.

“I think it is great because not everyone likes waking up early,  ” said Daniela Garcia, JCECHS student. With that said, students are better off with a later schedule.

Food Contraband

any Have you ever noticed that when students ask to leave the classroom, to go to the restroom, get something from their locker or for any reason whatsoever they magically come back with chips, cookies, Gatorade, chocolates, brownies, and even tacos?

Now anyone can walk down a hallway and end up with a full course meal. However, the real question here is that, from who are students getting all of this junk food? Moreover, is the food safe for their customers? Does the food meet the safety standards and requirements? 

Students engaged in the purchase of junk food.

The USDA ( U.S. Department of Agriculture) prohibited many types of foods and created new restrictions:

  • Calories for snacks must not exceed 200, and 350 calories are the maximum for entrees.
  • Sugar cannot exceed 35% by weight (although some fruits are excepted.) 
  • Sodium must not exceed 230 mg.
  • Only 35% calories can come from fat
  • Only 10% of saturated fat
  • No trans-fat.

The school’s  junk food ban, and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act as a whole, emerged partly as a result of Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity. The primary goal is for kids to keep healthy eating habits for a lifetime —and maybe even pass on healthier eating patterns to their parents. For that reason, many schools have closed down and removed their vending machines away from their students ever since the USDA passed the new guidelines.  Also, schools banned the sale of junk food between students, for the safety of their health. Not only because they want the obesity rates to decrease, but because schools do not know what the merchandise carry in it. 

Although schools stopped the selling of junk food altogether, students found a way to still make it available in school environments: food contraband. Like I mentioned earlier, the selling of junk food between students is unsafe but why do students engage in this activity?  There are many reasons why students tend to enter the contraband business, but one of the most common is financial pressure. Kids who are usually in need of some quick money, can just easily sell their homemade snacks or boughten snacks and sell it at school with no competition at all.

Ultimately, the law of the land at Jimmy Carter is that junk food and other consumables are not allowed for distribution, sharing or sale. 

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#FFFFFF” align=”left” size=”1″ quote=”Teaching over the constant ripping and crunching of snack backs is too much!” cite=”Mr. Silva” parallax=”off” direction=”left” revealfx=”off”]


Jimmy Carter students Dressing Inappropriately

Jimmy Carter students Dressing Inappropriately

The staff is responsible for the safety of our students, regarding the way they dress.

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La Joya ISD has many different rules in there students code of conduct. Many of these specific rules are designed to keep our students safe and out of harm’s way. One of those many rules is about the student dress code. La Joya ISD has many dress code rules that students must follow every single day. Lately here at Jimmy Carter Early College many students have disobeyed to follow the dress code rules. Now teachers are getting after students daily. Two in fourteen students get stopped by a teacher each day, for they are dressing inappropriately. Even though few students are getting stopped each day, doesn’t mean some students are breaking the dress code each day.

Some teachers have been slacking off by trying to enforce the dress code rules. During my investigation, I have noticed that many teachers are just letting students with their belly button showing just pass the hallways. Teachers at La Joya ISD need to start enforcing the dress code rules on students more. In the La Joya ISD Student Code of Conduct and Handbook, it says that all students must have neat and clean manner, and some students are walking around with hair in their face with ripped jeans showing skin.

The La Joya ISD dress code is established to teach grooming and hygiene, to prevent safety hazards. Students shall be dressed and groomed in a manner that is clean and neat, so they will not be a health or safety hazard to themselves or others. Hair shall be clean and neatly combed. The style and color must not be extreme to the point of creating a distraction towards others. Hair must be kept brushed out the eyes and face. If the principal thinks that a student’s grooming and clothing violates the school’s dress code, the student will be giving an opportunity to correct the problem at school. If not fixed, the students may be assigned to school suspension for the rest of the school day, until the problem is corrected, or until a parent or brings a new set of clothes to the campus. If the student keeps breaking these rules, more attention will be drawn to the problem.




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