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If you think beauty pageant winners just need to smile for the camera, you need to enter the 21st Century.


Nowadays, girls who who want a title (or "platform") like "Miss New Mexico" must work on a wide range of skills and do quite a bit of community service.


That's the way it is for Jade Romero, the current reigning "Teen New Mexico Enchanted."  Jade works with an organization known as Enchantment US Pageants system, a community based organization whose goals are to empower, educate, and encourage young women.


Jade's duties include fund raising, appearances at community events, and 10 hours or more of community service.


Kristina Romero, Jade's proud mom, is herself a title holder; she's the current Ms. New Mexico.


"I believe Jade is a very humble, caring, compassionate young lady with so much to give," Kristina said. "She will do well showing that on stage. I also believe she will complete more than 200 hours of community service and receive the presidential award of recognition."


If you want to help, Jade is currently taking donations to support the cause of bully prevention. Those making even a small donation will receive an anti-bullying pin.




The staff of professionals at LBJ Middle School bring a wealth of experience to their careers, and no one has more years on the job than our CSA officer, Art Marquez.


Here are the numbers:


* 46 years in law enforcement

* 12 years as an APS police officer

*  6 years at the middle school level (the last 5 at LBJ)


"I like interacting with students," Marquez said. "I enjoy developing a good rapport with students, teachers, and parents. I like helping students with life, their problems, fears, and of course, their accomplishments."


The only thing officer Marquez likes better than a Dallas Cowboys win is helping students become successful.


"Resolving problems with parents can be challenging," Marquez said. "But it's always worthwhile to see a young person grow up, mature, and become a good student."


Officer Marquez enjoys his job so much he's planning on returning to LBJ for the next school year -- his 47th in law enforcement.


Thanks for everything you do, Officer Marquez.


-- article submitted by Lillian Milano, student reporter for the LBJ Howl



Experience can be an incredibly valuable asset in the teaching profession. The Mentor Program, co-sponsored by APS and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, allows veteran teachers like Christine Dickey and Gary Archibeck to share their hard-won wisdom with first-year teachers.


"The mentor program pairs an experienced teacher with a beginning teacher," said Dickey, a veteran Language Arts teacher at LBJ. "The pair meet regularly so the new teacher can feel supported and receive help when needed."


"There are many people involved in the program," said Archibeck," also a veteran Language Arts teacher at LBJ. "I have the honor of working with Mr. Michael Mellas. He is a new teacher, a new daddy, and a great teacher. The staff here at LBJ and the administration are working to make Mr. Mellas's first year a success.


"Teaching is hard work," Archibeck continued, "and finding a balance between work, home, and school can be tricky. All of us involved in the Mentor Program want to do all we can to help new teachers find that balance."


What kind of help do new teachers need?


"So much help!" Dickey exclaimed. "Managing school requirements, classroom management, IEP creation, assessment, and teacher evaluation requirements are some of the areas."


"Like all big corporations, APS has many procedures and processes that can be confusing," Archibeck said. "A mentor teacher can help the new teacher navigate anything causing confusion. New teachers must develop and maintain classroom discipline. This can be very difficult; teachers can be too strict or too easy on students. Mentor teachers try to assist the new teacher to find that balance."


Ironically, many mentor teachers find that they end up learning as much as their "rookies."


"It is great experiencing the energy and optimism in a new teacher," Dickey said. "I have been a teacher for 21 years, so I value the new perspective."


-- Article submitted by Winsuma Pavolko, LBJ Howl student reporter