Chispas: Week of 5/16

‘Chispas’ is the Spanish word for ‘sparks.’ Here are some things that have sparked us this week!  

HYBSA (Hays Youth Baseball and Softball Association) teams score big

10U Hays Braves. Photo courtesy of Courtnie Ortega.

Going on to represent the 10U Hays Braves as the 2022 Mustang All Stars team at the Little League World Series this summer is coach Justin Wright, assistant coach Xavier Zamarripa and players Tyler Wright, Jay Zamarripa, Jaxon Zapata, Ryder Ramirez, Grant Morales, Ezra Saldana, Cody Kemmerling, Joshua Coxe, Dusty Martinez, Emmitt Rosales, Joseph Cotton II, Cruz Rodriguez and Nolan Thomas. The 10U Hays Braves ended their season with 14 wins/0 losses, clinching #1 for the season and first place in the opening tournament and end of season tournament. 

Other HYBSA All Stars teams include the Shetland, Pinto and Bronco teams. More information and updates on the teams and can be found on the HYBSA Facebook page:

PEC awards $100k in scholarships to area students

Toby Porter, Audrey Balsdon, Adrian Campa, Soleil Johnson, Arysta Visser and Harrison Mayhew. Photo courtesy of PEC.

PEC (Pedernales Electric Cooperative) awarded $100,000 in scholarships to 39 area students, 11 of which were from Hays County. Ten high school students received awards for $2,750 while another 25 received $2,500 awards. Additionally, four PEC members seeking to advance their education as adults also received $2,500 awards. 

$2,750 award recipients

  • Catarina Vazquez, San Marcos Academy
  • Harrison Mayhew, Wimberley HS

$2,500 award recipients

  • Arysta Visser, Dripping Springs HS
  • Audrey Balsdon, Dripping Springs HS
  • Dominic Gearing, Dripping Springs HS
  • Weston Kirk, Dripping Springs HS
  • Adrian Campa, Hays HS
  • Natalie Vargas, Hays HS
  • Soleil Johnson, Hays HS

$2,500 nontraditional (member adult) recipients

  • Matthew Bridges, Buda
  • Toby Porter, Kyle

Applicants submitted essays describing what personal characteristics they believe will make them successful in college. A panel of independent judges evaluated more than 430 applicants based on their academic performance, leadership and financial need. Students may use their PEC scholarship funds to pay for expenses at any accredited university, college, junior college, technical school or trade school. 

Lehman HS holds robing ceremony 

Photo courtesy of Hays CISD.

Lehman HS celebrates its graduating seniors along with its staff with a robing ceremony. Seniors picked a staff member whom they felt had made a significant impact upon their academic journey, and met them in the gym at Lehman High. The staff would then take their robe, and put it upon their senior to show the significance of the staff member in their lives. 

Local fourth grader saves classmate’s life

On May 18, Silas Timmer, a Buda Elementary fourth grader, will receive the American Red Cross Certificate for Extraordinary Personal Action for helping save the life of a classmate while choking at school on January 11. 

“The certificate is given to individuals like Timmer who step up in an emergency situation and help save or sustain a life,” said Marty McKellips, Regional Executive for the American Red Cross serving Central & South Texas. “These individuals exemplify the mission of the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in emergencies and are commended for their willingness to help others in distress.” 

Timmer quickly sprung into action when his friend Jaxson started choking on a piece of hard candy during recess and successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver, later attributing his learning of it to a video he watched on YouTube which showed how to perform the procedure. 

Hays HS student now a two-time UIL state track medalist 

Carlo Uglow. Photo courtesy of Hays CISD.

Hays HS freshman Carlo Uglow is now a two-time UIL state medalist after his first year of competing at the high school level of track and field. On May 13, Uglow outpaced the majority of the field in the Boys 100-meter and 400-meter Wheelchair Division races at the UIL state meet, earning silver medals in both competitions. The only freshman competing in both races, he took home second place in the 100-meter event with a time of 16.67 seconds, and second place in the 400-meter event with a time of 1:01.95. Leading up to state, Uglow captured the District 26-6A Wheelchair Division title, followed by the Area and Region IV Wheelchair Division crown. 

Johnson HS names first valedictorian and salutatorian for 2022 graduating class

Valedictorian Noah Mugan and Salutatorian Sarah Barksdale. Photo courtesy of Hays CISD.

Valedictorian Noah Mugan currently serves as the JHS Student Council class president, plays the trumpet in the Jaguar Band, and competes with the JHS UIL Academic team. He was named a National Merit Scholar semifinalist in September 2021, the first Jaguar to receive that distinction. He plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin where he will major in Physics, aspiring to enter a career involving quantum computing and computational physics. 

Salutatorian Sarah Barksdale has played soccer for the past four years and is part of the Jaguar Women’s soccer team. Eliza plans to attend the University of Texas at Dallas where she will major in Physics. Eliza will also study abroad in Jordan this summer with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, where she aims to study Arabic. She hopes to one day work with Doctors Without Borders. 

Wimberley ISD students help train assistance dogs

Five Freedom Canines International (FCI) puppies began the long training process to become assistance dogs in September. Through a unique partnership with Wimberley ISD, students had the opportunity to help train future service dogs. Puppies have attended high-school agriculture classes all year long where FCI instructors Becky and Todd Kier taught students how to train all the manners and tricks a pup will need to complete puppy raising and enter advanced training. Select dedicated students even earned the privilege of becoming a puppy raiser, taking a pup with them to classes all over campus.

To wrap up the school year, students are putting the pups through a canine final exam – the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test. Pups that pass will earn their CGC title and prove that they have what it takes to enter advanced training in the fall when school starts back up. During advanced training, the pups will learn the skills necessary to become a Diabetic Alert Dog, Hearing Dog or Mobility Service Dog. Experienced students will have the opportunity to help with this as well by choosing to do their practicum with Todd and Becky.

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