At last week's assembly, where students were learning about their monthly theme, "Grit," one special employee of Guadalupe who has shown incredible grit and perseverance was celebrated for her 25 years of service. LaVelle Conner was welcomed to the front of the room to be awarded the school's mascot, a wolf, in the form of a small figurine by student leaders.
LaVelle has worked 15 years as a 2nd and 3rd grade paraprofessional, and 10 years as a special education paraprofessional, while simultaneously serving as the school librarian. She is loved by the students and families of the Guadalupe Charter School, as well as numerous staff who have interacted with her for over two decades.
When LaVelle took the paraprofessional Praxis test, she scored 100%, something she is personally very proud of. It's not surprising that in 2016 she was awarded the Special Education Paraeducator Award of 2016 by the Utah Annual Council for Children with Behavior Disorders (CCBD).
LaVelle has seen Guadalupe School more as a family than just a place she where she works. About her experience at Guadalupe, she commented, "Guadalupe School students and staff helped me cope with emotionally devastating events in my life, including divorce and death."
Reminiscing on her experiences being an instructor for so many years, LaVelle said, "I have been very fortunate to be associated with such excellent educators in my career here at Guadalupe school. It's been interesting to see kids I taught here come back with their high school diploma or even college diploma. That's the best part."
Regardless of when she decides to retire from official employment, LaVelle wishes to continue supporting her Guadalupe family as much as she can. She stated, "I will miss the people here so much that I intend to stay connected through volunteering and subbing."
We sure do love you LaVelle. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication!
Last week Guadalupe School charter students enjoyed one of our most fun annual traditions - Career Day! Each grade gets visited throughout the day by several community members who work in various fields. This year the presenters were from especially diverse industries. Women and men came to talk about their jobs as social workers, graphic designers, biochemists, software engineers, fashion designers, architects, dancers, and more!
Among the presenters were two members of Guadalupe School's Board of Directors, Alex Reyna and Steve Downing. Alex spoke about the importance of money and managing finances, and his career at Goldman Sach's. Steve Downing, who works at Telemundo Utah, talked to the kids about how the news gets produced. His presentation was especially cool, because many of our students and their families tune into Telemundo to get the news in Spanish!
Guadalupe School thanks its social work interns, Sarah Anderson and Jenny Hallisey, for coordinating Career Day this year. This event is of significant value to our organization because our mission is to transform lives through education. Transforming lives means allowing people young and old alike to see their potential, set goals for their future, and achieve those goals through academic success. Career Day allows Guadalupe students to interact with many examples of who they can become and what they can aspire to. Thanks to all of those who shared their knowledge and experiences on this special day, and helped inspire a rising generation of leaders!
Check out the video below to see Guadalupe kids do a fun dance exercise with one of the Career Day presenters.
This month Guadalupe School was proud to recognize 14 families who went above and beyond on completing their required volunteer hours of 10 hours per semester. These families did well beyond the minimum requirement, and have become some of the strongest pillars of our organization, especially when it comes to the charter school.
Maricella, the parent volunteer coordinator, arranged for a breakfast catered by Even Stevens, and invited the front office staff, Guadalupe's executive director, and the charter school principal to be present for the honors. Each recognized individual or family received a certificate and a small gift as Guadalupe School's way of saying thank you for their over-achievement.
Adriana Lopez clocked in the most hours of all the parents, doing 207 hours in just one semester! Although her full-time job is at Guadalupe School, Adriana dedicates her off time to continuing her service to the organization, by reading with students and helping out in the After School program (You can learn more about Adriana's story by watching this video).
Laura Garcia came in second with 166 hours logged. She and her husband, Jonatan, help in her child's kindergarten class. Their son at first had a hard time adapting to full time school, so the whole family - mom, dad, and grandma - stepped in to help with the transition, alternating visiting the kindergarten class. To the teacher's delight, they have ended up helping the entire class in things like library time, computer lab time, art class, and physical education.
Elishia Barajas was the third highest ranking parent volunteer, having completed 104 hours during the semester. She spends at least one day a week helping the office staff make copies, flyers, and ice packs for the student health room. She helps to decorate the various school bulletin boards for different learning themes and holidays, and is someone Maricella feels like she can call for any last-minute help.
Guadalupe School's charter program would not be what it is without the investment of parents through their time, energy, and talents. Our organization is immensely grateful for the many, many volunteer hours put in by moms, dads, siblings, and grandparents. Thanks to them for their belief in the Guadalupe School mission, and their actions that speak volumes! We appreciate the volunteer efforts of our Guadalupe families and community members.
This month Guadalupe School made a tradition out of a fun and casual fundraising event by executing our Love Guadalupe Movie Night for the second year in a row! The event is held at Brewvies Cinema Pub, where we rent out a theater room for friends of Guadalupe, and sell tickets to a Valentines movie and extra entries for exciting prize drawings. The program began with a short rundown of Guadalupe School's mission to transform lives through education, accompanied with impressive statistics and facts about our five academic programs. This was followed by a short video of an inspirational Guadalupe School story, and drawings for several prizes including a Grizzlies hockey suite for 16 people and a $150 Top Golf gift certificate! The audience then enjoyed a hilarious viewing of an old Valentines classic, The Proposal.
The most impressive part of the night was the fundraising portion of the program. Thanks to movie ticket sales, prior donations, and prize entry sales, Guadalupe School had already made about $3,000 to put towards our five programs. However, after asking the audience to make any additional donations they felt they could contribute through our text-to-give service, we ended the event having made $4,672!
We are so incredibly grateful for the generosity of the many people who donated and participated in our movie night fundraiser. Lives truly will be transformed through the programs that your contributions support. THANK YOU!
If you would like to show your support of Guadalupe School, please visit our donation page!
A lot of people know that Guadalupe School includes a grade school due to the name, but did you know that Guadalupe School is actually a nonprofit organization that encompasses FIVE different academic programs? Our mission is to transform lives through education; and we mean the lives of people of all different ages and in all different stages of life. That's why our programs run the gamut from infancy and early learning programs, to a grade school, to adult English and vocational courses. We want to transform lives all the way from babies up to senior citizens.
Our programs include In-Home, Toddler Beginnings, Preschool, Charter School, and Adult Education. Checkout the information below to learn more about each, and reach out with any questions!
For the third year in a row, Juan Diego high school seniors dedicated their first week of the year after winter vacation to serving various charitable organizations all across Salt Lake City. Guadalupe School has been fortunate enough to remain a host for the Juan Diego volunteers, and has loved the mutually beneficial partnerships and friendships that have formed as a result.
This year, the JD seniors got more involved than ever, making the best of their five short days at the school. First, all 16 volunteers participated in a reading camp orchestrated by Guadalupe's STAR Reading coordinator. Students from grades K-6 were selected by their teachers to receive a little extra reading help, and were able to get one-on-one aid from the JD seniors in the library.
Several of the volunteers opted to also work with Guadalupe School's math tutor. The charter school is about to embark on a large scale math competition that includes "racing" across colorful boards by completing simple math problems. The JD seniors were huge helps as they worked tirelessly to complete the boards.
Guadalupe students' parents also had a chance to share a little of their perspective while participating in interviews with a few of the Juan Diego students. The volunteers loved this exercise because it allowed them the opportunity to get to know another, highly important side of Guadalupe School.
Finally, as has become traditional for the Juan Diego week of Guadalupe School, the volunteers worked with Megan, Guadalupe's social worker, and 6th grade Peer Leadership students, to create a skit and video for the back-to-school assembly at the end of the week. Everyone involved had a lot of fun, and were able to learn about unity and teamwork at the same time.
Guadalupe School thanks the Juan Diego senior volunteers from the bottom of our hearts. The week was a grand success, and teachers, tutors, and students alike applaud the example these volunteers have shown of participating in building up the Salt Lake community. We love you!
Saul Almanza is a Guadalupe School alumnus who attended the Adult Education program nearly 40 years ago. In the video above, he tells how his experience with Guadalupe School English teaching staff and volunteers was both heartwarming (hence the fond memory of receiving treats at break) and incredibly valuable. Saul was able to transition from a roofing job to a career with a computer print shop, where English fluency was required. This allowed him to make a better living, and meet his native English speaking wife, with whom he had two incredible children. They have been able to go on and serve as amazing citizens of the US, in the Navy, and as a volunteer school teacher. Watch the video above to get inspired by Saul's amazing story!
For several years in a row, Utah First Credit Union has donated over 300 brand new pairs of shoes to Guadalupe Charter School students a couple of weeks before the holiday break. This is an incredible service, that provokes a lot of gratitude from students who suddenly know they will have at least one pair of shoes to take them through the cold months of winter, and one extra holiday gift, which can be a huge plus if the family gift budget is tight.
Each year, Utah First Credit Union collects the shoe sizes of each of our charter students, sends employees out to shop for shoes, and wraps every individual shoe box in a large wrapping party. They then send a team of happy staff members to stake out at Guadalupe School, and other schools and organizations around the community, in order to distribute the gifts and watch students open their presents with glee.
Guadalupe School is very appreciative of this amazing service project. We know it can't be cheap to provide over 300 pairs of shoes, and we thank Utah First Credit Union for the energy and time spent, as well as the money spent on such a large endeavor. The price of seeing the facial expressions of Guadalupe students as they open their shoe boxes, however, cannot be quantified. Check out the photos below to enjoy their priceless reactions.
Last week fourth graders had the unique experience of touring a local woodworking production company. Fetzer started as a small cabinet workshop over 100 years ago, downtown Salt Lake City. It has grown into a behemoth, boasting storefronts in China and New Zealand, and manning projects like the interior woodwork of Salt Lake's own beautiful LDS Conference Center.
Guadalupe students were fortunate to receive a personal tour that began in the corporate office space, and moved through the shop floor, in order to give them a feel for the various elements that make up a company like Fetzer. The fourth graders had step-by-step processes explained, including receiving a customer's order, digitally designing wood pieces that will fulfill it, and then physically creating those pieces through various methods of machine operation and hand labor. They wore safety glasses as they looked on with awe at the large cutting and sanding machines, as well as the spaces used for staining and sealing the wood.
The best part was that the Fetzer employee, Joe, who gave the tour, emphasized math throughout the visit. Guadalupe School makes a large effort to encourage students to develop an interest in STEM subjects, and to see how they apply in the real world. Students were able to learn that when it comes to woodworking, math skills are among the most important to possess.
Guadalupe School continues to actively seek field trip opportunities that provide our students with exposure to their community, and fodder for their imaginations as they begin to envision their own futures. If you know of a local company, public service, or group that might be open to providing a field trip destination for Guadalupe students, please contact us at email@example.com.
Last month, the Utah Education Network (UEN) honored several community leaders at the "UtahFutures Celebrates Stories of Champions Dinner". This event highlighted the work and dedication of fourteen individuals, nominated by fellow community members, who help students in Utah to excel academically and professionally. Jen Gibbs, the project manager of Utah American Graduate, which worked in conjuction with UEN, said, "As Utah's public media network for education, UEN is thrilled to bring attention to these inspirational mentors and the people they serve." The honorary dinner was held at the Hogle Zoo, and attendees included representatives of Utah's public libraries, public education facilities, higher education institutions, and the Utah System of Technical Colleges.
Guadalupe School is proud to say that our very own Kate Brainerd, Director of Adult Education, was one of the fourteen mentor champions honored. We cannot think of a person more deserving of such recognition. Kate has proven time and time again her tireless dedication to providing English Language Learners with opportunities to grow and progress. Besides directing a program that provides training to volunteer tutors who in turn help small groups of students to learn English, Kate has gone above and beyond to provide vocational training opportunities. She implemented a program to train students in preparation for the Certified Nurse Assistant examination, and supports Adult Education student volunteers who operate a thrift shop where Guadalupe families can shop for affordably priced items.
We appreciate Kate, who is a shining example of the kind of passion that drives Guadalupe School and its five programs to transform lives through education. Congratulations, Kate!