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Ms. Easton Named APS HS Counselor of the Year


APS’ Director of Counseling Services Vicki Price says a few words about Ms. Easton as she receives the award. Photo Credit to Rachel Ochoa, retweeted by Ms. Debra Chandler.

Debora Easton, the counselor for last names K-O at La Cueva, was awarded the title of APS High School Counselor of the Year for the 2016-17 year this past Friday, as announced by college and career counselor Debra Chandler on her Twitter page.

“Her energy, passion, and commitment to her students is unmatched,” the nomination letter from staff and administration stated about Ms. Easton. “Her positive influence extends well beyond the walls of La Cueva.”

Easton is widely known across La Cueva and the community for her creation of the Athlete Reading Program. “Five years ago, Debbie came into work with an idea. We knew from the moment she started talking that this was going to be something great,” the nomination letter also said about Mrs. Easton. “Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of athletes who have read to over a thousand kids. Her idea has created a positive ripple effect throughout our community.” There were eighteen members of the program this year that went around to different elementary schools across town reading books to kids K-5.

But Ms. Easton is not just known for her impact on the community with the Athlete Reading Program, but for also connecting with every student that walks into her office. “She leaves no stone unturned when working toward student success,” said principal of La Cueva Dana Lee. “Mrs. Easton is goal-oriented, and she instills that motivation in her students as well.” Ms. Lee also said that she loves how Ms. Easton “stands out as someone who maintains a single-minded focus of doing what’s best for kids… always.”

The Edition spoke with Ms. Easton, and she said she is honored to have received this award. “One of the greatest feelings is to be recognized by your co-workers for the daily work you do,” she said. “I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work in a profession that I love.”

Crime Time At La Cueva High

Photos and story by Kelly Collins | Staff Writer

Student analyze the burned car crime scene. The car was from a junkyard, but it was supposed to belong to art teacher Ms. McCoy in the Forensic project.

Albuquerque fire and rescue arrived at the scene of the burning car. This year, the Forensic class crime scene staged at Balloon Fiesta Park. Photo by author.

Students wait in the background to analyze the crime scene while the car burns. Students were hoping it would blow up, but it just burned.

As the end of the year nears, final projects and endless numbers of tests are seen at every corner of La Cueva’s hallways. One project, however, includes more students and staff than just one class. The Forensics project for juniors and seniors comes around once a year and consists of about 130 students working on one goal: to solve a case.

“Last year I did a case based on the SAT.” Every year, Forensic Science faculty Mary Robinson prepares a mock crime scene and case for her students to solve. “I went to the office and asked, ‘how much before a test do the ACT’s get here?’ they said about two weeks. I wondered, what would a student do to get a perfect score? And so I based my crime off of that.” She gets help from her aids to collect lab requests, as if La Cueva is the police department and her students are her detectives.

Junior Tyler Lopez, a ‘Lead Investigator (Detective)’ of a group of three other people, is proud of the group he’s in. “My team is working hard to solve this case and reach our N-game. We’re working to get the best grade we can,” Lopez said.

This year, the case is much different. According to Lopez, “We went to Balloon Fiesta Park. [The City of Albuquerque Fire Department and Police Department] set a car on fire to simulate crime. Then we analyzed the scene and collected evidence.”

Robinson seems to have all of Albuquerque on her side, getting the Fire Department to light an old car on fire, and then put it out. Her students get as close to a real crime scene as you can as a high school student, and learning about crime and science is definitely her passion.

“I love it because every day is solving crimes, logical reasoning, analyzing evidence and finding the facts,” said Robinson. “Each class is different, each year is different. There’s something new every day.”

St. Jude Walk/Run to return for 7th Year


September is an important month for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. The month is dedicated to Childhood Cancer Awareness, which is the mission of the hospital, to find a cure for childhood cancer. But it is also the month when they host their annual St. Jude Walk/Run. And the Albuquerque branch is proud to bring the local event back for the seventh straight year.

The Committee of the Walk/Run in Albuquerque announced at their March luncheon that the event will be held at the Albuquerque Academy for the first time in their seven-year history. Previously, it was held at the Albuquerque Convention Center and in its earlier years, the Cottonwood Mall.

Participants of the Walk somewhere in the nation prepare at the starting line. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

“We are very excited to host the walk at the Academy this year,” said the head of the local board Christine Dennis. “Our committee was attracted to this location because of the accessibility, the amount of control we have over the course, and the beautiful setting for the walk.” Dennis is also the co-owner of Window World, one of the corporate sponsors of the St. Jude Walk/Run.

Dennis said she was very excited to receive the honor of becoming the head of the board, wanting to help St. Jude out in any way possible. “I have felt a calling to do whatever I could to help St. Jude for many years. I was honored when asked to be the chair, and I did not hesitate to step into the position,” she said. She is happy to continue the tradition of bringing people together for the cause and is looking to even engage participants even more into the festivities. “We are going to provide more opportunities for our walkers to learn about St. Jude, and we will have a circus theme with games and raffles.”

If you would like to participate in this year’s Walk/Run, you can sign up at and search for the Albuquerque St. Jude Walk/Run. The date is September 16th, the Walk is $10, and the Fun Run is $10.  All proceeds will go to St. Jude. So far, according to a quick check on April 5th of the fundraising website, the local Walk has already raised $11,739, and their goal is to raise $65,000 by the day of the event.