• Top Of His Class

    If the last name “Gerheart” sounds familiar, it should. Don and Jane Gerheart have been a part of the Los Alamos music teaching community for many years.
    Recently their son, Charles Gerheart, who teaches concert and marching band at Cobre High School won the National Education Association, New Mexico award for Teaching Excellence for 2013-14.
    Gerheart, a Los Alamos High graduate, said one of his fellow teachers nominated him, as well as a teacher from Mayfield in Las Cruces who saw his band perform at a recent competition.
    “The person from Mayfield saw my band perform at the New Mexico Tournament of Bands Marching Bands Competition about two years ago, and she was impressed enough that she thought I should be nominated for this award,” Gerheart said. His said his fellow colleague had been following his progress at Cobre for the past 14 years.
    Gerheart gives much credit to his band for the award.
    “We just work really hard for perfection,” he said. “We’re pretty small, so we just try to do the things we can do. We can’t do some of the larger formations that some bands can, so we try to do what we do very very clean.”

  • Middle school robotics team wins big

    Saturday was a big day for the Los Alamos Middle School Hawks FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics team, competing against 11 other teams and winning the FTC Southern Colorado Qualifier. The Qualifier was hosted by the Coronado High School FIRST team in Colorado Springs. The Hawks advanced in competition, earning a slot to compete in the Colorado FTC Championship tournament Feb. 22 in Loveland, Colo.
    The Los Alamos Hawks, comprised of Erin Scott, Jaryn Newman, Jessica Cooke, Joseph Thompson, Summer Bronson, Sam Crooks, Michael Peters, and Do Vo, were ranked third after qualifying rounds and chose the Synergists, a team of home-educated students from Colorado Springs, as their alliance partner for the final rounds. The two teams were a good complement, performing different robotic tasks together well, and advanced to final rounds against the Knights Who Say ‘C’ from Loveland, CO, and the Cyberhawks from Westminster, CO. Winners advanced when they won two of three rounds. Final rounds were tough, with the Hawk/Synergist alliance winning in the finals by a close margin. Both the Hawk and Synergist teams are in their first year of competition.
    Team alliances during qualifying rounds were determined by tournament staff, while advancing teams choose their alliances in final rounds.

  • Robotics Club aims for top

    This year, the Robotics Club at Los Alamos High is determined to get past the semifinals and win big at this year’s “FIRST” Robotics Competition.
    According to David Phillips, a contractor who is also the lead mentor for the group, they’ve come close in the past two years, but there was always something to trip them up in the end.
    “In every tournament we’ve been in, we’ve made it to the semifinals of the elimination round,” Phillips said. “...We’d really like to get that final match.”
    According to Phillips, they’ve learned much from being in the competitions, and they are applying the lessons they’ve learned to this year’s competition. He said now they are constantly testing the individual components of the robot, rather than waiting to test the whole machine at once. The idea is to get each individual part working correctly so when it does all finally come together, there’ll be less bugs in the system.

  • Teacher evaluation bill makes return

    A bill concerning teacher evaluation that was vetoed by the governor last year has come back again.
    Sponsored by Sen. Howie Morales, the bill allows for school officials to negotiate certain parts of the process, such as the student evaluation part of the bill. The bill calls for limiting that part to 20 percent of the total evaluation. The bill also calls for the process to be more confidential, and for more teacher and district support.
    Last year, the New Mexico Senate passed the bill 21 to 18. Sen. Richard Martinez voted for the bill while Sen. Carlos Cisneros was excused. In the house, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard voted in favor of the bill as well.
    Through a written statement, Morales said he decided to resurrect the the bill for a few important reasons.
    “SB 588 is important to New Mexico’s public education system because educators deserve to be evaluated by those who know that system inside and out,” Morales said. “Creating a sound and reasonable way to evaluate these respected professionals will not only keep good educators in New Mexico public schools, but will assure that our students have the best educators preparing them to be productive citizens in the global economy.”

  • LA students capture Science Bowl

    U. S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced on Monday that a team of students from Los Alamos High School will join other teams from around the nation at the 2014 National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.
    “The National Science Bowl challenges students to excel and heightens their interest in fields vital to America’s continued scientific advancement,” Moniz said. “Congratulations to these students for advancing to the National Finals. I wish them the best of luck.”
    Los Alamos, coached by LAHS chemistry teacher Kathy Boerigter, was very excited for her team. She said, “The team was amazing. They studied like crazy and practiced for weeks.” She added, “And wouldn’t you know it. They had to beat their arch rival Albuquerque Academy to advance to nationals.”
    Members of the team included Katherine Wang, Wilbur Wang, Alex Swart, Willie Zhao and Alex Wang.
    Science Bowl teams compete in a series of head-to-head competitions against other school districts in the region. Teams are questioned in a rapid recall format about earth, space, energy, physics, chemistry, biology and math.

  • N.M. schools get federal funding

    ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico has been selected to receive a $3.7 million federal grant to help school districts turn around persistently low- achieving schools.
    The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant Program. It was announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.
    The New Mexico Democrat says recent studies about the well-being of children show New Mexico ranks at the bottom in several categories, and turning around schools is an important step toward providing kids with a brighter future.

  • Science Fair Leaves Nothing Unturned

    The laws of science, biology, technology and engineering were on full display at the Los Alamos County Science Fair Saturday, as students proudly stood by their projects, eagerly answering any question the judges as well as the public had for them.
    There were 275 projects on display, all diverse and interesting.
    Want to know how sunlight is converted into electricity? How our immune system can do a better job at fighting cancer? What’s the best conductor of electricity? If you walked the halls of Los Alamos High School Saturday, you’d know the answers to these questions, and more.
    If you stopped by sixth grade Pinon Elementary student Sasha Dolin’s exhibit, you’d also definitely find out at what temperature chocolate begins to melt.
    “My mom makes chocolates all the time, and I kept thinking what I was going to be doing for my project,” she said.
    So she put the question to her mother one day, and a pretty fascinating, if not delicious, science project was born. Turns out, no one knew exactly, so Dolin mapped out an experiment that involved charts and graphs detailing exactly what’s happening when a solid starts to transform itself into a liquid by way of heat.

  • Gov announces grant for LAHS 2.0 program

    New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced that Los Alamos will receive a $100,000 Early College in the High School grant that enables Los Alamos High School students to work on college degrees even as students earn their high school diploma.
    In partnership with the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, LAHS will forge alliances with northern New Mexico businesses, industries, and universities to provide Los Alamos High School 2.0.
    “Early college high school programs are a critical part of our education reform to ensure that every New Mexico student is prepared to enter the workforce or college,” Martinez said in announcing the program.
    LAHS 2.0’s aims are to personalize learning pathways for students, open college doors to historically underserved students and position graduates to be the first choice for hire when entering the job market or seeking acceptance to a university.
    Dr. Cynthia Rooney, UNM-LA Dean of Instruction, congratulated LAPS.
    “We look forward to partnering with the school district on this initiative,” Rooney said.
    LAHS 2.0 is designed to generate a new pool of college and skilled career graduates with associate’s degrees, which proponents believe stands to benefit the entire state of New Mexico.

  • LAHS' Warnock is stepping down

    Los Alamos High School principal Sandra Warnock announced her intent to retire at the end of the school year during a Wednesday meeting with her staff.
    Shortly after the meeting, School Board President Jim Hall stated, “I am grateful for Ms. Warnock’s long service to the district. I will personally miss working with her.”
    Warnock is completing a 30-year career with Los Alamos Public Schools that began in 1984 as a special education teacher at the high school.
    Warnock served in that capacity for 22 years before accepting a position as an assistant principal at the high school. Warnock served as high school principal for the past four and a half years.
    Warnock said there were many aspects she loved about being principal, but it was the people she worked with she loved about it the most.
    “It was the people part of the job that I liked the most, as well the challenge of trying to make things better in the area of student achievement,” she said.
    Sherry Anderson, Math department chair, said “I think that Sandy has been a great principal. She has always tried to do what is best for the students and staff while being fair to everyone.”

  • Applications being taken for Russia trip

    The Los Alamos-Sarov Sister Cities Initiative (LASSCI) is seeking applications from High School students interested in a summer 2014 visit to Sarov, Russia.
    An information session for interested students and parents will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 1. at the Mesa Public Library (3rd Floor, Rooms 2 and 3). Attendees will learn everything they need to know to consider participating in the summer 2014 trip.
    The purpose of the Summer Youth Exchange Program is to promote mutual understanding between our two cities and between our respective countries. Participating students will develop appreciation for both the similarities and differences of life in both communities, and learn about the history, the culture and everyday life.
    Visits under the Summer Youth Exchange Program involve 10 students accompanied by chaperones, and start with two days in Moscow for sightseeing and time-zone adjustment.
    The group then travels to the ‘secret’ city of Sarov.
    The program will include learning about the history of the town, touring attractions in the surrounding area, music and other cultural events, trying out new food, and meeting and just kicking back with Sarov students.
    Visitors will discover new things about themselves, form lasting friendships and, as previous participants have attested, have life-changing experiences.