Female THS students make history
Five female Temple High automotive technology students to compete at State level
Five female Temple High School students — Yeraldine Garcia, Angela De La Fuente, Aliza Mojica, Priscilla Bailon and Nyla Medina — will advance to the State Auto Tech competition in Corpus Christi on March 18. Courtesy photo
Our Town Temple
March is Women’s History Month and a group of female automotive technology students at Temple High School is making a little history of its own.
In this traditionally male-dominated field, five female students will advance to State competition, representing the largest number of female students to represent the auto tech program on the State level since the program started.
Priscilla Bailon, Angela De La Fuente, Yeraldine Garcia, Nyla Medina and Aliza Mojica earned their spots in the state competition by placing highly in the USA Skills Regional competition in Waco in February.
Projects involved included a rebuild of an alternator for diesel trucks and rebuilding a turbocharger. In total, the Temple High School automotive technology class is sending a total of 10 students to the State round.
Those advancing are excited to move on in a growing class of female students, especially since one of the students had qualified for State before but did not get a chance to compete.
“I qualified as a freshman, but the State competition was cancelled due to COVID,” said De La Fuente, a junior. “It has been great to see the number of females grow, because I was the only one that year and now, we have had five qualify.”
“I think it shows their drive, their confidence and it shows equality,” said automotive technology/collision repair instructor Joshua Koontz. “Having that many females involved in the program and excelling to this level is not something that is often seen and that makes it really exciting.”
The students were attracted to the program for different reasons, but they are part of a trend in Temple’s Career & Technical Education Department that has also seen increasing numbers of females enrolled in historically male-dominated fields like auto tech, manufacturing and construction arts.
“I got interested because my dad has a tire shop and I grew up around that environment,” said Garcia, a sophomore. “I wanted to learn more about it and be able to have conversations with him about it.”
“This is a life skill that I thought would be handy to have,” said Medina, another sophomore. “I have learned so much more about the car — I understand more about it and I know that will help me for the rest of my life.”
“There weren’t many girls in the program, and I wanted to show that we can do it, too,” said Bailon, a sophomore. “It feels like we’ve accomplished something that not many girls do and hopefully that is encouraging to others.”
Sophomore Aliza Mojica has already decided she would like to go to college to continue studying automotive technology and wants to go on to a career in the field. With the help of the program and partners like Don Ringler Auto Group, Johnson Brothers Ford and SWG Automotive and Performance, she will have a great head start on her career once she finishes the program. The chance to compete at the state level is another step on that path.
“I will come out of this program with certifications that would let me go on to work for a dealership or shop,” Mojica said. “This has been an amazing program and I would recommend it to anybody.”
In fact, that is one thing all five of the students are quick to do. They all encouraged anyone interested in the program to investigate it and find a home.
“Definitely go for it,” De La Fuente said. “As long as you like it and know you can do great in it, girls can do anything they put their minds to, and this program allows us to do that.”
“Sign up if you are thinking about it,” said Garcia. “It was a little scary at first because there aren’t as many girls, but even all of the guys have been so supportive, and we all work together.”
“I would tell people to have that boost, that hope and that faith and go with it,” Bailon said. “Get yourself into stuff and just do it, whether its field trips or projects or whatever you want to try.”
And with the number of females involved in the program growing, this history-making group is looking forward to seeing what else the future holds.
“When I first started, I didn’t think I would be around this many females,” Mojica said. “But it has been great to see it grow and we all support each other. It has been great to have so many other females to communicate with.”
The State competition will be March 18 in Corpus Christi.
TUESDAY | MARCH 8, 2022
Gas up 59 cents in past week
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, crude prices are soaring, leading to higher pump prices nationwide and here in Temple.
Local gas prices continued their skyward trend today, jumping 17 cents since Monday and climbing 59 cents per gallon in the last week.
Local residents woke up this morning to an average price of $3.79 per gallon of regular-grade gas. On Monday, gas was $3.62 here, and a week ago it was $3.20.
The highest average price per gallon of regular in Temple is $3.982 recorded July 16, 2008, according to AAA Texas. A day later, July 17, 2008, diesel hit its all-time Temple high of $4.753.
Premium-grade gas is averaging $4.31 this morning in Temple, and the cost of diesel is $4.436.
The state average today is $3.86 for regular grade, 57 cents per gallon higher than last Tuesday.
The national average for a gallon of gas is $4.17, a staggering 55 cents more than a week ago, 73 cents more than a month ago and $1.39 more than a year ago. The national average has not been this high since July 2008.
AROUND TOWN: perching above Bird Creek
A Temple family tries their luck at fishing for perch in Bird Creek at Marvin Fenn Park, located next to Sammons Golf Course. The patient anglers were hopping to catch perch to use as cut bait before moving over to the park’s small lake and going after “the big fish.” David Stone photo
For more information about Over the Plate Cooking Class & Catering, go to www.overtheplatecatering.com
DAY TRIPPERS: ready for a ride
Temple’s Candice Gourley has her crew ready for a road trip to Austin. Candice fosters animals and recently helped Tess, at far left, through a difficult pregnancy. That’s a good-looking family! Candice Gourley photo
Park, trails and playgrounds
Our Town Temple wants to know your favorite parks, playgrounds and trails in and around Temple. They can be city-owned, state owned, federally owned or privately owned as long as the public has access.
This is the helicopter slide at Tarrant Lake Park at the Temple VA center. What’s your favorite park, playground or trail? David Stone photo
Please submit your answers by 5 p.m. Wedneday, March 9! Thank you for playing!
This king of Texas swing got his start in an East Temple garage. Who was Boots?
ANSWER IS AT END OF TODAY’S ISSUE
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
PAUL REVERE OF THE TEXAS REVOLUTION: On this day in 1798, Mathew Caldwell was born in Kentucky. He settled in Dewitt County, Texas, in 1831. Caldwell earned the name "Paul Revere of the Texas Revolution" because he rode from Gonzales to Bastrop to call men to arms before the battle of Gonzales in October 1835. He was also called "Old Paint" because his whiskers were dappled. He was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Caldwell commanded a company in the defense of Goliad. He was captured during the Santa Fe expedition and imprisoned in Mexico. He died at his home in Gonzales in 1842 and is buried there. Caldwell County was named in his honor.
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BRAVE PLANS FOR ‘SEA KING’: On this day in 1862, the battle of the Civil War ironclads Merrimack and Monitor near Chesapeake Bay sounded the death knell for a Texas gunboat before it ever got out of the planning stages. Texas mapmaker Robert Creuzbaur had proposed an innovative design for an iron-plated gunboat called Sea King in November 1861. With a hot-air engine that powered propellers at the stern, this wood and iron vessel, Creuzbaur estimated, could reach a speed of 18 mph. Topside armaments would provide ample defense, but the ship’s most unique weapon was a gun beneath the waterline. This “submarine cannon” would surely blast through the Union fleet’s vulnerable wooden hulls. Fifty years before its time, the inventive cartographer envisioned a version of the modern torpedo tube. Governor Francis R. Lubbock appointed a scientific committee, and soon Texas legislators, excited about the great military potential of Sea King, appropriated $500 for Creuzbaur to present his plan to the Confederate War Department. But when the ironclads later engaged in their historic showdown all realistic chances for experimentation on a project like Sea King were lost.
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BLACK TRAIL DRIVER BORN INTO SLAVERY: On this day in 1850, George Glenn, black traildriver, was born into slavery, probably in Colorado County, Texas. He was raised on the ranch of Robert B. Johnson of Columbus and trained in ranching skills and as a trail cook. After the Civil War and emancipation, Glenn evidently continued at the Johnson ranch as a cowhand. In the spring of 1870 he accompanied Johnson on a cattle drive to Abilene, Kansas. At the Red River, when a fresh group of cowhands displaced the original ones, Johnson and Glenn continued with the new group to Abilene, where they sold the herd. Johnson fell ill and died at age thirty-six in Abilene in July 1870. Glenn had his employer embalmed and buried in a metal casket in the area. The following September he decided to bring Johnson's body back to Texas for burial and had the casket disinterred and placed in a wagon. Reportedly, Glenn traveled alone with Johnson's body for forty-two days across three states, arriving in Columbus in November 1871. He did not continue as a cowhand but maintained a lifelong friendship with his former employer's nephew, Texas Ranger and cattleman John Edwards Folts. Glenn died in 1931; his death certificate lists his occupation as "laborer." He was honored as one of the handful of black members of the Old Trail Drivers Association at the 1924 and 1926 annual meetings.
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TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: Bandleader Clifford (Boots) Douglas was born in Temple, probably on Sept. 7, 1908. Douglas, known as one of the finest Texas jazz bandleaders of his era.