Los Portales Newsletter August 2021
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Long time treasurer Magda Flores, resigned earlier this year. We thank her for her years of service. A new treasurer was elected into the board. She is Helen Rojas, daughter of San Elizario natives Beti Vargas and Fidencia Vargas. Her bio is listed in this issue. Welcome Helen!
Sadly, our museum director, Pilar Muñoz, resigned due to personal reasons. She leaves big shoes to fill. Thank you for your years of service, Pilar. A new director, Andrea Calleros, niece of Cleofas Calleros, was hired and Ariadna Velez was hired as Assistant Director. Ari lives in San Elizario. Arantxa Parga was hired as an Architectural Intern. Two recent San Elizario High School graduates, Marcos Mendoza and Mauricio Muñoz were hired as Social Media Coordinators and web designers. All these salaries will be paid for by the County Grant, which ends at the end of September 2021.
Luis Tellez, a member and chair of the Cemetery Committee, has led efforts to clean the San Eli Cemetery and has even worked at the Clint Cemetery. There have been two scheduled clean-ups and others are planned for August and September. We want the cemetery clean in time for the September Conference.
Chair of the Conference event, Patricia Macias, is hard at work preparing the September conference. By now you should have received your Save The Date postcard. Make plans to attend. It will be both a live conference and a virtual conference. There is a fee, but persons attending the live conference will receive a meal, and a goody bag with a t-shirt, among other things.
The new website is ready www.SanElizarioGenealogy.org. On our Facebook page, we have honored mothers on Mother’s Day, soldiers on Memorial Day, and fathers on Father’s Day. And finally, the county allowed SEGHS to open the museums on 7/27/21!!
Stay safe, get your vaccine, and wear a mask!
Meet the Board
Treasurer: Mary Helen Rojas is the newly appointed Treasurer to SEGHS for the term ending December 202
1. She was the first born child of Gilberto C. and Fidencia P. Vargas. Her siblings are Elvia Agan and Gilberto Vargas. Both of her parents were born, raised, and educated in San Elizario. Her maternal grandparents were Acension and Refugio Parra and paternal grand-parents were Santa Cruz and Juana Vargas who also lived and raised their children in San Elizario. Her parents were married in 1948 at the San Elceario Presidio Church and made their home in Clint. Helen attended Clint ISD Schools and graduated from Clint HS in 1967. She graduated with a BS Degree in Elementary Education from Sul Ross State University in 1970. She was one of the first Hispanics in the Clint area to come back to her hometown as certified 3rd grade teacher. At Sul Ross State University and UTEP she earned her M.ED in Elementary Education. She served as an educator for twenty-one years, then went back to UTEP and obtained her certification in Counseling. She retired as a counselor from Clint Junior High School. She completed 40 years of service, all with Clint ISD.
She is a proud parent to two children: Robert Christopher & Cassandra Helene. Robert and his wife Nora have two girls, Lena and Alejandra. Robert serves as a LT for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. Daughter Cassandra Helene is a Registered Nurse and is married to Steven Drury. They have two children, Brayden and Isabella.
Although retired, Helen serves as a Lector for San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Catholic Church. She chairs two committees for the Lower Valley Retired Teachers Association. She has been a SEGHS member for over ten years and currently serves as SEGHS treasurer and Membership Chair. Before COVID, she was also working as a part-time Educational Consultant for National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
Museum Director: Andrea Calleros is a UTEP alumna with a communications degree. She also minored in marketing. Currently she is on her way to finishing her second degree in art history and a minor in museum studies. Andrea was born in Chihuahua City and moved to El Paso in 2004. She is co-founder of Flor de Barro Gallery, a Mexican fine folk art gallery located in West El Paso. Through her work there she interviews Mexican artists and documents their histories and accomplishments. Her interest in history runs in her family. Her maternal grand-father, Pascual Garcia, was a self taught painter, historian, and writer from Chihuahua, Mexico. Her great uncle, Cleofas Calleros, was a well known historian and activist in El Paso who was closely linked to Sacred Heart Church. Coincidentally, Andrea is also a researcher for Restore Sacred Heart, an organization that aims to restore one of the most iconic buildings of Segundo Barrio. Andrea has been a museum enthusiast for most of her life and plans to have a lifelong career in the museum industry.
Assistant Museum Director: Ariadna “Ari” Velez is our new Assistant Director for the Los Portales Museum and Old County Jail. She is a recent UTEP graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in History and a minor in Museum Studies. Ari graduated from the Cotton Valley Early College High School in Fabens, TX but grew up in and lives in San Elizario. Working in in muse-ums has always been her dream, and she is ecstatic at getting the chance to gain some hands-on experience and have the opportunity to work at the Los Portales Museum at such a pivotal point in its development. She is eager to bring what she learned in the classroom and apply it to a local museum. She plans to establish good museum practices as well as a fun and engaging learning experience for all visitors.
Ari is currently working as a Business Development Assistant with LOI ENGINEERS, while simultaneously handling the duties of the Assistant Director of the Los Portales Museum. Her free time is dedicated to the care and nurturing of her eight pets, including three cats and five dogs, with the two newest additions being born on July 6th, 2021. Despite her busy schedule, Ari still finds time to foster relationships with her friends and family, as well as read a couple of pages of her current book. “A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” - Neil Gaiman.
Architecture Intern: Arantxa Parga was born and raised in El Paso and Cd. Juarez area. She is very involved in the community and has a sense of knowledge in the culture of the community. Growing up she was interested in the busy metropolis of the macro and micro scenarios of this busy borderland community as well as the infrastructure. Ara is also a recent Texas Tech University graduate. Her studies consist of a B.S. in Architecture and a certificate of Historic Preservation. She will continue her graduate studies this upcoming semester following a degree of M.S. in Historic Preservation and Design. She has recently joined the San Elizario Genealogy and Historical Society as an Architectural Restoration member. Her purpose is to serve the San Elizario community by providing knowledge of preservation. However, the main target is to be able to keep the history that the ancestors of the community have left behind, as well as sharing the Architecture and the History in macro and micro scales across the region. She also volunteers for the Texas Historic Commission at the Magoffin home as well as in Adobe workshops in Mesilla.
Social Media Coordinator and Web Designer: Marcos Mendoza is a recent San Elizario High School graduate. He is now working as a social media coordinator and web designer for Los Portales Museum. Throughout his high school years, he took graphic design classes for three years and several technology classes, such as web design, robotics, and internet working. In the year 2020, he participated in Skills USA for Web Design class along with his partner Mauricio Muñoz. Marcos and Mauricio won first place and set off to state competition. Unfortunately, that’s when the Covid-19 pandemic began, so the competition taking place at Corpus Christi was canceled. Marcos plans to begin working on his future by completing his education. He will attend El Paso Community College this year. He will be taking computer science courses and plans to get a career involving what he loves. He plans on working for Los Portales Museum to gather work experience, which will help him in his future when applying for future jobs. Marcos spends time playing video games and spending time outdoors. He also loves soccer and watching soccer games on TV. Marcos enjoys being with his family and spends most of the time with them. Although not spending not that much time at Los Portales, he still serves an important job for the museum and for his future.
Social Media Coordinator and Web Designer: Mauricio Muñoz is a recent high school graduate and has been hired along with Marcos Mendoza as the Web Designers for Los Portales Museum Websites. Mauricio was very dedicated to his studies at San Elizario High School, earning him the 10th position in class rankings. In or-der to work as a Software Developer in the future, he took high school classes in Web Design, Video Game Design, and Robotics. Mauricio is aspiring to study Computer Science at New Mex-ico State University. Since an early age, Mauricio has been especially interested in Technology and Coding. It has been his dream to study Computer Science at a University.
Mauricio, and his class partner Marcos, both competed in Web Design at the Skills USA District competition. Mauricio and Marcos won District at the competition and were supposed to travel to Corpus Christi to compete for the State Competition. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to the pandemic. This was unexpected and disappointing. However, after graduating from High School, the experience gained from studying in Web Design allowed Mauricio to earn a spot as one of the Los Portales Museum main Web Designers. Mauricio is optimistic in being able to provide the Museum with a well-designed website.
Cemetery Committee: Luis A. Tellez was born in El Paso, Texas. His maternal great-great grandparents were Buenaventura Dearo and Paula Valles. Their daughter Magdalena Dearo was his great-grandmother. She married Jose De La Luz Giron, son of Marcial Giron and Juana Borrego. His grandmother, Cruz Giron, grew up in the property where Dindinger and Glorietta Road meet. Luis joined the USMC in 1980 and transitioned to the NM National Guard. Luis currently has 41 years of military service and is assigned as the Command Sergeant Major for the 226th Military Police Bat-talion. He resides in Las Cruces, NM with his wife, Tammy and children. Luis holds an Associates Degree in Christian Ministry. Luis has been working for many years at the cemetery, cleaning it and taking note of where people are buried. If you want to know where your loved one is buried, ask Luis. He hopes to finish with his project of annotating names and merging them with the map provided by Lillian Trujillo, in time for the September Conference. One should be able to look up names on a map on the web site and find loved ones.
Budget & Finance Committee: Jose Parra is a member of the SEGHS Budget and Finance Committee. He also completes the paper-work on the employees wages and deductions. He was born in Ysleta to Jose Ruperto Parra and Concepcion Parra. He is the grandson of Francisco Gonzalez Ramirez and Apolonia Trujillo Ramirez and to Cipriano Rivera Parra and Paula Guerra Parra of San Elizario. His family included two brothers, Jose Antonio Parra and Maximo Parra. Antonio was a State of Texas Representative from District 75, which included the Lower Valley. Maximo worked for Peyton Meats and retired from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Jose currently lives in Pearland Texas, south of Houston. He has been married to Maria Del Rosario Rosales, from Clint, for 54 years. They have two sons, four grandkids, and one great-granddaughter. He attended Ysleta High School and graduated in 1965. After high school, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served in Korea. Upon graduation from UTEP with a Bachelor of Business de-gree in 1972, he started working with El Paso Natural Gas. When the gas company restructured and moved to Houston in 2001, he accepted a position in the Accounting Department, where he served for forty years. Jose has served as treasurer for the El Paso County Democratic Party, Brazoria County Democratic Party, and various political candidates running for state or local offices. In addition, he spends his extra time with his bookkeeping clients. He was elected to the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 and to the El Paso County Democratic Hall of Fame in 2000. He has been a member of SEGHS for many years.
Mission: To promote patriotism and maintain the community spirit, values and tradition of honoring our soldiers and veterans through our Veterans Museum, Memorial Brick Walk, Funeral Honor Salute, and our Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony.
Membership: All are welcome to join and participate, veterans and non-veterans, all ages, women, and men. There is no membership fee, just the willingness to help and continue our efforts to remember and honor our veterans and active service soldiers.
Meetings: The San Elizario Veterans Committee meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. (new time) at the Veterans Museum, 1501 Main Street. Note: Due to the pandemic, please wear your mask.
Veterans Museum: All donations/memorabilia are welcome and will become property of the Museum. Memorabilia will be displayed in accordance to space, appropriateness and unique-ness. Veterans and/or active duty persons having ties or roots to San Eli are encouraged to provide an 8x10 photo of themselves, with some brief military information on the back of the photo. We provide the frame, easy as that. The museum is open Wed.-Fri. 10:00 a.m.to 2:00 p.m.; Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Sun noon to 4:00 p.m.
Volunteering: We need volunteers to greet and assist tourists, visitors, and guests at the museum, and do light cleaning. We also need volunteers to help at our fund raising events (where we sell popcorn, snow cones, ice cream, and enchiladas at certain events). We especially need volunteers to help at our Annual Veterans Parade. Great opportunity for high school students to earn volunteer hours and help the community. Retirees are also welcome.
Memorial Bricks: We sell bricks to honor veterans, active duty military, and law enforcement, active, or retired. The bricks are placed outside the Veterans Museum. The cost is $40 per brick. Bricks can be purchased for anyone, no ties or roots to San Eli is necessary. Applications can be obtained at the museum or by contacting Ray Borrego.
Sales: As fundraising, the veterans sell veteran caps for all five military branches; plus, patriotic shirts and San Eli Logo shirts. We also sell other hand crafted items.
In Memoriam: To the veterans that passed in 2021, we thank them for their service to our country. May God bless them.