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MPISD – News

The Mount Pleasant High School Christmas King and Queen are Daniel Adame (ADD-ah-ME) and Johana Perales seniors. Adame and Perales will represent MPHS in the Mount Pleasant Rotary Club Christmas parade on Saturday, December 2, at 6:00 pm.
MPHS Congressional Debate UIL State qualifiers (L to R) Sabrina Otero-Svirska, Angelina Hernandez, Gopi Amin, Kiara Rundles


Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS Congressional Debaters advance to UIL state

Mount Pleasant High School Speech and Debate competed in the Regional Congressional Debate tournament at the Region VIII Education Service Center on Thursday, November 9. Mount Pleasant was the only 5A school competing for the second year in a row. So, the competition was an intrasquad battle for who would earn the top three places and advance to state. 

MPHS has had a state competitor every year since 2017, and team members have earned UIL state bronze and state 4th place medals and have had the UIL State Top Presiding Officer in recent years.

Senior Angelina Hernandez was the Regional Champion, with junior Gopi Amin placing 2nd and freshman Sabrina Otero-Svirska placing 3rd. Amin was also named the Top Presiding Officer. Senior Kiara Rundles placed 4th and is the first alternate to state. It will be the second trip to the state for Hernandez and the first for Amin and Otero-Svirska.

UIL Congress is an individual contest in a large group setting. It models the legislative process of democracy, specifically, the United States Congress. Within this mock legislative assembly competition, contestants draft legislation (proposed laws and position statements) submitted to the tournament, and they research the docket of bills and resolutions dealing with real-world social and political policies before the contest to prepare their speeches. At the event, students caucus in committees, deliver a formal discourse on the merits and disadvantages of each piece of legislation and vote to pass or defeat the measures they have examined. Parliamentary procedure forms the structure for the discourse, and students extemporaneously respond to others’ arguments throughout a session.

Hernandez, Amin, and Otero-Svirska will compete at the UIL State Congressional Debate tournament in Austin on January 10 and 11, 2024. Lara Martin coaches MP Speech and Debate.


The MPHS Jazz Band provides entertainment before the program

MPISD Band Director Karen Luckett and her twin sister, Kirby Merritt, sing God Bless America and Wallace Student Council Vice President Ulisses Mata leads the pledges to the United States and Texas flags.

Wallace, sixth grader and member of Boy Scout Troop 6101 Hudson Rider, salutes the flag, and Braylee Noguera presents the United States Army flag

Camilo Ramirez presents the United States Navy flag, and Kelvin Garcia presents the U.S. Coast Guard flag

Scottlyn Lee presents the flag of the United States Marines Corp, and Kodi Baldwin presents the United States Air Force flag

Wallace principal Nathan Rider (left) recognizes World War II veteran Ellis Moore, and Noah Branton (left) receives his certificate and check from Becky Meriwether for winning the Pilot Club Essay contest

“The Andrews Sisters” (L to R) Nancy Vines, Tracie Johnson, Deanna Warren, Alicia Hargett, Nan Verner
Wallace students form a living United States flag

Wallace Student Council President Jimmy Aguilar (left) presents Keynote Speaker E. Ridley Briggs with a token of appreciation, and Wallace student Jaicee Amador presents the POW-MIA flag accompanied by a moment of silence

MPHS freshman Cooper Rider (center) and Wallace sixth graders Hudson Rider (left) and Robby James (right) of Boy Scout Troop 6101 retrieve the American and Texas flags, and Air Force veteran E. Ridley Briggs salutes the flag after the program

Wallace Middle School hosts the 26th Annual Veterans Day program.

It was a sea of red, white, and blue as veterans and their families filled tables on the P.E. Wallace Middle School Gym floor on Friday, November 10. The Wallace Middle School’s 26th Annual Veterans Day Program honored local veterans with lunch, music, gifts, and moments of appreciation. Wallace students and MPHS Student Council members served the veterans and their families while the MPHS Jazz Band entertained with music from the past. Local businesses donated gift cards and gifts they presented to the audience members as door prizes.

Wallace fifth grader Khloe Castro offered the blessing. MPHS freshman Cooper Rider, with Wallace sixth graders Hudson Rider and Robby James of Boy Scout Troop 6101, posted and retrieved the American and Texas flags. At the same time, Wallace Student Council Vice President Ulisses Mata led the pledges. Wallace Student Council President Jimmy Aguilar offered a word of welcome to the guests and his classmates who had entered and created a living American flag in the stands of the Wallace gym. 

After the welcome, Wallace students Braylee Noguera (Army), Camilo Ramirez (Navy), Kelvin Garcia (Coast Guard), Scottlyn Lee (Marines), and Kodi Baldwin (Air Force) presented the military branch flags. At the same time, the Wallace Honor Choir sang the song of each, and veterans stood for their branch. Wallace student Melanie Valle presented the POW-MIA flag, which a moment of silence accompanied.

Chloe Mancera, the fifth-grade student, introduced E. Ridley Briggs to give this year’s Veteran’s Address. Briggs was born in Paris, TX, in 1933 and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1954. He flew fighter jets in the United States Air Force and has over 2,000 hours of jet fighter time. He ultimately received his master’s degree from Texas A&M and entered banking in 1963. 

Briggs told the students that they had no idea of the potential within each one of them and compared them to John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Magee wrote the poem High Flight at just nineteen years old. It is now the official poem of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force that they must recite from memory as fourth-class cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. Portions of the poem appear on many headstones in Arlington National Cemetery, inscribed in full on the back of the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial.

The program was full of music provided by the MPHS Jazz Band, the Wallace 5th and 6th grade Honor Choirs, and the “Andrews Sisters” made up of Brice music teacher Nan Verner, Wallace 504 Coordinator Tracie Johnson, MPHS Choir accompanist Deanna Warren, MPHS Choir Director Nancy Vines, MPISD Band Director Alicia Hargett, and Wallace music teacher Diane Swiger on piano. MPHS teacher Landon Johnson, gave a solo performance of God Bless the U.S.A. MPISD Band Director Karen Luckett and her twin sister, Kirby Merritt, sang God Bless America. Wallace Middle School teacher Jason Barfield played “Reveille,” and MPHS senior Orion Senence played “Taps” to open and close the program.

Military widows, active military members, military mothers, and recipients of military awards for Valor and Purple Hearts were honored. Special recognition was given to U.S. Navy veteran Ellis Moore, now ninety-nine years old, who served in World War II and was present in the audience. Moore told the audience this was his 26th time to attend the Wallace Veteran’s Day celebration.

They recognized sixth-grade student Noah Branton for his Pilot Club award-winning essay, “I’m Proud to be an American.” Pilot Club member Becky Meriwether gave Branton a certificate and a $75 check for writing the winning essay.

Wallace Principal Nathan Rider concluded the program with, “On behalf of Wallace Middle School and MPISD, I would like to thank all of you who currently serve or have served this great nation. We sincerely appreciate the sacrifices that you have made to protect our freedom. I would also like to thank everyone who participated in making this event possible. Veterans, I hope you all enjoyed the program and hope to see you all next year.”

Hope Powell practices her injection skills / Arely Lopez prepares to clean the area properly / Emilee Miles successfully performs an intramuscular injection

Mount Pleasant High School students gain real-world medical skills.

Mount Pleasant High School seniors in the Health Science Practicum II-Medical Assistant class recently demonstrated their intramuscular injection skills using syringes and oranges. Successfully performing the skill will allow them to give injections at field sites, including Titus Regional Medical Center and other medical sites in Mount Pleasant, during their clinical rotations.

In addition to the proper technique for intramuscular injections, they assess these fourth-year students on capillary puncture, commonly known as finger sticks, nasal swabbing for flu and COVID testing, throat swabbing for strep testing, medication dosing, intradermal injections, widely used for tuberculin or TB skin testing, allergy testing, and local anesthetics, and, most recently, obtaining blood samples via venipuncture. They have also learned to take vital signs, room patients, and prepare areas for examinations by the doctor.


“To be checked off on a particular skill, the students must maintain professionalism and show complete competency, including obtaining all supplies needed and being aware of safety procedures for the patient and themselves,” said Medical Assistant instructor Amanda Hutchings. “The students learn the methodology behind why we perform procedures, not just how to complete them. It allows for greater understanding and aids in patient education. Fortunately, our community healthcare workers supervise our students to allow real-world experiences.”

After completing the curriculum, Medical Assistant students will sit for their credentialing exam in April of 2024 to become Certified Clinical Medical Assistants and graduate in May.

MPHS Cosmetology instructor Aleshia Rivera-Palomino, with her TEACH. SHARE. INSPIRE. award

MPHS Cosmetology instructor honored with TEACH. SHARE. INSPIRE. award

Mount Pleasant High School Cosmetology instructor Aleshia Rivera-Palomino was recently honored with the TEACH. SHARE. INSPIRE. The Texas Cosmetology Educators gave the award.

At the awards presentation, they introduced Rivera-Palomino with “The 2023 Texas Cosmetology Educators TEACH. SHARE. INSPIRE. The award honors a teacher who demonstrates excellence in every sense of the word. The 2023 awardee is a remarkable educator who excels at imparting knowledge to all students and has an uncanny willingness and ability to share her passion for education with other teachers. Her dedication to teaching is truly inspiring, as she goes above and beyond to create a nurturing and engaging learning environment. Through her unwavering commitment, she has shaped countless students’ minds and left an indelible mark on the hearts of those she’s touched. 

This award is a testament to her outstanding contributions and the lasting impact she has made on the lives of students and colleagues alike. We are honored to recognize this exceptional teacher for her dedication and invaluable educational contributions. The 2023 TEACH.SHARE.INSPIRE awardee is Mrs. Aleshia Rivera-Palomino from Mount Pleasant ISD.”

Rivera–Palomino draws upon over 30 years in the beauty industry, beginning her career as a cosmetologist. After accumulating several years of stylist and salon management experience, she combined her passion for cosmetology and education. 

After earning her cosmetology instructor license at Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, she continued her education at the University of Texas at Tyler, receiving her teaching certification. Rivera-Palomino is beginning her eighteenth year as a Mount Pleasant High School cosmetology instructor. Her approach encompasses the desire to give back to the cosmetology profession and positively impact future cosmetologists. 

She has previously served as District 5 Director and President of the Texas Industrial Vocational Association (TIVA), held the position of President of Cosmetology Instructors of Public Schools (CIPS), and served as the honorary professional workforce development society President known as Iota Lambda Sigma (ILS). She served as an Advisory Board member for the Cosmetology Advisory Board of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) for 12 years. 

She held the position of Presiding Officer for two years, and the Career and Technical Director selected her to be part of the high school Ambassador program. In addition, she is a member of the Foundation for Advancement of Career and Technical Education (FACTED) and assists on the executive board. Rivera-Palomino currently serves as an Industry Advisory Council Member for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and holds a cosmetology advisory board position at Northeast Texas Community College. 

Outside of work, she volunteers her experience and skills to patients and survivors of cancer. Using her platform, she teaches her students to provide services for battered women, special needs children, and older people at no cost. Rivera-Palomino continues to provide leadership, safety, support, advocacy, and oversight of cosmetology in the public education system and industry.