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A Message from Diana Sayavedra

Dear El Paso ISD:

It was another banner week for El Paso’s District, with nods to our past, present and future.

On Monday, we celebrated the completion of our 14th bond campus – Charles Q. Murphree PK-8 School – with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that was attended by the campus’ namesake. Charles Murphree is a renowned educator in the region, who served as principal at Coronado High School from 1972 to 1986. The indelible mark that Murphree and his wife, Jean, left on El Paso was acknowledged during this week’s City Council meeting, during which Mayor Oscar Leeser issued a proclamation designating Tuesday, Dec. 6, as Charles and Jean Murphree Day in the Sun City.

The Murphree campus itself is a $36.3 million marvel that offers cutting-edge education technology and learning spaces. It will help nearly 900 students to thrive this year and set the stage for their continued success when they transition to Coronado.

A Coronado student is one of eight El Paso ISD seniors who earned full four-year scholarships worth more than $200,000 to prestigious universities on QuestBridge National Match Day. QuestBridge is a national nonprofit that aims to increase the percentage of talented lower-income students attending the nation’s best colleges. The eight Class of 2027 QuestBridge Scholars from Chapin, Coronado, El Paso and Franklin high schools and the Young Women’s Academy are among 1,755 students nationwide earning matches to one of QuestBridge’s 48 college partners. Congratulations to the following exemplary students!

• Katherine Hernandez Ware, Chapin High School – Princeton University

• Savannah Sanchez, Chapin High School – University of Notre Dame

• Andrew Griñé, Coronado High School – Northwestern University

• Natalia Diaz, El Paso High School – Princeton University

• Laura Elnairab, El Paso High School – University of Chicago

• Leonardo Lopez Sarmiento, Franklin High School – University of Chicago

• Vivian Mochizuki Barros, Franklin High School – Princeton University

• Lajward Zahra, Young Women’s STEAM Prep – Rice University

It’s wonderful to see the nation taking notice of our students. Another such example of this came earlier this week when CBS News’ Steve Hartman revisited a moving example of sportsmanship that occurred nearly a decade ago between the Franklin and Coronado boys’ basketball teams.

On Feb. 12, 2013, Coronado led Franklin 53-40 with 13 seconds left. Franklin’s Jonathon Montañez inbounded the ball to Coronado senior Mitchell Marcus, who was appearing in his first and only varsity game. Marcus, a special needs student with a developmental disability, had served as Coronado’s student manager. On senior night, he was given a chance to suit up and take the floor with the Thunderbirds in the waning seconds. He sank a bucket after that inbound from Montañez and set off a wave of national attention for the pair. CBS checked in with Montañez, who is now a basketball coach in Lubbock, and reminded us that we all have the power to inspire. Watch the video here.

We enjoy acknowledging the excellent work of our students locally, too, and will get another opportunity to do so next week during the opening reception of our EPISD Holiday Greeting Card Exhibit. Join us at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, to view the spectacular holiday artwork of students from throughout the district.

The exhibit will precede this month’s Board of Trustees meeting where we intend to present more plans and information for our district’s Strategic Blueprint, which establishes a road map for El Paso ISD to work toward the Hopes and Dreams of our students and families.

El Paso’s District has a bright future because of its storied past. Let’s all be ready to work hard this final week before the holiday break and continue to be pioneers of education in the region.

It starts with us.


Diana Sayavedra
Superintendent of Schools

Dec. 9, 2022