Bighorn news: Reading with Robes, ELL update, Senior Spotlight

Students with District Court Judge Thomas Stockard for Reading with Robes.

Students with District Court Judge Thomas Stockard for Reading with Robes.

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Oasis Academy College Prep Senior Sania Barnes will graduate this May with both her high school diploma and her Associate of Arts from Western Nevada College. The senior plans to stay local and continue into the WNC Nursing Program.

“I would like to go into nursing because I find the human body fascinating, and I want to learn more about it. I would also like to help people, and I feel I could learn a lot from studying nursing.” Barnes said.

Barnes’ time at Oasis has included being active in extracurricular activities.

“My favorite memories at Oasis were having fun playing basketball and getting into the regional honor choir twice,” she said.

She has also participated in ceramics and volleyball.

The fun and lessons have not just been through extracurriculars. She’s enjoyed all what Oasis has to offer.

“I started at Oasis at the beginning of seventh grade,” Barnes said. It’s been a lot of fun and even though it’s a small school, I never really felt enclosed. My favorite class was Mr. Evan Brandt’s geometry class. I loved the projects we had to do. He made the class interactive and entertaining.

“I would also like to thank Mrs. Angela Viera. As a teacher, she helped me realize that I can do more than I think I can, and to not doubt myself.

“My advice for future students is that the little things matter and because of that start good habits now to help you in your future.”

ELL teacher helping students

In the middle of his second-year teaching at Oasis Academy, Jose Ramirez has settled into the classroom through being one of the school’s English Language Learner (ELL) Teachers. The Nevada native graduated from Douglas High School with his Advanced High School Diploma in 2019 and graduated from Western Nevada College with his Associate of Arts in June 2021.

When Ramirez started at WNC, his goal was to become an engineer. This changed though once he joined the Latino Cohort/Latino Leadership Academy lead by Mrs. Lupe Ramirez. As a cohort coach Jose Ramirez checked in regularly with new freshmen to the program. The individualized attention and mentorship that Ramirez provided for the students made his decision to switch from engineering to education an easy one.

“The experience with the WNC Latino Cohort, now the Latino Leadership Academy, showed me really how much I appreciated education and that it was a fit for my skills. I love being with the students and helping them learn topics,” Ramirez said.

Because Oasis works so closely with WNC through the Jump Start Program, Oasis CEO Melissa Mackedon knew she could reach out to the college for a qualified individual when the ELL Teaching job became available.
“Finding an ELL teacher who was representative of the community of students they served was extremely important to our leadership team,”

Mackedon said. “There is so much research on the power of representation and we wanted that for our students. We were so grateful when, through WNC, we found Jose. He has been an incredible addition to our team. I sincerely mean that.”

The ELL teacher said he is grateful for both. Lupe Ramirez and Mackedon.
“I could not have asked for a better place to start my education career path,” Ramirez said. “Oasis is a first-class school with not only amazing staff, a wonderful environment, but most importantly the best students.

“Working with the kids, being in the classroom, translating for students and families, are all part of what makes my job and working in education so great. I get to be part of helping students reach their goals through education on a daily basis.”

Along with his ELL duties, Ramirez will also teach two Spanish classes this semester through Oasis Academy College Prep.

“The class will cover the basics of Spanish, with the goal of students knowing vocabulary and being able to have fundamental communication skills, Ramirez said. “Having a second language will be a huge asset for these students.”

Ramirez is continuing his education through Western Governors University while working at Oasis. He plans to graduate with a degree in Secondary Education in Spring 2024.

Students participate in reading with robes

Tenth-grade students participated in the nationwide Reading with Robes program on Jan. 11. The program is hosted annually by the National Judicial College. The Oasis Academy College Prep English and Government classes combined for the experience. Students walked from campus to the District Court and met with Judge Thomas Stockard in a courtroom.

The classes spent almost an hour with the judge discussing things including the government, how to prepare for a career in law, and reading.

The National Judicial College provided a backpack for each student with a copy of the constitution, a gavel pencil, and a hardcover book about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

"This was a great opportunity for the students to meet and talk with a member of Nevada's judicial system to learn what they do, what it takes to become a judge and the importance of reading in that process,” teacher Eric Grimes said. "Our students walked away with greater knowledge of our court system and how judges apply the law.”


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