El Paso student thrives despite her battle with muscular dystrophy

EL PASO – Life is always full of challenges and for someone with a disability it is even more difficult, but Esperanza Valdez a senior at Horizon High School has overcome the obstacles placed in her path by muscular dystrophy to pursue her dreams.

She wants to be known as someone who has accomplished her goals. She wants to take the opportunities available to her to obtain a college degree in accounting. For someone without a disability this would not seem so hard. She was born apparently normal and started developing as a regular kid, but before long the muscular dystrophy took over her body and made her wheelchair bound. By the time she started school she was not able to walk.

Sassil Ayala uses the “match your price” strategy to buy groceries and save money. (Selene Soria/Borderzine.com)

Consumers apply shopping strategies that won’t bust stretched budgets

EL PASO – Buying the staples we need and the things we want has become a bit of an art in the weak economy following the Great Recession and folks are applying many different strategies to stretch their dollars as far as possible. The effort to acquire the supplies needed to live a decent life has become harder in the last few years. The essentials are more expensive than ever and luxuries are ridiculously expensive. Sometimes, though, there is a very fine line between what people need and what they want. In order to maintain a normal existence in our consumer society, people must be able to buy their basic needs and incomes have not kept up with the cost of goods.

With my mom at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. (©Selene Soria)

Even with extra planning, traveling in a wheelchair is challenging

EL PASO – Traveling requires a lot of planning and a lot of more planning is required when someone with a disability or a wheelchair-bound person like myself is traveling with the group. Last summer my family and I decided to take a trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We planned the trip ahead of time and made the hotel reservation in advance. My mother researched the main attractions for each city to map out the itinerary. Even with all the planning we still encountered some obstacles.

Some students do well on the test, but are not competitive when it comes to entering the real world said CISD Superintendent, Dr. Edward Gabaldon. (/Borderzine.com)

Achievement tests tend to pervade the school year, limiting other activities

EL PASO – The preliminary scores of the new STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test measuring the achievement of grade-school students came out this past summer prompting some in the Texas education community to ask if too much time is now spent on testing. “The Texas school system is good. It has good teachers and good students, but the problem is the accountability emphasis,” said Dr. Edward Gabaldon, Superintendent for the Clint Independent School District. Gabaldon said he is in favor of testing and accountability. However, he said he is concerned with the number of days dedicated to testing and the amount of pressure that the test puts on the students, parents and teachers.

My pain just gets worse as the U.S. Supreme Court deliberates the fate of the health-care law

EL PASO – When the pain from my wisdom teeth became unbearable my mother took me to the dentist who he told me I had to see a surgeon to get an extraction. I went to the consultation expecting a quick solution to my agony, but to my surprise, I am still suffering from this pain because I don’t have dental insurance or the money to cover the $20,000 bill. Health care is a necessity in order to function in this society. That is why the Universal Health Care Reform law now waiting for a pass or fail grade from the U.S. Supreme Court is such an important part of President Obama’s legislative agenda. My personal situation is a good example of the need for this law.