Following the ‘Compass’ of education

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Raymond Tijerina, director of Special Projects for Compass Rose Academy, not only oversees talent acquisition for the public charter school, but also  the likely expansion to other campuses in the future. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

As school districts across the state feel the financial pinch of shrinking budgets, parents are looking to alternative approaches to education.

Among them are charter schools quickly turning the Socratic method on its head. One such school is Compass Rose Academy located on San Antonio’s South Side. The public charter school was founded in August of 2017 with an initial class of sixth and seventh grade. Not only are teachers making college prep the norm, but also teaching the merit of entrepreneurship and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Future plans include adding grade levels to eventually develop into a full junior high and high school. The man at the center of recruiting  and retaining the talent to work with the ever-growing student body is Raymond Tijerina, director of Special Projects.

As the draw of alternative and productive methods of education increases, schools like Compass Rose may very well be on verge of the next great innovation in education.

Listen to Raymond Tijerina on the Marchcast




A Penché to passion

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Ballet San Antonio artistic director Willy Shives is at the helm of the city’s only professional ballet company and the season at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts wraps up with “RED” from February 16-18. (Photo/ Courtesy)

As Ballet San Antonio closes its season at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, they are going out with a passionate farewell.

Artistic director Willy Shives premiers RED, a whimsical and passionate ode to love just in time for Valentine’s Day Weekend. The collection of performances is a departure from the story production that have become their trademark, but this collection comes from classical and contemporary inspiration.

As many performing arts organizations struggle to finance consistent seasons packed with shows, Ballet San Antonio combines traditional stage productions with community outreach. That includes Ballet in the Park, a free and inclusive program designed to introduce the art form to a new audience.

Shives talks to March Magazine about the love and logistics needed to make Ballet San Antonio a reality.

Listen to Willy Shives on the Marchcast




Head and shoulders above

Sebastien Derbomez, U.S. brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, is setting out to change the rules of scotch whiskey one cocktail at a time. (Photo/ Courtesy)

As the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (SACC) enters its seventh year, there is no shortage of groundbreaking brands.

Yet there are few looking to rewrite the long-established rules of a scotch neat or with the slightest drop of water. Sebastien Derbomez, the U.S. brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, is more adventurous with the combination of single malts. It was that unique take on one of the most beloved high-end spirits that has made him and his brand fit so well into the the SACC.

Not long after the founding of San Antonio’s claim to cocktail fame in the SACC, it has grown exponentially including vendors and presenters from across the globe and patrons with equally international locales. Now as the Alamo City comes into its own as an undeniable mixology gem, Derbomez discusses fine spirits, a cocktail city on the rise and making Monkey Shoulder a household name.

Listen to Sebastien Derbomez on the Marchcast




In his own words

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State Representative Diego Bernal (TX-123), Democrat from San Antonio, discussed the realities of serving in a minority party in the Texas Legislature, life as a new father and emerging as a seasoned musician. (Photo/ Courtesy)

Since June of 2011, Diego Bernal started his career as an elected official, first as a member of the San Antonio City Council for District 1.

In February 2015,  he was elected to District 123 of the Texas House of Representatives and has authored and sponsored bills concerning bilingual education, handgun licenses, credit access to businesses and foster care just to name a few.

Among the posts which he holds include the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Public Education, a member of the House Committee on Urban Affairs and the House Committee on House Administration. With a strong Republican majority in both the House and Senate, defining a political victory is not as easy at it seems.

Now with a newborn, balancing the life of a professional politician and fatherhood is no easy task. Throw in a career as a recording artist starting in 2009 and law degree and you have man that is at his best in his own words.

Listen to Diego Bernal on the Marchcast





An oasis in the (food) desert

Hayley Sayrs, chief development officer for Gardopia Gardens (right) is at the forefront of the fight against food deserts in South Texas. (Photo/ Courtesy)

With Texas being the second most food insecure state in the nation, the idea of vulnerable populations to lack of it is a poignant reality.

As 23.5 million people nationally live in low-income areas more than one mile from a supermarket, feeding the masses required federal intervention. Under the Obama administration, promise zones were established in high-crime areas dealing with issues like food insecurity.

Some of those funds found their way to Gardopia Gardens to establish a permanent location located at 619 North New Braunfels on the city’s East Side. The volunteer-based, community garden not only has several beds for patrons to grow myriad crops, but also make use of resources like an outdoor kitchen to teach the farm to table method. The location even boasts live animals and community-oriented seasonal events.

To date, Gardopia  Gardens has cultivated “Volunteer Days” with companies to invite employees to work in the garden as part of community outreach. Students also can take part with the garden serving as a field trip site throughout the school year and includes a Garden-Based Learning  (GBL)Workshop.

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It provides evidence-based horticultural practices that teach communities how to grow their own food. Topics range from: soil science, entomology, composting, sustainability, botany, tool safety, intercropping and waste reduction. The GBL program also focuses on reducing childhood obesity and malnutrition. For more information on Gardopia Gardens, visit their homepage.

Listen to Hayley Sayrs on the Marchcast





2017 SAFILM Fest set to arrive at the Tobin


SAFILM Fest executive director Adam Rocha prepares for the 23rd Annual San Antonio Film Festival at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts from August 1-6. (Photo/ Courtesy)

A great film can come in many forms. Adam Rocha is striving to find them all.

The executive director of the San Antonio Film Festival has been on a mission to make the Alamo City a hub for filmmakers looking for new frontiers aside from  the celluloid bastion of Austin, Texas.

During the 23 year run of the festival, Rocha has overseen the growth of the once fledgling event. Now it encompasses projects from across the country and the world and even includes a children’s festival all starting August 1-6 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The Children’s Film Festival, taking place from August 2-5, will take place at the Pearl. With many similar festivals often out of financial reach for many would-be patrons, SAFILM Fest is a surprisingly affordable.

For a festival that has screened Academy Award nominated features like last year’s “Hell or High Water,” the $10.00-$15.00  price for a badge is unheard of in the film industry. With badges already on sale, the number of moviegoers are only skyrocketing.

March Magazine caught up with Rocha to discuss the evolution of the festival and the film scene in San Antonio.

Listen to Adam Rocha on the Marchcast



LULAC revs up for 88th Annual National Convention

Brad Veloz (right), the 2017 Chair for the Texas LULAC Civil Rights Committee, is photographed with his partner of 40 years.  Veloz joined the podcast to discuss the upcoming LULAC National Convention in San Antonio on July 4-8. (Photo/ Courtesy)

National chapters and leadership from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) will make a stop in the Alamo City for its 88th Annual National Convention.

Among the items on a growing national agenda includes the legal challenge to Texas’ anti-sanctuary city law, SB4. Also drawing ire from the organization is the proposed wall along the Mexican border and the expanded jurisdiction of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.

Last year’s national convention was held in Washington D.C. and opened with a formal ribbon-cutting by national LULAC leaders. (Photo/Luis Briones)

On the education front, roll-backs to policies like the DREAM Act for students who are children of undocumented immigrants are the focus of workshops and letter campaigns. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows those who were minors when they entered the country illegally to receive a two year period of deferred action from legal proceeding.

March Magazine spoke with Brad Veloz, the 2017 Chair for the Texas LULAC Civil Rights Committee to discuss the comprehensive itinerary at this year’s agenda.

Listen to Brad Veloz on the Marchcast



Hotel Valencia takes $10M step into world-class luxury

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Stacy Seaborn, director of Sales and Marketing for Hotel Valencia, recently sat down with March Magazine to discuss the $10 million renovation undergone by downtown’s signature boutique hotel. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, located at 150 E Houston St., has just completed a dramatic transformation with the first major renovation in the boutique hotel’s 14-year history recently, appearing to feel almost European.

The resulting design concept is a blend of Spanish Colonial and Modern Mediterranean styles. The Spanish Colonial influence represents a nod to San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial heritage dating back to the time the Missions were built, while the Modern Mediterranean flair reflects the building’s Tuscan-style architecture and the hotel’s namesake, Valencia, Spain.

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The Hotel also wanted to transform amenities inside the hotel including the entrance, the reception area and even the Argentinian Restaurant Dorrego, formerly known as Citrus. Stacy Seaborn, director of Sales and Marketing at Hotel Valencia discussed to March Magazine the importance of this new renovation and how it will make an impact in San Antonio’s hospitality scene.

Listen to Stacy Seaborn on the Marchcast


Humble beginnings to heights of success

San Antonio writer Priscilla Kohutek tells the story of a woman ahead of her time in her latest biography, Olivia. It tells the story of the city’s first power couple in Gilbert and Olivia Garza. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

When San Antonio author Priscilla Kohutek began writing the story of Olivia Garza, the process was as much about her youth as it was about the impending research of her second book.

What followed was Olivia, a biography that chronicles the life of San Antonio’s first power couple in Gilbert and Olivia Garza. Despite his humble beginnings, Gilbert would become one of the city’s leading architects even designing the Hilton Palacio del Rio in San Antonio’s historic downtown.

Amid his professional success, civic involvement always seemed to be in the cards for the dynamic couple. For him, involvement in city politics allowed him to rise to the ranks of Mayor Pro Tem. Olivia was already making her way onto community boards and was not shy about political involvement. Following Gilbert’s untimely passing in 1972, his widowed bride took up the mantle of community and political activism–all while raising two children.

While it may be easy to regard this as only a highlight of Hispanic history, it is a far-reaching tale of patriotism, ambition and the arduous journey from San Antonio to the highest halls of power in the nation. Olivia is available now on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble.

Kohutek spoke to March Magazine about writing about her mentor and process to tell the comprehensive story of a trailblazing couple.

Listen to the Priscilla Kohutek Marchcast



The Spice of Life

The latest concoction making its way to trendy cocktails is the newest addition to the Ancho Reyes family with its smoky and spicy kick. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

One of the highlights of the Alamo City’s social calendar is the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (SACC) and it is not hard to see why.

In a city quickly becoming a hub of industry, technology, culture and entertainment, it seems fitting that it also celebrate high-end drinks. The SACC is a week’s worth of parties across exquisite locales that show off the best in cocktails and culinary creations.

Among the rare opportunities patrons have is to taste the cutting edge ingredients by mixologists from across the world. Even meeting with the national ambassadors is a thrill as one is sure to get a taste of the newest trends on the booze horizon.

Thus was the case with Camille “La Loba” Austin, the ambassador for Montelobos Mezcal and Ancho Reyes products. Calling Ancho Reyes Verde a fledgling brand does not do it justice. With it already garnering loyal followers in New York, Texas will serve as its first official market outside their home distributing base. Ancho Reyes and Ancho Reyes Verde are like brothers. One is sweet and familiar while the other is spicy and more adventurous.

While they satisfy different palates, their pedigree is beyond reproach and will quickly become a staple in the cocktails in the Lone Star State.

The “she-wolf” herself spoke with March Magazine to talk about the exhaustive process to produce Ancho Reyes and Ancho Reyes Verde. Like any good story, it all started with a family recipe and an idea so good, it was bound to catch on and become a success. And like any great story, it was a product of hard work and imagination.

Austin explains on the Marchcast!