May-June 2014 Risley Post

The Risley Post
May-June 2014

Featured Teachers and Staff


Mrs. Elaine



I am a Pueblo native and was born and raised on Pueblo’s East Side.  My father used to “flip” homes and we lived in them then moved on after he sold them for a profit.  I lived in five homes, all on the East side of Pueblo while I was growing up. I went to Parkview Elementary and then to Risley Jr. High.  The year I started high school, (10th grade) the boundaries were changed and I had to be bussed to Centennial while most of my friends moved on to East High School. I was in the first graduating class at the New Centennial. I went on to graduate from the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-P) with an English degree and a Reading Minor. I also received my elementary teaching certificate. I received my Masters in Education from Adams State as well as an English as a Second Language Degree.  I received my Principal License from University of Arizona.

 Education is actually my second career.  I worked in the business world for 16 years before I received my teaching degree. I can recall as an elementary student, I wanted to become a teacher.  However, as life would have it, I married my high school sweetheart and traveled with him in the Navy. I realized that I was still interested in working with children and felt that it was time to pursue my dreams. I finally set foot on a college campus as the tender age of 31. I was considered a non-traditional student.

 My husband Mike and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this fall. Mike worked for El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch for nearly 30 years. We have two lovely daughters and two wonderful granddaughters.  Aubrey and Paul are educators and the proud parents of Peyton (age 6) and Avery (age 2.) Vanessa has been the traveler of the family. She is back home and working at Clayton Homes. I have always been interested in deco design.   I started a business called “Centerpiece of Mind.”  

 I design and rent centerpieces for all occasions.  I am also a quilter and sew many clothes for my girls. I am an avid biker and spend my summers biking throughout our city.  My biggest challenge was a ride from Beulah to Pueblo. Gardening is my passion during the summer.  I have my own resort in my backyard! I lived in Norfolk Virginia when my husband was in the Navy.  We have been to various cities in California, Florida, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, New York  and Washington DC.  We have been on three Bahamas Cruises and one trip to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. We are planning a trip to Hawaii this fall for our 40th Anniversary.

 Kids make me smile!  I love their disposition, (good and bad) and can visualize their potential!  I see myself as a Risley student many years back and reflect on the great progress Risley has made throughout the years. All kids are special and many times their talents go unnoticed.  I like to notice the small things and give encouragement whenever an opportunity arises.   My best hopes for students from Risley are that they believe in themselves and commit to the hard work to become someone who is respected for their genuine desire to make a difference in their own lives as well as others.  I live by the motto, “To be all that you can be…you must dream of being more.”  May there always be a BIG DREAM in the horizon for each and every one of you.


Ms. Celest



Ms. Celest was born in Pueblo. She went to Roncalli Middle School and South High School. Her majors in college were sociology and criminology, and her minor was in psychology. She wanted to work in a school setting because she enjoys working with kids.

She has an older sister and a younger brother, and a niece. Her favorite hobbies are reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends. She likes pop, country, and classic rock music. Her favorite movie is ‘P.S. I Love You” She has been to Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, and California. Her favorite thing about Risley is the amazing students. In the future she plans to get her masters degree in counseling and one day adopt a child.

Mrs. Karen Gonzales


Mrs. Gonzales was born in Pueblo, Colorado. She attended parochial school grades K-8, and Public school/ Pueblo County High until graduation. She went to Citrus Community College in California and received a cosmetology license, and then Pueblo Community College for ESS classes. Her love of children made her want to be a paraprofessional.  She says that it is both rewarding and challenging at times. In 1986, she worked at the office of transportation and in 1989 she became a para.  She came to Risley in 1996-97 and has been with us ever since.

Her family is well-rounded, educated and living their life experiences, very well. She has two sisters, four brothers, her parents, a daughter, a grandson (her daughter’s son), and her son who just graduated from college in May! She currently has no hobbies, but will be able to do more of what she wants during her retirement. She is also looking forward to doing more travel in the future.  She has been to Mexico City, Italy, England, Spain, France, and many states across the country.  She also lived in California for close to ten years.

Her favorite thing about Risley is the students. Her motivational message is to “Believe in yourself! Stay in school!”

Congratulations on your retirement, Ms. Gonzales!!!  We will miss you!!!!!!!


Farewell Risley…

— Savanna Silas-Managing Editor

Although being at Risley has had its ups and downs, I have enjoyed my three years here. When I started here at Risley, Mrs. Sheets, a former Risley teacher told me, “Middle School is finding who you are.” I thought middle school was going to be all about friends when I first came here. I was wrong, it is about education, grades, attitude, and attendance.

I have been friends with a variety of people with different personalities at Risley. I have also been involved in many clubs and activities.  It was a great experience to participate in and be a part of the  school newspaper and the morning announcements. I will miss doing the newspaper so much, because I got to take pictures and get to know the teachers and students more. So many of the kids at this school had made me feel welcome and part of a community. That quote, “Middle School is for finding who you are,” makes me think about who I want to be.  I'm still trying to find who I am and that journey will continue in high school.  I do know though that good grades, attitude, and who your friends are will help determine who you are and who you will become.

I'm going to miss many people here at Risley. Thank you to Mrs. Sanchez, Mrs. Arellano, Mr. Oreskovich, Mr. Kouba, Ms. Montano, and Mrs. Salinas for helping me with my grades these three years. Good luck to all the 8th graders in high school, and good luck to the 6th and 7th graders who will be here at Risley next year.  I hope you have a wonderful year and remember...“Once a Risley Bear always a Risley Bear.”

Principal’s Principles…

Mrs. Charlotte Macaluso

The 2013-14 school year has been a year of positive change, growth and development for us and one change I am personally very proud of is the huge improvement we have achieved in the culture/climate within our school.  This year was also a year of new beginnings as we successfully implemented our AVID and IB-MYP programs for the first time. 

Walt Disney once said, "You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful idea in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality." A special thank you to all the teachers and support staff who continue to work together to best meet the needs of our students.

This summer, take the time to rest, have fun with family and friends, and spend time with a good book.  Risley students, please remember to make good choices, be leaders in our community, and be safe!  

See you next school year!

Music Notes

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Kouba on the birth of their baby girl in May!!!!!

May was a very busy month for the music department at Risley. On May 1st was the Apple Blossom Jazz Fest in which the jazz band received excellent ratings. May 3rd was the Cinco De Mayo Parade in Pueblo and Apple Blossom Parade in Canon City where we won 1st place band, drum majors, and drum line and 2nd place color guard. On May 7th, the jazz band did a recruiting tour of the elementary schools. May 14th was the talent show evening performance, and May 15th was the talent show performance during school. On may 17th the Jazz band performed at Memorial Hall for the Wild West Fest.

 Breanna Strong and Rosa Elena Morales were amazing drum majors this year for our marching band. They displayed great dedication, responsibility, leadership, and passion. Their efforts were affirmed by winning first place.

 Aselina Taitano-Lucio, Savanna Silas, and Yvette Roybal were also great leaders. They lead the color guard all season by teaching the routine and giving an example of pride and attitude.

 Outstanding drum line members Harley Harmon, Adrian Padilla, and Alex Pacheco displayed dedication by never missing a practice or being late. Their responsibility is to be commended. The drum line members worked hard all season and earned 1st place.

3rd Annual Talent Show Huge Success

On May 14th several of our awesome Risley students brought down the house during this year’s Talent Show,  themed, “IB Talented.  The show was a huge success that included a variety of performances as well as a delicious dinner prepared and served up by several of our dedicated staff and parents including Mrs. Macaluso, Mrs. Hausman, Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Kouba, Mr. Oreskovich, Ms. Murphy, Mrs. Puffer, Ms. Medina, Mr. Carrillo, Mrs. Madrid, Mrs. Sanchez, Ms. Rubio, Billie Winston, and Juanita Martinez.

Masters of Ceremonies were Jose Moreno and Marisa Grimaldo.  Lorraine Vallejos performed Let it Go. Destiny Baca performed Who Says and Nicole Wheeler sang The Cup Song.  Michael Salazar and Daijah White added some humor for the evening performing a skit called Hocus Pocus in between various acts.  Aidan Samora sang American Noise and Abreann Trujillo performed Monster.  Shawna Ashlock entertained us with a beautiful flute medley while Shania Aveitia danced with a group of traditional Aztec dancers complete with amazing, colorful costumes and a drummer.  Other singers included Lael Vigil doing The Climb, Lexie Beaver and They Don’t Know About Us, and Marissa Gallegos with When I Was Your Man.  Elena Madrid gave the house some laughs with her stand up comedy routine while Selena Aguila and Angelica Aguila Salvador rapped to Are We Real?.  Star Daily and Chantal Marquez did a dance routine to Roar and Angel Ascencio Molina showed his dance moves complete with a strobe light.  Aaliyah Mata and Gabby Harmon sang a duet to Titanium and  Elyssia Cancino performed Bazaar Love Triangle.  The final act for the evening was Kyran Thurmand and Diego Wilson performing their self-written Risley Rap, which the crowd loved so much the duo had to perform it a second time. 

During 6th and 7th hours on May 15th the entire cast of performers gave an encore performance for the students and teachers.  Both shows were enjoyed by all in attendance.  Congratulations to every one of the talented performers!  You did a great job and we’re looking forward to next year’s show already!!!!!!