The South Padre Island beach sands may seem miles away from San Benito, but despite the distance, that didn’t keep Joe Callandret Positive Redirection students from building beautifully sculpted sand castles on the school’s grounds.

The talented students, with the help of their teachers and drill instructors, created beautifully designed sand sculptures as part of the school’s Sand Castles Project during Celebrate Texas Public Schools Week.

Principal Ray Saldaña explains, “The students conducted research on their projects and capitalized on their creativity and talents. They learned to work as a team and build collaboration, enhance their creativity and hands-on skills development. They also learned to respect other’s projects and the importance of good sportsmanship.”

School and community judges scored the uniquely detailed projects using a 10-point system based on three sets of criteria: creativity, difficulty, and presentation.

The first place winner:

Project: The Alamo – FIRST PLACE

Artists: Abel Luna, Kevin Zavala, and Jesse Tamez

Teacher: Juan Romeros

Drill Sergeant: Chris Gallegos

The Alamo Project helped students learn about Texas history, Texas pride and patriotism. Working on this project, the students learned the significance of the Battle of the Alamo and how it affected Texas history. They conducted research on the Battle of the Alamo and The Battle of San Jacinto and worked on biographies on Sam Houston, Sam Bowie, David Crockett, and Santa Anna.

The second place winner:

Project: Harambe, The New York Gorilla – SECOND PLACE

Artists: Joaquin Torres, Priscilla Treviño, April Mata, Oziel Villarreal, Emilio Delgado, and Gloria Garcia

Teacher: William Huerta

Drill Sergeant: Agustin Almanza

Students working on this project developed teamwork and helped them in expressing their creativity while enhancing their collaboration skills and appreciating campus incentives.

The third place winner:

Project: Sea Turtles In Peril – THIRD PLACE

Sand Castle Artists: Jose Uriegas, Abdiel Torres, Guillermo Estrada, Jose Morales, Jay Davila and Elias Hernandez

Teacher: Julian Gonzalez

This project allowed students to develop their creativity. In conducting research on this project, the students learned that the turtles are declining in population due to various factors, including entanglement in shrimp nests. They learned about aquatic creatures. In working with this project, the students familiarized themselves with STAAR, EOC and related questions and passages they may encounter during testing.

The fourth place winner:

Project: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – FOURTH PLACE

Sand Castle Artists: Michael Benavidez, Larry Castañeda, Jennifer Herevia, Karina Martinez, Marco Martinez, Eziquiel Mendoza, Jose Angel Mendoza, Maria Meza, Andrew Morales, Jose Morales, Kaleb Navarro, Davinity Redus, Rene Rivas, and Rudolfo Solis

Teacher: Gina Jones

With this project, students learned to work as a team and allowed them to gain self-confidence and enhance their self-esteem. The students learned to work together and take pride in their ideas and creations. In addition, they learned sculpting and molding. The students also learned how to bring an idea through the stages of creative development as a finished product. The students learned about the class fairy tale, literature, motifs, archetypes, symbolism, and studied the story of Snow White.

Saldaña applauds the efforts of students and staff and extends a special thanks to the judges, including Director of Communications Celia Longoria; Professional Development Director Mary Alice Martinez; San Benito CISD Police Officer Omar Garza; Parental Engagement Coordinator Luis Gonzales, Jr.; school nurse Crissy Garza; business representative Salome Martinez; and community stakeholder Julian Rios.