Los Alamos Middle School Principal Mike Johnson and Assistant Principal Anna Vargas-Gutierrez pose with the 2015-2016 members of WEB Crew. The 8th grade leaders were one the recent recipients of the Fidel Gutierrez Lifetime Fund Award for their dedication as mentors to the 7th grade class and new students at LAMS. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen
The Los Alamos Middle School WEB Crew program is only halfway through the school year and accomplishing some pretty great things as they return from winter break.
The program began in 2014 with the assistance of Los Alamos County prevention funds to provide a smooth transition for elementary students as they head into seventh grade.
“Our LAMS Web Crew students serve as positive role models for students here and are also building their leadership skills,” Assistant Principal Anna Vargas-Gutierrez said. “They have promoted a welcoming and positive atmosphere here at LAMS building relationships with students as they begin middle school.”
Prior to becoming eighth graders, students apply to become leaders, committing to two days of summer training and being positive role models for the entire school, year. After training in the summer, the leaders greet the incoming students with a four hour orientation, tour of their new school, opportunity to give their lockers a try and ask whatever questions might be on their minds.
The dedicated leaders receive additional training throughout the year and in turn provide events or activities for their seventh grade peers each month. Their motto of Students Helping Students Succeed can be seen helping navigate the halls on the first day of school, greeting new students as they arrive throughout the year, doing landscape projects, making cards for veterans or teaching anti-bullying lessons in the classroom.
The group does a few small fundraisers throughout the year, but this year applied for and received a $250 award from the Fidel Gutierrez Lifetime Fund. Fidel Gutierrez, no relation to Vargas-Gutierrez, was a former employee of Los Alamos National Bank for more than 20 years and volunteered for many projects throughout the community. He met wife Gina Imprecia in 7th grade where they became friends. The pair reconnected in their 40’s, fell in love and married.
“Fidel was a fun-loving, gregarious and loyal man, with a great sense of humor, who loved to travel,” said Imprecia. “He was involved with numerous charitable organizations and is fondly remembered as, ‘Mr. Santa Fe.”
He was a graduate of Santa Fe High School and attended UNM and UCLA before graduating from NMSU, according to Imprecia. A fund has been established through the Santa Fe Community Foundation, where it remains one of his many legacies, doing good to support youth.
“We are very proud of these students,” Vargas-Gutierrez said. “It is an appropriate award for our WEB Crew leaders as it recognizes their work providing a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere to our 7th grade students.”
WEB Crew finished 2015 by providing hand written words of encouragement to 269 7th graders at Los Alamos Middle School as they headed into winter break. They now hope to collect funds to do a larger scale card drive for both local veterans and those soldiers and sailors serving overseas. Donations may be sent for the WEB Crew project to 2101 Hawk Dr., Los Alamos, NM 87544 with a special notation for the WEB Crew soldiers/sailors project.