Natalia ISD okays contract with education consulting company

By Anton Riecher
The Natalia school board voted Monday to contract with Austin-based public school consulting firm Moak Casey regarding strategic planning for the district’s future.
Buck Gilcrease, chief executive officer for the firm, served 18 years as a school district superintendent before joining Moak Casey.
“We do this work with boards around the state,” Gilcrease said. “Our approach is a little different from others in that there is a conversation that happens – many…


Smith honored for announcing Natalia Football for 50 Years,NHS Homecoming Friday

Natalia Alumni and lifelong resident Sam Smith was honored last Friday night for being the “Voice of the Natalia Football Team” for 50 years! The 73-year-old, lifelong fan, former school board member and current City Council Member (25+ years) did the honorary coin flip for the kickoff to Devine vs. Natalia, before the Mustangs presented Smith with a signed helmet honoring his dedication to the program and town.

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Natalia Homecoming to feature 63rd meeting between Mustangs and PiratesNHS riding eight game win streak

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
One of the great rivalries of South Texas will battle this coming Friday, as Natalia and Lytle will take the field for the 63rd time since 1933. Lytle is riding high as they enter with a 3-0 mark as the Mustangs enter 0-3 facing three tough challenges in a row. This will also mark the “14th” Legacy Bowl game as Natalia has won eight in a row and holds the overall record 34-26-3 historically.

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Natalia XC results

Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer
McKyenzie Flores paced the two other Lady Mustangs running in the 2nd Annual Steve Goleman Cross Country Invitational in Bandera Saturday while Juan Gonzales led the two Mustang runners.
Flores placed 43rd of 94 runners with a time of 14:23 while Jade Mata was 72nd with a time of 16:25. Leyla Saenz came in 82nd place with a time of 17:20.
Gonzales came in at 47th place with a time of 20:09 and Denton Nelson placed 59th with a time of 21:19.
The lone JV runner for the Mustangs was Micaiah Patterson. Patterson placed 54th with a time of 33:59.

Warhorses vs Mustangs THIS FRIDAY for only 2nd time in history

Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer
For the first time in Devine High School football history, the Warhorses make the 5.8 mile trip to Natalia to take on the Mustangs Friday night. In 2022, Natalia made their first trip to Warhorse Stadium as the teams met for the first time in history.

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Natalia offense sputters vs Bulldogs

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
The Natalia Mustangs dropped their second game of the season last Friday at home vs. a talented Marion Bulldog squad. Natalia showed improvements on both sides of the ball, but unfortunately their offense sputtered out and was unable to produce enough to be successful in a 28-6 loss. Natalia turns their attention to their neighbors, as Devine comes to town for a week 3 battle Friday Night at home.

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FREE School Supplies and hot dogs for teachers and kids at C&R Grill this Thursday 2-5

Alamo Truck Accessories has donated school supplies for teachers and kids, which will be distributed at C&R Grill in Devine on Thursday, August 17 before Meet the Teacher. The event will be held from 2-5pm until supplies run out.
There will also be FREE Hot dogs for teachers and kids.
They have boxes and boxes full of school supplies including Crayons, color pencils, pens, pencils, folders, notebooks, glue, glue sticks, and more.
Also 4B-K Tees & More will have Spirit Shirts for sale!

School districts pushing hard to fill job openings

By Anton Riecher
With the new school year rapidly closing in area school districts are pushing hard to fill remaining open teaching and staff positions before student fill the hallways.
At Devine ISD 13 teaching or combination teaching and athletic positions are posted on the district website. At the elementary level, positions are open for two special education aides and one school instructional aide.
To qualify for these positions, the applicant must meet Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) “High Qualified” requirements equaling 48 college hours or two years, or attend the Teacher Orientation and Preparation Program (TOPP), a State Board of Educator Certification approved alternative route to teacher certification by means of the ESC-20 Educator Preparation Certifications Program.
Applicants must have knowledge of basic computer operations and skills, ability to operate personal computer and educational software and ability to work with students and teachers using effective organizational skills, the website states.
At the intermediate level, openings exist for school teacher and school special education teacher for grade three through five.
The school teacher posting requires an early childhood-grade 4 (EC-4) generalist or a grade 6 (EC-6) graduate initial teaching certification specialization. The master’s degree in early childhood education is a 36-hour program, designed to provide students with as background and advanced study in early childhood education.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a valid Texas teaching certificate. The applicant must also have knowledge of curriculum and instruction, ability to instruct students and maintain highly structured and orderly teaching environment and strong skills in organization, communication and interpersonal skills.
Like the school teacher position, the special education teacher position requires an early childhood-grade 4 (EC-4) generalist or a grade 6 (EC-6) graduate initial teaching certification specialization. It also requires a special education EC-12 certification.
Aside from the standard abilities required for other positions, the job requires knowledge of special needs students, ability to develop an individualized education program (IEP) through the admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee, the team that determines eligibility based on a full and individual evaluation.
Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) training is preferred. CPI training specializes in the safe management of disruptive and assaultive behavior.
At the high school level, Devine ISD is searching for a secondary science teacher for grades 6-12 and a high school career and technology teachers/boy’s athletic coach for grades 9-12. The district is also looking for an athletic trainer with a valid license from the Texas Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers and a current adult cardiopulmonary automated external defibrillator (AED) certification.
Also posted on the district website are openings for a part-time athletic department secretary, special education aide, a speech language pathologist or a speech language pathologist/speech language pathology assistant.
The website also lists openings for substitute nurses, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers.
At Natalia ISD the only remaining academic openings are for a speech language pathologist and a speech dyslexia intervention teacher. At the staff level, the district has openings for two bus drivers, multiple custodians and a cafeteria worker.
In Lytle, academic openings remain for a junior high art teacher, a district wide substitute teacher, a high school plumbing teacher and a special education teacher at the elementary and junior high levels. The district is also for a certified professional teacher on the district wide level.
“This application is not designated for a particular job opening,” the district website states. “This application is put into a pool of applicants that are certified teachers. When job openings are posted, applicants will be notified automatically by email and will have to apply for the job they qualify for.”
The district also has staff openings for the child nutrition staff and custodians and custodian substitutes.

Local boy wins again, Golden Gloves Nationals is next,sponsors needed so he can make the trip!

Esteban Rodriguez qualified for the Golden Gloves Nationals in August but is needing some help with sponsorships to make the trip to Orlando, Florida. To qualify for Nationals he won the Golden Gloves Championship in Texas in February and won this trophy. The medal is Jr. Olympics Champ, and the belt is for being a USA Boxing Nationals Champs.

Esteban Rodriguez, 16 years old, of Natalia brought home his third championship this year in boxing as he won last week the USA Boxing Nationals Champion 138lb JR Division at the competition in Houston June 29-July 2.
He dreams of going to the Golden Gloves National Championship in Orlando, Florida on August 6-9 and is seeking local sponsors to help make the trip a reality.
Esteban’s record is 7-1 for 2023 and he has been racking up the hardware. In February he won his division at the Golden Gloves Texas competition in San Antonio, Texas and a trophy. Then in March he won his division at the Junior Olympics Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas and brought home a Olympic medal. Now in July he won a belt as the Champion at the USA Boxing Nationals.
His coaches are Eric Rodriguez and G. Guerrero.
Esteban has been boxing since he was 12 and got the inspiration to start boxing from his mother Sandra who used to wrestle when she was a teenager and loved it. His sister Senayda, 12 yrs old hopes to follow in his footstep someday soon.
He is the son of Esteban and Sandra Lopez.
If you would like to help Esteban get to the Golden Gloves Nationals by sponsoring him, please contact his father Esteban at 830-428-1340 or

45 Medina County grads enlist to Serve Our Country

By Autumn Copeland
As we celebrate our Nation’s Independence Day, we’d like to honor these local Medina County graduates who have made the decision to serve our country.
As most of the local 2023 graduates enjoy their summer breaks before college or entering the workforce, these young men and women are getting ready to leave for basic training.
In Devine, a total of 10 graduates are planning to enter the military. Jordan Erxleben and Juan Hernandez will be joining the Navy. Theodore Hinkle and Zachery Martinez will be going into the Army. Entering the Air Force are Owen Fowler, Joselyn Guajardo, Noah Macias, and Kristina Moralez. Ryan Mclain Connor, Carlo Rivera, and Aaron Salazar will be joining the Marines.
In Lytle, graduates Nivea Sanchez, George Hernandez, and Mackenzie Sessom have committed to serving in the military.
Natalia’s graduating class consisted of two military commitments. Joshua San Miguel will be joining the Air Force and Austin Sutton will be joining the Navy.
Hondo had seven graduates going into the military. Marco Aguilar Rios and Paul Ramirez will be going into the Army. Benjamin Cardenas, Eric Camjo, Avery Ortiz, and Devin Velasquez are entering the Air Force. Going into the Marines is Hayven Villareal.
In Sabinal, there are three graduates entering the service. Jacob Flores and Ryan Wells will be going into the Navy while Jesus Gonzales will be going into the Marine Corps Reserves.
Medina Valley’s graduating class consisted of a total of 20 students enlisting in the military. Angel Mariscal, Miranda Salas Perez, and Cristobal Gil will be joining the Army. Garrett Edwards, Sharlotte Sarro, Zachary Guinn, Gavin Guerrero, Alan Segura, and Emiano Rodriguez will be joining the Marine Corps. Rene Contreras, Madaly Gaultier-Soliz, and Clayton “CJ” McCulloch will be joining the Navy. Anberlin MacCauley, Kason Saulter, Natalie Perez, Elisa Simmons, Jaiden Gonzalez, Eric Barrentes, Jacob Lascano, and Cristian Zarazua will be joining the Air Force.
The young people of Medina County entering the military have expressed their joy about entering the service and sorrow about leaving the community. Jordan Erxleben will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
“I’m very excited for the next chapter of my life,” said Erxleben. “I’m sad about leaving my friends, family, and home in Texas, but my time in Annapolis and the assignments beyond inspire great excitement for what is to come.”
Erxleben’s mother Lacey Erxleben also had some sentiments to share about the bittersweet feeling of her daughter leaving.
“It’s the best of both worlds- getting an education and serving our country,” said Erxleben. “I’m sad but happy for the opportunity for her and I know that, like all of my children before her, I need to let her go in order for her to accomplish great things.”
Juan Hernandez expressed how he is happy to be joining the military because he believes it is a great option right out of high school.
“I wanted to enlist because I want to travel the world and work out as much as possible, so what better way to do it than to join the Navy,” said Hernandez.
Kristina Moralez shared her nervousness and hopefulness in regards to joining the military.
“I have always loved challenges, being pushed past my limits, and staying active which is why I think I will love serving my country,” said Moralez. “I’ve always thought of myself as a leader so I would like to show those qualities of myself in the service as well.”
We thank the brave young men and women who have made the decision to serve their country, dedicating themselves to the nation’s independence.
Please note, unfortunately not all pictures were made available to us as of press time, but we are happy to feature any student who was left out in future weeks.