Family Night

Families of Gardner Students: Coming soon, Family STEM Night

This spring our annual Family Night is going to be held at City Park in Walsenburg on Thursday, April 19th. We know that our Walsenburg families drive to Gardner for so many events at the Gardner School, so we would like to make it easier to attend this upcoming event. The theme will be wind, kites, and flight. Join us for a barbeque, games, and a nice visit. We have beautiful kites for everyone to build and paper airplanes to fly. We are collecting unusual supplies for each family to make a windchime and to hear a storyteller treat our imaginations. Each student will be given a book donated by the Castle Rock Rotary Club. We look forward to seeing you there. Send in an RSVP so we know how much food to supply, but if you want to drop in at the last minute, please do.

Annual Afternoon Creating with Artists

The Gardner School will host the annual afternoon with artists on May 3rd. If you have a special talent to share with our students, please contact the school. We hold two sessions for you to use the medium of your choice. Sessions run from 1:00-2:15 and from 2:30-3:45. We aim to host many artists to keep groups relatively small. Please contact Pam at the school if you would like a volunteer opportunity for an afternoon.


A total of 13 students competed in the Destination Imagination State Championships and made great showings. We would like to thank all of the donors who made the trip possible. Some of the DI kids are busy making a slideshow. Visit our site again soon to view it.

Destination Imagination teams Drop Zone and Treasure both brought home first place trophies. Great job, kids! Now we are fundraising to get to the state competition in Denver on April 7th. If you would like to make a pledge to support the students, contact the school, or stop by the Safeway on March 23 to feast at our bake sale. We’ll have snow cones too! If you would like to make a donation to help send the teams to the state, please make checks to the Gardner School. THANKS!



Gardner School will hold its annual carnival this year on March 16th. Teachers will be contacting you requesting cakes for the cake walk, to bring items for the White Elephant Sale and/or an item for the silent auction baskets.

Join us at 5:00 for an enchilada dinner and games will run from 5:30-7:00. Come and have some fun.

This fundraiser is the biggest of the year and the proceeds will help pay for the school-wide field trip.

Autism Workshop

Huerfano RE-1 cordially invites parents and community members to attend an Autism Seminar/Training –
Huerfano RE-1 teachers and staff will have a training on various topics about Autism on Friday, March 2nd at the District Office auditorium beginning at 9:00am. Parents of students and interested community members are invited to attend.
The 3 topics addressed by presenter Dr. Karen W Colvin M.S., M.D, Executive Director /Lead
Therapist of Soaring Eagles Center for Autism in Pueblo are as follows:

1. Autism-Understanding the Diagnosis
2. Teaching Strategies for Students with Autism
3. Sensory Processing Disorder & Autism

Seats to the front of the auditorium will be reserved for employees of Huerfano RE-1.
There is no cost to the public to attend.

Voices of the Past Persentation

Some traditions at the Gardner School just keep getting better. On February 28th the seventh and eighth-grade students will present their essays, and awards will be given. The interviewees will be present and recognized. The students are currently working on interviewing county residents and will work the oral histories into presentable written pieces. Please come join us on February 28 at 6:00 at the Gardner School.

This year’s winners were:
Bruno McDonald- First place Haylea Perrino Second place, Bernard Espinoza Third Place, Honorable Mentions, Jesslyn Trujillo, and Marissa Martinez

Read the place winners below:

Leodore ‘Ralph’ Salazar

By Bruno McDonald

Have you ever wanted to know about those who came before you? It may even be your grandpa or older friend. Well, I did, and I was able to interview Ralph. Leodore, Ralph Salazar is my neighbor and a good friend. I enjoyed listening to some of the stories he was able to tell me and in doing so I was able to learn more about him.

Ralph was born September 18, 1959, in Greeley, Colorado and moved to Huerfano County in 1962. Ralph is the son of Francis Martinez and Joe Salazar. Ralph’s mother was born August 31, 1927, in Turkey Creek Colorado and his father was born March 22, 1922, in Malachite Colorado.

Ralph went to school at the Washington School in Walsenburg. This is where attended both elementary and middle school. After middle school at the Washington School, he attended John Mall High School. Ralph never attended college and went straight to work. Early on in life, he worked in a coal mine and later on worked in a meat processing plant. In his off time, Ralph enjoyed and still enjoys agriculture. His yard is packed full of beautiful plants and crops. He also raises rabbits and enjoys fishing and woodworking.

Ralph married Francisca Cordova in December 2, 2002. Ralph has two children, Danny and Jason Salazar. Ralph’s siblings include his two brothers Dan and Leroy along with their sister Susy. (All Salazar)

Ralph’s’ words of wisdom, which I respect and believe, are, “Your tape measure don’t lie”. Ralph would also like to be remembered as a loving husband.

While I was interviewing Ralph, he was able to share some great stories with me and because of that, I want to tell at least a couple of them because these are some things that he did growing up.

One of these that he told me was when he was younger he used to wake up really early on the weekends and have a bucket of worms and his pole ready to go fishing. One time he went fishing and caught a whole bucket load of little carp and brought them home where he dumped them all in his bathtub. After he did this, his mom came in and helped him clean gut and fry every one of them.

The other one he told me, and my favorite one, was about when he and his friend went into a mineshaft armed with BB guns. After walking for a bit they stumbled upon a skunk they figured was dead. They figured wrong. Once they got closer to the skunk, it sprang upon its front two legs and sprayed them both with its God-awful spray. They took off running as fast as they could towards the river and tried washing the horrible stench of to no avail. They stunk for over a week while in school.

Overall, it was an honor to be able to interview Ralph and learn so much about him. I was proud to write this.

Darlene Kay Pino

Haylea Perrino

We all have that one close family friend that we call our aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. and I’m lucky to have Darlene Kay Pino as my “aunt.”

      Darlene was born June 6, 1960, at 6 o’clock, at 6 lbs 6 oz., and she is the sixth baby- 7 six’s. She was born in the house that her parents were living in. Her father and grandmother brought her into this world all by themselves. Her mother was in labor for two days. Darlene’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck during those harsh days of labor.

      She was born and raised in Huerfano County and lives here to this day.

      Darlene’s mother is Felia Montoya, born July 5, 1927, in Walsenburg. She remains alive and healthy today. Her father, the wonderful person who delivered her, is Gilbert Montoya; he was born on May 11, 1925.

      Darlene has six siblings: Diana Mae who passed away at the age of 11 by a horrible accident. Still living are Dana, who is currently 47, Dorris, who is 63, Bobbie at 65 years old, Elizabeth who is 70, and Gilbert (who is called by the name Black Jack) who is 71 years old.

     Darlene attended schools in Walsenburg. First was Hill School and then she went to Washington school. Later when she grew up, she moved on to John Mall High School. She grew up way too fast as most parents will say about their children. The other 25% would say, “Hurry up and get out!” After high school, she went to PCC to study Medical Coding and Billing and then continued at PPI to study to be a Medical Assistant.

     When I asked Darlene about her work experiences she said she had so many jobs to remember. She told me her most fun job was her first job, the announcer at the summer softball games. Another favorite was working in the kitchen of the Walsenburg Care Center. She was also a school crossing guard in Denver. Darlene worked in the nursing home; she was practically raised there. Her mother would bring her to work when she was two and she would sleep in a cot while her mom worked the graveyard shift. So she was around the elderly at a very young age. Darlene ended up working there at the age of 15, and she worked there for 15 years.

      Her hobbies include gardening, church, and Bible studies. The games she played as a kid include hopscotch, kickball, jacks, tag, and dodgeball. She was an active little one.

      In the year 1995, on February 14, Darlene married Simon Pino. They have 2 kids together, Jacob and Stuart.

      Her words of wisdom and message is to just be yourself. Don’t be afraid to let the real you shine because life’s too short to live a life someone else wants you to live.

      In mid-conversation, she told me a story that she will never forget. When she was growing up she used to go play on top of this hill across the field by her house, and one time she was up there by herself and she heard her siblings call, “Darlene! Dad wants you!” So she ran down the hill and all the way across the field. Once she got to him, he simply asked her to change the channel on the TV. Reminds me of a dad I know very well. Other than that story she just remembers riding bikes “like crazy.”

      The three words to explain her lifetime are challenging, joyous, and a gift.

      When I asked about how she wanted to be remembered, she just said as a good person. Which is definitely going to happen because not only is she a good person but an amazing one!

 That concludes the story of Darlene Pino, a kindhearted, loving person! A person I’ll never forget.

Tony Espinoza by Bernard Espinoza

Tony Espinoza was born in 1975 in Colorado Springs he currently 42, but the son of Vera and Bernardino Espinoza was almost not meant to be. The doctor wanted Vera to have an abortion because Tony had Cerebral Palsy in his right hand. Vera didn’t care, she would love him no matter what. When Tony was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and right shoulder. It was a scary birth, but he survived.

Tony lived in Springs until 1980 when he was in kindergarten, then they moved to Gardner. Tony and 4 of his siblings Gina, Wayne, Pat, and Jerod went to Gardner School. There Tony played basketball for the Falcons. Other things he and his siblings did were play hide and go seek with friends and, when it snowed, they would go tubing.

Tony went to college for 1 year at TSJC where he studied physical therapy and sports. He currently works in fiber optic cabling. He previously worked at the hospital in dietary and housekeeping. His hobbies are watching sports, fishing, softball, and basketball. He was married in May of 2001 to Robin Ortiz and has two children, Fabian and Emri.

The courageous story he told goes like this… While Tony was 13 he learned how to ride a bike. Pat and his friend were ramping on their bikes and Tony finally wanted to do it. So Pat told him to go to the top of a hill and pedal as fast as he could to the ramp, then pull up; so he did, but when he pulled up, his right hand could not hold on. When he landed, the handle bar jerked into his gut and he flew about 5 feet before landing on his face and shoulder and getting scraped up.

While he was attending John Mall he saw the movie 8 Seconds for the first time. Pat and another friend were with him when Tony had the brilliant idea to ride a bull. Their friend just so happened to own bulls. He took them to a corral and put Tony on a steer, then slapped its butt. The steer bucked 2-3 times and Tony flew off, landed on his head, and knocked the air out of himself. When he came to, his face was under another cow’s udder and Pat was cracking up while Tony was asking him for help. He was very lucky that day.

Some of Tony’s words of advice are “Everyone’s gonna have adversity in their life but never give up and always do your best.” Tony would like to be remembered as someone who never gave up and always did his best with what he could.

Workshop on Autism Open to All

Parents , Grandparents and Community are invited

Huerfano School District Re-1
February 6 at 9:56am ·
– Huerfano RE-1 cordially invites parents and community members to attend an Autism Seminar/Training –
Huerfano RE-1 teachers and staff will have a training on various topics about Autism on Friday, March 2nd at the District Office auditorium beginning at 9:00am. Parents of students and interested community members are invited to attend.
The 3 topics addressed by presenter Dr. Karen W Colvin M.S., M.D, Executive Director /Lead
Therapist of Soaring Eagles Center for Autism in Pueblo are as follows:

1. Autism-Understanding the Diagnosis
2. Teaching Strategies for Students with Autism
3. Sensory Processing Disorder & Autism

Seats to the front of the auditorium will be reserved for employees of Huerfano RE-1.
There is no cost to the public to attend.


January 25th- Testing Day

Students need to arrive at school at the appointed testing time confirmed last week. Parents are asked to accompany their children since not all children will take the allotted time. Please make sure your child has had a good night’s rest and a healthy meal prior to the testing time. Thank You

Martin Luther King contest

Winners of the Martin Luther King Paragraph Have Been announced:

Jody Medina’s class: Mason Montoya, Laura Colgan’s class: Nicolas Cotts, Megan Hanlon’s class, Sofia Crosson, Mark Vialpando’s class Kimberley Padilla. Read their essays here:

What Martin King Luther Junior did was a remarkable feat. He had a beautiful dream and even after 40 years of his passing his dream still thrives like a plant in its perfect environment. His dream was for the people of all colors to be treated equally. For hundreds of years Americans had hurt innocent people of color, houses burned, and separate drinking fountains were the law. It was all so cruel. Martin Luther King would not tolerate it and showed the public through his powerful speeches that we all ought to be treated equally. Racism and prejudice, a judgment before an action, are still problems today. Hopefully, MLK’s speeches have influenced us all and some, like the Gardner School children believe that we all deserve to be treated well. In my class, we all get along and don’t judge others by color or looks. Martin Luther King Jr. is my idol. I hope his speeches will continue to influence many children in the future.
7th grade Kimmy Padilla

“If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” MLK This quote means no matter how hard things get, never give up. This is one of King’s famous quotes. Martin Luther King wrote many famous quotes and speeches. My favorite is the one above because it shows that if he didn’t listen to his own words there wouldn’t be improved relations between black and white people until later. He wanted a world where his kids could go to school and get a formal education, not a black or white education but go to a normal school without segregation. King loved his kids and he wanted a better world for them. He wanted a better childhood for his kids than the one he had. King wanted a world with peace and equal rights. Unfortunately, he would have to fight for it. MLK fought with words rather than violence. His quotes have power and meaning and are still used today. Even after his death in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was and still is a man who changed the world.
6th Grade Sofia Crosson

In my third-grade reading class, our book is Stories of Ancient Rome. Reading about Julius Caeser makes me feel happy. I thought about Martin King and how they were both heroes but different. Ceaser fought in wars and MLK fought with words. Fighting with words is a peaceful was of ending cruel laws. Caeser killed lots of pirates because they did not like his poems. Martin would never have acted like that. He was a lover, not a fighter. Even though Caeser was a warrior, he is exciting to read about, but Martin Luther King was a real hero.
Nicolas Cotts 3rd grade

This is Dr. King. He is a very special man because he tried to make the world a better and peaceful place. And if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in the same class as some of my friends. I am very happy that he made the world a better place.
Mason Montoya 2nd Grade


The entire student body will present “The Nutcracker on December 21st at 6:30 PM. Please come out to celebrate with us. Your child will need to arrive at 6:15. Individual teachers will inform parents about costumes. Please bring a holiday treat to share for the reception following the performance. PL