Alumni Connection – Winter 2017

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 My Fellow Menaul School Alumni,

We are days away from Christmas christmasand I wanted to share some holiday cheer with you. Thanks to Wai Chan ’86 and Mrs. Gloria Lueras-Kidd, a former teacher, we have two new Christmas trees for our Festival of Light celebration! We at Menaul School are so grateful for the support of our Alumni.

In this issue of your Alumni Connection, read an article about Class of 2011 alum Sam Rhodes and tributes to the alumni we have lost this year.

Don’t forget to send wedding and birth announcements, graduations, promotions, stories, obituaries, and any other news you have about yourself, your family, and your alumni families and friends to or call me at (505) 341-7233. Also, keep us updated if you change your address, phone number, or email address.

May you have a blessed holiday season and a very happy new year!

Kimberly Sanchez ‘00
Assistant Advancement Associate
(505) 341-7233

Sam Rhodes ’11
By Devon Hoffman, Guest Columnist                                                     

Sam Rhodes while attending Menaul School (left), and today

Sam Rhodes while attending Menaul
School (left), and today

Sam Rhodes and I went to the same church—First Presbyterian Albuquerque. Although we were in the same youth group, I’m a little older than him. In high school, I held myself at a haughty distance from the goofy adolescent circus to which he belonged. But when I got back from college and traveling, this circus had all grown up. Sam in particular.

The first time I saw Sam as a ‘grown up’ was 2015, when he’d been working part-time as a janitor for the church. He was carrying a big stack of chairs to set up an event at the church, his sturdy frame draped in the grey jumpsuit uniform. He spoke with me in kindness and intelligence without breaking a sweat, despite the weight he carried.

I’m learning that chairs aren’t the only weight he’s learned to carry. After graduating from UNM in spring 2016 with a degree in Sociology and Philosophy, he got a job as a Community Support Worker at St. Martin’s—a day shelter for homeless people and a center for mental health and substance abuse recovery programs. This is a heavy job, working with 25-30 clients at any given time, trying to find them housing, connect them with community resources, teach them life skills, and so on.

He doesn’t play it off as easy work when I talk to him on the phone, yet his voice remains steady and calm when he describes the job. I’m imagining him on the other end of the receiver with a friendly half-smile, brow wound thoughtfully over his glasses.

He tells me a true parable, to summarize that job:

“I had a client who had a hard time with impulsive decision making. He’d gone to the grocery store and saw a sale on watermelon. Twelve dollars for five watermelons—a preposterous amount of watermelons. He saw that and was like, ‘That’s such a good deal. I love watermelons. I should just buy them.’ So he bought all the watermelons without thinking of how he was going to get them home! He didn’t have a car. He can’t carry all those watermelons on the bus.

“That’s a simple thing but (this job was about) breaking it down to—not only do you not have enough money to buy all that stuff, but how are you going to get it home? We used that as an analogy for other stuff in his life: You can’t carry too many watermelons. You have to think about the long-term effects of the decisions you’re making. I was putting myself in his position to see the terms that he could understand. You can talk someone’s ear off, but it’s not necessarily going to sink in. If you understand where they’re coming from, then you can say it in terms that really ring true for them.”

Sam says that his education at Menaul School taught him how to do this work.

The inclusive, service-oriented ethic of the school taught him empathy: “Every spring we had mission week. My favorite mission week was junior year. We went to the Pueblo of Laguna, to several different churches, to one of their feast days. We saw the ways culture manifested itself in daily life, and I’d never really been on a pueblo before.”

And Menaul School’s nurturing academics taught him how to communicate: “Ms. Rhutasel for English in Junior and Senior year, Mr. Sitler in the Religion classes, really, all of the teachers…I remember writing papers for them that honed my critical thinking abilities, questioning things I never really thought of before, and looking at problems in different ways.”

Sam recently moved to Lawrence, Kansas where his girlfriend Amanda is getting a Masters in Social Work. It’s a big life transition, but he’s not breaking a sweat. He tells me that Menaul School had been struggling financially when he was in high school, but that never interfered with, “as cheesy as it sounds—the spirit of learning. They kept that going.” Sam’s spirit is going strong, too. He’s looking into more case-work positions. He’s thinking about becoming a teacher.

“I’m not really worried,” he says, “I’ll find my niche.”

2017 Festival of Light Invitation

Festival of Light – A Menaul School Christmas Celebration

Come join us for Festival of Light – A Menaul School Christmas Celebration on December 14th! We will begin promptly at 6:00pm on the Commons, caroling with our students and local church choirs around our new Christmas tree. Then we will join in the Collie Refectory for student band performances, complimentary hot cocoa, and cookie and tamale sales benefitting the MPA.

I helped a child (002)

End of Year Deductions

When deciding what to donate, don’t forget your appreciated stock.

IRA owners age 70½ or older can transfer up to $100,000 per year to an eligible charity tax-free. The transfer can count as their required minimum distribution for the year. Funds must be transferred directly by the IRA trustee to the eligible charity.

Check with your financial advisor.

Menaul School is a 501(c)(3) organization.

In Loving Memory

Theodore Trujillo ’40  – Ted Trujillo passed away on 11/21/2017. Services are pending.

Ambrosio OrtegaAmbrosio Ortega ’44 – Dr. Ambrosio Jose Ortega of Albuquerque passed away the morning of October 8th, 2017 just 18 days shy of his 90th birthday. He was a beloved and excellent husband, father and son – and a good friend to many in his community and around the world. He is deeply missed.

Ambrosio was born in Chimayo, N.M. on October 26, 1927 to Apolonia and Juan Melquiades Ortega. He attended John Hyson Elementary in Chimayo, Allison-James Middle School in Santa Fe, and graduated from Menaul High School in 1945. He received his undergraduate, masters and doctorate degrees in education from the University of New Mexico. During most of those years, Ambrosio served in the United States Army and Army Reserve, eventually retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He served his county with tremendous pride.

Ambrosio was a life-long educator with teaching positions at Menaul High, Manzano High, and The University of New Mexico. He also served as an administrator at the Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute and at U.N.M. He was a life-long member of Second Presbyterian Church in Martineztown.

An important era in the Ortega Family’s life was their time spent in Quito, Ecuador when Ambrosio took a position with the Latin American Projects in Education in 1968. This position opened the door to Ambrosio’s career in the U.S. Department of State with appointments to the embassies in Honduras and Barbados. He retired from the State Department after serving two years in Washington D.C.

Ambrosio loved to sing, and play his harmonica. He was also an avid fisherman and spent many days navigating the hidden trout streams and lakes of New Mexico with his two sons, Armando and Fernando.

He is preceded in death by three siblings who passed away in childhood, Ambrosio, Benigna, and Lucille; and seven who lived into adulthood, Ismael, Adonaisa, Elcia, Lourdes, Eustolia, Esther, and Benigna. He is also preceded by his parents, Apolonia and Melquiades Ortega – all of Chimayó, N.M.

He is survived by his beloved wife and best friend of 67 years, Eva; his four children, Cristina, Fernando, Armando, Lucinda and her husband, Michael Garcia; and by his grandchildren, Adán Garcia and Ruby Ortega.

The Ortega family is deeply grateful for the selflessness and generosity of the late Richard Martinez. Richard donated his kidney to Ambrosio in 2001. That gift gave Ambrosio 16 more years of life. We also are also thankful to Cristina Ortega for the constant, loving care she gave to her father these last three years. Armando was also a helpful caregiver to his father.

Trudi MirandaTrudi Miranda ’44 – Trudi N. Miranda, our beloved Mom, passed away peacefully on November 5, 2017 at the age of 93 at her home in Albuquerque.

Trudi was a lifelong, native New Mexican born on December 16, 1923 in Chimayo, NM. Trudi attended John Hyson School in Chimayo, Allison-James School in Santa Fe and Menaul School in Albuquerque.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Lupita and Juan Naranjo & sisters, Rosenda McCabe, Eralia Kennealley, Florinda Naranjo & brothers, Frutoso and Gene Naranjo.

Trudi is survived by her sons, Carl Miranda and Rod Miranda, both of Albuquerque and by her daughter, Leola Curtis and Dave Kist of Ft. Worth, TX and daughter, Lori Miranda and husband, Jim Pastoor of Denver, CO.

Trudi is also survived by grandson, Bryan Curtis and wife, Christine and their children, Owen and Stella and granddaughter, Miranda Cook and husband, Ben and children, James and Joseph.

She is also survived by her former husband and father of her children, Gilbert Miranda; her two brothers, LeRoy Naranjo and Mois Naranjo and wife, Anna, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Trudi, aka, Frutosa, Frutie, F. Trudi, FT and a couple of other variations (she had her name legally changed) was totally dedicated to her children and would do anything for them. She wanted us to call her Mom, so we did. Mom was a wonderful cook and always working, whether on her job, on her home or doing something for someone else. Mom always put the needs of others before her own. Mom drove until age 90 and when the dents increased she willingly gave that up.

After raising her children to school age Mom began working at Montgomery Ward in the Accounting Dept. for many years before entering the childcare field where she worked at Blue Bird Day Care and then at New Futures School until reluctantly retiring at age 83. She began attending Palo Duro Senior Center which she enjoyed until recently. The ceramic turtles, chickens, frogs and other items she made have been given to family and friends in Albuquerque and New Mexico, California, Colorado, Texas, South Dakota and Louisiana.

Our beloved Mom was a member of 2nd Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque where she had many friends.

Ben Romero, Jr. ’48  – Beloved husband of Alice, Father of Larry (deceased), Julia (Steve) Birely, Marty (Brandi) Romero, 5 grandsons, 1 granddaughter, and 2 great-granddaughters.

Nelson AtencioNelson Atencio ’49 – Nelson Quirino Atencio, age 88, beloved father and brother, passed away peacefully, Sunday, August 20, 2017. He was born in Dixon, NM and was a resident of Albuquerque. Nelson was a proud Veteran who served our country in the United States Army during the Korean conflict. Nelson was a respected Church Elder and usher for many years at The United Church of Los Alamos. He enjoyed ice fishing, fly fishing, hunting, and horses.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Quirino and Corina Atencio; his wife, Vita; his son, Orlando; siblings, Hector, Dennis, John Atencio and Ernestina Gonzales.

Nelson is survived by his loving daughter, Anna Atencio and Micha Rinaldi; his brother, Fred Atencio; and his sister, Florence Atencio; sister-in-law, Frances Martinez (Leo); and many loving nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Nelson will be greatly missed by his loving family and by those whose lives he touched.

Sarah Lou Christian ChavezSarah Chavez ’58 – Sarah Lou Christian Chavez, age 77, cherished mother and precious grandmother, was called to eternal paradise on August 15, 2017. She entered this world on December 6, 1939 in Isleta, NM, born to James Thomas and Josephine Sosa Christian.

She is survived by her children, Rudy Paul, Edwin and wife, Lesley, Daniel, Rita and husband, Gary, Joselle and husband, Eric; and grandchildren, Shaylyn and Tyler, Nicolette and Anthony, Danielle, Jade, Matthew and Nina, Gavin and Candace, Julian and Ciara, Samantha, Coral, Brandon, Destiny, and Dominic. She also leaves many treasured nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She was known for her cooking, her generosity, and her great love for her family.

Fernando ApodacaFernando Apodaca ’61 – Fernando Apodaca, 76, passed away unexpectedly on November 25th, 2017 at his home in Houston TX.

Fernando is survived by his brother, Clarence Apodaca and Anthony Zamora; sisters Lydia Martinez, Bernadette Deanda and step-daughter Ellen Miller and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Holly, mother Mercedes, father Feliciano Apodaca brother Paul Zamora, sisters Patricia Martinez and Enedina Rita Marquez.

He was was born May 31, 1941 in Corrales NM to Mercedes and Feliciano Apodaca. He graduated from Menaul School, then joined US Army where he served honorably in Vietnam War.