Venezuelan refugee graduates with Class of 2019

One year ago, Mariana Colmenares was forced to flee her home and abandon the country she loved as her family attempted to escape a destructive maelstrom of political turmoil. Last week, the 19-year-old walked the stage of Denton Bible Church, diploma in hand, a proud graduate of Pilot Point High School. The journey has been a whirlwind. “Oh, it’s exciting,” Colmenares said. “It has been incredible – this experience, it really has.” In 2018, Colmenares and her family uprooted their entire existence in Venezuela, their lifelong home, and came to the U.S. seeking asylum. The 2019 PPHS graduate said the decision to come to Pilot Point was not an easy one. “Leaving was hard,” Colmenares said, her

Family, classmates gather for dedication

The bittersweet chorus of “Happy Birthday” echoed around Pilot Point Intermediate School on May 15, hanging in the still and quiet air as friends and family gathered to honor Vail Johnson. It would have been the Pilot Point student’s 12th birthday. Johnson passed away suddenly in 2016 from a heart condition. She was 9-years-old, vivacious and kind-hearted, with a deep-rooted passion for writing and horseback riding. She lived in a world comprised of great wonders and unconditional loves – softball, the color green, reading and butterflies among them. Although many tears were shed Wednesday afternoon, the occasion was not a sad one. Vail’s friends and family gathered on her birthday to celebr

Mendoza wins third-straight gold

When Adam Mendoza took to the track at Mike A. Meyers Stadium in Austin on Friday afternoon, he knew a lot of people were rooting for him. Twenty-two members of Mendoza’s family were in the stands, all wearing identical shirts. Family members and his friends back home who couldn’t be in Austin were waiting to hear how he did in his race at the state track meet. Mendoza, a senior at Pilot Point High School, made his fourth-straight appearance at the state track meet Friday, running his signature race: the 800 meters. He placed sixth in the 800 at state as a freshman and won the gold in both 2017 and 2018. He qualified for the 2019 Class 3A state meet with a first-place finish at the Region II

Couple strives to save Central Christian’s historic sanctuary

The roar of songbirds and cicadas form an inescapable cacophony in the springtime. Just under that low and monotonous hum, something else could be heard near Pilot Point’s Central Christian Church on Tuesday: soft and plucky melodies drifting throughout the sanctuary, expertly improvised by a world-class musician. Inside the church, Francis Vidil leisurely performed upon a 19th century square grand Weber piano, crafted ornately from Brazilian Rosewood, a rare commodity illegal to import into the U.S. Complete with ivory keys and heavy wooden foot pedals, the rare instrument is a relic of the Romantic era. Vidil recently purchased the piano as part of what he called “a rescue mission” dreamt

Teacher, student save child's life

Last month, a student in the Brockett Elementary cafeteria began choking on a taco shell. His classmate noticed he was in distress and alerted their teacher, Kristie Sanders. “I could tell he wasn’t moving air,” Sanders said. “That’s when I immediately went into action.” Sanders found the choking student, performed the Heimlich maneuver and then flipped him upside down in an effort to clear his throat. “I’ve learned that if you turn children over – I have three children of my own – that if you turn them over, gravity usually works,” she said. Though the taco shell wasn’t expelled, Sanders could tell her student’s airway had been cleared. The school nurse arrived shortly after to check his ox

Storm siren fails during tornado warning

A tornado touched down northeast of Denton as severe weather moved throughout the county Tuesday evening. Residents in Aubrey and Tioga reported hearing outdoor sirens after the area was placed under a tornado warning, but Pilot Point’s sirens remained silent. “The city has [two] outside warning sirens in town,” wrote Pilot Point Fire Department Chief Heath Hudson in a Facebook comment April 17. “Both are out of service. The units are so old we can no longer get parts to repair them.” City Manager Alan Guard, however, said he was surprised that the siren on McKinney Street failed to activate because it had worked during a test earlier in the month. City workers investigated the issue and fou

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