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Of Title 1, arts in school and cool Vans shoes


Edison High School art student Rogelio Zamarripa created a design that has put the school in the running in a national Vans shoe competition.

Three years ago, when art teacher Dezarré Boone arrived at Edison High School, she set out to advocate for a struggling department and its students.

A lot of them. She’s one of three art teachers and has seven classes a day, about 32 students per class.

The pandemic changed that to 10 in-person students, the rest learning remotely.

They’ve struggled with technology, as have others, but many of her students didn’t have laptops or internet access before the coronavirus. That makes for one positive outcome from the pandemic.

Boone, 25, Mexican American and a San Antonio native, worries leadership at all levels doesn’t truly know students like hers and what they face.

It’s one thing to know they’re in a low-income Title 1 school eligible for U.S. Department of Education aid, such as free meals.

It’s another to learn the flour in their pantries can’t be used to make salt dough to bake Day of the Dead calaveras. It’s too precious a commodity.

“They’re overwhelmed,” Boone said. “They’re living through trauma.”

Some of them got COVID-19, as did their parents. Some students dropped out, and some continued to work while in high school.

Despite this, some did exceptionally well and are college bound.

Some are in the running for a national art competition sponsored by an iconic shoe brand.

Boone, who holds degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University and Boston University, comes from a family that includes artists and spiritual healers.

Her late grandmother was a painter and tarot card reader whose clients included a young, not-yet-famous actress named Salma Hayek who traveled to the city’s West Side to get her cards read.

Like so many other teachers, Boone reaches into her own pocket to pay for classroom supplies, from snacks to sketch pencils, always in demand.

She has taught painting with tea bags and coffee as pigment.

The school’s art students produced a 72-foot mural on campus inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” It was a runner-up in Artpace’s Chalk It Up contest.

The majority of the school’s students are Mexican American and most are Spanish-speaking, but they don’t know a lot about their own culture, save for watching “Coco.”

But they understand San Antonio’s tourism is built around it. They’ve worked or visited downtown and the River Walk. They may not frequent museums, but “know that our culture keeps the city running,” Boone said.

A great many of her students are Latino boys, whose graduation rates are troubling.

They’re night owls, “most creatives are,” she said. “Art is their escape at the moment.”

While searching for potential grant funding for Edison’s art department, Boone found a contest by the popular shoemaker Vans.

Open to schools nationally — one design per school — Edison students produced various designs, and 16-year-old Rogelio Zamarripa’s image of a Fiesta and Spurs-inspired design was selected.

That deadline landed during San Antonio’s February snowstorms, creating challenges, but Edison made the 250-school cut.

Edison then received five pairs of white canvas shoes from Vans. Nine students participated in designing them. Two pairs, including Rogelio’s, were submitted to the competition.

His design has pop art and Fiesta vibes and features the Alamo on the left shoe and the River Walk on the right in Spurs’ vintage pink, teal and orange colors.

Fifty pairs nationwide are competing in this last phase, and the public will get to participate in voting for their favorite. That website hasn’t been set up yet.

Five finalists will be announced May 17. The company will consider public input in selecting winners. Three schools will win $15,000 for their art departments, and one will get the top prize of $50,000.

The company isn’t promising, but there’s a possibility the wining shoe will be mass produced.

Rogelio is hopeful. He recently won $1,000 for the winning Fiesta medal design for the temp agency VIP Staffing. It will be mass produced.

Even if it doesn’t win, Edison’s art department has lots of plans, Boone said. They want to revitalize its ceramics program and get its kiln repaired.

They need a professional camera to compete in contests and a printer to produce large-scale banners, which will essentially create a print shop. The department is working on creating a dual-language art class.

Boone is also hunting for more student competitions. Since art isn’t a core subject that’s tested, contests are the only way to show results.

Rogelio is dreaming, too — of more arts supplies.



Join Edison Art League this week as student artists will create original designs in chalk on the pavement capturing our 2020 theme "Community."  The faculty and staff are highly encouraged to visit the works outside the HP building to celebrate these artists and their visions of community.

The Edison Art Departments mission is to foster independent thinking thru a diversified curriculum that fosters creative expression and community involvement.


La misión del Departamento de Arte de Edison es fomentar el pensamiento independiente a través de un plan de estudios diversificado que fomenta la expresión creativa y la participación comunitaria.

Edison HS Pep Rally

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Why I chose Band!

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