Austin Independent School District

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

Update (9:33 a.m.): The University announced all classes will be cancelled Friday until 5 p.m., citing a "continued threat of hazardous road conditions."

Buildings that will remain open include the Union, Student Activity Center, Kinsolving, Kin’s Market, Jester City Limits and Jester City Market. Littlefield Patio and Cypress Market will be closed.

Road conditions are expected to improve as temperatures increase this afternoon, University administrators said in the emailed announcement.

Essential personnel, defined by the University Policy Office as "employees designated by their departments as vital to the operation of the University," are required to be present unless otherwise released from duty by their department head.

Austin Independent School District announced classes would be cancelled, but AISD will return to normal operations after 4:45 p.m. Capital Metro announced UT shuttles will not operate today, with the exception of the metro airport route.

Original: Citing “winter weather” for the second consecutive day, University administrators announced a delayed start on Friday. Classes and other University operations will begin at noon.

UT spokesman Gary Susswein said the University’s early announcement to delay opening Friday is reflective of an increased commitment to timeliness on behalf of the University, AISD and the city government. Historically, delayed-start decisions have been made at roughly 3 a.m. on the day a weather event is forecasted to occur.

“We’ve always been cautious about the safety of our students, but after last week, there was a recognition that we could be more timely, that we could do things better,” Susswein said. “There is definitely new vigilance in light of what happened last week. People were upset, and they had a right to be. Local government, AISD — we’re all working together to be mindful of the fact that we need to make decisions early enough for people to plan their lives.”

According to Troy Kimmel, the incident meteorologist for the UT Campus Safety and Security Committee, students should expect to see scattered patches of light rain early Friday morning. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the area from 6 a.m. until 12 p.m.

“It’s not expected to be a heavy precipitation event, it’s expected to be light,” Kimmel said. “We had a light precipitation event last week too, and it created a lot of problems.”

Kimmel said Thursday’s cold temperatures will also affect the likelihood of ice on Friday.

“All exposed objects, pretty much everything right now, are pretty cold, so any precipitation that falls early tomorrow is going to get icy pretty quick,” Kimmel said.

Susswein said the administration has acknowledged the weather that has forced four late-starts or closures in the last several weeks.

“This is obviously an unusual winter, and there’s a lot of dangerous weather activity going on,” Susswein said. “After last week, we refined our system.”

Last week, University administrators came under fire after deciding the University would stay open, then have a delayed start, then close entirely, all within the same eight-hour period. Some students were already in their 8 a.m. classes when they heard the University had technically closed.

Akira Conley, an international relations and global studies junior who lives off campus, said she was frustrated by how late the decision was made to close campus.

“I drove right around Rio Grande around 7, and I walked to class at 7:45,” Conley said last week. “It kind of sucked — they hadn’t put any sand or salt down to get rid of the ice. People were literally crawling down 24th Street. My friend fell.”

Conley said her government class was not cut short when the University announced closures.

“We sat through the entire class because the professors weren’t informed about what was going on,” Conley said.

Classes whose meeting times overlap with noon will be cancelled entirely or have delayed start times in accordance with individual faculty members decisions.

“Students should follow faculty instructions with regard to those class start times,” the statement read.

AISD schools and offices will also be closed Friday.

To read about the impact closures will have on course syllabi and schedules, read here.

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

Citing "winter weather," University administrators canceled all classes before 10 a.m. Thursday morning. 

"Weather is often predictable, and conditions can change rapidly," read a statement issued by the University. "Before traveling to campus, please carefully assess your personal safety. If conditions are not safe for you to travel, please stay home."

Essential personel, which according to University policy are "employees designated by their departments to as vital to the operation of the University," were asked to come to work as requested by supervisors.

Austin Independent School District also announced Thursday it would be operating on a two-hour delay, including bus routes.

This is the third weather-related class change in the semester, as the University cancelled classes on Jan. 24 and Jan. 28. 

Student leaders criticized the University's handling of inclement weather last week, when administrators decided the University would remain open, then operate on a delay, then close down entirely, all within the same eight-hour period. On Tuesday, student government representatives introduced a resolution calling for improvements to the University's emergency preparedness policy.

History senior Joshua Tang, SG Administrative Director, said he hurt himself on campus before the Jan. 28 closures were announced.

“I decided to be a good student and take the day to study on campus,” Tang said at the meeting. “I wound up on the ground. It was me versus the ice and gravity, and I lost.”

Administrators issued an apology for the confusion the same afternoon.

“We’re very sorry for any trouble, inconvenience or problems that our students and employees faced related to our decisions,” the University said in a statement. “We are always working to improve our processes and to learn from each incident. Clearly, that includes today’s episode.”

According to UT System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, Thursday's Board of Regents meeting will also be delayed until 10 a.m.

Horns Up: Civil rights group asks AISD to fundraise for low-income schools

The Texas Civil Rights Project is pushing the Austin Independent School District to fundraise for its schools with low-income and minority students, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday. The civil rights organization claims AISD is leaving behind the students who are most in need of a well-rounded education, particularly in East Austin schools. The fund the project is hoping AISD will create would enhance art and science programs as well as extracurricular activities, in addition to reducing class sizes. Horns up to the project for proposing a tangible way for the district to improve schools that are working with limited means. 


Horns Down: Texas ranked first in 2013 exonerations

In 2013, Texas exonerated 13 wrongfully convicted prisoners — the highest number in the nation. Texas tops the recently-released list by the National Registry of Exonerations, followed by Illinois with nine and New York with eight. It is great that the state is working to undo its mistaken convictions, but this ranking shows that Texas prisons — with the highest combined population in the nation — are housing many people who don’t deserve to be there. The state needs to continuing sifting through old case files to double-check if prisoners’ convictions are valid. The saying “everything’s bigger in Texas” should not hold true for wrongful conviction ratings.

Last week the Austin American-Statesman reported that Austin Independent School District leaders, including Edmund Oropez, the district’s associate superintendent of high schools, want to start Austin’s high school freshmen out on the toughest graduation plan available under the recently passed House Bill 5. This plan gives students greater flexibility by reducing the number of required credits and allowing students to pursue an endorsement, or special focus, in an area such as “engineering” or “business and industry.” 

The new law requires all Texas high school students to start with a 26-credit plan, with the option to drop down to 22 after sophomore year. If the school board approves the measure later this year, Austin would take that a step further by starting every freshman on the “distinguished” plan, which includes certain higher-level courses. The distinguished plan is also required for automatic admission to state universities under the Top 10 Percent Plan. 

We applaud district leaders for wanting to challenge students and encourage them to go to college. Joshua Tang, a campus coordinator for Longhorn Teach for America, is correct that it is “important that all students [be] held to the highest expectations.” 

However, we also realize that the term “highest expectations” must be considered in relative terms, which may mean college for some and vocational training for others. Not every student is bound for college, and pushing those who aren’t will only result in wasted efforts and frustration, for both students and teachers alike, when they opt out of the plan. 

We agree with Robert Edwards, president of the UT chapter of Students for Education Reform, who supports the use of career-specific endorsements to better prepare students for the working world.

“I believe students will benefit in the long run from a more rigorous curriculum, but I say that with the underlying notion that they have to be in a customizable curriculum such as a vocational program or career path of their choosing,” Edwards said.

Instead of requiring all students to start high school on the college readiness plan, AISD should focus on the default plan under HB 5. It pushes students to explore and develop skills they can put to good use in their working careers without reverting to the rigid college-only focus of the 4-by-4 plan that HB 5 did away with. The school district would still do well to encourage students to challenge themselves and consider going to college, but making that decision for them is a step too far.

Wheatsville Co-op will be selling beer and wine at its new S. Lamar Boulevard location, opening in June. Though there was opposition from the Austin Independent School District for selling alcohol within 300 feet of Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the alcohol sales waiver. 

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Residents in South Austin will no longer need to trek north to purchase the specialty beers and wines offered by Wheatsville Food Co-op, thanks to a waiver granted by the city council last month.

The Austin-based cooperative grocery store will be opening its South Lamar Boulevard location in June. The store will be less than a block away from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a public all-girls school within the Austin Independent School District (AISD). Because of a city code that bans alcohol sales within 300 feet of a public school, Wheatsville had to apply for a waiver. The council voted unanimously in favor of Wheatsville’s waiver at the Dec. 13 meeting.

Wheatsville currently sells beer and wine at its Guadalupe location north of the University of Texas.

Representatives of Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole’s office said the council was particularly impressed by Wheatsville’s clean track record with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, especially operating so closely to a university where underage college students live.

“I’m extremely happy that my colleagues unanimously supported Wheatsville Co-op in the building of [its] new location,” Cole said.

The council received several letters of support for Wheatsville from various community organizations such as the South Lamar Neighborhood Association, as well as other cooperative organizations. Raquel Dadomo, brand manager for Wheatsville, said the alcohol products Wheatsville sells are typically higher-end, which was an additional factor in the approval of the waiver.

“I think [the code] is mostly for convenience stores that mostly sell low-price beer and wine,” Dadomo said. “Our selection is a much higher price point and is located way, way in the back. You have to look for it.”

The AISD submitted a letter of opposition to city council on Nov. 30, citing a “belief that alcohol sales near schools is not generally conducive to a positive and safe learning environment.”

Beth Wilson, AISD assistant director of planning services and the letter’s author, said it is AISD’s blanket policy to oppose alcohol sales within 300 feet of its schools.

“Routinely with any alcohol sales application, whether for on-site or off-site consumption within 300 feet of a school, we will always submit a letter of opposition,” Wilson said. “We don’t think it’s beneficial to the environment of our schools to have alcohol sales in such close proximity. It is our policy to always oppose.”

The cooperative model allows patrons to invest in the grocery store and therefore become member owners who work together as a community to operate the store while sometimes receiving profit. These member owners can have a voice in operations, including Wheatsville’s vendor choices. Dadomo said the grocery store’s cooperative nature will have a positive impact on families and students at the Ann Richards School.

“As a co-op, we’re really looking forward to working with the Ann Richards School,” Dadomo said. “It feels awfully strange for us to be in a position where we would be on the opposite side of the school because we add so much more to the neighborhood as a co-op.”

Dadomo said members of Wheatsville Co-op are looking forward to getting to know the South Austin community and setting a positive example for the young women attending the Ann Richards School.

“Right now 50 percent of our management staff is women, and that’s unheard of in the grocery business,” Dadomo said. “We’re women, we’re mothers, even our deli manager is the mom of students at the Ann Richards School. I think we have a lot of things in common, but I think it was an unfortunate thing that put us on opposing sides.”

Published on January 14, 2013 as "Wheatsville Co-op granted alcohol waiver". 

“And Then Came Tango”, a play written for second-and-third-grade audiences, which I am the composer and music director for, is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who formed a pair bond, built a nest together, raised an egg of their own and hatched Tango, a healthy baby penguin. The piece uses dance, music, dialogue and pedagogy to guide young audiences through a tender issue in a controlled, engaging way that focuses on student voices.

Work on “Tango” began about two years ago, and this semester the UT Department of Theatre and Dance planned to perform the show at 10 Austin Independent School District elementary schools as part of the 2012 Theatre for Young Audiences tour.

That plan fell through Monday night.

We had anticipated controversy, so the production team spent last semester organizing the tour with AISD. The content of the play was made known to AISD administrators in a transparent way. Thumbs-up were given. If there were problems with the play, then would have been the right time for administrators make it known.

Still, after the first show at Lee Elementary on Oct. 16, the tour was put on hold when school administrators, particularly Lee Elementary’s principal, expressed concern that the play contained themes of “sex and sexuality.” The tour was immediately stopped to allow for review by AISD principals and administrators.

While many in AISD supported the play, the district’s leaders became consumed by gridlock, throwing into doubt the possibility of a resolution.

With four cancelled performances, unresponsive AISD representatives and a semester quickly slipping away, the Theatre and Dance faculty needed to ensure that the UT theatre students in the production still had a chance to tour. They made the tough call to cancel the remaining AISD shows and focus on finding private schools, charter schools and non-AISD schools that would have us.

I can see why human sexuality would be a bad thing to put in front of second-graders. Sexual education begins (at the earliest) in fifth grade in Texas. But LGBT families aren’t a human sexuality topic. You can’t simply avoid talking about a particular minority in schools because you’re afraid it’s too controversial. Just ask any AISD student with two moms or a gay uncle. Seeing a non-traditional family in a place where queer voices are completely unrepresented would have made an important impact on students’ ability to communicate with one another about the evolving 21st-century family. Missing the opportunity to make that kind of impact is what upsets me most about the tour’s cancellation.

Suppression of dialogue about LGBT families in public elementary schools isn’t just heteronormative. It’s outright homophobic. It tells LGBT parents that there isn’t a place at the table for them or their kids — not until fifth grade, anyhow.

And “Tango” is at its core about families, not sexuality. It includes single-parent households, like the one our protagonist Lily comes from, as well as two-parent heterosexual families, like other penguin pairs in the play. And, yes, two-parent LGBT families, like Roy and Silo’s. The implication that “And Then Came Tango” is too risque for second-graders in a city like Austin, Texas, illustrates just how important it is that we get this play into public schools to do our part to stop homophobia.

This controversy isn’t about sex or sexuality; it’s about fear — election-year fears, fear of parental backlash, anxiety over the possibility of lost jobs in the school district’s administration. These fears ultimately led to a pocket veto and tacit censorship by the leadership of AISD. Here’s hoping that the next crack they get at expressing tolerance and accepting new realities goes better. Until then, the penguins of “Tango” will tour elsewhere.

But we sure ruffled some feathers, didn’t we?

Marbach is composer and music director for “And Then Came Tango.”

If you’re approaching your 20s (or already in them), you might have read about “Tacky the Penguin.” Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, the book was first published in 1988, so by the time most UT undergraduates were perusing picture books — the early 90s, we’ll presume — “Tacky” had made its way to the easy-to-reach library shelves. The title character of the book “was an odd bird,” as the text explicitly states on page five, making it clear from early on that it celebrates nonconformity. While the other penguin characters, named Goodly, Lovely, Neatly, Angel and Perfect, greet each other quietly and march 1-2-3-4, Tacky slaps hellos on the back and marches out of line. With their tuxedo-like feathers, the penguins, standing upright, have just enough humanness to make it clear to children that the story relates to their world, but just enough distance to make it inexplicit enough to be fun.

UT’s College of Fine Arts students recently scheduled to perform for 10 Austin Independent School District schools’ second graders a play titled “And Then Came Tango.” The storyline, according to a Daily Texan news story, is about two male penguins who adopt and hatch an egg. The Daily Texan reported that after the UT students performed the play for Lee Elementary School for the first time on Oct. 16, AISD administrators stopped the tour to discuss the play further.

“UT was supposed to perform the play for Campbell Elementary School on Tuesday, but instead UT students will perform it for AISD elementary school principals, who are still reviewing the play,” the article said. AISD spokesperson Alex Sanchez told the Daily Texan that the issue is whether the play’s content is appropriate for second graders.

“All of our principals and teachers support a message of love and acceptance for all. This has never been a question,” Sanchez said. “The question is one of age-appropriateness based on the subject matter and parent permission.” The storyline of “And Then Came Tango” follows, according to The Daily Texan account, two male penguins at a zoo who try to hatch a rock, and are frustrated until a girl provides the pair with an abandoned egg, which — after bad publicity for the zoo threatens to split up the family — eventually hatches and all ends happily.   

Since we haven’t seen “And Then Came Tango” or read the script, we acknowledge that our initial impulse to side with the penguin play producers stems largely from our impulse to defend a story in which characters, albeit penguins, who triumph in spite of a world that reacts fearfully and towards their differences. We wish AISD’s first reaction did the same. So far, the AISD objections have been vague, although AISD spokesperson Sanchez told the Daily Texan that AISD “is still in discussion with UT about whether to require permission slips, present the play to fifth graders, or proceed with an alternative solution.” While withholding judgment until AISD makes a final decision, until we get to see “And Then Came Tango” or at least until we get a review from an articulate second grader, we still think based on how this likely unreasonable censorship has unfolded to put on high alert all lovers of children’s literature that allows penguins or  other animals to teach hard-to-explain ideas about the adult world. As Tacky might say with a loud slap on the back, “What’s happening?”

Future plays by UT’s College of Fine Arts scheduled for second graders in the Austin Independent School District have been put on hold because of concerns about the “age appropriateness” of a play about two male penguins who adopt and hatch an egg.

 UT was scheduled to perform “And Then Came Tango,” for 10 elementary schools, but after performing the play for Lee Elementary School for the first time Oct. 16, AISD stopped the tour to discuss the play further. UT was supposed to perform the play for Campbell Elementary School on Tuesday, but instead UT students will perform it for AISD elementary school principals, who are still reviewing the play.

The play for Campbell Elementary School is the second of the tour to be canceled. This is not the first year UT has put on plays for AISD students.

AISD spokesperson Alex Sanchez said the issue is whether the play’s content is appropriate for second graders.

“All of our principals and teachers support a message of love and acceptance for all. This has never been a question,” Sanchez said. “The question is one of age appropriateness based on the subject matter and parent permission.”

“And Then Came Tango” is about two male penguins at a zoo who build a nest and become frustrated when their rock does not hatch into a baby penguin. So, a girl who cares for the penguins steals an abandoned egg and gives it to Roy and Silo, the two male penguins. But when the zoo gets bad publicity because of the pair, there is talk of splitting the penguin family. However, the play ends with the egg hatching and Roy and Silo getting to stay together. The play is based on the true story of an identical situation at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan.

UT’s theatre director Brant Pope said AISD’s response surprised him.

“AISD’s Fine Arts Coordinator and principals had all gotten a plot synopsis,” Pope said. “We understandably assumed they were familiar with the play.”

Pope said AISD has not been specific about what content within the play concerns them, although he has heard general concerns.

“I do not know if anyone has said what the precise nature of the objection is,” Pope said.

A student in the play, who spoke to The Daily Texan on condition of anonymity because the cast and ensemble were told to not speak to the media, said AISD has not communicated its concern clearly.

“It has been super vague,” the student said. “AISD has been very careful about their choice of words and very adamant that the problem is about sex and sexuality.”

The student said the play does not have any themes of sex or sexuality. The student said the play deals with families and raising a child, not with sexual attraction. AISD starts sexual education in fifth grade, but not before.

When UT put on the play for Lee Elementary School for the first time Oct. 16, the student said the second graders there were interactive and responded well to the play. But on Thursday, the cast and ensemble found out their scheduled play at Highland Park Elementary School was canceled, and instead they performed the play for AISD’s Fine Arts Director.

Both the student and Pope said UT sent a plot synopsis and teaching guides to the elementary schools weeks in advance.

“We forwarded them everything. They had a copy of everything,” the student said. “The educational packets asked questions for students and helped teachers facilitate conversation about this show with their students.”

AISD spokesperson Sanchez said AISD is still in discussion with UT about whether to require permission slips, present the play to fifth graders or proceed with an alternative solution. Until a decision is reached, the tour has been put on hold.

Clarification: "And Then Came Tango" is an original play, not an adaptation. An early version of this article did not make that clear.

Printed on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 as: UT theater performance put on hold

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks Monday morning about The Attendance Incentive Program between AISD and the University. In order to promote higher faculty attendance rates, AISD will give employees with consistent attendance free tickets to UT athletic events.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goldsmith | Daily Texan Staff

Austin Independent School District employees with the best attendance records will get free tickets to UT athletic events after the district begins a new initiative aimed at improving faculty attendance rates.

The University, working in conjunction with AISD, will reward employees who demonstrate consistent attendance with ticket vouchers to UT sporting events, officials announced Monday. The Attendance Incentive Program will kick off Friday night, when AISD employees and their families are invited to watch the Texas Longhorns soccer team play Fresno State at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium at no charge.

The incentive program is part of a new effort to promote higher faculty attendance rates in the AISD system’s 124 schools. Over the course of the school year, UT will distribute approximately 15,000 ticket vouchers through the program, AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said. Of the 15,000 tickets, approximately 12,000 will be redeemable for soccer games. The rest will be designated for basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. None have been allocated for football.

Carstarphen said AISD’s current overall employee attendance rate hovers between 90 percent and 95 percent across all divisions. She said her goal is 98 percent attendance for the district’s 12,000 employees. She said the motivations behind the initiative are both educational and financial.

“When you match student attendance with staff attendance, there is far more instructional contact time between those two groups, and that is what really makes a difference for the student,” Carstarphen said.

Outside the classroom, the district also stands to benefit financially from increased teacher attendance. Michael Houser, AISD chief human capital officer, said the district spent approximately $8 million to hire substitute teachers last year.

The attendance initiative also ties in to a larger AISD goal: improving faculty health and wellness. Tracy Diggs Lunoff, AISD administrative supervisor of Student Health Services, said she hopes employees will understand the link between improved fitness and higher attendance rates.

“The hope is that incentives will inspire people to make healthier choices, which will ultimately allow for greater productivity,” Lunoff said.

UT athletic directors DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky said they are thrilled to work with AISD on the attendance initiative.

“We are part of a larger community, and we are constantly looking for ways to connect back to Austin,” Plonsky said. “With all of the events we hold each year, this just seemed like such an easy way for us to provide a connection and incentive to [the AISD] staff.”

Dodds said the partnership between the University and AISD would bring benefits to both institutions.

“We are in the same business, the kid business,” Dodds said. “We want to be as helpful as we can in this project. I think it is a good one. And if it is good for them, it is good for us.”

A monument honoring Tejanos and their role in the history of the development of Texas was unveiled at the capitol Thursday afternoon. A parade will be held Saturday morning to celebrate the monument.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Howeth | Daily Texan Staff

Twelve years of work by Hispanic education and business leaders came to fruition Thursday with the unveiling of a new monument at the Texas Capitol.

The monument honors Tejanos and their role in the history of the development of Texas. The life-sized bronze statues built over slabs of granite showcase 11 members of the Tejano community from throughout Texas history. The monument is part of an education reform to Texas public schools that is beginning with the Austin Independent School District. History professor Emilio Zamora collaborated with Cynthia Salinas, associate professor in the department of curriculum and instruction, and Maria Franquiz, professor in the department of curriculum and instruction, to develop the new curriculum for AISD. AISD will soon be implementing more lessons about Tejano history in Texas into their curriculum and will serve as a model for districts throughout the state, said Celeste Mendoza, associate director for development in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.

“When I went to grade school in Texas, I hoped to learn about my Hispanic heritage,” she said. “I waited all year in seventh grade Texas history, only to get to page 375 in our Texas history book and see one paragraph about the Alamo. I felt cheated.”

The unveiling of this statue and the coinciding education reform is a huge step for our state, Mendoza said.

Renato Ramirez, 1966 UT alumnus and spokesperson for the Tejano monument organization, said the monument marks an enormous step for Tejano people.

“The significance is that Hispanic children can feel proud of their heritage and hold their heads high, beaming with pride,” he said. “Prior to this monument, art in and outside the Capitol was always a put-down for Hispanics. A small painting of a ‘Mexican hut,’ photos of laborer Hispanics and Anglo supervisors, engineers and architects, Santa Anna on his knees with a sword to his throat.”

Among attendees at the unveiling was Gov. Rick Perry, who spoke at the event about the overall impact of the unveiling.

“This important monument reflects a larger truth about the origins of Texas, about the contributions of so many Hispanic citizens to the creation of the state we love and the lives we share,” Perry said in a press release. “These contributions are ongoing with Latinos providing political, business and spiritual leadership in communities throughout Texas. The future of our state is tied directly to the future of our Hispanic population, and I believe we have a glorious future ahead of us.”

A Tejano monument conference will be held Friday, followed by a parade along Congress Avenue Saturday morning to celebrate the monument.

Linzy Beltran, journalism and Hispanic studies senior, said she would be attending the events because of the significance of the monument to the Austin community.

“I’m proud for the Latino community,” she said. “I guess now is the time where race and ethnicity are becoming less of an issue and the untold histories are coming out.”

Printed on Friday, March 30, 2012 as: Monument celebrates Tejano leaders