Borrego Elementary Running Club
SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS – Mrs. Elena Moreira-Puentes, a 3rd-grade monolingual teacher at Alfonso Borrego Sr. Elementary School in the San Elizario Independent School District (San Elizario ISD), started the Borrego Elementary Running Club. The Borrego Running Club is open to students in 3rd through 6th grade.
Ms. Moreira-Puentes is in her twenty-fifth year of teaching. Since starting her career in 1999, she has received numerous accolades. For instance, in 2015, she was honored as Teacher of the Year for Josefa L. Sambrano Elementary School. Throughout her teaching career, she has been named Teacher of the Month four times for the school and once for the district. Also, she was recently selected as a 2024 El Paso Marathon Ambassador. Ms. Moreira-Puentes is also on the Royal Run for Hope Committee, a non-profit racing community committed to helping local children and their parents affected by cancer.
Ms. Moreira-Puentes states she started the running club “to share my love of running with the kids and community.” She sees running as more than a physical task. Through running, she states, “I have seen kids boost their confidence levels, work towards a long-term goal, persevere in the face of something challenging and new, and learn how to cheer on and uplift their peers.” This year, the group has grown not only with students but also with sponsors. Mrs. Ana Caudillo, a 3rd-grade bilingual teacher, and Mrs. Olga Galache, a 5th-grade bilingual teacher, have also coached students into better health through running this school year.
For Moreira-Puentes, she began running after she experienced a shift in her family dynamics. Her journey involved a divorce, and her children moved out. What started to stay active has turned into much more. Running is something she does for herself. For her, it is about taking pride in the dedication and hard work it has instilled in her as an individual after completing a full marathon and countless 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. She states, “I started a running group in my community in 2016. Running has changed my life by giving me a community of uplifting people who have become some of my best friends.”
When Moreira-Puentes taught at Sambrano Elementary School, she coached the Latin Dance Team from 1999 to 2020, so when she arrived at Borrego Elementary School, she thought it was a perfect opportunity to put her coaching skills and love for running together. The running club has 45 student members, with fifteen students in 3rd grade, twelve in 4th grade, sixteen in 5th grade, and two in 6th grade. Third-grade student Kate Luna states, “I like to be in the running club so everybody can get off their video games and exercise. “
Running has allowed the students to connect as a community through movement and can be a start to their lifelong journey in health and fitness. Whether they pursue running sports like cross country or track, use their running skills in other sports, or run for fun, Moreira-Puentes states, “I hope they can look back to their time on the Borrego Running Club and channel the fun, skill, and love for running that they started here.” In closing, Moreira-Puentes states, “I’m passionate about my running, but I’m mostly grateful for the opportunity to share my love of running with the community that I’ve served for close to 25 years, San Elizario.”
Front row -Left to right (3rd graders) 15 students:
Ximena Fierro, Vanessa De la Torre, Santiago Valdez, Cedric Contreras, Oveth Hijar, Kate Luna, Katelyn Estrada, Megan Tapia, Maylet Torres, Joseph Rodriguez, Jose Caudillo, Alan Romero, Valeria Juarez, Zoe Marquez, and Jordan Mendoza
Middle row- Left to right (4th graders) 12 students:
Jiali Clark, Leonel Robledo, Fernando Morales, Petronella Streeter, Hazel Jalomo, Zendaya Carrilo, Ximena Padilla, Irany Quezada, Joshia Miramontes, Nicole Chavira, Valeria Moreno, and Esmeralda Stokes
Back row – Left to right ((16) 5th graders and (2)6th graders on each end:
Joleen Casares (6th), Santiago Torres, David Bermudez, Jonathan Gonzales, Nathan Casado, Sebastian Saucedo, Scarlett Mata, Zealand Solis, Angelique Estrada, Julian Olivas, Ezra Rodriguez, Jacob Ramirez, Emilia Elizalde, Devin Harrison, Liam Simmons, Ricardo Hernandez, and Tayshawn Carrillo (6th)