Old campus memories

Uncle of current student recalls early days of the school

Jesus Hernandez, Staff Writer

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First in a series.

Freshman Melissa Rendon said the students at VMT are the best thing about the school.

“I like the people here. They’re into their own things; It’s different from Nixon, it’s just better,” Rendon said.

Rendon, who is a journalism student, said she has enjoyed taking pictures since she was a little girl.

When we finally got the classrooms it was the best feeling in the world to get a brand new classroom that’s been built just for you.”

— Bruno Rendon

“I like taking pictures, and I like what the stories behind the pictures are. I like talking about it,” Rendon said.

Rendon’s uncle, Bruno Rendon, also attended VMT as a journalism student. He also took classes that involved art, sculpture and jewelry making starting with the school’s first year in 1993.

He took classes with journalism teacher Mark Webber as well as helped build the well-known VMT hand statue.

“I feel glad that he was a part of VMT because he told me he helped build the hand,” Melissa Rendon, who is also Webber’s student, said.

Bruno Rendon said during a phone interview that building the VMT statue was a unique experience.

“Well, just knowing that you’re contributing into something that’s going to last a long time, it’s going to be there indefinitely,” Rendon said.

Journalism teacher Mark Webber said it’s wonderful that children and family members of past VMT students are attending the school now.

“I think it’s fantastic that children whose family members attended VMT long ago are now students. This is like what’s going on with the home schools, where generations of family have attended the same school and there are those special ties to the school because of it. We’re starting to see the same thing at VMT, and I’d like to see more children of former VMT students attend. That shows a maturing of the school,” Webber said.

Uncle and niece share the same teacher

Melissa Rendon said her uncle had no idea a new campus was constructed.

“He actually didn’t know there was a new VMT campus. But he said it was very old at the previous campus; he remembers being there,” Rendon said of the remodeled facilities downtown in the St. Peter’s Historical District.

Bruno Rendon said the new VMT campus looks very modern.

They’re very proud. When I took the pictures for 16 de septiembre, they said, ‘wow, those pictures look like if a professional took them, like if they were for a magazine’.”

— Melissa Rendon

“Downtown was a little classy, and now (the new campus) seems like a modern building. But it looks nice and as long as they have a good facility it’s good for the students,” Rendon said. “We didn’t have a building downtown, it wasn’t there yet, it was still under construction. So we spent a whole semester cruising around town. We went to the Civic Center, we had computer classes on the lawn. I don’t know, it was different. When we finally got the classrooms it was the best feeling in the world to get a brand new classroom that’s been built just for you.”

Webber said VMT was very different when Bruno was a student to the campus Melissa is now attending.

“When Bruno was here it was the first year of VMT. We didn’t have any buildings until January or February. Our classroom buildings were scattered over three blocks, so students got to walk around just like at college. That was a great atmosphere,” Webber said.

“Now, Melissa and everybody else have a state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to offer so much more than we ever could downtown, but we’ve lost the college-like atmosphere,” Webber added.

When asked about her uncle’s reaction finding out she was attending VMT, she said her uncle was very excited for her.

“He was like, ‘Wow, do you know Mr. Webber? Because that was my teacher when I was at VMT’,” Rendon said. “My family was also surprised; they didn’t know that Mr. Webber was his teacher and then my teacher.”

Bruno Rendon said that it’s great for his niece to be attending VMT.

“I thought it was awesome. I thought it was a good idea. She’s a pretty creative girl; she can do just about anything if she puts her mind to it,” Rendon said.

Melissa Rendon also said her family was very supportive in her photo work she’s done.

“They’re very proud. When I took the pictures for 16 de septiembre, they said, ‘wow, those pictures look like if a professional took them, like if they were for a magazine’,” Rendon said.

Rendon said she plans pursuing a veterinarian career after high school.

“I want to be a veterinarian; Journalism is just for my high school years. I like doing it,” Rendon said.

Rendon said she sees herself studying biology in 10 years.

Life after graduation

Bruno Rendon, who graduated from his home school J.W. Nixon, did a group art exhibit in several cities. After that he attended the Academy of Art University in California, where he studied industrial design.

Melissa Rendon had thoughts on what she would like VMT to improve on.

“Maybe like two extracurricular classes. Some people want like art and they want dance or they would like to have photography and dance,” Rendon said.

Rendon said she would take journalism and art, if she could.

Rendon said that in four years she would like to be known for multiple things.

“I would like to be known for my photography skills and also for basketball,” Rendon, who plays for her home school J.W Nixon, said.

The best thing Bruno Rendon liked about VMT was the feeling of difference.

“Going someplace else away from your parent high school, and going to school there (VMT) was the best thing. It didn’t feel like high school, it was like going to university or like a little college. I was getting instruction that wasn’t available in a regular high school,” Rendon said. “It’s up to the students to look beyond what they see in high school because VMT is great but it’s just your first step into the real world.”