2015-10-28, Mark Hartshorne, Alma d'Arte High School

President Alex called the meeting to order promptly at 12:10 pm.  Kristi Granados led the prayer reminding us of our many blessings as we begin the season of giving. President Alex led us in the Pledge of Allegiance then invited the Patty Groth Trio to lead us in an original Rotarian salute, a rendition that would make Walt Disney proud. Rotarians were asked to greet each other as many smiles, handshakes, and a few hugs spread around the room. The Mystery Greeter was indeed a mystery to at least half of the club.

Before introducing guests, Patty reminded the club that we are adding a new twist to the weekly Raffle. The winning number will draw a card from a deck that includes only one joker. If the Joker is drawn, then they get the pot. If not, then the pot rolls into the next week and keeps rolling forward until the joker is drawn. Bill Brogan introduced his guest Gene Elliott, chair of the Alma d’Arte Charter School board. 

Happy Bucks – Kristi was happy for her travel to Idaho, Bill Wheeler was happy to fill out prayer schedule, and Jim Gerwels was happy to put up a ransom for his badge.

Student Speakers

Three of our October students presented their speeches for the club. Savannah Bush from Centennial High School shared that her Dad has been a major influence in her life, she has a volleyball scholarship for college, and plans to be a Veterinarian eventually opening up her own chain of animal hospitals. Katharine Pryor from Onate High School talked about RYLA’s influence on her desire to serve others and that her sister has been a great influence on her life. She loves to make others smile. Diana Guerrero from Las Cruces High School plans to be a pediatrician. She talked about how her mother and grandmother have influenced her life. All three expressed their gratitude and appreciation for being a part of the club this month.

The Program

Bill Brogan introduced our guest speaker, Mark Hartshorne, Principal/Chief Administrative Officer at Alma d’Arte Charter High School. An educational leader since 1987, Mark was the Principal at Las Cruces High for many years before working in Colorado, then returning to Las Cruces. In late 1993 the New Mexico Legislature enacted the charter school law and the state’s first four chater schools opened by 1995. There are almost one hundred charter schools currently operating in New Mexico. Alma d’Arte opened in 2004 under the leadership of Irene Oliver Lewis and was the first charter school in southern New Mexico.

Charter schools are an opportunity for families to seek an education in a non-traditional environment. They each have a very focused mission and do not try to be all things to all people. Alma d’Arte offers classes in four arts areas – Visual, Performing, Culinary, and Literary/Media. These are public schools that meet all regulations and requirements of the New Mexico Public Education Department. There are no admission requirements nor is tuition charged since it is a public school. Any student can attend as long as there is room in the school. They have a 95% graduation rate, balancing academic quality with arts instruction. Students can earn AP credit and seem to do well in the college environment. Past graduates have earned Regents Scholarships at NMSU or have gone to nationally acclaimed art institutes around the country.

Mark indicated that there are several charter schools in Las Cruces besides Alma d’Arte. These include the J. Paul Taylor Academy, Delores Huerta La Academia, Las Montanas, and the New American School. The J. Paul Taylor Academy will be moving to buildings on the Alma d’Arte campus. The New American School is teaching over 300 adults in the evening that did not complete high school. When you add the size of the two Early College High Schools to the Charter Schools, collectively they equal the size of one large comprehensive high school. This is evidence that our community is committed to a wide range of options for families in Las Cruces.

Mark reminded the club that the fundamental principle for student success in high school is the same at a charter school as it is at a comprehensive high school – students have to have positive relationships with adults who will support them and have their back. Speaking about his position, Mark said, “It is challenging but absolutely worth it.” He closed by inviting everyone to drop by and see the exciting work being accomplished at Alma d’Arte where there is “sound instruction in every classroom every day.”  (pictured right: President Alex Keatts, Gene Elliott, Mark Hartshorne, Bill Brogan)

After the Program

Bill Harty announced that a brief meeting of the Las Cruces Rotary Foundation organizing committee would meet after the club meeting. Kati also announced that she would be performing in “Legally Blonde” a musical at Onate later this year.

Can Report was $17 with $29 more going to Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Mark drew the raffle ticket and Ted won the opportunity to draw for the joker. His ace of spades means that the pot will grow! President Alex closed the meeting with the four-way test.  

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Gene Elliott

Bill Brogan

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club



Student Guests



Diana Guerrero

Las Cruces

Katharine Pryor


Savannah Bush










Member Birthday
Donald G. Moen November 8
Patty Groth November 9
Charles R. Tharp November 12
Mary Ellen McKay November 20
Barbara Nelson November 20
Ted E. Shelton Jr. November 20
Gus Gandara November 21

Wedding Anniversaries-November

Member Spouse Wedding Anniversary Years
Andrew Taylor Jennifer November 11 20 years
John W. Hernandez Isobel November 26 11 years

Club Anniversaries-November

Member Club Anniversary Tenure
Gregory R. Fant November 6 2 years
Robert Seaton November 8 5 years
Charles R. Tharp November 10 44 years
Caroline Zamora November 13 2 years
Lynford Ames November 24 37 years
William P. Harty Jr. November 24 16 years

Submitted by Greg FantGreg Fant