Destiny Ammons enjoying success, opportunities at Paso Del Norte Fine Arts Academy
Editor’s note: Starting December 2022, the Socorro Independent School District will select an outstanding student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the monthly Board of Trustees regular meeting. Students selected for this honor seize the many opportunities SISD provides to help them excel in the classroom and beyond. Here is how one student is seizing her opportunities in Team SISD.
When Destiny Ammons walked into the Paso Del Norte Fine Arts Academy for the first time this fall, she stepped out of her comfort zone and into a whole new world of opportunities.
Destiny’s mom, Tiffany Ammons, an SCE Intervention Coach at Pebble Hills High School, transferred the fifth grader from Elfida P. Chavez Elementary School to the Fine Arts Academy, hoping the exposure to the school’s visual and performing arts programs would coax Destiny out of her shell.
“I was introverted,” Destiny recalled. “But this school kind of like brought the art out in me, and I realized how fun it is to learn new things and show off new talents to other people because I feel like everyone is special in their own ways and everyone should show it off no matter what.”
In addition to core instruction, students at the fine arts academy in the Socorro Independent School District receive specialized instruction in dance, music, visual, and theater arts. The school, which opened in August, aims to integrate academics with educational arts experiences to provide Pre-K through fifth-grade students with a robust and well-rounded education.
Since Destiny started at the academy, her fifth-grade teacher Monica Ruiz said she has seen her pupil flourish thanks to the different fine arts opportunities the school offers.
“At first, she was a little timid,” Ruiz said. “She would always ask me for reassurance. ‘Do you think I should join this?’ And I said, ‘Yes! Join everything! And then you will decide what you liked and didn’t like. So, she started joining different things, and she hasn’t stopped!”
In October, Destiny and four other students from Ruiz’s class performed a musical number about the water cycle at KTSM’s 2nd annual Weather Fest. In front of a crowd of spectators, Destiny and her classmates waved blue scarves and sang about precipitation.
On top of learning the song and choreography, Destiny created the props, which included grey rain clouds and bright yellow lightning bolts.
“We shot our shot,” Destiny said about the weather contest. “Sadly, we didn’t win, but we had a good time. We only live once so it’s better to try it than never.”
Destiny continues to seize new opportunities every chance she gets. An aspiring actress, she recently landed a major role in the school’s 2023 theater production of the Lion King.
“Theater is one of my favorites,” said Destiny, who also plans to open an Italian restaurant someday in the future. “It shows how you can express your emotions and how you can be big in general.”
Theater arts teacher Vanessa Keyser said Destiny’s audition stood out of the 65 third-to-fifth-grade students who tried out for the play.
Keyser said when Destiny first joined her class, she was very shy and didn’t talk much. But providing Destiny and her classmates an environment where they feel safe to express themselves has allowed Destiny to step out of her comfort zone.
“Because we’ve embraced the arts in every aspect of our curriculum, we’ve provided those moments of comfort that lead students like Destiny to be able to step out of their shell,” Keyser said.
Since the beginning of the school year, Destiny has come a long way, joining the chess and oral reading clubs. Destiny plans to read two poems in the UIL competition next March. She also recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the SISD Board of Trustees regular meeting in December.
Keyser said fine arts programming provides a platform for students to build their confidence and become more extroverted. However, she said it is up to students like Destiny to decide and take advantage of those opportunities.
“Destiny is going to rule the world,” Keyser said.
Published December 13, 2022