Friday, March 6, 2009 | 2:46 p.m.
Cheyenne Sports Complex
When they're in the cockpits of their F-16 fighter jets, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are considered the best of the best.
But on Saturday afternoon, on the softball diamond, members of the Air Force flight demonstration team will have to prove themselves against some of North Las Vegas' finest. The pilots of the famous precision flying team will pick up their gloves and bats to square off against the North Las Vegas Police Department in the 6th Annual NLVPD vs. USAF Thunderbirds Charity Softball Game.
The game starts at 1 p.m. at the Cheyenne Sports Complex near Cheyenne Avenue and Pecos Road.
The public is welcome to attend. Donations of $3 for adults and $2 for children are encouraged, with all proceeds going toward school supplies for Raul P. Elizondo Elementary School.
The school is named after North Las Vegas police officer Raul Elizondo, a Basic High School graduate who was killed in the line of duty on January 30, 1995.
He was killed during an altercation with a man who wrestled his gun away from him. Elizondo, who had about 90 minutes left on his shift before he went home, died at University Medical Center at 6:25 a.m.
Sergeant Leonard Cardinale of the North Las Vegas Police Department said Elizondo was known to always have a smile on his face. "He always had nice things to say for people. He just got caught in a bad situation," Cardinale said.
Saturday's charity softball game will also include food, raffle prizes and demonstrations by the North Las Vegas Police Department Honor Guard and K-9 unit. The Thunderbirds pilots will be available for pictures and autographs.
"Our department has a very good relationship with the Thunderbirds," Cardinale said. "They travel worldwide and their time is very hard to get. For them to come out each year and support us, it's fantastic."
With a new principal and a new mascot, Elizondo Elementary School, located in industrial outskirts of North Las Vegas, hopes to successfully turn the school’s level of achievement around. The school is under pressure to improve test scores, and with only 19 of last year’s 110 fifth-graders passing the writing test, it has some of the district’s lowest scores.
More than 65 percent of Elizondo students are classified as having low socio-economic status. With a high transiency rate and a large Hispanic population, the school is focused on working with students to overcome their familial and financial changes.
This year, more than half the teachers have been replaced and student achievement is on the top of the list. Principal Keith France has extended the school day by 70 minutes. Students must now wear uniforms, lunch breaks are staggered and students are let out of school at different locations around campus by grade level to curb bullying.
Although Elizondo offers an unique full-day kindergarten program that benefits many low-income families, the program has caused class sizes to swell above the state average of 30 students per kindergarten class.
Elizondo differs from other Clark County schools not only because it’s a turnaround school, but because it’s also managed by EdisonLearning Inc., a controversial New York-based for-profit education company that has had mixed success. The school still must abide by district academic standards and policies.
- Year built:
- Principal (Year Hired):
- Keith France (2011)
- School motto:
- “Learners today, leaders tomorrow”
- Approximately 654
- School Report Card:
Compiled by Aida Ahmed
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or email@example.com.