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Cesar Chavez eighth-graders to blaze trail
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Cesar Chavez Jr. High's inaugural eighth-grade class will play an important role during the upcoming school year.

"They'll be our role models for the seventh-graders coming up," Principal Jose Beltran said. "They're going to be trailblazers."

Approximately 497 students, including 228 eighth-graders, are registered for 2012-13. Chavez housed more than 220 seventh- graders during its first year of existence.

The second-year junior high will welcome back students on Aug. 15.

Chavez's administration team consists of Beltran, David Viss and Dallas Plaa.

Viss, the school's learning director a year ago, was promoted to assistant principal.

Plaa was hired to fill Viss' old position.

Chavez added 10 new teachers, bringing its total to 25.

Chavez increased its support staff to four.

A second lunch period was also added.

"It (growth) allows us to provide more extra-curricular activities for our students," Beltran said. "We'll field both seventh- and eighth-grade sports teams. We're going to expand our after-school club choices. We'll offer rallies. Our kids and staff are excited."

Chavez's gymnasium was completed in January.

Improvements were also made to the school's track and field facility.

"It's very satisfying to see," Beltran said while talking about Chavez's transformation. "We have a beautiful campus. Everything we did last year was an accomplishment. It was a lot of work."

Chavez students displayed a tremendous amount school pride in 2011-12.

"We didn't have one incident of vandalism," Beltran said.

Chavez's first-ever, eighth-grade class will graduate on June 5.