Former student liked journalism, but niece likes dancing

The Magnet Tribune: Emily Garza
Leann Bernal, foreground, performs during the Christmas recital in the auditorium. Her aunt was in the class of 2000.

Emily Garza, Staff Writer

Third in a series

Leann Bernal and Gabriela Bernal (Leann’s aunt) both have something in common and that is V.M.T.

Leann is a current VMT student. Bernal is a former VMT student and was part of class of 2000.

Bernal remembers how it was back in the old VMT and is amazed with how it has evolved throughout the years.

High school was awesome because of VMT.”

— Gabriela Bernal

“I was a little bit sad because I liked the custom of getting around downtown. Once I saw what they did (at the new campus) and everything you guys have I think they did a great job. I went to go see Leann and as I was walking through I was like, ‘wow it’s a beautiful school’,” Bernal said.

Bringing up the old VMT, Leann shared what her aunt has told her.

“I’ve only heard of it…my aunt has told me how it was smaller, and that they couldn’t do as much stuff as we can do now here (in the new VMT),” Leann shared.

There were many excellent parts of VMT that Bernal enjoyed but here she explains her favorite.

“They let me be as creative as I wanted to be…whatever creation you have they help you…,” Bernal said.

To Leann, the people is her favorite part of VMT.

“It’s cool how we’re all from different schools and we can meet up here and make new friends,” Leann said.

Leann herself has friends that attend the magnet school in different fine arts such as journalism and theater.

“It’s nice seeing them (friends) here doing what they like to do,” Leann said.

Leann explains why she picked dancing as her fine art.

“I’ve always been dancing since I was three years old so I’ve always loved it and thought it was cool knowing you can do it at school…,” Leann said.

Leann discussed why she choose dance over journalism. Her aunt, Gabriela Bernal, studied journalism at VMT.

“I’ve never liked writing, I’ve always been more of an active person…so that (journalism) didn’t really work for me…,” Leann said.

Leann’s family support and enjoy her attending VMT, especially her aunt since she was also part of VMT at one point.

“They love it. They come to every single one of my recitals and they’re a huge crowd every time…” Leann said.

Leann would like to continue doing what she’s doing now and strive for the best after graduation.

“Plan to stay in dance my four high school years so that when I graduate I want to audition for colleges. Staying in dance will help with that,” Leann said.

“I would like my children to join VMT because it’s open to a lot of things. I would like them to be in dance…but I also like photography and art or maybe even them playing an instrument since I’ve always wanted to learn how to play one,” Leann said.

Like Bernal is a former VMT student, Lorena Mahtani is as well a former VMT student. Mahtani is now teaching at VMT as a dance teacher; she graduated a year after Bernal. Bernal explains how she feels having a former student teach Leann and other students now.

“I love it. I do remember Lorena from school and to see how it’s a full circle having the dream of being a dancer, her going out and doing her thing, and then coming back and being a teacher, and now the new generation coming in being Leann. I think it’s awesome,” Bernal said.

Leann, sophomore at VMT explains how she feels about her teacher being a former student.

“I think it’s cool seeing a teacher that was once a student, teaching…it’s nice knowing the students can do that one day,” Leann said.

Leann, the student shared her thoughts on becoming a dance teacher.

“I would like to become a dancer, not a dance teacher, but it would be cool to come back and show what I’ve learned,” she said.

Mahtani sees herself continuing to teach at VMT in the future.

“I definitely see myself here at VMT. My plans are to continue to working with students who have appreciation for the art of dance. The classroom is my home!” Mahtani said.

VMT was and still is a big part in Gabriela Bernal’s life and therefore she encourages it on others.

“…Actually every kid I come across that I know they’re going into high school I encourage VMT very highly. It holds a huge place in my heart. I know that if you’re not good in some subjects and you’re more artistic there’s a little bit for everybody, and I think VMT helps with that…I know it helped me,” Bernal, former student of VMT said.

It’s cool how we’re all from different schools and we can meet up here and make new friends.”

— Leann Bernal

“High school was awesome because of VMT,” Bernal said.

Photography has been in Bernal’s life since she was in her teens. Up to this date she still uses her fine art area in her everyday life and can’t let go the love she has for photography.

“One day, I think I was in seventh grade, I found a picture of my grandparents in black and white and it caught my eye and I knew ever since then I wanted to be in photography so when I went to the VMT orientation in 8th grade and saw photography I said ‘this is it’ and ever since I’ve never left my house without my camera,” Bernal said.

Bernal now has a career as a photographer.

“I’m a professional photographer so it’s what take us out in summer trips, it’s what has gotten me to Paris, to New York…it’s a huge role in my everyday life,” Bernal said.

VMT is growing and more generations are coming in as the years go by. Leann Bernal is part of that new generation and Gabriela explains how she feels.

“It’s awesome that you know how there’s generations and generations from Martin and Nixon. Our hearts are in VMT and now that our kids, nieces, nephews, etc. are going to attended or hopefully attend it’s something that can be passed down and say, ‘yeah I was there’, Bernal said.

Lorena Mahtani the dance instructor thinks the school has done a good job overall, throughout the years.

“It only shows the school has continued its success and continued to grow… there have been people that have graduated and been inspired by the school so they tell their relatives… to attend and therefore we upkeep a good reputation,” Mahtani said.

Mahtani dance teacher explains how it is when students, whose relatives have attended VMT in the past, come into the school.

“The students come with a really high expectation. All our students come in knowing this school is great but they come in with excitement because they’ve heard first-hand what it’s like,” Mahtani said.

Bernal thinks bringing VMT in Laredo made a big impact in the city.

“What Vidal Trevino did for Laredo it gave the opportunity to open this (the school) up and which used to be back then such a small town I think that we’re evolving in a fast pace and people didn’t know where to put the kids that aren’t good in some subjects, ‘Ok so what so we do with them.’ Our brains are all wired up differently that’s why going to an art school which has communication, dance, art, photography, all of that I think that’s where were able to get our heads moving our brains working and you’re happier,” Bernal said.