Stella M. Chávez | KERA News

Stella M. Chávez

Reporter/Blogger

Stella Chávez is KERA’s education reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35. The award-winning entry was  “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part DMN series she co-wrote that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas. For the last two years, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was part of the agency’s outreach efforts on the Affordable Care Act and ran the regional office’s social media efforts.

Ways to Connect

Stella Chávez / KERA News

I spent last weekend and a few more days reporting from El Paso. Before leaving, I wanted to see the one place I hadn't been to: the makeshift memorial outside the Walmart where 22 people were killed.

A mural by Manuel Oliver included a portrait of his son, Joaquin, was one of the 14 students killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year. That location near the border was chosen because Joaquin advocated for immigrants' welfare.
Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The family of a victim from last year’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, happened to be in El Paso on Sunday to unveil a mural in honor of their late son, the day after a gunman killed 22 people and wounded more than two dozen others inside a local Walmart.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Sandy Heath was at a funeral service Saturday morning when she got a phone alert about an active shooter. That prompted her church to go on lockdown.

Then came the text messages from friends and family making sure Heath, 75, was ok. And, could she help?

Associated Press

A new study shows immigrants have a big impact on the North Texas economy. The group New American Economy says it wants to use this new data to show how immigrants are helping cities thrive.

Associated Press

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested about 900 people during the last two months. The majority of those, though, occurred outside of the high-profile recent operation President Donald Trump tweeted about earlier this month.

Grand Prairie ISD

The Grand Prairie Independent School District has appointed an interim superintendent following the death last week of Superintendent Susan Simpson Hull.

Grand Prairie ISD

Susan Simpson Hull had a demanding job leading 30,000 students. But she found strength and clarity on the road. She had an adventurous spirit and loved riding her Harley. The Grand Prairie Independent School District superintendent died Monday in Arizona following a motorcycle accident.

Associated Press

Fort Worth Alliance Airport is getting financial help to build a taxiway extension that will help Amazon’s new regional air hub.

Alliance Airport is getting a $5.5 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. The money will help finance the new taxiway, the path that connects airplanes between runways and other parts of the airport.

Stella Chávez / KERA News

More than 4,000 students in the Dallas Independent School District are homeless. With no permanent place to call home, life can be stressful. That’s why homeless advocates say exposing kids to positive experiences is so important. One summer camp at the University of Texas at Dallas is doing just that.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A North Texas man, who has a severely disabled son, won’t have to leave the U.S. for Peru this week. On Tuesday, immigration officials granted a request by the man’s attorneys to stay in the U.S. a few more months.

Associated Press

When 56 asylum-seeking migrants arrived in Dallas, they were greeted in their native Spanish.

“Bienvenidos (Welcome).”

One by one, they stepped off the bus that had taken them from El Paso to North Texas.

“But then something happened after maybe the first five people got off,” said Gregg Alan Smith, associate pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

More than 400 mourners paid tribute on Tuesday to Muhlaysia Booker, the 23-year-old transgender woman shot and killed in Dallas earlier this month.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Just a few years into her teaching career, Cindy Reyes was considered one of the best in the Fort Worth school district. So it’s not surprising she got a job offer to teach at another school.

The catch? The school was failing and on the state’s list of low-performing campuses.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas. One reason Plano's ParkScore is so high is because it invests in its park system, spending about $210 per resident.
David Kobuszewski / Flickr

Once again, Plano is getting high marks for its park system. In its annual ParkScore index, The Trust for Public Land ranked Plano 15th out of the 100 largest U.S. cities. Last year, it ranked 18th.

Mountain View College, part of the Dallas County Community College District, in southwest Dallas.
Cedar Valley College via Facebook

As a senior in high school, Jose Alvarez said he didn’t think he’d be able to attend college. He didn’t understand the application process and didn’t think he could afford it.

Then he learned about Commit's Dallas County Promise, which helps students attend college by covering their tuition.

Students walk on the campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (the National Autonomous University) in Mexico City.
Shutterstock

Recent Mexican immigrants in Texas are more likely to have a college degree than in previous years. That’s according to a new report by the D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute and Southern Methodist University's Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center.

Incumbent Betsy Price (right) won the Fort Worth mayoral race with 56% of votes against challenger Deborah Peoples (left).
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Dallas mayor’s race is heading to a runoff after no one was able to get a majority of the votes, while the Fort Worth mayor won re-election.

Courtesy of Jason Maston / North Texas Squad of the Star Garrison

Fans of the Stars Wars films are mourning the death of Peter Mayhew, the beloved actor who played Chewbacca. Mayhew lived in North Texas and was scheduled to appear this weekend FAN EXPO Dallas at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Fort Worth ISD school bus
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

The May 4 local elections could have big implications for the Fort Worth Independent School District. Three longtime members are not seeking another term. That leaves four open seats and nine candidates vying for them.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

On Friday morning, a group stood outside the Dallas office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, waiting for news about their friend, Salvador Hernandez.

They were there to fill out paperwork and pay his $2,500 bond. Hernandez was one of the 284 employees of CVE Technology Group arrested by immigration agents in Allen.

ICE agents and personnel at CVE Technology in Allen, Texas, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Anthony Cave / KERA News

There were more than four times as many women than men arrested Wednesday in the country's largest immigration raid in 10 years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. The 284 workers came from 15 different countries.

Family members of workers inside CVE Technology in Allen, Texas, took concerned phone calls, sent worried texts and waited for updates throughout the afternoon while ICE conducted raid operations.
Anthony Cave / KERA News

Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday arrested 284 employees at a technology repair company in a Dallas suburb on charges of working in the United States illegally. Officials say it's the largest worksite raid in the country in 10 years.

An asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hallway of a shelter in San Diego after arriving from an immigration detention center on Dec. 11, 2018. Experts say when parents are detained or deported, the children's trauma can last a long time.
Associated Press

In the small town of Honey Grove, Texas, several families face an uncertain future after an immigration raid in August.

Experts say that for children whose parents are detained or deported, the trauma can last a long time.

Ben Margot / Associated Press

Recent federal indictments of dozens of parents, coaches and an admissions consultant put in the spotlight the lengths some will go to to place students in prestigious schools.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

For five years, KERA followed a group of high school students for a series called Class of '17. One of the students was Chance Hawkins, who graduated last year from Fort Worth's Dunbar High School. He had a rare degenerative muscle disease. Chance died last weekend; he would have turned 21 on Sunday.

Abigail Rubio (left) has had a difficult time since the immigration raid in which her father was detained. But she says her friend and classmate, Leslie Lopez (right), has helped. Leslie says she prays for Abigail.
Stella Chavez / KERA

The day of the raid still haunts principal Tammy Mariani.

On August 28, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, raided a Northeast Texas factory that makes vehicle trailers. In the nearby Honey Grove Independent School District, nearly two dozen children have parents who were arrested and detained.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For Angelica and Diana Canchola, meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the highlight of their day.

The 16-year-old twins introduced Pelosi to their peers and teachers at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in downtown Fort Worth on Monday.

Courtesy of Islamic Circle of North America

Ruman Sadiq says the current political climate has led to misperceptions of Muslim women. 

That’s why she hopes a new six-week billboard campaign will encourage people to call and ask questions about the hijab, or head scarf.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Growing up in South Texas, Jesus Martinez heard a lot about President John F. Kennedy. His mom was a huge fan of the late president and former first lady. She read the book, "Letters to Jackie, Condolences From a Grieving Nation” and even named Martinez’s sister, “Jacqueline.”

Students at John Paul II High School in Dallas discuss immigration during the campus-wide Solidarity Week.
Stella Chavez, KERA News

The debate over immigration and funding for a border wall has dominated the headlines. Against that backdrop, students at one North Texas Catholic high school spent the past few days in a campus-wide conversation about immigration – from government policies to personal stories.

Pages