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Congratulations to Advanced Learning Academy Class of 2020!


Kaben Benavides

Kaben Benavides is a master at compartmentalizing. The Advanced Learning Academy’s Class of 2020 valedictorian has to be to keep up with all the things on her plate, from choreographing her school’s musical productions, to her school work, to daily dance classes, to being a company member of the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet.

“When I do something, I am all in,” she said. “I have to make the time to focus on what I am doing and then it is all good.”

A self-proclaimed optimist, Kaben will be attending Point Park University in Pennsylvania to pursue an MFA in dance with a possible minor in marketing. Kaben started dancing when she was 3 years old, and for the past three years, has choreographed ALA’s musicals.

“First we did Shrek the Musical Jr., then Peter and the Starcatcher Jr., and then in this past fall we did Beauty and the Beast,” she recalled. “When we first started the theater program, there were only six of us. And now, there were more than 70 people in Beauty and the Beast. It feels amazing to be a building block for the theater program here. It’s crazy cool to see everything grow. Our theater teacher keeps some keepsakes of the shows in her room, and it is crazy to see how more intricate they have gotten and how different we are now then we were.”

One aspect of dancing that Kaben loves is the ability to tell stories through movement. She remembers her grandfather telling her stories before she went to bed.

“I tried to write stories because I loved him so much, but I was so bad at it; I am not articulate in the writing department,” she said with a laugh. “But I had been practicing dance for a while and I realized that if I want to tell a story and I can’t do that through my words, why can’t tell people a story through dance? When I am on the stage telling a story and people are going through the story with me and it’s like, I don’t know, it’s fun.”

In addition to her passion for dancing, Kabin choregraphed two pieces during her time at the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet that were accepted to dance festivals, as well as participated in a national choreography intensive workshop.  She eventually wants to open her own modern dance company to tell stories with the company dancers.

Between commuting an hour-and-half each day from home to campus to dance classes on any given weekday before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaben is accustomed to long hours. But now that she no longer has to commute on a daily basis, Kaben is making the most out the time she saves.

“We are fostering a puppy!” Kaben says with a huge smile. “Puppies are a lot of work. I have never had a dog, just cats because they are simple. Having something you can love and they will love you back, it is really rewarding. I want her to go to a family and live a great life!”

As Kabin prepares herself to make the move to Pennsylvania this fall, she is excited about the next step in her educational journey.

“I think I am going to love the structure of a dance conservatory like Point Park,” she said. “I think it will help me grow a lot. I feel like I am prepared for college. I think even if it doesn’t go how I think it is going to go, because it won’t, there are people who I can call, people who have gone through this who can help me. I’ll know that if every single thing goes wrong, I have people that will help me and make sure I can make it better.”

SAISD Class of 2020 - please join SAISD Nation and stay connected to SAISD after your graduate! After joining, you will be prompted to complete the senior survey. Upon completion of the survey, you will receive a code to access our Alumni Nation Rewards Program and get access to discounts on groceries, restaurants, entertainment and more.
Congratulations, and we look forward to staying connecting through SAISD Nation! #SAISDNation #SAISDProud 

Advanced Learning Academy
Class of 2020

Greta Baez, Texas State University

Kevin Garcia-Castaneda, Texas A&M - San Antonio

Kaben Benevides, Point Park University

Anthony Davis, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Carla Garcia, deciding between Texas A&M San Antonio and San Antonio College

Melanie Gutierrez-Tovar, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Berenice Pina, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Paulina Rodriguez, Barnard College

Jonathan Guzman. St. Philip's College

Brandon Munoz, San Antonio College

Arthur Rodriguez, San Antonio College

Maya Serate, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Adrian Vega, San Antonio College

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San Antonio Independent School District

Board Of Trustees

Patti Radle...........President

Arthur V. Valdez...........Vice President

Debra Guerrero...........Secretary

Steve Lecholop...........Trustee

Alicia Perry............Trustee

Christina Martinez...........Trustee

Ed Garza...........Trustee

Superintendent of Schools

Pedro Martinez

Chief Academic Officer  ~ Office of Academics

Patricia Salzmann

Assistant Superintendent ~ Innovation Schools

Angelica Romero

Advanced Learning Academy Principal

Kathy Bieser

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