9 San Antonio kids who went above and beyond in 2021

Students did amazing things around San Antonio, despite new challenges

KSAT Kids 2021 amazing teens image. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIORead more stories wrapping 2021 here.

Kids say the darndest things, as the saying goes. But, given the opportunity, they also do some amazing things.

Over the past year, many San Antonio-area children have gone above and beyond during what can really be described as trying times — to help both those around them and those they don’t even know.

Adults say Christmas is the time for giving. Well, these kids certainly understand that. Here are nine of San Antonio’s most memorable and positive kid-related stories from 2021.

Do you know a student, classroom or school that is doing amazing work and deserves to be featured? You can nominate someone by emailing ksatkids@ksat.com.

To read more about all the fun and exciting things that are going on in and out of the classroom, head to KSAT’s kid-friendly zone, KSAT Kids.

1. 9-year-old girl buys, donates hundreds of Christmas toys to children in need

We start off the list with a 9-year-old girl who is showing that her passion for giving is larger than life this holiday season, as she collected hundreds of toys to be donated to children in need.

Bethany Aguilar is a sweet fourth grader who loves to read and play with her Barbies.

But Aguilar also set out on a mission to help other children and decided she was going to raise money to purchase and donate hundreds of toys to a nonprofit organization.

“I saw a boy on TV and he was doing the same thing actually and I said I wanted to do the same thing and this is how everything started,” Aguilar said. “The kids he’s helping are going to feel good too and I thought I want to help, too. He was there picking toys and I was like I want to pick out toys too for kids and that is why I said I wanted to do the same thing.”

When she’s not occupied by that or schoolwork during homeschooling, she continues to think of ways to give back to others. Well done, Bethany!

9-year-old collecting Christmas toys for families in need

2. Meet a Castroville teen beekeeper who is the owner of his own business, BeeSpace

A Castroville teen has taken what originally started as an interest and turned it into a full-fledged and successful business operation.

“I had found some old boxes my grandfather used to keep bees back in the 1980s,” 16-year-old Trent Anderson, owner of BeeSpace explained.

When Trent was 13, he cleaned up the boxes and built his first beehive.

“It kind of just snowballed from there,” Anderson said.

That interest has since turned into full-fledged beekeeping, bee removal and a honey business, called BeeSpace.

Trent, now 16, hopes to have 1,000 hives in two years. His goal is to take the money earned through BeeSpace and fund a re-forestation project to better the environment.

Meet a Castroville teen beekeeper who is owner of his own business, BeeSpace

3. San Antonio high school student uses skills learned in classroom to fix pipes at home

A San Antonio high school student took what she learned in the classroom and put her skills into action when the pipes in her family’s home burst.

Tracy Sinha and her family had to stay at their relatives’ home after losing power and water due to the winter storm that affected most Texans. Sinha said her daughter, 15-year-old Meadow Quigley, knew exactly what to do when she saw their pipes had burst.

Quigley, a sophomore at Construction Careers Academy, has been studying plumbing, pipefitting and welding.

Quigley fixed the issue, and the family had running water. She said she looks forward to helping others repair these types of problems.

San Antonio high school student uses skills learned in classroom to fix pipes at home

4. Stone Oak girl invents mechanical hand device to help ALS patients, veterans

13-year-old Jane Moody is a teen who invented a mechanical hand after being inspired by an ALS patient.

Moody was just 10 when she learned that her father’s best friend, Joe Holt, had been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Coincidentally, one of her teachers had also given her an assignment on how to help people around that time.

“After about five or 10 minutes of brainstorming, I came up with a writing device for people with dexterity issues,” Moody said.

Moody’s invention is described as a mechanical hand, one that allows users to maintain a grip on objects. She knew the device would be handy, because her father, Marshall Moody, often spoke about how his friend’s ALS diminished his ability to hold onto objects.

Moody continues to work on perfecting the device and so far, she’s secured two patents. She hopes that someday, injured veterans or ALS patients will be able to use it.

13-year-old creates mechanical hand device to help people with ALS

5. San Antonio 12-year-old combines talents to win statewide competition

A multi-talented San Antonio 6th grader combined her skills of performing to create a public service announcement that earned her first place out of 200 participants in the Take Care of Texas campaign.

Sofia Ramirez wrote and acted in a 30-second video of awareness about Texas aquifers. She said it was a cool experience that incorporated the things she loves.

“I always like trying my best at things I like doing,” Sofia Ramirez said.

Ramirez is bilingual and can also play the piano. She said one of her biggest passions is theatre.

“I always like things that had to do with theater and movies and writing, so I hope to go in that direction for my future career,” Sofia Ramirez said.

What’s Up South Texas!: SA 12-year-old combines talents to win statewide competition

6. Junior angler reels in record-breaking blue catfish in San Antonio lake

A junior angler, Colt Franke, finally got his big catch after trying for three years.

Colt managed to reel in a 33.5-inch, 24.5-pound blue catfish at Calaveras Lake, according to the Inland Fisheries San Antonio District with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That beats the previous junior angler record for a blue catfish caught in Calaveras Lake by more than two pounds.

Colt said he and his dad actually have released many fish that were as big or bigger than his record-breaker, but anglers wanted those fish to spawn.

So what’s up next? Well, Colt said he’s looking to get his name on the Texas Elite Angler list.

Calaveras Lake Youth Blue Catfish Record - caught by Colt Franke in November 2021. (Inland Fisheries San Antonio District - Texas Parks and Wildlife)

7. 8-year-old boy shows off stellar accordion skills after García Brothers invite him on stage

An 8-year-old boy is showing that the future of Conjunto Tejano music is bright after he put his skills on display alongside the García Brothers.

Hector Llamas is a major fan of the García Brothers, who got their start in Eagle Pass. Hector’s love for the accordion and the style of music is thanks to his grandfather, who introduced him to the instrument when he was just three years old.

“Every time I got home from school, I practiced three hours a day, (sometimes) four hours,” Hector said.

His grandpa was there to witness the special moment (on-stage). Hector’s mom said she’s proud of her son helping preserve part of their culture through music.

8-year-old's accordion skills will leave you seriously impressed

8. San Antonio 3rd grader, animal lover, now a published book author

If you ask 8-year-old Nicholas Buell what he wants to be when he grows up, he has a tough time narrowing it down.

An astronaut, pilot and best-selling book author all are in his plans.

But the third grader already is on his way to accomplishing at least one of those goals. This year he published what he hopes will be the first book of many, a self-illustrated story called, “The Adventures of Husk.”

The book tells the story of a man and his dog, an Alaskan Husky named Husk. Nicholas says he was inspired after getting to know a neighbor’s blue-eyed Husky, Tito.

Nicholas says it took him about six months to write and illustrate the book. He said he is donating part of the proceeds from book sales to charities that help them.

San Antonio 3rd grader, animal lover, now a published book author

9. 7-year-old San Antonio girl creates ‘Blessing Bags’ and donates to those struggling with homelessness

A pair of little hands is also creating change across San Antonio.

Ella Fall, 7, started raising funds to stuff bags with essential items for those struggling with homelessness. Fall’s Blessing Bags have already benefitted 150 people across the city.

“We make a schedule of who’s going to get the bags,” Fall said. “I feel kind of special and happy that they get to have it.”

The project stems back to when Ella began making colorful popsicles from paper to fundraise. She continues to fundraise in different forms, including online to help those in need. Her bags are filled with different items including snacks, toiletries, socks and items specific to the season, including a beanie and gloves.

For Ella, it’s all about the smile she gets in return from those she helps.

7-year-old San Antonio girl creates ‘Blessing Bags’ and donates to those struggling with homelessness

Well done everyone! Do you know someone who would benefit from KSAT Kids? Forward them this or share our newsletter sign-up or website with them.

Send us an email at ksatkids@ksat.com with new content, lessons, story ideas, questions or tips.


About the Author:

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.