> Two Teachers Win Gulf Coast Educators FCU Appreciation Awards
Meador Elementary teacher Molly Savala shows off her award with her fourth grade bilingual students.
Meador Elementary teacher Molly Savala and Memorial High teacher Paul Tate were selected as recipients of the Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union's Appreciated Teacher Award on Friday, beating out 200 nominees from the Harris, Brazoria and Galveston county school districts. Both teachers received a $100 donation to the school in their name, an engraved award and a $100 honorarium.
Memorial High teacher Paul Tate accepts his award from Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union representativesand students Spencer Thompson and Cristina Cervantes.
Meador Elementary Principal Beverly Bolton and Molly Savala.
> SERVICE AWARDS: Nearly 400 Employees, Retirees Earn District Salute
WE'RE RETIRED! After a job well done, retiring district employees rejoice.
The 64th edition of the Pasadena ISD's annual Service Awards were held on Thursday night at Memorial High School. Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and school board members paid tribute to nearly 200 district employees with service levels of 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years. The event also provided a final sendoff for 172 employees who have retired in the past year or plan to retire after the current school year. Contributing to the festivities were district art students who provided painting demonstrations.
Keller Middle School teacher Norma Beavers poses for a photo. Beavers is retiring after 30 years with the Pasadena ISD.
South Shaver Elementary teacher Linda Steininger, another retiree, arrives at the check-in table, manned by Tom Swan, the district's top service honoree this year with 45 years.
Girls just want to have fun, including Lomax Middle School's Cindy Bagwell, Texas A&M student Cheyenne Pike and her mom, Amy Ashby-Pike of South Houston Elementary, and Irma Fonseca of Miller Intermediate.
Dr. Angela Stallings, principal of Memorial High, admires the art work of one of her students, junior Amy Truong.
Chelsea Cole, a senior at Sam Rayburn, adds detail to a painting while participating in an art demonstration.
Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis pays tribute to the honorees.
Forty-year honorees Margaret Jordan of Bondy Intermediate, Betty Burr of South Shaver Elementary and Ellen Laughlin of Freeman Elementary.
Displaying good behavior, retirees pose for their official group photo.
Mini-grant name: Building Character Through Conflict and Self-Regulation Using Conscious Dicipline. Writers: Irma Cortes, Ericelda Covarrubias, Rachel Watson, Alberto Zerpa, Julie Brownfiel, Deborah Matusek, Kathy Byrd. Amount: $4,614. Sponsor: Pasadena Rotary Foundation.
Mini-grant name: I've Got You Covered. Writer: Johanna Guettler. Amount: $975. Sponsor: R&K Commercial Aquatic Services.
Mini-grant name: Heart Adventure Challenge Course. Writers: Jackie Caver, Lisa Wood. Amount: $4,990. Sponsor: Community Bank of Texas.
Mini-grant name: GT: STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathmatics) Lab. Writers: Benjamin Jimenez, Lidia Hernandez, Jana McDougall, Mauricio Amaya, Angie Long, Jackie Radley, Tobi White, Oscar Torres, Jennifer Sampson. Amount: $4,000. Sponsor: Brady, Chapman, Holland and Associates.
Mini-grant name: Kinderactive Classroom. Writers: Jason Watson, Annette Stubbs, Benjamin Jimenez, Guadelupe Suquet, Marisela Gomez, Lucia Pena, Glenda Sears, Tara Tharp. Amount: $1,190. Sponsor: Mizuni, Inc.
Mini-grant name: Reading Success Begins in Kindergarten. Writers: Misty Ruth, Paula Del Toro, Maria Hilda Lopez, Marcy Young. Amount: $4,711. Sponsor: Darrell Morrison.
> SPRING PRIZE PARADE: OTHER CAMPUSES
JACKSON INTERMEDIATE Mini-grant name: Math Learning Labs. Writers: Sarah Evans, Suzanne Smith, Amy Moak, Jillian Goldman. Amount: $5,000. Sponsors: LyondellBasell Houston Refining.
MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL
Mini-grant name: Operation Saturate. Writers: Debra Purdy, Donna Hawkins. Amount: $4,807. Sponsor: Shell Deer Park (in memory of Andy Jones).
SPECIAL PROGRAMS HOMEBOUND
Mini-grant name: iHOMEBOUND. Writers: Lorrie Eignus, Patty Watkins, Carolyn Preston, Stephanie Almendarez, Jamelia Bouie, Marianna Eggers, Andrea Beard, Ana Aguilar, Sarah Mains. Amount: $4,977. Sponsor: New Dimensions Home Healthcare.
> Lenting Honored as District's Police Officer of the Year
Officer Lenting receives his Officer of the Year pin from Chief of Police Stewart Russell.
Michael Lenting, a first year officer with the Pasadena ISD Police Department, was honored as officer of the year on Wednesday as the district observed National Police Week at the Administration Building. A reception was held in Lenting's honor in conjunction with the nationwide observance. The event also included a swearing-in ceremony for new officer John Reddell, whose wife Michelle serves as a dyslexia teacher at Mae Smythe Elementary.
Chief Russell welcomes new officer John Reddell to the police force.
Reddell and his wife Michelle, a teacher at Mae Smythe Elementary, gather for a photo.
> Eagle Decathlon Team Sets School Record at State Meet Finals
It's a story of hard work, personal drive and a little help from veteran academic decathlon coach Tricia Anderson that made school districts across the state notice Pasadena High School earlier this spring at the state academic decathlon meet. The group went in ranked at 21, but this team of academic athletes didn't let that stop them from making school history. Over the years, the Eagle decathlon team has ranked significantly higher at each state meet. The team finished in the top 40 the first year, top 30 the second and took 18th place this year, posting the highest point total in the school's history. "It means a lot to me to carry on the legacy started by my coach, retired librarian Jane Golenko," said Anderson who was a Pasadena decathlon team member in high school. "When I was a team member here, we were expected to perform at the highest level, and not only qualify for state, but do well. It's good to see that tradition returning to Pasadena High." But that's not the only success Anderson likes to brag about. This year team captain Pedro Reyes finally met his own personal goal of breaking 8,000 points overall. "Ms. Anderson cried when she saw the score," Reyes said. "I finally did it, but now it's time to move on to the next goal. I study hard and learn by teaching others." "This was the first time that has happened in over 10 years," said Anderson beaming from ear to ear as she recalled seeing the score sheet for the first time. "I knew that was a personal goal of Pedro's for two years now, and it made me incredibly proud." So what's next for this team of Eagles elites? They've got their eyes set on a spot in the top 15 at state. "Other schools are finally starting to take notice of us as contenders," Anderson said. "And I want them to keep taking notice."
Top team scorers Eduardo Aleman, Alondra Serna, Pedro Reyes and Jennifer Gomez show off their competition medals.
Tricia Anderson with her full decathlon team of Eduardo Aleman, Pedro Reyes, Jocelyn Leon, Alondra Serna, Jennifer Gomez, Lacey Pendergraft, Saul Martinez, Rodrigo Serrato and Chris Holt.
> Sam Rayburn's Molina to be Featured on HoustonPBS Channel
Sam Rayburn sophomore Denisse Molina and her Grand Champion painting.
Sam Rayburn High art student Denisse Molina will be featured on the HoustonPBS channel this Thursday May 9, at 7 p.m. during the Arts InSight program. Molina, the reigning Grand Champion for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Contest, recently pocketed $210,000 for her color painting of a cowboy, and is set to share her story with a national audience. Each week, the Arts InSight program features interviews with artists, writers, composers and performers both locally and nationally. The Pasadena ISD's visual arts specialist Shannon Raygoza said that the segment will not only highlight Molina's record-breaking win, it will also highlight the district's outstanding art education programs and its impact on the community. Earlier this March, 17 district art students had pieces selected for contests leading to auction placement. Those pieces represented the most by any of the 62 school districts participating in the contest. View a promotional teaser for Thursday night's episode below.
Teague Elementary Principal Lorie Morris has been named District 4 TESPAN of the Year by TESPA, the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. Frazier Elementary's Lindsey Lesniewski was named TESPA's District 4 Assistant Principal of the Year. Morris and other district TESPAN honorees will be recognized at the TEPSA Awards Celebration Reception on June 12 at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin. Morris, now in her 21st year with the Pasadena ISD, is currently serving as the TEPSA District 4 president. Lesniewski's career in education spans 12 years.
> Distinguished Alum Ceremony for PHS Grad Dr. Morgan Set for May 30
John Morgan (on the phone) with junior classmates Sherry Pope, Sarah Tucker and Jackie Harris at Pasadena High School. Photo from the 1958 Pasadenian.
Dr. John Morgan, a Pasadena High School graduate who transformed a once miniscule Sagemont ministry into one of the largest and most influential faith institutions in Texas, has been named the Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Alumnus for 2013. A ceremony honoring Dr. Morgan has been set for May 30 at the district's Carmen Orozco Professional Development Complex. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. A plaque, to be placed on permanent display outside the district's Administration Building, will be unveiled at that time. Dr. Morgan, who graduated from Pasadena High in 1959, formed what would become Sagemont Church in 1966. His original congregation consisted of 16 members. Those ranks have grown to more than 17,000 today. Under Dr. Morgan's direction, Sagemont Church has been a frequent and faithful partner in Pasadena ISD activities. The church has served as a venue for school and community events on countless occasions and has assisted schools in the South Belt area by providing volunteers and resources needed for projects ranging from the renovation of bleachers to the refurbishing of teachers' lounges. "At an early age, I could tell what great an impact that my teachers and principals were," Dr. Morgan said. "This is a wonderful community that I am proud to be a part of." Dr. Morgan's "Financial Freedom" seminars -- along with his seminar recordings and his book under the same title -- have reached more than one million people. He has served on numerous boards ranging from the chairman of trustees at Houston Baptist University to president of the Texas Baptist Pastor's Conference. In 2005, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Sagemont Church has also served as a headquarters for the American Red Cross during storms and other emergencies, and has provided shelter for hundreds of families during times of need. Dr. Morgan said his goal has always been simple -- to pastor an effective church and not just a successful church. "The students in our community have always been a major focus," he said. "We work with our schools and open our doors for teacher meetings and other events. We do whatever we can to help. When we stand as one, it is a win-win situation." Dr. Morgan attended Kruse Elementary and Jackson Intermediate before enrolling at Pasadena High. He continued his education at Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned his doctorate from Southwest Baptist University. He is married to the former Beth Ann Barcello, a 1959 South Houston High School graduate and the school's first homecoming queen. PREVIOUS DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD RECIPIENTS 2012 -- Frank Young, Pasadena High, 1958 2011 -- Dr. Mike McKinney, Sam Rayburn, 1969 2010 -- Rick Schriever, Sam Rayburn, 1973 2009 -- Dr. Byron Tapley, Pasadena High, 1951 2008 -- James R. Smith, South Houston, 1960 2007 -- Dr. Carlton Horbelt, Pasadena High, 1973 2006 -- Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, Dobie, 1976 2005 -- J. Michael Solar, Sam Rayburn, 1971 2004 -- Dr. Paul Zanowiak, South Houston, 1965 2003 -- Martin Cominsky, Pasadena High, 1976 2002 -- Dr. Bill Allen, Pasadena High, 1951 2001 -- Bill Shock, Pasadena High, 1954 2000 -- Ben Meador, Pasadena High, 1957 1999 -- Bill McMillin, Pasadena High, 1958 1998 -- Robert Smith, Pasadena High, 1971 1997 -- Larry Forehand, Pasadena High, 1962 1996 -- Jonah Boyd, Pasadena High, 1955
> Genoa Elementary Student Council Receives National Honor
Lizbeth Armenta, president of the Genoa Student Council, and Genoa Assistant Principal Amanda Khan look over the school's Excellence Award. Khan supervises the Student Council at Genoa.
Genoa Elementary's Student Council ranks as one of 72 across the country to be honored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation. Genoa Principal Tiffany Bennett received documentation that the school was selected to receive the NAESP's Honor Council Excellence Award. The award has been presented each of the past 20 years to student councils at the elementary and middle school levels that achieve exemplary performance. Student councils are judged according to their dedication to community service, student leadership, citizenship and school spirit. President of the Genoa Student Council this year is fourth-grader Lizbeth Armenta.
> Sam Rayburn Art Student Collects $210,000 in Rodeo Auction
Sam Rayburn High sophomore Denisse Molina with her cowboy painting.
Eleven Pasadena ISD art students rang up a total of $475,000 in auction prize money during this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Contest. Leading the way was Sam Rayburn High sophomore Denisse Molina, who pocketed $210,000 for her painting of a cowboy. Molina was one of five Pasadena ISD high school students to earn a four-week enrollment in the Fine Western Art Academy in Kerrville. Also selected for the academy were Sam Rayburn High senior Ruby Benitez, Memorial High junior Amy Truong and Memorial sophomores Sadie Burt and Emily Marroquin. Academy participants will receive instruction by a team of professional artists in sculpture and painting. Seventeen district students had art pieces selected for contests leading to auction placement. Those 17 pieces represented the most by any of the 62 school districts participating in the contest. Eleven pieces were placed in the auction. Sam Rayburn students accounted for eight of the pieces and Memorial for the other three. Auction winners were: SAM RAYBURN HIGH • Denise Molina, sophomore, $210,000 • Raina Baggerly, sophomore, $46,000 • Ruby Benitez, senior, $35,000 • Maribel Ruiz, senior, $26,000 • Ana Cisneros, sophomore, $23,000 • Gilberto Gaona, freshman, $22,000 • Vanessa Sosa, sophomore, $22,000 • Jairo Cordova, senior, $15,000 MEMORIAL HIGH • Amy Truong, junior, $37,000 • Sadie Burt, sophomore, $25,000 • Emily Marroquin, sophomore, $12,000
Dobie High Aquatic Sciences Classes Raising Red Drum
(Left) Leah Torres, Katie Houghton and Raquel Zavala look at the eggs under a microscope. (Right) Rani Henderson from The Galveston Bay Foundation explains the hatchery process to Aquatic Science students.
Dobie has teamed up with The Galveston Bay Foundation and Sea Center Texas this spring to raise Red Drum in the Aquatic Science classroom. Sea Center has raised and released 588 million Red Drum fingerlings since 1983. Dobie is the first school in Texas to raise Red Drum, which ranks as the second most popular saltwater fish species for fishermen, and as such, is an important resource to Galveston Bay. In the wild, Red Drum have a survival rate of only 0.01 percent. Dobie students hope to attain a survival rate of 20-40 percent. Dobie received 250,000 eggs last week. Aquatic Science classes will closely monitor the hatchery, testing water quality, population size and average fish growth over the next month. The fish will be released in mid-May.
L..P. Card Director Named Region's Top CTE Administrator
Sarah Wrobleski, director of the Pasadena ISD's L.P. Card Career and Technology Center, has been named administrator of the year for Region 6 by the Career and Technology Association of Texas. Laura Mann, technology liaison at L.P. Card, was selected as president-elect of the Gulf Coast Career and Technology Educators. Mann will serve as president of the group during the 2013-2014 school year. Wrobleski will now be considered for the state-level administrator of the year honor, to be announced this summer.
Pastorini Appearance, Guy Tribute Highlight Second Sports Hall Banquet
Terry Brotherton, chairman of the Hall of Fame committee, formally inducts Randy Kerbow, a former quarterback for Pasadena High who played pro football in both the NFL and CFL after a productive college career at Rice.
Pasadena ISD athletes from the past, the present -- and perhaps the future -- converged on Memorial High last Saturday night for the opportunity to share their dreams and relive tales of dreams come true. Seven former district athletes, along with a state championship coach, were inducted into the Pasadena ISD's Athletics Hall of Fame, raising to 20 the number of former district sports standouts to enter the hall during its first two years. About 450 guests were joined by nearly 200 current athletes, cheerleaders and dance team members from all five Pasadena ISD high schools. Sharing the spotlight with the inductees was former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini, who served as guest emcee. Inducted were Pasadena High's Mickey Spencer (Class of 1947), Randall Kerbow (1959), Fritz Connally (1976) and Amanda Buffalo (1985); South Houston High's Bob Allen (1965); Sam Rayburn High's Jimmy Johnson (1976); and Dobie's Gawain Guy (1981). Former Dobie track and cross country coach John Bryan was also inducted. Bryan coached the Longhorns to state titles in cross country and track during the 1980-81 school year. Spencer was represented by his widow, Milly Spencer, also a member of the Pasadena High Class of 1947. Speaking on behalf of the inductees, Guy paid tribute to the honorees and gave special praise to Bryan, his coach while at Dobie. In keeping with one of its original goals, the Hall of Fame presented $1,500 scholarships to two district seniors: Sam Rayburn's Samantha Lang and Dobie's Tyler Wolfe. Pastorini joined the inductees after the banquet for an autograph and photo session. Last year's inaugural Hall of Fame banquet attracted a sellout of 360. The banquet was moved to Memorial High this year to allow for construction of the permanent Hall of Fame facility on the north end of Phillips Field House. That facility is scheduled to open in 2014.
Milly Spencer, widow of Pasadena High football standout Mickey Spencer, is escorted by PHS players Ashton Sessum and Marcello Tinoco.
Terry Brotherton and Milly Spencer on the riser.
Brotherton and Pastorini with scholarship recipients Tyler Wolfe and Samantha Lang.
Coach John Bryan is escorted down the red carpet.
Bryan with Terry Brotherton on the rise.
Amanda Buffalo Tucker comes to the riser for her induction.
(Left) Amanda Buffalo Tucker receives her plaque and poster. (Center) Roneka Lee, the district's assistant athletics director, announces the scholarship winners. (Right) Tyler Wolfe celebrates a big boost to his college finances.
Gawain Guy walks the red carpet.
(Left) Guy receives his plaque from Terry Brotherton. (Center) Randy Kerbow approaches the riser. (Right) Director of Athletics Rodney Chant presents an update on Hall of Fame construction.
Terry Brotherton provides an update on the Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Johnson comes forward for his induction.
Johnson on the riser with Terry Brotherton.
Fritz Connally makes his way to the front.
Connally with Terry Brotherton on the riser.
Dobie's Joe Horton sings the national anthem.
Dr. Kirk Lewis presents a plaque of appreciation to Pastorini.
Bob Allen steps forward for his induction.
Allen with Terry Brotherton on the riser.
Gawain Guy offers an acceptance speech on behalf of all the inductees.
Dan Pastorini, Gawain Guy, Fritz Connally, Amanda Buffalo Tucker, Bob Allen, Milly Spencer, Jimmy Johnson, John Bryan and Randy Kerbow.
Amanda Buffalo Tucker at the autograph table.
You spell that -- HOW?! Fritz Connally signs a picture for young fan.
Randy Kerbow etches his signature in a program.
Gawain Guy signs an autograph for a youngster.
HALL OF FAME ALBUM
More Bruises Than Buckets at Memorial High Donkey Hoops Fest
Phillip Lyles, agricultural sciences teacher at Memorial, sinks a shot from way out in the pasture.
Memorial High students, faculty and administrators got bucked and bounced Friday night, enduring bruises and bruised pride in the school's first Donkey Basketball exhibition at the school gym. Funds raised for the event will assist with Project Graduation.
Giving it their all, ball or no ball: Special Education aide Lauren Wigtil, senior David SanMiguel and senior Angelica Bledsoe.
Senior Joey Tobias looks for a passing lane.
Assistant principals Jessica Swenson and Jeremy Richardson hit the court.
Senior Andrew Bailes shoots from outside.
Ag teacher Phillip Lyles takes a tumble.
Teacher Phillip Lyles begins a not-so-fast break with encouragement from teacher/announcer Paul Tate.
Spanish teacher Alfonzo Ramirez tries to talk his donkey into a U-turn.
Dr. Troy McCarley gallups up the court alongside Phillip Lyles.
(Left) David SanMiguel finds that leading a horse is easier than actualy riding one. (Right) Senior Antony Christ sinks a layup in the final second of the final game to claim victory.
Bruised but not bashful, Donkey Basketball participants pose for a team shot after the game.
One Grade, One Classroom, Brantly Wraps Up 43-Year Stuchbery Calling
Retiring Stuchbery teacher Sharon Brantly with a plaque commemorating her four decades spent educating second-graders in Room 11 at the school; and Brantly (inset) in a college graduation photo from 1967, two years before she joined the Stuchbery staff.
By AL CARTER Pasadena ISD Communications One by one, Sharon Brantly calls her second-graders forward to answer multiplication problems on a high-tech electronic whiteboard at the front of her classroom at Stuchbery Elementary. Then, with dismissal looming, her students straighten chairs around a half-dozen computer stations along the back wall. Finally, a computer-generated ring tone vibrates the building and her students scatter home, down neighborhood arteries that didn't exist when Brantly arrived at Stuchbery more than four decades ago. Cars and buses vanish into the distance, some up and over a gargantuan freeway interchange that now encroaches on the once unobscured blue sky over the South Belt homes and apartments where Brantly's students live. In the early years, many of her students' parents would come by after the bell to chat, some introducing themselves as lawyers, accountants and NASA engineers. Today, not so much. Many in her parental flock are out of work, some homeless. Things change. When Brantly first came to Stuchbery, the blackboards were black and chalk dust a pardonable nuisance. The school's copy machine was a hand-cranked mimeograph. Teachers calculated grades in their heads and penciled them into paper ledgers. With simple math, it's easy to calculate that Brantly has taught roughly one thousand youngsters since she joined the Stuchbery faculty in 1969. One Sagemont family, four kids deep, saw every one of them pass through Room 11, her four-sided castle on the second-grade hall. Many of the kids she taught, she taught their kids, too. Now she is retiring - after teaching the same grade, in the same classroom, for 43 years - something, it's believed, that no other Pasadena ISD teacher has ever done. "I never wanted to leave," she says. "I couldn't even imagine not wanting to come back. But now it's time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life." The next chapter, she says, revolves around caring for her 91-year-old mother and grandkids who also need her attention. Hopefully, she says, opportunities will bring her back to Stuchbery, perhaps as a substitute teacher. But in just four weeks, with the end of the school year, that will no longer be her priority. "I've always been a giver and not a taker," she says. "I want to have time to give to my mom and grandkids while I can." Her former students represent some of the finest citizens to come from the South Belt area. Earlier this spring, she ran into several while attending Dobie High School's first Hall of Honor induction. Ken Howery, who sat in her class 30 years ago and later made millions as a venture capitalist and founder of PayPal, gave her a big hug. She laughed and asked him for a loan. When Brantly arrived at Stuchbery in the fall of 1969, Dobie had not yet graduated a student. Sagemont Church, which now covers 55 acres across Hughes Road from her school and counts her as a long-standing member, was a miniscule chapel back then. Richard Nixon was in the White House and the Beatles were atop the charts. "I felt like I was the luckiest person in the world," she says. "I just felt there was something special about this school. It was just like family. I felt I was really blessed that God let me be at a school like this." Because of her commitment to teaching, she made Room 11 a second home. "There were nights when I left with the custodians at 11 p.m.," she says. "One of the kindergarten teachers started calling me 'the homeless lady.'" "Sharon was born to teach," says Judy Bowers, who taught in a classroom just across the hall during Brantly's first 18 years at Stuchbery. Bowers went on to become principal at Freeman Elementary. Brantly stuck with Stuchbery. "People always wondered how she could have such challenging students and then have things work out so well for those kids by the end of the year," Bowers says. "The way you do it is total commitment. She stays late. She works hard." Once, Bowers recalls, Brantly was asked to change classrooms. "I thought the woman was going to have a nervous breakdown!" Bowers says of Brantly. "She kept saying this was her room, and why would they do this to her. You would have thought she was physically attached to it -- which I guess she was." "No parent could ever ask for a better teacher than Sharon," says Carol Baccaro, who moved into Bowers' classroom and, like Bowers, spent 18 years across the hall from Brantly. "She's been there for so long," Baccaro says. "She really is a pillar of Stuchbery." Brantly grew up in rural Louisiana, graduated from Louisiana Tech and taught for just over a year in Bossier City, La., before transplanting to Houston. One of her best childhood friends, Kay Carroway, married one of her high school and college schoolmates, Phil Robertson. The Robertsons now play lead roles on the hit TV show "Duck Dynasty." Brantly's fame came in Room 11 at Stuchbery, just three years old when she arrived in 1969 in a turquoise 1968 Malibu, a graduation gift from her father, who operated a grocery/gas station and ran cattle in the tiny town of Ida. Miles Bozarth, Stuchbery's first principal, hired her. She has worked for every principal since: Roy Birkhead, Dean Lynch, Nancy Teichelman and Jackie Salisbury. "I thought I would teach a few years then become a homemaker," Brantly says. "But I guess I was called to teach. When you're called to teach, everything has a way of falling into place." The most critical piece of the puzzle was Bozarth's offer of a second-grade teaching job. Brantly grabbed it and never considered changing grades. The reason: The impact of her own second-grade teacher back in Ida -- Nettie Anthony. "She was my favorite teacher," Brantly says. "She's the reason I wanted to teach second grade." Never another grade. Never another room. "Never a low point," she says. Her Stuchbery colleagues quickly brought her up to speed on Texas history -- a teaching requirement -- and several became life-long friends. Her meticulous habits have often earned her some friendly ribbing from faculty members. Once, Brantly rebuffed a suggestion that she throw out a box of crumbling three-ring binders. They belonged to the school, she insisted. And someone might walk in some day and want them back. Her colleagues howled. "She's a rule follower and she wants to be perfect," Bowers says. "She will do whatever it takes to be perfect." Brantly's kind approach had a profound impact on Stacey Allen Green, a Stuchbery second-grader in 1973-74. "She made me feel so special, like I was the only child in the classroom," Green says. "I remember picking flowers for her at recess every single day. It was always my goal to come back with a huge handful of flowers for Mrs. Brantly. Every day I'd pick them, and she was always thrilled to get them." Green said her career path was set after a year in Brantly's classroom. "I knew it was a 100 percent certainty -- I was going to be a teacher," she says. "Later on, other teachers would try to talk me out of it. But I never changed my mind." A Texas A&M graduate, Green now teaches sixth-grade social studies and language arts at Victory Lakes. Brantly was a perfect four-for-four with the Tyer kids. All four spent second grade in her classroom. Katie Tyer is now a freshman in college. Andrew, Jeffrey and Kellie are all current Dobie students. "They all still says she's one of the best teachers they ever had," says their mom, Pam Tyer, Stuchbery's attendance clerk. "She was always easy to understand and explained things well. But she was also so nurturing, always encouraging." Tyer says Stuchbery staff members "simply can't imagine" what the school environment will be like without Brantly occupying Room 11. "I think they just need to do some kind of big dedication and then close it off," Tyer says. Three years ago, Stuchbery staffers observed Brantly's 40th year in the district by placing a small plaque outside her door. Brantly, who'll turn 67 in July, has her own thoughts on the future of Room 11. "Whoever moves in," she says, "I want them to be a very special person. I want them to take very good care of it." That wish comes from a teacher who specializes in caring. "I've had the privilege of teaching many wonderful students and they're all very special to me," she says. "I've had the great joy of watching children blossom. I've always tried to nurture them, with academics but also with love. I believe we were all born to make a difference. And I hope I have done that."
Brantly with her final class of Stuchbery students.
(Left) Brantly joins in campus Christmas activities in 2009; (right) Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis pays a visit to Brantly's classroom shortly after she announced her retirement last November.
Brantly gets a hug from a former student, Ken Howery, during the unveiling of the Dobie High Hall of Honor in March.
Brantly and her second-grade class from 1989.
(Left) Brantly assists two students in their research on presidents of the U.S.; (right) another school day ends and Brantly helps her students move in an orderly fashion to the door.
All 35 District Elementary Schools Earn USDA Award
All 35 elementary schools in the Pasadena ISD recently received Healthier U.S. School Challenge Awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The award is a voluntary certification initiative established in 2004. It recognizes schools that create and maintain healthier school environments that go above and beyond federal requirements. The program assesses such areas as nutrition education, nutritious food and beverage choices, physical education and opportunities for physical activity. Of the approximately 101,000 schools in the country, fewer than 5,150 are HUSSC award winners. "Our elementary schools earned this accomplishment through a team effort from the school principal, classroom teachers, physical education teachers and the child nutrition department," said Mary Harryman, Pasadena ISD's Director of Child Nutrition Services. The following Pasadena ISD elementary schools earned the HUSSC Silver level: Bailey, Burnett, Freeman, Gardens, Garfield, Genoa, Golden Acres, Jensen, Jessup, Kruse, L.F. Smith, Mae Smythe, McMasters, Meador, Richey, South Belt, South Shaver, Turner and Young. The following Pasadena ISD elementary schools earned the HUSSC Bronze level: Atkinson, Bush, Fisher, Frazier, Matthys, Moore, Morales, Parks, Pearl Hall, Pomeroy, Red Bluff, Stuchbery, Teague, South Houston, Sparks and Williams. Schools will be receiving awards banners, plaques and medallions from the USDA to highlight their healthy accomplishments.
Sam Rayburn High's Texan Pride Unit Captures National Title
Sam Rayburn High's Unarmed Color Guard unit -- a group of four female cadets -- captured top national honors in the U.S. Army JROTC Drill Team Championships held last weekend in Louisville, Ky. The four cadets -- Capt. Miriam Zaragoza, First Sgt. Jessica Contreras, Lt. Julie Centeno and Lt. Alma Contreras -- finished first in what was the first national-level competition held by the Army JROTC. Sam Rayburn's contingent of 17 female cadets earned two other Top 5 finishes. The Texans took fourth in Unarmed Exhibition Drill Team and fifth in Unarmed Drill Team. Unarmed Drill Teams competed in four categories: Inspection, Regulation Drill, Exhibition Drill and Color Guard. Members of the Texas Price Unarmed Drill Team are team captain and Col. Kimberly Tamez, Lt. Col. Iris Gutierrez, Second Lt. Melissa Barajas, Second Lt. Desiree Flores, Second Lt. Karla Melgar, Second Lt. Sindel Pena, Second Lt. Naomi Rosales, Second Lt. Selena Yzaguirre, Master Sgt. Monica Medina, Sgt. First Class Wendy Forester, Staff Sgt. Tara Sorgmann, Sgt. Ashley Chatarpal and Sgt. Alicia Phoummarath.
Graduation Dates and Times Set for Pasadena ISD's Class of 2013
Graduation ceremonies for Pasadena, Memorial, Sam Rayburn, Dobie and South Houston high schools will be held at Hofheinz Pavilion at the University of Houston. Ceremonies for the five high schools will all be held at different times on Friday, June 7. The times are as follows:
Pasadena High School- 9 a.m.
Memorial High School- 11:30 a.m.
Sam Rayburn High School- 2 p.m.
Dobie High School- 4:30 p.m.
South Houston High School- 7 p.m.
For more information on the graduation ceremonies, please contact the individual high school campuses.
District to Offer Free Immunizations Saturday May 11
Groundbreaking Ceremony Reveals Additions to New Keller Middle School
Keller Principal Diane Phelan (center) along with Board of Trustees members and City of Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell (second from left) gather to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Keller Middle School.
Excitement filled the air as more than 600 students at Keller Middle School sat in the school gym bleachers eagerly waiting to witness the official groundbreaking for the new additions to their campus. The enthusiasm was evident in the speeches of a half dozen speakers from former students and current administrators, all thankful for the well-awaited renovations. "The students at Keller are incredible," said school Principal Diane Phelan. "They have raised money for leukemia, breast cancer and local food pantries, and represent the school each month at city council meetings. This new building will continue to serve students and be a safe place for students for years to come." The campus was originally built in 1959 and opened as San Jacinto Intermediate. It was renamed Keller Middle School, after longtime administrator and educator Lonnie B. Keller in 2008, when Phelan took over as school principal and welcomed the first batch of fifth and sixth graders to her campus. With the passage of the 2011 bond vote, the new 131,000 square-foot campus will continue to serve as a fifth and sixth grade campus when it opens the doors to students in the fall of 2014. Major renovations include improved classroom space and multipurpose rooms, better accommodations for special programs and a new gym. The new campus will also serve more students to reduce overcrowding from the feeder schools. "Every student needs a great facility to learn, and every staff member needs a great facility to teach," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kirk Lewis. "We are thankful for the community and parents of Keller who were patient with us and supported us as we made renovations." "This is an exciting time for all of us," said Marshall Kendrick, president of the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees. "It is a time of renewal and anticipation and we appreciate the teachers, administrators and operations staff who have made the best use of the facilities we have."
The Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees and representatives from Bay IBI Architects Patrick Zadow and T.J. Gonzalez; and Collier Construction representatives Clayton Collier, David Singletary and Danny Gullo.
Former and future Keller Rangers join in on the groundbreaking fun.
In true Ranger fashion, the Keller administrative team show off their signature "Ranger pose."
Sam Rayburn's Lang, Dobie's Wolfe Named HOF Scholarship Recipients
Sam Rayburn High's Samantha Lang and Dobie's Tyler Wolfe.
Sam Rayburn High's Samantha Lang and Dobie High's Tyler Wolfe have been named recipients of Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame scholarships for 2013. The two Pasadena ISD seniors will be recognized at the Hall of Fame banquet on April 13. Assisting in the presentation that night will be Dan Pastorini, star quarterback for the Houston Oilers during the 1970's. Lang will leave Sam Rayburn with two letters in both volleyball and golf. She recently took second place in the District 23-5A golf tournament to earn a spot at regionals. Wolfe, a two-time football letterman as quarterback for the Longhorns, is currently in his second season with the Dobie varsity baseball team. The two $1,500 scholarships are the first to be awarded by the Hall of Fame, which was established two years ago. More than 500 guests and participants are expected to attend the banquet, set for 6 p.m. at Memorial High School. About two dozen tickets remain on sale at $50 each. For information on ticket availability, please call the Pasadena ISD Ticket Office at 713-740-0841 or the Communications Office at 713-740-0186. Eight new inductees will join last year's inaugural group of 12. Set for induction are Pasadena High's Mickey Spencer (Class of 1947), Randall Kerbow (1959), Fritz Connally (1976) and Amanda Buffalo (1985); South Houston High's Bob Allen (1965); Sam Rayburn High's Jimmy Johnson (1976); and Dobie's Gawain Guy (1981). Former Dobie track and cross country coach John Bryan will also be inducted. Pastorini will be available for autographs after the banquet and copies of his autobiography, "Taking Flak," will be on sale. Those wishing to buy a copy of the book are asked to do so with cash or check.
Hundreds of Seniors Hip-Hop Their Way to College on Decision Day
All five Pasadena ISD high schools took time on Friday to celebrate the college choices of the Class of 2013, all part of a Decision Day initiative designed to underscore the importance of setting goals that go beyond high school. Hundreds of district seniors turned out for celebration luncheons and other events. Pasadena High held its annual Decision Day rally in the school auditorium. Dozens of students from PHS feeder students attended. The high point of the rally was a performance by "Break Free," a motivational hip-hop dance group. Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis, the rally's keynote speaker, jumped into the swing of things by performing his own break dance. Seniors across the district signed pledge cards, autographed posters and pinned college choices on displays -- all to demonstrate their support for higher educational goals. Break dancers pictured above are Moy Rivas and Jeremy Pena from the hip-hop dance group "Break Free," and our own Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kirk Lewis.
Dobie seniors Luis Romero, Myrei Vargas and Kimberly Luu enjoy the treats of their Decision Day luncheon.
South Houston seniors Carlos Alvarez and Cristina Alonso point to their college commitment cards.
Texans soon to hit the college trail: Dali Nacianceno and Carlos Sotelo enjoy the Decision Day luncheon at Sam Rayburn.
Memorial High seniors Kayla Ayala, Astrid Torres, Aaron Lombrana and Sharrel Moore pause for a picture.
Jacob Diaz walks into the Pasadena High auditorium with Marine Corps enlistees.
Kimberly Steele, Dobie's counselor for San Jacinto College, welcomes senior Sadia Akhter to the school's Decision Day luncheon.
Dobie seniors discuss the home stretch of high school during their luncheon.
South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen addresses his college-bound seniors in the school's Reinartz Center on Friday.
Celebrating Decision Day at South Houston are seniors Doan Nguyen Luu, Freddy Lopez, Israel Garcia and Pedrio Elizondo.
Sam Rayburn senior Vanessa Adame fills out her pledge card.
Sam Rayburn Principal Robert Stock addresses his seniors.
Iliana Espinoza, Texas college adviser at Sam Rayburn, presents senior Ashley Mexicano with a door prize.
Pasadena High cheerleaders take the stage at the opening of the Eagles' Decision Day rally.
Pasadena High students bound for Sam Houston State University take their seats.
Pasadena High senior Leticia Portillo waves her San Jacinto College pennant.
Joe Saavedra, principal at Pasadena High, welcomes students to the Decision Day rally.
Alejandra Ramos, a 2012 Pasadena High graduate, addresses her former schoolmates. Ramos is now an honor student at Texas Southern University.
Dr. Kirk Lewis tells the story of something very important he got out of going to college -- his wife, Robin.
Moy Rivas, leader of the hip-hop dance group "Break Free," performs at Pasadena High and then addresses assembled students.
Jeremy Pena, dancer for "Break Free," takes a stage-side bow after his performance.
Eagle cheerleaders rest up before the start of the school's Decision Day rally.
Pastorini, Banquet Emcee, Pays Preview Visit to Memorial High
Former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini learns how to flash the Mavericks' hand sign from football players Blake Tucker and Dalton Land.
Memorial High rolled out the teal carpet on Tuesday for one of the heroes of Houston's most beloved sports juggernauts. Dan Pastorini, star quarterback for the Houston Oilers during the "Luv Ya Blue" days of the late 1970's, visited the campus along with Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame officials to get a sneak peek at the school's dining facility, the site for the 2013 Hall of Fame's induction banquet next week. Pastorini will serve as guest emcee at the banquet. Nearly 450 tickets have been sold for the event, during which eight new members of the Hall of Fame will be inducted. The banquet is being held this year at Memorial to allow for expansion and rennovation of Phillips Field House. That expansion will include a permanent, 3,600-square foot home for the Hall of Fame. Pastorini will autograph copies of his autobiography, "Taking Flak," immediately after the banquet. Those wishing to purchase copies of the book are asked to pay with either cash or check. Pastorini will autograph other items, including programs and posters, free of charge. Pastorini was treated to lunch at Ernie's Restaurant in Pasadena where he was introduced to members of the Hall of Fame organizing committee and several community leaders, including Pasadena Major Johnny Isbell. Memorial students greeted Pastorini with a "Luv Ya Blue" poster and a nap sack. He chatted at length with Memorial cheerleaders about their recent national championship. About four dozen tickets remain on sale for the April 13 banquet at $50 each. For ticket information, contact the Pasadena ISD Ticket Office at 713-740-0841 or call the district's Communications Office at 713-740-0186.
Pastorini gets a warm front-door welcome from Memorial students.
Pastorini poses with lunch-time patrons at Ernie's Restaurant: Cindy Parmer, the Pasadena ISD's Director of Community Relations; Roneka Lee, the district's Assistant Athletics Director; Athletics Director Rodney Chant; Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell; Pastorini; the Rev. Emory Gadd, member of the Hall of Fame committee; and Terry Brotherton, chairman of the committee.
Ground Broken for CT High Campus, Promising New Career Paths
Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis (fifth from the left) joins school board members and other officials in breaking ground for the new Career and Technical campus on Tuesday. From the left: Israel Grinberg, project manager for the district; Troy McCarley, Associate Superintendent for Campus Development; school trustees Jack Bailey and Nelda Sullivan; Dr. Lewis; trustee Fred Roberts; CT High Principal Steven Fleming; Marshall Kendrick, school board president; Kevin Fornof, Associate Superintendent for Facilities and Construction; and Joe Pigford, general contractor and owner of Dyad Construction.
Amid the blowing dust of a massive construction site, with a backdrop of rumbling dirt-haulers, Pasadena ISD officials joined with community leaders in breaking symbolic ground for a sixth high school on Tuesday -- the most unconventional high school in Pasadena history. More than 100 spectators braved the wind gusts to witness the groundbreaking of the Career and Technical High School, scheduled to open for classes in August of 2014. The $37 million dollar campus, approved as part of a 2011 bond vote, will accommodate between 1,500 to 1,700 students in Grades 9-12. The school will provide district students with a comprehensive curriculum designed to accommodate career training goals not served by traditional college programs. The 246,000 square-foot facility is located just off the Sam Houston Parkway at Genoa-Red Bluff Road. "We're going to have the full gamut of educational opportunities for our kids," Dr. Kirk Lewis, the district's superintendent of schools, said in his opening remarks. "I am so excited about this," said Marshall Kendrick, president of the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees. "I've been on the board 25 years and I don't think I've ever been a part of something as exciting as this." The new campus will be a school of choice for all district high school students interested in career and technical studies on a full-day basis. Students will retain a home campus designation for the purpose of athletics and fine arts participation. The curriculum is being developed in partnership with San Jacinto College. Students will have the opportunity to earn college hours and professional licenses and certificates while in pursuit of their traditional high school diploma. "We look forward to that first day when the buses and cars will roll in with students excited about coming to a school they have chosen and a pathway in which they are interested," said Steven Fleming, named last year as the CT High School's first principal. "We are preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't yet been invented, in order to solve problems that we don't even know are issues today." Academies will be offered in the fields of Business and Public Service, Health, Agriculture, Transportation, Construction and Manufacturing, and Technology. The campus site also allows for future expansion. Among the many teachers attending the ceremony were about 50 career and technology instructors from across the Pasadena ISD, including several from the district's L.P. Card Career and Technology campus. The campus is designed by Bay ISI Architects with Dyad Construction serving as general contractor.
Guests arrive by shuttle bus for the groundbreaking ceremony.
Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis offers a welcome and opening comments.
Board of Trustees members Marshall Kendrick, Fred Roberts, Nelda Sullivan and Jack Bailey.
Marshall Kendrick, president of the school board, expresses his satisfaction with the concept of the Career and Technical campus.
Steven Fleming, CT High's first principal, outlines the mission of the new school.
Sarah Wrobleski, director of the L.P. Card Career and Technical Center, discusses the expansion of the district's CT curriculum.
Official groundbreaking party: Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College; Joe Pigford, general contractor and owner of Dyad Construction; Kevin Fornof, Associate Superintendent for Facilities and Construction; Marshall Kendrick, school board president; CT High Principal Steven Fleming; trustee Fred Roberts; Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis; trustees Nelda Sullivan and Jack Bailey; Troy McCarley, Associate Superintendent for Campus Development; and Israel Grinberg, project manager for the district.
Career and technology teachers from across the district gather for a photo on the groundbreaking site.
Fleming with his mother, Bettieand wife, Rene'.
Fleming with Troy McCarley, the district's Associate Superintendent for Campus Development and head of the CT curriculum.
CTE coordinators Carole Helmle and Laura Mann, Fleming, Wrobleski and coordinator Jayne McFarland.
Five of the district's six high school principals: Memorial's Dr. Angela Stallings, Dobie's Franklin Moses, South Houston's Dr. Steve Fullen, CT High's Steven Fleming and Sam Rayburn's Robert Stock.
Port of Houston Authority Representative Toloria Allen, Marshall Kendrick, Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Steven Fleming, Fred Roberts, Dr. Kirk Lewis, Port of Houston Vice President for Community Outreach Gilda Ramirez, Nelda Sullivan, Justice of the Peace Holly Williamson and Jack Bailey.
Bay-IBI Architect's Greg Scott, Bay-IBI Architects owner Calvin Powitzky, Marshall Kendrick, Brooks & Sparks Engineering's Randy Sparks, Bay-IBI architect James Fuex, Steven Fleming, Fred Roberts, Bay-IBI Project architect Stuart Campbell, Dr. Kirk Lewis, Nelda Sullivan and Jack Bailey.
Dyad Construction Vice President of Operations Bruce Cazares, Dyad Construction Project Asst. Superintendent Ben Loggins, Marshall Kendrick, Dyad Construction Project Superintendent Steve Cazares, Dyad Construction Vice President of Project Management Bill Trahan, Dyad Construction owner Joe Pigford, Steven Fleming, Fred Roberts, Dr. Kirk Lewis, Nelda Sullivan and Jack Bailey.
Marshall Kendrick, Dr. Angela Stallings, Franklin Moses, Dr. Steve Fullen, Steven Fleming, Robert Stock, Fred Roberts, Nelda Sullivan, Dr. Kirk Lewis and Jack Bailey.
San Jacinto College Central Interim Provost Van Wigginton, San Jacinto College Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Learning Dr. Catherine O'Brien, SJC Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives Dr. Allatia Harris, Asst. Vice Chancellor for Educational Partnerships Pam Campbell, SJC South Interim Provost Dr. Brenda Jones, Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Steven Fleming, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce's Sherry Trainer, Dr. Kirk Lewis and Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership Executive Director Dan Seal.
Fleming and his new CT High School campus.
Unopposed Races Prompt Cancellation of School Board Election
Five members of the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees -- all unopposed in the scheduled May school board election -- have been certified by the district as reelected. The election, scheduled for May 11, has subsequently been canceled. Certified for new terms are Fred Roberts, Mariselle Quijano-Lerma, Nelda Sullivan, Jack Bailey and Jerry Ross Speer. The positions held by board members Marshall Kendrick and Vickie Morgan were not up for election this year.
Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet Once Again a Sellout
For the second year in a row, a sellout has been announced for the Pasadena ISD's Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, set for Saturday night at Memorial High School. The Hall of Fame committee announced on Wednesday that all 480 tickets for the event have been sold. With student participants added, an audience of about 700 is expected for the event. Guest emcee for the evening will be Dan Pastorini, star quarterback for the Houston Oilers during the franchise's celebrated "Luv Ya Blue" glory days in the 1970's. Set for induction are Pasadena High's Mickey Spencer (Class of 1947), Randall Kerbow (1959), Fritz Connally (1976) and Amanda Buffalo (1985); South Houston High's Bob Allen (1965); Sam Rayburn High's Jimmy Johnson (1976); and Dobie's Gawain Guy (1981). Former Dobie track and cross country coach John Bryan will also be inducted. Spencer will be represented by his widow, Milly Spencer, also a member of the Pasadena High Class of 1947. The seven living inductees will be available after the main program for a photo and autograph session. Pastorini will also be available for autographs after the banquet, Copies of his autobiography, "Taking Flak," will be on sale. Those wishing to buy a copy of the book are asked to do so with cash or check. Copies of "Taking Flak" are available for $30. Last year's inaugural Hall of Fame banquet attracted a sellout of 360. The banquet was moved to Memorial High, a larger venue, this year to allow for construction of the permanent Hall of Fame facility on the north end of Phillips Field House. That facility is scheduled to open in 2014.
Construction Giant Marek Brothers Inc. Partners with L.P. Card Students
Marek Brothers training coordinator Buddy Britt (left) shows L.P. Card construction student Genaro Betancourt how to measure a sheet for drywall installation.
A trip to a local high school may not be in every construction worker's agenda, but it was something former South Houston High alum Buddy Britt was looking forward to. Britt, a 1969 graduate, and a few of his coworkers from the Marek Brothers Systems Inc., had a day of hands-on training and coaching ahead of them at the Pasadena ISD's L.P. Card Career and Technical Center. A company that specializes in commercial and residential drywalling and interiors, Marek Brothers first approached the school at a Rebuilding Together Houston luncheon earlier this year. It was then they decided to partner with the school and hold building workshops on campus for students. "Coming in directly to a school like this is allowing us to work side-by-side with these students and teach them the trade," Britt said. "We want young people who are interested in a career in construction and this is a great place to start." At the end of the semester, students will have the option to apply for an internship or job with the Marek company. Eric Ochoa, a senior at Dobie High, said he was glad to have the hands-on help. "Being at L.P. Card and having this type of training will help us be prepared for jobs when we graduate," he said. "I am glad there are companies who want to help students and take the time to show us how do it. It really is worth it." Ochoa said he plans to study to be an architect when he enrolls in college next fall. With the passage of the school bond last year, the Pasadena ISD has already begun construction of the new Career and Technical High School scheduled to open in August of 2014. The campus will accommodate between 1,500 to 1,700 students in grades 9-12 with concentrated academies in health sciences, technology, construction and manufacturing. "It means a lot to the students, but also to me as a teacher," said L.P. Card construction teacher Lupe Garza. "I can teach the students all day, but having a business come in and give students individual attention and job-specific training, gives students an opportunity. That's what this campus is about." The L.P. Card Career and Technical Center is currently seeking business partners who are willing to provide training or workshops for students. Those interested may call 713-740-0802 for more information.
Marek Brothers employee David McMillan (right) shows L.P. Card construction student Milton Rodriguez how to properly cut drywall.
District Announces 2013 Middle School Science Fair Winners
Karen Hickman, the district's Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, congratulates Anas Arakkal and Kati Phan on their science fair wins.
The Pasadena ISD announced on Friday the winners of the Middle School Science Fair. These students have already taken the top title at their individual campuses and advanced to the district level. Anas Arakkal, a sixth grader at Lomax Middle, took home the Best in Show trophy for his work Capturing Carbon Dioxide. Other top winners were Caleb Camarillo for Most Creative, Kati Phan for Best Experimental Design and Juilana Espinoza took home the Best Real World Application trophy. A complete list of category winners follows. Consumer Science Category Winners:
1st place- Sophia Colmenares, Melillo Middle
2nd place- Katelyn Hernandez, Melillo Middle
3rd place- Ashley Rodriguez, Melillo Middle
Environmental Science Category Winners:
1st place- Anas Arakkal, Lomax Middle
2nd place- Kati Phan, Lomax Middle
3rd place- Mariana Rivera, Schneider Middle
Health and Human Studies Category Winners:
1st place- Juliana Espinoza, Morris Middle
2nd place (tie)- David Garcia, Morris Middle
2nd place (tie)- Alyssa Froelich, Lomax Middle
3rd place- Dayzia Ross, Milstead Middle
Life Science Category Winners:
1st place- Kaitlyn Ellis, Lomax Middle
2nd place- Chance McCoy, Lomax Middle
3rd place- Zoe Whitley, Morris Middle
Physical Science Category Winners:
1st place- Caleb Camarillo, Parkview Intermediate
2nd place- Presley Harbuck, Lomax Middle
3rd place- Susie Garza, Lomax Middle
Team Project Category Winners:
1st place- Coten Miller and Sidney Robertson, Milstead Middle
2nd place- Rodrigo Resendez and Roman Rodriguez, DeZavala Middle
3rd place- Kira Soria and Alexia Felipe, DeZavala Middle
Honorable Mention Winners:
David Garcia, Morris Middle
Zoe Whitley, Morris Middle
Sophia Colmenares, Melillo Middle
Juliana Espinoza shows off her Best Real World Application trophy.
Honorable Mention winner Sophia Colmenares proudly displays her trophy.
Kaitlyn Ellis from Lomax Middle took home a first place ribbon for her work.
Colten Miller, a member of the Milstead Team Project, walked away with a first place ribbon.
Educators, Students Brace for Broader Impact of STAAR Scores
Public schools across Texas -- including those in the Pasadena ISD -- are just days away from launching a second go-round of STAAR assessments, but this time with higher stakes for students, teachers, schools and school districts. With last year's implementation of the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing program, schools and school districts in Texas received a one-year reprieve from the ratings system applied under the previously used TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) standards. But on April 1, students will begin STAAR's second act, another phase-in step that is expected to once again hold schools and districts accountable for test results -- and place a higher standard on fifth- and eighth-graders that could determine whether they are promoted to the next grade. STAAR testing will continue throughout April and May, a process that will include additional End of Course (EOC) exams for high school students. School administrators recently received test results for Grades 3-8 from the 2011-2012 school year. But administrators are still waiting to hear from state education officials about how those results will be evaluated and what final standards may arise from them. Full implementation of STAAR should come in 2016, unless Texas legislators make changes to the program - or perhaps scrap it entirely - before then, something many education experts and parents have urged them to do. STAAR was developed to replace TAKS -- on a phase-in basis -- after legislators concluded that TAKS wasn't providing the testing rigor many believed was needed to ensure meaningful accountability and improve educational performance in public schools. The program, if and when completely implemented, will set strict benchmarks for reading and math performance in pre-high school grades. And it will require 15 EOC tests in 12 high school core courses. The requirement that EOC results be used in calculations to determine final course grades is deferred. Expanded high school standards Last year the EOC standard applied only to freshman (ninth-grade) courses. This year, the standard will be used for freshman and sophomore courses. Current legislation requires that high school students on a recommended (standard) graduation plan achieve a required cumulative score for each subject area in order to graduate. Students who fail an EOC exam have the opportunity to take subsequent retests. Still, educators point to one worrisome example of what could happen when the program is completely in place: Physics, a course required for graduation, is often completed during a student's junior year. Many students, however, choose to take physics during their senior year. If a student fail his physics EOC exam as a junior, that student will have additional opportunities to retest over the next year. But if a student doesn't take physics (or any other course required for graduation) until that student is a senior - and if the student does not pass the EOC exam for that course - the student will not have the opportunity to retest before graduation. In such a case, the student would either not graduate on time - or would not graduate with a recommended-plan diploma. EOC exam requirements are attached to courses in English language arts, math, social studies and science classes that can all be completed prior to a student's senior year. Two language arts exams - one in reading and one in writing - are required at grade levels 9-11. Course-based approach For high school teachers and students, the second year of STAAR implementation will increase awareness of the program's biggest changes. Unlike TAKS tests, EOC exams are designed to access student mastery of a specific course, not a students' general range of knowledge in a subject area. "STAAR is course-based," said Donna Summers, the director of research and evaluation for the Pasadena ISD. "This is a very different philosophy from the TAKS program." "It's a real issue for us in adapting our instruction," said Karen White, the district's student assessment coordinator. "Our teachers were very familiar with how to present curriculum for the TAKS. Now districts are trying to develop new instructional strategies, and it's a learning curve for everybody involved." Some teachers, White said, are currently providing instruction for two groups of students taking the same course - because some of the students are still being assessed according to TAKS standards, while others are now assessed by STAAR standards. "Each group of students must be prepared for testing in a very different manner," White said. Another change that will become more apparent this year: two-day writing tests in Grades 4 and 7 are now part of the assessment schedule. Students will be allowed to finish language arts exams within an eight-hour period (four hours each day) instead of during one untimed session on a single day. "Although there's been some debate as to whether a fourth-grader should take a two-day test, it's probably a good thing," White said. "There have been cases where students would test until very late in the evening. The four-hour limit is more reflective of how students will be assessed as they progress in school, college or in their careers." EOC exams for English courses will continue to be divided over two days, one for reading and the other for writing. Semester revisions To accommodate the testing schedule, the Pasadena ISD adopted a 2012-2013 calendar to allow for 20 weeks of spring instruction. The fall calendar consisted of 16 weeks of instruction. Still, school officials are cautioning parents not to expect wall-to-wall testing and test preparation in the spring. "The total number of tests that a student will take from Grade 3 until graduation has increased by five," Summers said, "assuming that they pass those tests." A projected high occurrence of retesting - and the resulting potential for an increase in dropouts -- is one of many STAAR issues that have educators concerned. "With the rigor of this program, some people are worried that the need to test and retest will accumulate," White said, "and that students will become extremely frustrated. A student may find himself in a situation where he hasn't been in a course for two years and he's still being asked to test on material from two years ago. That student might ask himself: 'What chance do I have to pass it now?'" STAAR exams kick off on April 1 with fourth-grade writing; fifth-grade math and reading; seventh-grade writing; and eighth-grade math and reading. High school students will take their EOC exams for English I, II and III. The complete testing regimen for Grades 3-8 has every grade taking reading and math exams every year, fifth- and eighth-graders testing in science, fourth- and -seventh graders testing in writing and eighth-graders testing in social studies. What exactly will happen with state testing during the 2013-14 school year? Educators are hesitant to guess. "This is what we expect to be in place for this year," Summers said. "But the legislature could still change half of what we're talking about right now."
Pasadena ISD Makes Best Music Education List Once Again
For the seventh consecutive year, the Pasadena ISD has been selected as one of the "Best Communities for Music Education in America." The announcement of the honor was made this week by the National Association of Music Merchants. The NAMM selected 307 school districts across the nation for the honor, 21 of them from Texas. "Our music educators constantly go above and beyond their required duties to make sure their students are successful," said Linda Fletcher, the Pasadena ISD's Executive Director of Fine Arts. "This recognition is a direct reflection of their commitment. It is evident that our community, administration and school board support and encourage quality music education for every student." The best communities designation is based upon a nationwide survey of school districts whose scholastic programs exemplify a strong and unwavering commitment to music education. The NAMM considers such recognition an important way to support music education in times of funding cuts for many fine arts programs. Districts nationwide are asked to complete surveys documenting their commitment to music education. The surveys are collected in collaboration with the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, an affiliate of the University of Kansas. "Students in the Pasadena ISD are exposed to high-quality music programs from kindergarten through their senior year," Fletcher said. "Studies have shown that children engaged in music and the arts often perform better academically as well. This is just another reason why we try to offer a variety of quality fine arts programs and opportunities for our students."
Shovels Hit the Ground for New Queens Intermediate School
Monday marked a new beginning for the Pasadena ISD as golden shovels hit the dirt during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Queens Intermediate campus set for completion spring of 2014. The new Queens Intermediate campus is one of the five replacement campuses approved under the passing of the 2011 school bond. Replacement campuses for South Houston Elementary, Gardens Elementary, South Shaver Elementary and Keller Middle schools will also be addressed. But no one is more excited for a new campus than L.F. Smith Elementary fourth graders Juan Flores and Jackie Torres. "Going to a brand new school will be a once in a lifetime experience," said Flores. "I'm excited about getting to use a brand new gym, and we will get to learn all kinds of different sports," said Torres. Both students said they found it particularly funny that their older siblings attended the "old" Queens and they will get to attend a brand new Queens. The original Queens campus was built in 1952 and started as an elementary campus for grades 1-6, until it transitioned into an intermediate campus under the direction of former Superintendent George Thompson. The school will merge its original school colors of orange and white, with its current colors of blue and silver for a combined trio of blue, orange and silver. The present site of Queens Intermediate will be rebuilt as a new middle school serving the Park View and Queens feeder schools to reduce overcrowding. "It takes forward thinking individuals and folks who are dedicated to educating kids in the best possible manner to make such great things like this happen," said Jones. "The Board of Trustees, local businesses and the Queens community have made it possible for our kids to have the best facility for a high quality education."
Members of the Queens Intermediate administration team get ready to break new ground.
L.F. Smith Elementary Principal Cathy Danna and Williams Elementary Principal Mel Capelo, whose students will feed into the new school, stand with Queens Principal Troy Jones (center).
District's associate superintendent for campus development personnel Troy McCarley, DeeAnn Powell and Steve Laymon.
'Luv Ya Blue' QB Pastorini to Emcee Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet
Ticket On Sale March 1 for Second Annual Induction Event
Dan Pastorini, star quarterback for the Houston Oilers during the team's "Luv Ya Blue" glory days, will serve as emcee and guest speaker for the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame induction banquet on April 13, it was announced on Monday. A limited number of tickets for the banquet will go on sale beginning Friday, March 1, at the Pasadena ISD Athletics Ticket Office at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Tickets are $50. Pastorini quarterbacked the Oilers from 1971 to 1979, leading the team to a peak of success rarely realized by Houston sports franchises. In both 1978 and 1979, he guided the Oilers to the AFC Championship Game, the final step before the Super Bowl. The Oilers lost both AFC title games to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the second following a controversial pass from Pastorini to Mike Renfro that was ruled incomplete, costing the Oilers a chance to tie the game late in the third quarter. Now the president and CEO of Dan Pastorini's Quality Foods, a Houston-based company, Pastorini will be available to sign copies of his autobiography, "Taking Flak," following the Hall of Fame banquet. Pastorini wrote the book in 2011 with former Houston Chronicle sports columnist John Lopez. Copies of the book will be on sale at the banquet. "I am ecstatic about Dan agreeing to be our guest emcee," said Terry Brotherton, chairman of the Hall of Fame organizing committee. "With his colorful past and 'Luv Ya Blue' credentials, this year's banquet promises to be another memorable event for Pasadena athletics." The second annual induction banquet will welcome eight additional Pasadena ISD sports notables into the Hall of Fame. Twelve inductees were honored at the inaugural banquet last April. Selected for induction this year are Mickey Spencer, an all-state lineman for Pasadena High in the 1940s; Randall Kerbow, who quarterbacked the Eagles to the state championship game in 1958; Bob Allen, an all-state halfback for South Houston in 1964; Jimmy Johnson, a football and baseball star at Sam Rayburn High in the mid-1970s; Fritz Connally, a Pasadena High standout who went on to play major-league baseball; Gawain Guy, the cornerstone of state cross country and track titles for Dobie; and Amanda Buffalo, a Pasadena High track sensation who became the district's first female to win a state title. John Bryan, who coached those Dobie track and cross country teams to state glory, will also be inducted. The induction banquet will be held in the food court at Memorial High School to allow for on-going construction of a permanent Hall of Fame facility adjacent to Phillips Field House. The event is set to begin at 6 p.m. The Memorial High venue will allow seating for up to 500 guests. But because of inductee ticket needs and seats reserved for table donors and Founding Sponsors, only about 150 of those 500 tickets will be offered to the public. Tickets for the 2012 banquet sold out within 48 hours. Pastorini was selected by the Oilers in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft out of Santa Clara University, where he had developed into one of the nation's top college talents. He was the third player - and the third quarterback - taken in the 1971 draft, a headliner in what was dubbed the "Year of the Quarterback." Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning were picked just ahead of him. In his nine seasons with the Oilers, Pastorini missed only five games because of injury. In 1975, he was named to the Pro Bowl team after topping the 2,000-yard mark for passing yardage in one season for the first time. The 1975 season also marked the arrival of "Bum" Phillips as the Oilers' coach and a reversal in the team's fortune. And the arrival of Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell in 1978 led to two of the most celebrated seasons in Houston sports history. For his part, Pastorini set career highs with 2,400 yards and 17 touchdown passes in 1978. The Oilers that season beat Miami and New England before falling to the Steelers in the AFC title game. Pastorini topped the 2,000-yard mark again in 1979, even though Campbell gained 1,600 yards on the ground and took the lead as the team's workhorse. The Oilers disposed of Denver and San Diego in the playoff before losing to the Steelers again in a contest marked by the officials' controversial call on Pastorini's apparent TD pass to Renfro. Pastorini was traded after the 1979 season to the Oakland Raiders, where injuries hindered his chances to take the team reins. He finished his career with single-season stops in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. He earned one Super Bowl ring, as a backup to Plunkett on the 1980 Raiders team that won Super Bowl XV. He also made NFL history by becoming the first NFL quarterback to wear a "flak jacket" under his jersey as protection against rib injuries. His determination to play through the pain of multiple broken ribs earned him praise as one of the most courageous NFL players of his generation. Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction banquet may be secured prior to March 1 through Founding Sponsor donations, which are tax deductible, or through table sponsorships. April 1 remains the deadline for new Founding Sponsors. Founding Sponsors receive banquet tickets -- based upon donation level -- and an inscription on a glass wall to be permanently displayed in the new 3,600 square-foot Hall of Honor. Those interested in becoming Founding Sponsors or table sponsors are asked to call Herman Williams, treasurer for the Hall of Fame committee, at 713-907-1190, for details.
National Art Display to Include Work of Three District Students
Three Pasadena ISD art students -- two from Bondy Intermediate and one from Sam Rayburn High -- recently had their artwork selected for showing at the Texas K-12 Exhibition beginning later this month. Among the selections were pieces produced by Bondy eighth-graders Regina Loreto and Katy Wheeler, and by Sam Rayburn junior Francisco Jasso. Competition for the exhibition was open to students from across the country. Artwork will be shown from March 15 to April 12 at the Central Library in downtown Houston. The exhibition is held in conjunction with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference. Below: Loreto, Wheeler and Jasso with their winning artwork.
District Communications Staff Garners 13 Major TSPRA Awards
Britta Gamino took "Best of Category" honors for news release with her feature on Dwight Key (above), the volunteer Santa Claus at Parks Elementary. Gamino was also honored as the state's "Rookie of the Year" in the school public relations field. See link to the story at the bottom of this page.
Staff members in the Pasadena ISD Communications Department collected 13 major "Star" Awards" in statewide contest results announced last week at the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) annual convention, held this year in Corpus Christi. The Pasadena ISD staff earned four "Best of Category" awards and nine gold awards. Staff members landed a total of 26 awards, including nine silver medals and four bronze medals. Britta Gamino of the district staff was named "Rookie of the Year" for 2013. Gamino, who joined the Pasadena ISD staff in May of 2011, collected four major awards and contributed to two others. Awards are presented for outstanding achievement in writing, photography, graphics design and videography for the 2011-2012 school year. In the "Best of Category," Pasadena ISD winners were: • Bruce Stone, for his design work on a booklet for the Shining Stars Gala. • LaVonna Alexander-Carew, for her design work on a calendar/planner for the district's child nutrition program. • Gamino, for her feature article on Dwight Key, Parks Elementary's volunteer Santa Claus. • Al Carter, for his sports photography entry of a dunk by Flower Mound Marcus basketball player Nick Banyard during the championship game of the 2011 McDonald's Texas Invitational Tournament. District videographer Jessica Bennett landed three gold awards: for a computerized presentation of the Shining Stars Gala, for a marketing and promotion video titled "Inspiring the Journey through Child Nutrition" and for a special interest video, "Van Gogh with the Flow." Gamino earned gold awards for two published news releases, one on the launch of the Pasadena ISD's early college program and the other for a feature article on Board of Trustees member Vickie Morgan, the longest serving trustee in the history of the district. Gamino and Carter collected two additional gold medals for photography -- Gamino for a photo to accompany the district's "Inspiring the Journey for our Students" marketing mailer, and Carter for a sports photo of a Sam Rayburn High quarterback leaping through the line of scrimmage. Stone captured a gold award for his design work on a flyer for the Texas Invitational. And he was lead designer on a "Passport to the Pasadena ISD" marketing booklet that won a gold award for the entire staff. Both Stone and Alexander-Carew joined the communications staff in 2006. Since then, Stone has won 10 "Best of Category" awards and Alexander-Carew has won seven.
LaVonna Alexander-Carew captured a "Best of Category" for her design work on a calendar/planner for the child nutrition program.
Bruce Stone's design work on a booklet for the Shining Stars Gala earned him a "Best of Category" Award.
Al Carter earned a gold medal in sports photography for his photo of Sam Rayburn High quarterback Freddy Sevilla crashing through the line of scrimmage in a 2011 contest against Pasadena High.
Britta Gamino took home a gold award for her marketing photo of two district elementary students on the playground.
Bruce Stone pocketed a gold medal for his "Passport to the Pasadena ISD" marketing booklet.
Leadership Conference Brings 200 Participants to Dobie
Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis addresses participants in the Dobie auditorium.
The Pasadena ISD's 21st Century Leadership Conference featured three dozen presenters and more than 200 district educators on Saturday at Dobie High School. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kirk Lewis delivered the keynote address ahead of four sessions, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Round-table discussions were held during lunch. Participants made the rounds of two dozen vendor tables in the Dobie food court. The event was organized by the district's Aspiring Administrators Academy. Committee chairpersons for the event were Jessica Frinsco, Kelly Jurek, Tammy DeRick, Sharon Tait, Michael Kaatz, Latassa Watts, Letty Balderez and Pam Maxwell.
Vicki Lenio, assistant principal at Gardens Elementary, teams with school counselor Liliana Garza for the session, "Linking Literacy -- Creating Positive Change."
Renea Ivy-Sims, the district's associate superintendent for communications and community relations, leads a discussion on "The Unmistable Impact of Community Involvement."
Laura Quisenberry, peer facilitator at Kruse Elementary, emphasizes the importance of communicating with staff members during the session on "Ten Tips for Helping New Teachers."
Danette Jolliff, teacher and AVID coordinator at South Houston High, takes part in the session, "Are You P.A.C.K.E.D.""
Angie Long, teacher at Williams Elementary, helps the lead the discussion in the session, "Therapeutic Discipline."
Cindy Parmer, the district's director of community relations, takes part in the session on "The Unmistakable Impact of Community Involvement."
Dr. Lewis uses a slideshow in a discussion on the leadership skills of Sir Winston Churchill.
Conference participants listen to the keynote address from Dr. Lewis.
Angela Kennedy, a district instructional specialist, leads the session on "Ten Tips for Helping New Teachers."
Marilyn Pavone, principal at Pearl Hall Elementary, and Judy Diaz, principal at Jensen Elementary, sample the fragrances at the Avon vendor table.
Memorial High Student Selected as Finalist in Texas Film Festival
Memorial High senior Maddison Lopez will have her film "Outbreak" screened at the South by Southwest Festival.
"Zombies wanted." That's what Pasadena Memorial High senior Maddison Lopez wrote when she sent out a message to her Facebook friends hoping to find a few actors for her new zombie-inspired film "Outbreak". At the time, she was just looking to make a short flick modeled after the work of her favorite horror director, George Romero, responsible for the wildly popular Night of the Living Dead horror films. She had no idea she would beat out thousands of student submissions and would be showing at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Texas High School Short Film Competition just months later. Lopez's film documents a high school student's journey after a toxic plant explosion releases a fume, turning people into zombies. She is now set to travel with her mother and Memorial High's MAVision teacher Jennifer Baldwin for the film screening festival on March 8. Her film is one out of 22 student films that will be shown in front of a live panel of judges. "I've always been in love with zombie movies," Lopez said. "I was sitting in class when Ms. Baldwin told me to come to her computer to look at an email. That email said I was a finalist." "I always knew I had talented kids," Baldwin said. "The rest of my students and I are really excited for her because it is a great experience for film students to listen and learn from industry professionals." Lopez said she was surprised to see her name in print as a finalist. "As the director, I know I am more critical of my own work, but reading that email-that's when it really hit that my film was really good." Before the success of her film, Lopez had not planned to study film at the University of Texas in Austin where she was recently accepted. "I originally planned to study geology, but I am thinking about taking some video and film classes as my electives," she said. This is the second year in a row that a Memorial film student has been selected as a finalist in the film festival. Last year a group of four Memorial students had their documentary "McChange: A Manifesto" premiere at the festival. "It's all about vision," Lopez said. "I would tell aspiring filmmakers to not be afraid of doing what you like. I like zombies and I went for it, and now my film is showing at the biggest film festival in Texas."
Aquatics Coach Darla Kelly Chosen to Attend National Coaching Conference
Pasadena High's Darla Kelly has been chosen to attend the 2013 National Coaching Conference, an event hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Kelly, who was earlier named the 2012 National Coach of the Year for swimming and diving by the National Federation of High School's Coaches Association, is one of two coaches chosen to represent all NFHS honorees. Kelly plans to attend a recognition banquet set for June 21 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Trip expenses will be paid by the NFHS. Kelly has served as aquatics coach at Pasadena High since 1995. Previously, she served as diving coach for all Pasadena ISD high schools. Last fall Kelly was named Texas Coach of the Year by the same national coaches association. Since 1983, she has been named the recipient of either a swimming or diving district coach of the year honor 27 times.
Schneider's Perez Captures District Spelling Bee
Julio Perez, a sixth-grader at Schneider Middle School, emerged as champion of the annual Pasadena ISD Spelling Bee on Tuesday at Sam Rayburn High. Runnerup was Anas Arakkal, a sixth-grader at Lomax Middle School. Below, Arkkal and Perez display their trophies.
Dobie Takes Eighth, PHS 18th at State Academic Decathlon
Dobie Coach Steven Higginbotham with team members Tuan Phan, Daniel Ta, Maria Ferreira, Angel Garcia, Sonia Bonavita, Jonathan Zapata, Cindy Nguyen, Aaron Arambula, Coach Todd Geries and Vincent Gonzalez.
Dobie High finished in eighth place in the Texas Academic Decathlon held last weekend in El Paso. Rockwall High won the event and will represent the state at the national finals to be held later this spring. The Longhorns took third in the Super Quiz and garnered two individual first places. Tuan Phan took top honors for Dobie in Honors Science while teammate Angel Garcia took first in Varsity Science. Garcia also took second in Varsity Economics. Dobie students winning third-place awards were Sonia Bonavita, in Varsity Interview; Daniel Ta, in Scholastic Art; and Maria Ferreira, in Scholastic Social Science. Dobie finished second to Pearland High in Region 5 competition. At state, Pearland took second behind Rockwall. Dobie and Pasadena High were two of five schools represent Region 5 at state. The Eagles finished 18th, just ahead of their No. 21 ranking going into the event. Dobie was ranked sixth headed to state. The other two Region 5 representatives were Clear Lake, which finished fifth, and Alvin, which finished 27th. The Eagles, competing at state for the third consecutive year, posted the highest point total in school history. Pasadena High has improved its standing each of the past three years, going from 39th to 27th to 18th. Pedro Serna led the Eagles in individual scoring and collected a bronze medal in Art. Alondra Serna won gold medals in Art, Language Literature and Social Science.
Hundreds Turn Out for Dobie Hall of Honor Unveiling Ceremony
Inductees Gilbert Aguilar, the Rev. Emory Gadd and Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox greet the audience as they arrive on stage for the start of the Hall of Honor's formal program in the Dobie auditorium.
They came by the hundreds on Friday night -- teachers, friends, neighbors, coaches and work colleagues -- to offer a community toast to 10 Dobie High School alumni, to two of the school's most dedicated volunteers and to one former faculty member, all chosen as the inaugural group of inductees for the Longhorns' new Hall of Honor. Heralded as a tribute to Dobie Pride, the event featured the unveiling of the school's Hall of Honor plaque display, and addresses by Superintendent of School Dr. Kirk Lewis and two of the five educators to have served as principal since the school's opening in 1968 -- current Principal Franklin Moses and his predecessor, Steve Jamail. The next to youngest of the inductees, Ken Howery, delivered an address thanking administrators and teachers for their assistant in helping Dobie students realize their potential and meet their personal goals. Howery, a member of the Class of 1994, is a co-founder of PayPal and most of the most successful venture capitalists in the country. The audience included teachers from schools across the South Belt community, many of whom taught those in the group of honorees. Among the other alumni inducted were Edmund Walker (Class of 1974), an Army brigadier general and chief of NATO's Combined Joint Force in Afghanistan; Mary Campbell-Fox (Class of 1976), a prominent South Belt physician; Chris Connealy (Class of 1977), a former City of Houston fire chief who now serves as Texas fire marshal; Dina Jackson-Giesler (Class of 1981), an Atlanta-based dentist and a leading authority on cosmetic dentistry; Mark Chassay (Class of 1984), a long-time sports physician for University of Texas sports programs; Bobby Burton (Class of 1987), a nationally known expert on college football recruiting; and Christa Williams (Class of 1996), who won two Olympic gold medals in softball after helping lead the Lady Longhorns to state titles in 1993 and 1995. All except Brig. Gen. Walker were on hand for the ceremony. Two other alumni were honored as "Fallen Heroes" - Walter McRae Jr., an Army sergeant who two years ago succumbed to health problems related to his service in Operation Desert Storm; and Chris Williams, a West Point graduate and Army captain who was killed in a training accident in 1995. McRae graduated from Dobie in 1972 and Williams in 1984. Also honored were two community volunteers: Gilbert Aguilar and the Rev. Emory Gadd. Aguilar, a retired Coast Guard officer, has provided assistance to struggling Dobie students and to members of the South Belt's Spanish-speaking community for the past two decades. The Rev. Gadd, associate pastor of Sagemont Church, has been involved in numerous aspects of Dobie campus life since the 1970's. The school also paid tribute to former teacher Richard Golenko, a longtime Latin and social sciences teacher who coached Dobie's Academic Decathlon teams to national champions in 1992 and 1996. Planning for the Hall of Honor began nearly two years ago while Jamail was still principal. He handed off the project to Moses upon his retirement early last year. A committee of Dobie teachers and administrators made the induction selections based upon input and recommendations from alumni and community members. The school plans to name additional inductees each year and make the induction ceremony an annual spring event.
Pull back the curtain! Inductees Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, Bobby Burton, Dr. Mark Chassay, Dr. Dina Jackson-Giesler, Val and John Williams (parents of inductee Chris Williams) and Christa Williams applaud as the Dobie Pride Wall is unveiled for the first time.
Dr. Dina Jackson-Giesler points to her plaque on the Pride Wall.
Sally McRae, the widow of inductee Walt McRae, pauses to have her photo taken next to the plaque of her late husband.
Inductees Chris Connealy, Dr. Dina Jackson-Giesler, Dr. Mark Chassay and Bobby Burton listen to the opening remarks during the induction ceremony in the Dobie auditorium.
Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis addresses the audience.
Sally McRae, John and Val Williams, Richard Golenko, Gilbert Aguilar, the Rev. Emory Gadd, Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox and other inductees take in the ceremony.
Former Dobie Principal Steve Jamail explains the concept of the Hall of Honor.
Emcee Bob Fawcett reads the career achievements of each of the inductees.
Dobie Principal Franklin Moses presents a Hall of Honor gift to Val and John Williams, parents of "Fallen Hero" Chris Williams.
Moses with Sally McRae and Richard Golenko. (Right) Gilbert Aguilar listens to the school's tribute to him for his many contributions as a community volunteer.
Moses with inductees Gilbert Aguilar, the Rev. Emory Gadd and Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox.
Moses with inductees Chris Connealy, Dr. Dine Jackson-Giesler and Dr. Mark Chassay.
Moses with inductees Bobby Burton, Ken Howery and Christa Williams.
Moses addresses the audience.
Singing the alma mater at the conclusion of the ceremony: the Rev. Gadd, Dr. Campbell-Fox, Connealy, Dr. Jackson Giesler, Dr. Chassay, Burton and Howery.
Family members of Dobie's "Fallen Heroes" -- Sally McRae, Val and John Williams.
Honored faculty and community volunteers -- the Rev. Gadd, Golenko and Aguilar.
Other honored alumni -- Connealy, Burton, Dr. Chassay, Dr. Jackson-Giesler, Dr. Campbell-Fox, Howery and Williams.
All the honorees: Christa Williams, Bobby Burton, Dr. Dina Jackson-Giesler, Richard Golenko, Ken Howery, Dr. Mark Chassay, Sally McRae, Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, Gilbert Aguilar, Chris Connealy, Emory Gadd and John and Val Williams.
Dobie's new Hall of Honor and Pride Wall display.
Golenko and the Rev. Gadd chat while awaiting the unveiling of the Pride Wall.
Moses addressed the gathering of inductees, family and friends just before the unveiling of the wall.
Howery shows off his plaque to family members.
Golenko greets well-wishers in front of his Hall of Honor plaque; the Dobie choir performs the national anthem in the auditorium.
The Dobie JROTC presents the colors at the opening of ceremonies in the auditorium.
Dobie senior Ezequiel Ramirez accepts on behalf of Brig. Gen. Edmund Walker, currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Edwin, Raygoza and Scarcella Named Together We Can Winners
Jensen Elementary music teacher Deborah Edwin, Sam Rayburn's visual arts teacher Victor Raygoza and L.P Card career and technology teacher David Scarcella were named category winners at the district's "Together We Can" employee recognition luncheon on Friday at the Orozco Professional Development Complex. Edwin was named the winner of the "Create Magic" award, presented to a district teacher or employee who "creates an innovative classroom experience or finds a creative way to impact the lives of students, staff and the community." Edwin created a new musical atmosphere on campus with her innovative music classes that include all students despite their differences or learning abilities. She embraces the uniqueness of each child and has ignited creativity in the classroom by experimenting with different musical instruments and sounds. Thanks to her efforts, her students have had opportunities to perform at nursing homes, community festivals and at district events throughout the year. Raygoza received the "Think Big" award presented to "an employee who comes up with a brilliant idea that changes the way the district, a campus or a department approaches and solves a major issue." In only his second year with the Texan staff, Raygoza was able to light a firestorm of talent recognition for his art students at the local, regional, state and national levels. His ability to identify artistic potential in students, coupled with his gift to inspire other students he mentors, has resulted in scholarship and cash prizes in the excess of $200,000. Scarcella was honored with the "Achieve More" award which is presented to the district teacher or employee who is "instrumental in contributing to student success or toward the accomplishment of a major school or department goal." In just one year, Scarcella successfully launched a pre-engineering program for students that did not previously exist. He has been instrumental in organizing district robotics teams and challenged his students to work together to problem solve. His dedication to introducing students to the possibilities of careers in science, technology and math has already impacted the lives of several students. To view a complete list of category nominees from across the district, click here.
Deborah Edwin accepts the "Create Magic" award with Jensen Principal Judy Diaz.
Edwin with her music students at Jensen Elementary.
Victor Raygoza recieves his "Think Big" category award with Rayburn Principal Robert Stock.
Raygoza with his visual arts class at Sam Rayburn.
Accepting Scarcella's "Acheive More" category win is L.P Card's Director Sarah Wrobleski with Board of Trustees members Nelda Sullivan and Fred Roberts.
Scarcella with his class at L.P. Card Career and Technical Center.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Keller Middle School Set for April 5
SHHS Senior Sings Her Way to Bay Area Chorus Scholarship
South Houston High senior Ivy Cantu with her scholarship certificate.
Ivy Cantu decided to get a little vocal over the weekend about her college financial needs. A senior at South Houston High, Cantu sang her way to a $1,000 scholarship award in the Bay Area Chorus music competition held on Sunday at Clear Lake Presbyterian Church. Cantu beat out three other finalists, one each from the Deer Park, Clear Creek and Friendswood school districts. With South Houston choir director Brenda Varvoutis as her accompanist, Cantu performed before a panel of four judges and sang two pieces: "Si Mes Vers Avaient De Ailles," by Reynaldo Hahn, and "Un moto di giaia," by Mozart. A soprano who has performed for varsity choir each of her four years at South Houston, Cantu has earned All-Region honors each of her four years and is a state medalist for both solo and ensemble. She plans to continue her music studies at Sam Houston State.
10 District Art Students Earn Gold Key Recognition
Gold Key winners from Memorial High School are sophomore Sadie Burt, senior Paola Duran, junior Amy Truong and senior Kiet Vo. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ten Pasadena ISD art students, including four from both Memorial High School and Bondy Intermediate, were selected as Gold Key regional winners in the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing competition conducted by the Harris County Depart- ment of Education. Gold Key winners from Memorial are seniors Paola Duran and Kiet Vo, junior Amy Truong and sophomore Sadie Burt. Bondy Gold Key recipients are eighth-graders Regina Loreto, Elisa Sandoval and Juana Torres; and seventh-grader Melissa Anderson. Sam Rayburn High placed two students in the Gold Key column: senior Erick Gonzalez and sophomore Emily Garcia. The 10 students will take part in a Gold Key Awards ceremony on Wednesday at the Harris County Department of Education. The ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. A complete list of winners (name, school, category and title of art submission): GOLD KEY Melissa Anderson, Bondy Intermediate, Drawing, "Self-Portrait" Regina Loreto, Bondy IS, Drawing, "Ricardo" Elisa Sandoval , Bondy IS, Drawing, "Family" Juana Torres, Bondy IS, Drawing, "Jazz" Paola Duran, Memorial HS, Drawing, "A Loving Touch" Kiet Vo, Memorial HS, Drawing, "In The Mind Of A Nebula" Sadie Burt, Memorial HS, Drawing, "Web Of Lies" Amy Truong. Memorial HS, Printmaking, "Disguised" Emily Garcia, Sam Rayburn HS, Drawing, "Midnight Festivities" SILVER KEY Jordan Bonnet, Bondy IS, Drawing, "Chicago" Kathryn Wheeler, Bondy IS, Drawing, "Remembering Our Past" Carolina Martinez, Pasadena HS, Mixed Media, "Kodachrome Flouroscope" Kimberly Garcia, Memorial HS, Drawing, "Twisted Behavior" Ashley Snedeker, Sam Rayburn HS, Ceramics & Glass, "Rusted Through" Isabel Garcia, Sam Rayburn HS, Digital Art, "The Follow Through" Raina Baggerly, Sam Rayburn HS, Drawing, "Midnight Drive" Chelsea Cole, Sam Rayburn HS, Drawing, "Lighting Of Love" Alejandra Faudoa, Sam Rayburn HS, Drawing, "Stop The Noise" Isaac Campos, Sam Rayburn HS, Drawing, "Self Portrait In Perspective" Christiana Garcia, Sam Rayburn HS, Sculpture, "Self-inflicted" HONORABLE MENTION Irving Lira, Pasadena HS; Eric Salazar, Pasadena HS; Ivan Valdez, Memorial HS; Ashley Dollagaray, Memorial HS; Emily Marroquin, Memorial HSD; Emma Acosta, Sam Rayburn HS; Breye Perkins, Sam Rayburn HS. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Bondy Intermediate Gold Key recipients are seventh-grader Melissa Anderson and eighth-graders Regina Loreto, Elisa Sandoval and Juana Torres.
Gold Key winners from Sam Rayburn High: senior Erick Gonzalez and sophomore Emily Garcia. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOOTBALL: Trojans Recognized by TD Club for Good Sportsmanship
South Houston Coach C.L. Whittington (right) accepts a Touchdown Club Good Sportsmanship certificate from Pam Lovett, vice president of Coamerica Bank. On the left are Eric Anderson with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and South Houston senior Deion Francis.
HOUSTON -- South Houston High's football team was formally recognized on Wednesday as one of 15 area Class 5A squads exhibiting exceptional sportsmanship last season. Trojans Coach C.L. Whittington and senior running back Deion Francis accepted a finalist certificate during the Houston Touchdown Club's annual Sportsmanship Banquet at the JW Marriott Hotel. South Houston's designation as a finalist was the second in the past three years for the Trojans. Pasadena's Memorial High won the award in 2011. Fort Bend Dulles took top honors this year with Morton Ranch second and Oak Ridge third. Whittington was joined by several friends and family members, including former Houston Oilers teammates Dan Pastorini and Al Johnson, as well as his former Oilers assistant coach, Andy Bourgeois. Also part of the South Houston contingent was Bob Allen, an all-state halfback for the Trojans in 1965. Allen, who went on to play at Texas Tech and is a major benefactor for South Houston facilities projects, has been selected as one of eight new inductees into the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will be held April 13 at Memorial High School. Also on hand for the luncheon were Pasadena ISD school board members Nelda Sullivan, Fred Roberts and Marshall Kendrick; Rodney Chant, the district's athletics director; Roneka Lee, assistant athletics director; Dr. Troy McCarley, associate superintendent for campus development; Kevin Fornof, associate superintendent for facilities and construction; and South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen. Guest speaker for the event was Thomas McGaughey, a former University of Houston football standout who currently serves on the football staff at LSU. Awards were presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and sponsored by Coamerica Bank.
Part of the South Houston contingent: (top) Bob Allen, C.L. Whittington, Deion Francis, Francis's father (at lower left); (bottom) Darryl Harris and wife Darla, Andy Bourgeois; Mrs. C.L. (Winifred) Whittington; and Shirley Ford, Whittington's sister.
Whittington with Bob Allen, an all-state halfback for the Trojans in 1964.
Marshall Kendrick, president of the Board of Trustees, with wife Denie.
Roneka Lee, assistant athletics director for the district, with board member Nelda Sullivan.
DANCING WITH THE PRINCIPALS: Photo Albums
SEE LINKS BELOW FOR CAMPUS DWTP PHOTO ALBUMS
GRAND PRIZE: Enrique Macias and Erica Ordogne, Jessup Elementary.
Macias and Ordogne accept their Grand Prize trophy.
JUDGES CHOICE AWARD (tie): Roberto Cavazos and Becky Vargas, Matthys Elementary.
JUDGES CHOICE AWARD (tie): Golden Acres Elementary.
TOP FUNDRAISER AWARD: Nicole Hicks and Tony Davila, San Jacinto Intermediate.
YOUNG ELEMENTARY: Shirlyn Ross and staff.
SAN JACINTO INTERMEDIATE: Tony Davila and Nicole Hicks.
SOUTHMORE INTERMEDIATE: J. Kirby Anderson and Jon Anderson.
PARK VIEW INTERMEDIATE: Aldred Padron and Keely Coufal.
PARKS ELEMENTARY: Derral and Irma Parkin.
SOUTH HOUSTON INTERMEDIATE: Staff
JESSUP ELEMENTARY: Enrique Macias and Erica Ordogne.
GARDENS ELEMENTARY: Vicki Lenio and Steve Cote.
MATTHYS ELEMENTARY: Becky Vargas and Roberto Cavazos.
GOLDEN ACRES ELEMENTARY: Lisa Haws and staff.
Dr. Kirk Lewis, Pasadena ISD Superintendent of Schools, with Gail Ward, peer facilitator at South Houston Intermediate.
Diane Phelan, Keller Middle School principal, with Marshall Kendrick, President of the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees.
Renea Ivy Sims, Associate Superintendent for Communications and Community Relations, with Marshall Bennett, Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union.
Dobie High School to Unveil Hall of Honor with 13 Inductees
Brig. Gen. Edmund Walker, chief of operations for NATO forces in Afghanistan, is one of 10 Dobie High School graduates, including PayPal co-founder Ken Howery and two-time Olympic gold-medalist Christa Williams, chosen for induction in the school's new Hall of Honor. Former teacher Richard Golenko and community volunteers Gilbert Aguilar and Emory Gadd complete the list of 13 individuals who will be honored in an inaugural ceremony on March 1 at the school. The induction ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. Two of the 10 graduates, Walter McRae and Chris Williams, will be honored as Fallen Heroes. McRae, an Army veteran and Bronze Star recipient, died in 2011 from health complications related to his service in Operation Desert Storm. McRae graduated from Dobie in 1972. Williams, a West Point graduate and Army captain, was killed in a training accident in 1995. He was honored as Mr. J. Frank Dobie as a senior in 1984. Other alumni slated for induction are South Belt physician Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox; Chris Connealy, fire marshal for the state of Texas; Dr. Dina Jackson-Giesler, a leader in the field of cosmetic dentistry; Dr. Mark Chassay, a long-time team physician for the University of Texas; and Bobby Burton, a college football recruiting expert and sports publishing entrepreneur. "We are extremely excited about this inaugural class of inductees," said Dobie Principal Franklin Moses. "Their great accomplishments send a strong message to our current students that they, too, can go out and make a significant impact in their community and for their country." Moses said the concept for the Hall of Honor was first developed by his predecessor, Steve Jamail, who retired as principal a year ago. A committee was formed to plan the project, consider nominations and choose inductees. Additional inductees will be selected on an annual basis, Moses said, with consideration given to esteemed alumni, community volunteers and former faculty and staff. "Mr. Jamail and I both felt that the recognition of the alumni was well deserved and the inclusion of teachers and volunteers was essential," Moses said. "Without great teachers and volunteers over the years, Dobie would not be the flagship school that it currently is in Pasadena Independent School District." Walker, who graduated in 1974, is the oldest of the living inductees. Christa Williams, a 1996 graduate who pitched Dobie to state softball titles in 1993 and 1995, is the youngest of the inductees. Plaques for the inductees will be placed on permanent display in a remodeled section of the main hallway separating the administrative offices from the food court.
THE INDUCTEES ALUMNI
EDMUND WALKER Class of 1974 Armed Services Now a brigadier general and a 35-year Air Force veteran, Walker serves as the chief of operations for the NATO's Combined Joint Staff in Kabul, Afghanistan. Brig. Gen. Walker is tasked with coordinating operations to fight insurgent forces and provide assistance to Afghani security forces. After graduating from Texas A&M in 1978, he served as a pilot and flight instructor for the A-10 and other aircraft. His first command assignment came in 2001 when he took charge of the 47th Fighter Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base. Promoted to brigadier general in 2010, he received his first joint assignment, taking charge of the Allied Force Command's coordination center in Madrid, Spain. He was named to his current assignment in Afghanistan in January of 2012.
MARY CAMPBELL Class of 1976 Medicine The legacy of Dobie graduates giving back to the South Belt community may be best exemplified by Mary Campbell, now Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, one of the best known family physicians in the area. Through her work at Campbell Family Practice and Internal Medicine Association, she has provided primary and surgical care to hundreds of South Belt families. A graduate of the University of Houston and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, she returned to the South Belt community in 1990 to start her own practice. In 1998, she was named physician of the year in the Memorial Hospital System. In 2003, she was named chief of staff of Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. She is a past recipient of San Jacinto College South's Trailblazer Award for Women's History. She was honored as the Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Alumnus for 2006.
CHRIS CONNEALY Class of 1977 Public Administration A veteran firefighter who rose to the rank of fire chief for the City of Houston, Connealy has served as Texas fire marshal since June of 2012. Connealy joined the Houston Fire Department shortly after earning his associate degree from San Jacinto College in 1978. He was appointed assistant fire chief in 1998, interim chief in 2000 and fire chief the following year. With a mayoral change at city hall and several municipal funding problems still unresolved, he resigned in 2004. Soon after, he accepted the position of fire chief in Cedar Park, Texas. He held that position for eight years before his appointment as state fire marshal. A graduate of Western Illinois, Connealy earned his master's degree in fire administration from Grand Canyon University and completed a program offered by Harvard in public administration. He served three years as chairman of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. He also serves as an adjunct instructor.
DINA JACKSON Class of 1981 Dentistry Jackson, now Dr. Dina Jackson-Giesler, is regarded as one of the nation's leading authorities on cosmetic dentistry. She earned the designation of "Master Dentist" by the Academy of General Dentistry, placing her in the top one percent of dentists across the nation. A former colonel of the Dobie drill team, she graduated from the University of Texas Dental School and did hospital residency work at the Oklahoma Medical Center. She opened her own practice in Texas before relocating to Atlanta. Dr. Jackson-Giesler serves on the board of the Georgia Academy of General Dentistry and is a past board member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. In 2007, she was named recipient of the academy's first Humanitarian Award. She is the founder of the Atlanta Smiles Foundation, which provides free dental services to victims of domestic abuse.
MARK CHASSAY Class of 1984 Medicine Dr. Chassay's relationship with Longhorns has never wavered. The president of his senior class at Dobie and a co-valedictorian, he enrolled at the University of Texas, graduated from the UT Medical School and for the past 17 years has provided physician services for UT athletics. In 1996, he was named team physician for women's athletics at the school. Nine years later, he was promoted to head team physician for all intercollegiate athletics. Just last year, he was appointed deputy executive commissioner at Texas Health and Human Services for the Office of Health Policy and Clinical Services. He maintains his association with UT athletics as assistant team physician. Ten years ago, Dr. Chassay co-founded Texas Sports and Family Medicine. A volunteer for the U.S. Olympic Committee, he has served as a medical officer for numerous athletic endeavors, including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
BOBBY BURTON Class of 1987 Sports Journalism / Publishing Recognized as one of the foremost authorities on college football recruiting over the past two decades, Burton parlayed his interest on the topic into one of the influential information services in sports. In 2001, he spear-headed a group that acquired Rivals.com, then a struggling recruiting service. Burton helped transform the company into a multi-million-dollar enterprise with more than 150,000 subscribers, two million monthly on-line viewers and more than 250 employees. In 2007, Burton and his partners sold Rivals.com to Yahoo! Sports for a reported $98 million. Years before launching Rivals.com, Burton established the National Recruiting Advisor, serving as a one-man staff. In 2000, the publication's success earned him the mantle of the 88th most powerful person in sports by The Sporting News. A regular guest on TV and sports talk shows, Burton also serves as a consultation for Parade magazine's high school All-America selections.
KEN HOWERY Class of 1994 Technology / Venture Capital The valedictorian of his Dobie graduating class, Howery armed himself with a degree in economics from Stanford before making investment history as one of the most acclaimed venture capitalists in the country. Barely a year out of Stanford, Howery helped launch PayPal, the global e-commerce company, now a subsidiary of eBay. He served as PayPal's first chief financial officer, departing in 2002 to help launch Founders Fund, a $275 million venture capital firm with over 100 company start-ups. Founders Fund projects have included such well-known names as Facebook, SolarCity, SpaceX and ZocDoc. Howery assisted his PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, on an investment plan that made Thiel the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel eventually sold his Facebook holdings for $1 billion. Howery's investment acumen has made him the subject of stories in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Fortune. Picked as the keynote speaker for the Harvard Business School's recent entrepreneurship conference, Howery has also been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and as one of the top 10 venture capitalists under 36 by the Venture Capital Journal. He is a founding advisor to Kiva.org, which uses web resources to raise money in the fight against poverty. He also sits on the board of directors of The Explorers Club, a non-profit group that promotes scientific exploration.
CHRISTA WILLIAMS Class of 1996 Athletics Quickly rising to the ranks of one of the nation's top softball pitchers, Williams won two Olympic gold medals before the age of 23. Just after her graduation from Dobie, she became the youngest player named to the USA softball team for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Still, she pitched in two games, struck out 15 batters and won both contests. In the 2000 Sydney Games, she pitched in four games, winning two and saving two others. Her Olympic statistics were sterling: 24 2/3 innings with 38 strikeouts, four victories, two saves and no losses. Now the head softball coach at Manvel High School, Williams is best remembered in the South Belt area for helping lead Dobie to state titles her freshman and junior years. She was named a college All-American three times, once at UCLA and twice at the University of Texas. She owns nearly dozen gold medals for contributions to various world championship teams. In 2007, she was named to UT's Women's Hall of Honor.
WALTER McRAE JR. Class of 1972 A 23-year Army veteran who rose to the rank of first sergeant in Special Forces, McRae passed away in June of 2011 from health issues stemming from his service to the country during Operation Desert Storm. Known as Walt, he left the military with numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star, earned for extraordinary heroism in ground combat during the liberation of Kuwait. He later opened a truck accessories business in Temple and relished his time spent underwater. A, expert avid diver and scuba instructor, he logged over 1,000 hours of diving all over the world. McRea closed his business and retired in 2010.
CHRIS WILLIAMS Class of 1984 A West Point graduate and Army captain, Williams was killed on July 18, 1995, when a 500-pound bomb was accidently dropped on an observation post where he was monitoring troop exercises at Fort Sill. His death deeply saddened the South Belt community, where Williams had grown up. He attended Stuchbery Elementary and Thompson Intermediate before enrolling at Dobie. Voted the prestigious honor of Mr. J. Frank Dobie his senior year, he was accepted to West Point, where he affectionately known as Willy. At graduation, Williams was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the field artillery branch. He served in combat during Operation Desert Storm and then as a platoon leader at Fort Sill. He assumed command of A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery in July of 1994, a year before his death. In his honor, the Christopher E. Williams Memorial Leadership Scholarship is awarded each year to a Dobie senior who demonstrates high achievement and a personal concern for others.
FACULTY / STAFF
RICHARD GOLENKO The guiding force behind Dobie's two national championships in Academic Decathlon, Golenko retired in 2007 after a 35-year career as a high school teacher, all of it at Dobie. He arrived at the school in 1972, just four years after it opened, and taught Latin, sociology, world geography and various American history courses. His Latin teams piled up 18 state championships over the years. His coaching efforts in Academic Decathlon struck gold in 1992 and again in 1996 when his teams won national titles. Four times his teams won state championships. He was named Dobie's teacher of the year twice and in 2006 was honored as the Pasadena ISD teacher of the year. Even in retirement, Golenko reeled in a prestigious national honor. Last year he was named recipient of the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award by the Kennedy Center in Washington.
GILBERT AGUILAR To hundreds of Dobie students and South Belt residents, Aguilar stands as rainbow of hope and a fountain of generosity. For 20 years, he has reached out to assist struggling students and helped improve the socialization skills of Spanish-speaking residents. A retired Coast Guard lieutenant commander with 28 years of service, Aguilar refused to let a service-related disability slow him down. He earned a degree from the University of Houston and then followed the lead of his wife, Helen, a school volunteer. Since 1994, he has been an almost daily fixture at Dobie. He has assisted ESL and special education programs, provided tutoring and counseled at-risk students. He established English-improvement classes for Dobie staff workers. And when parents of immigrant students sought similar help, Aguilar arranged classes at a local library. A former Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Citizen, he was named recipient of the Texas Heroes for Children Award in 2001.
The REV. EMORY GADD The associate pastor of Sagemont Church, Gadd has been an integral part of campus life at Dobie for the past 40 years. Tirelessly and graciously, he has answered the call in a multitude of roles: from motivational speaker, to mentor, to event organizer, to football statistician -- to tasks both complex and basic, including that of a caring friend during a time of need. He has served on the governing boards of the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce and the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, and has been honored as citizen of the year by both groups. He was instrumental in successful campaigns to pass school bond issues and remains a supporter of initiatives and activities at San Jacinto College. Both of his alma maters - South Houston High School and Houston Baptist University - have recognized him as a distinguished alumnus. He has also served on the Pasadena ISD Health Advisory Council and on the Dobie Campus Improvement Team.
Tournament Produces $158,997 Check for Foundation
Proceeds from the McDonald's Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament, now 10 years old, have officially topped the $1 million mark, tournament chairman Ben Meador announced at a check presentation ceremony on Thursday night at the Pasadena ISD's Orozco Center. Meador handed out two hefty checks to the Pasadena and Deer Park education foundations covering proceeds for the 2012 tournament. "I said last year we would break a million dollars, and we did," said Meador. "After all, records are made to be broken." The Pasadena ISD Education Foundation received a check for $158,997 while the Deer Park ISD Education Foundation took home a check for $52,999. Both school superintendents, Dr. Kirk Lewis from Pasadena and Arnold Adair of Deer Park, were on hand to receive the checks on behalf of their districts' foundations. Proceeds are used to fund mini-grants for district teachers. "You just don't see this type of collaboration in many places," said Chris Bezdek, president of the Pasadena ISD foundation. "The foundations, school districts, employees, chambers and community members have all helped to raise money for the kids in our two districts." Gabe Meyer, a special education chairperson at Memorial High, was presented with the tournament's Volunteer of the Year award. A graduate of Sam Rayburn High and former NASA worker, Meyer worked closely with tournament staff and other volunteers.
Ben Meador presents a check for $158,997 to the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation President Chris Bezdek.
Deer Park ISD Superintendent Arnold Adair accepts a $52,999 check from tournament chair Ben Meador.
Pasadena ISD Education Foundation President Chris Bezdek presents Gabe Meyer with the Volunteer of the Year award.
Volunteer of the Year recipient Gabe Meyer celebrates with his family.
Pasadena High's Kelly Named National Coach of the Year
Pasadena High's Darla Kelly has been named the 2012 National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of High School Coaches Association for girls swimming and diving. Kelly has served as aquatics coach at Pasadena High since 1995. Previously, she served as diving coach for all Pasadena ISD high schools. "I knew that there were so many talented and deserving people in our nation," Kelly said. "I really did not give it much thought about being chosen for any award past the state award. When I received the letter congratulating me on being chosen as the national winner, I was overwhelmed! This is such an honor to be chosen for this award." In her 31 years of coaching, Kelly has produced 37 conference champions and three district team champions. Last fall she was named Texas Coach of the Year by the same national coaches association. Since 1983, she has been named the recipient of either a swimming or diving district coach of the year honor 27 times. Kelly is married to Robert Kelly, also an aquatics coach. For the past 22 years, the two have teamed up to coach swimmers and divers in the district. "His support, the support of Pasadena Independent School District, our wonderful parents and the children we coach, all have been a part of helping me receive this award," she said. "I am so thankful for all of them."
A Record 17 Art Students to Display Work at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
A record 17 Pasadena ISD student artists will have their work on display at this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Sam Rayburn High students accounted for eight of the 17 selections with one Best of Show and two Gold Medals. Memorial High placed five students in the Special Merit category. Best of Show winners went to Pedro Flores from South Houston Elementary, Marcos Garcia from Southmore Intermediate and Raina Baggerly from Sam Rayburn High. Gold Medal winners went to Lesley Martinez from Southmore Intermediate, Denisse Molina and Ruby Benitez from Sam Rayburn High and Carlos Hernandez from De Zavala Middle. The winning artwork will be on exhibit at the rodeo's Hayloft Gallery at the Reliant Center Stadium. High school students will advance to the Grand Prix round for a chance to sell their artwork at auction. They will compete against districts across the state in hopes of securing college scholarship funds. "This year we have 13 students advancing for a chance at auction," said Shannon Raygoza, the Pasadena ISD's visual arts specialist. "We beat out surrounding districts such as Lamar and Katy and are sending the maximum amount of students. It is truly remarkable what our students and teachers have accomplished." On Thursday, an estimated 900 spectators attended the rodeo art open house at the Administration Building. The exhibit showcased all rodeo art submissions from district students in elementary through high school. A complete list of winners follows:
Best of Show Winners
Pedro Flores, South Houston Elementary
Marcos Garcia, Southmore Intermediate
Raina Baggerly, Sam Rayburn High
Gold Medal Winners
Lesley Martinez, Southmore Intermediate
Denisse Molina, Sam Rayburn High
Ruby Benitez, Sam Rayburn High
Carlos Hernandez, De Zavala Middle
Special Merit Winners
Sadie Burt, Memorial High
Jairo Cordova, Sam Rayburn High
Maribel Ruiz, Sam Rayburn High
Gilbert Gaona, Sam Rayburn High
Amy Truong, Memorial High
Emily Marroquin, Memorial High
Ana Cisneros, Sam Rayburn High
Vanessa Sosa, Sam Rayburn High
Paola Duran, Memorial High
Juan Cruz, Memorial High
BEST OF SHOW
Pedro Flores, South Houston Elementary
Marcos Garcia, Southmore Intermediate
GOLD MEDAL WINNERS
Lesley Martinez, Southmore Intermediate
Denisse Mollina, Sam Rayburn High
Ruby Benitez, Sam Rayburn High
SPECIAL MERIT WINNERS
Sadie Burt, Memorial High
Gilbert Gaona, Sam Rayburn High
Amy Truong, Memorial High
Maribel Ruiz, Sam Rayburn High
Emily Marroquin, Memorial High
Jairo Cordova, Sam Rayburn High
Athletics Hall of Fame Donor Drive Extended to April 1
The Founding Member drive for the new Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame has been extended to April 1, organizers announced this week. The names of Founding Members will be inscribed on a glass wall to be placed on permanent display when the Hall of Fame's new 3,600-square foot facility opens in the fall. Over 40 individuals and local businesses made donations as Founding Members prior to the Hall of Fame's inaugural induction banquet last April. New Founding Members will receive sponsor tickets to this year's banquet, scheduled for April 13 at Memorial High School. Donations are tax deductible and can be made at any one of four levels: • Platinum: $2,500. Includes a 10-seat table at this year's induction banquet. • Gold: $1,000. Includes six tickets to the banquet. • Silver: $500. Includes four banquet tickets. • Bronze: $250. Includes two banquet tickets. This year's banquet will honor one former Pasadena ISD coach and seven former Pasadena ISD athletes. Among the eight new inductees are John Bryan, who coached Dobie High to state titles in cross country and track in the early 1980's, and Gawain Guy, who ran for Bryan on those Dobie squads. Four Pasadena High products will be inducted: The late Mickey Spencer (football and basketball), Randall Kerbow (football, basketball and baseball), Fritz Connally (baseball and basketball) and Amanda Buffalo (track and cross country.) South Houston High graduate Bob Allen (football) and Sam Rayburn High's Jimmy Johnson (football, baseball and track) will also be inducted. The banquet will be relocated to Memorial High this year to allow for construction and renovations at Phillips Field House, which will be expanded to allow space for a permanent Hall of Fame. Those interested in making Founding Member donations are asked to contact Herman Williams, treasurer for the Hall of Fame committee, by phone at 713-907-1190, or by email at email@example.com.
Seven Dobie Students Named All-State in Band, Orchestra, Choir
All-State selections from the Dobie band are senior Joel Arhelger, junior Chanse Morris and senior Venerson Villanueva.
Seven Dobie High students -- three from band, three from orchestra and one from choir -- have been selected as All-State honorees for 2013. Chanse Morris, a junior at Dobie, was named All-State in band for the third consecutive year. Longhorn band members chosen are Morris, for clarinet; senior Joel Arhelger, also for clarinet; and senior Venerson Villanueva, for flute. Honorees from the Dobie orchestra are sophomore Hernan Campa, for cello; senior Ira Lanza, for bass; and senior Edwardo Rios, for viola. Rios also earned All-State honors as a junior. Senior Lan Tran was selected for the All-State choir. Students selected as All-State are required to audition at the district, region and area levels. Over 60,000 students statewide auditioned in the process. Only about one percent receive All-State recognition. Those selected as All-State will attend the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in San Antonio Feb. 13-17. All-State performances will be held Feb. 16 at the conference.
Dobie All-State orchestra students are sophomore Hernan Campa, senior Ira Lanza and Edwardo Rios.
Trojan Football Team Named Finalist for TD Club Award
South Houston Coach C.L. Whittington with running back Byron Hodges, one of the seniors from the Trojans' 2012 squad.
For the second time in three years, South Houston High's football team has been named a finalist for the Houston Touchdown Club's Class 5A Sportsmanship Award. Memorial High won the award in 2011, when the Mavericks, Trojans and Dobie Longhorns were all named as finalists. South Houston, led by Head Coach C.L. Whittington, will be one of 15 finalists on hand when the winner is announced on Jan. 30 at the Touchdown Club's Comerica Bank Sportsmanship Luncheon at the JW Marriott in Houston. Whittington, a former defensive back with the Houston Oilers, has led the Trojans to three playoff appearances in his six seasons as coach. "This award celebrates what is right with high school athletics," said Neal Farmer, executive director of the Touchdown Club. Other finalists for the Class 5A honor are Channelview, Cypress Ridge, Cypress Springs, Fort Bend Dulles, Alief Elsik, Katy, Katy Taylor, Klein, La Porte, Morton Ranch, Aldine Nimitz, Oak Ridge, Pearland and Strake Jesuit. Finalists are selected through a process in which referees graded the actions of coaches, players and supporters in the stands during last fall. Disciplinary fouls are taken into account. Evaluation cards are then tallied by an accountant and data presented to a selection committee. A winner, a runner-up and a third-place team will be honored. The luncheon normally attracts an audience between 400 and 500. Guest speaker for the event will be Thomas McGaughey, the special-teams coordinator at LSU and former player for the University of Houston. The awards presentation is sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
'Dancing With the Principals' Ticket Deadline is Friday
Tickets are still available for "Dancing with the Principals," an annual dinner gala that benefits the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation. The event, which features ballroom-style dancing by Pasadena ISD personnel, is set for Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Pasadena Convention Center. The deadline for buying tickets or reserving tables is Friday, Jan.18. Individual tickets are $50. A table for eight is $500. A $1,000 event sponsorship includes a table for eight, recognition in the "Dancing with the Principals" program, a free DVD of the event and 100 votes in the balloting for best performance. Table placement is based on a first come-first serve basis. "We have a great mix of dance styles this year - a little hip hop, a little samba and even some freestyle," said Cindy Parmer, the district's director of community relations. "Our attendees can also expect a few surprises thrown their way, including two exhibition dances by members of our Board of Trustees and Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union." All proceeds go to the Education Foundation to fund teacher mini-grants and other foundation projects. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. The Pasadena Convention Center is located at 7902 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena, TX 77507. After-five attire for the event is preferred. Reservations can be made by contacting Parmer at 713-740-0288, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The tentative lineup of dancers:
Young Elementary - Shirlyn Ross, Rita Via, Eliana Garcia, Silvia Sandoval and Barbara Berry
San Jacinto Intermediate - Tony Davila and Nicole Hicks
Southmore Intermediate - J. Kirby Anderson and Jon Anderson
Park View Intermediate - Keely Coufal and Alfred Padron
Parks Elementary - Irma Parkin and Derral Parkin
South Houston Intermediate - Gail Ward, Melissa Garza, Evelyn Banks-Bradley, Ishmael Muhammad, Emmitt Drumgoole and Ivory Rogers
Jessup Elementary - Erica Ordogne and Enrique Macias
Gardens Elementary - Vicki Lenio and Steve Cote
Matthys Elementary - Becky Vargas and Roberto Cavazos
Golden Acres Elementary - Lisa Haws, Lorena Carrasco, Kim McCord, Fanny Montan, Wendy Sullivan and Wendi Tarver
Pasadena ISD Board to be Recognized at Jan. 22 Meeting
January has been designated as School Board Recognition Month, a time to spotlight the more than 7,000 men and women who serve on local school boards around the state. The Pasadena ISD will join other districts across Texas in paying tribute to the contributions of the dedicated community leaders who make up the current board. The seven board members will be recognized at the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Board members are Marshall Kendrick, president; Jack Bailey, vice president; Fred Roberts, secretary; Mariselle Quijano-Lerma, assistant secretary; Vickie Morgan; Jerry Speer; and Nelda Sullivan. Morgan, in her 26th year in office, is the longest tenured member in board history. Kendrick is in his 23nd year of service, Roberts and Sullivan are both in their 18th year, Speer is in his 12th year, Quijano-Lerma is in her fourth and Bailey is in his third. "Their entire focus is to do what's always best for kids," said Dr. Kirk Lewis, the Pasadena ISD superintendent of schools." In both 2003 and 2008, the Pasadena ISD board was named one of five Texas Honor Boards by the Texas Association of School Administrators.
Track Coach, Seven Sports Greats Make Up 2013 Hall of Fame Class
John Bryan, who coached Dobie High's boys cross country and track teams to state championships three decades ago, and Gawain Guy, the running machine behind those Longhorn titles, have been selected for induction in the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame along with six other former athletes from football, basketball and baseball. The high-school careers of the eight inductees blanket a half-century -- from Pasadena High football star Mickey Spencer, a 1947 graduate, to Amanda Buffalo, a Pasadena High cross country and track standout who graduated in 1985. Three other football greats were selected: Randall Kerbow, quarterback of the Pasadena High team that reached the 1958 state championship game; Bob Allen, an all-state halfback for South Houston High in 1964; and Jimmy Johnson, a 1976 Sam Rayburn High graduate who went on to play in the same backfield with Earl Campbell at the University of Texas. Fritz Connally, who played baseball with Johnson on the 1973 Pasadena All-Star team that won the Colt World Series title, was also picked for induction. A 1976 Pasadena High graduate, Connally excelled in both baseball and basketball in high school. He went on to shatter several hitting records at Baylor before ascending to the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. Connally is one of two new inductees to play professional sports. Kerbow, after quarterbacking the Rice Owls in two bowl games, went on to play for the Houston Oilers and then the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Half of the eight inductees earned football letters with four different Southwest Conference teams. In addition to Kerbow at Rice and Johnson at Texas, Spencer earned two letters as a lineman for Texas A&M. Allen played college ball at Texas Tech, where he led the Red Raiders in receiving his senior year. Spencer, who died in 2010, is expected to be represented at the banquet by his wife Milly. The other seven inductees have indicated they plan to attend. Bryan coached Dobie to the state cross country title in 1980 and to a state track championship in 1981. Guy, who went on to a standout career at Rice, won three state titles under Bryan's tutelage, one in cross country and two in track. The eight inductees will be honored at a gala banquet April 13 at Memorial High School. Last year's inaugural banquet, held at Phillips Field House, honored the Hall of Fame's first 12 inductees. The banquet will be relocated this year to Memorial High to accommodate construction at Phillips. Included in those construction plans is a 3,600 square-foot Hall of Fame facility to be built on the north side of the basketball arena. Organizers hope to move the banquet back to field house in 2014 as part of a permanent, on-site ceremony. All 360 tickets for last year's induction banquet were sold within 48 hours. A ticket sales plan for this year's banquet is expected to be announced later this month. Organizers also announced that the Hall of Fame will continue to accept founding donor contributions through the end of August. Contribution levels remain at $2,500, $1,000, $500 and $250. New founding donors will receive an allotment of tickets for this year's banquet and the option to buy tickets for future banquets. The four donation levels are good for ten, six, four and two tickets, respectively. Moreover, all founding donors will receive an inscription on a glass wall to be placed on permanent display when the completed exhibit opens in 2014. For additional information on founding donor memberships, please contact Herman Williams, treasurer for the Hall of Fame organizing committee, at 713-907-1190.
Atkinson Elementary Lands $15,000 H-E-B Fitness Grant
Atkinson Elementary has been selected as one of 12 recipients statewide of an H-E-B Healthy Campus Grant, part of the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program. Atkinson will receive a three-year $15,000 grant to be used to enhance existing health and fitness programs or start new ones. To qualify, Atkinson administrators presented a robust plan for actively promoting H-E-B's three pillars of health - food, body and life. Examples include a school-wide healthy eating challenge, lunchbox audits and "nutrition interventions" for students with poor eating habits. Other examples include walk-a-thons and physical activity zones, and school vegetable gardens. For more than a decade, H-E-B has rewarded teachers, principals, superintendents and campuses for outstanding leadership and teaching through Excellence in Education. Two years ago, H-E-B added a new category to recognize campuses interested in improving the health and wellness of their school community. Recipients were selected by a panel of fitness and nutrition experts from The Oliver Foundation, ACTIVE Life, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
The complete list of 2013 grant recipients: Hemphill Elementary - Hays Independent School District, Kyle Allison Elementary - Austin Independent School District, Austin Glover Elementary - Fort Bend Independent School District, Missouri City Edgewood Elementary - Spring Branch Independent School District, Houston Atkinson Elementary - Pasadena Independent School District, Houston Robb Elementary - Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Uvalde St. Mary's Catholic School - Brownsville Lyford High School - Lyford Consolidated Independent School District, Lyford IDEA Quest - IDEA Public Schools, McAllen Tuscany Heights Elementary - North East Independent School District, San Antonio Indian Springs Elementary - Comal Independent School District, San Antonio James and Margie Marion Elementary - Allen Independent School District, Allen
Nominations for the Pasadena ISD's 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award are now being accepted. The deadline for nominations for the 2013 award is Wednesday, Jan. 9. The award recognizes a Pasadena ISD alumnus who has made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments and career have brought credit to Pasadena and the Pasadena ISD. The recipient will be honored at a spring award ceremony. The award has been presented annually since 1997. Criteria for eligibility includes the following: • Past recipients are not eligible, nor are current employees of the Pasadena ISD. • Eligible nominees must have attended a Pasadena ISD school during their elementary or secondary school years. • Eligible nominees must be present to receive the award -- unless the alumnus is to be honored posthumously. Additional eligibility requirements can be found on the Pasadena ISD website along with a nomination form. Those wishing to submit a nomination are asked to return the completed form, along with any supporting documentation, to the Pasadena Independent School District, Attn. Renea Ivy-Sims, 1515 Cherrybrook, Pasadena, TX, 77502. A downloadable form can be found via a link at the bottom of this page. PREVIOUS AWARD RECIPIENTS 2012 -- Frank Young, Pasadena High, 1958 2011 -- Dr. Mike McKinney, Sam Rayburn, 1969 2010 -- Rick Schriever, Sam Rayburn, 1973 2009 -- Dr. Byron Tapley, Pasadena High, 1951 2008 -- James R. Smith, South Houston, 1960 2007 -- Dr. Carlton Horbelt, Pasadena High, 1973 2006 -- Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, Dobie, 1976 2005 -- J. Michael Solar, Sam Rayburn, 1971 2004 -- Dr. Paul Zanowiak, South Houston, 1965 2003 -- Martin Cominsky, Pasadena High, 1976 2002 -- Dr. Bill Allen, Pasadena High, 1951 2001 -- Bill Shock, Pasadena High, 1954 2000 -- Ben Meador, Pasadena High, 1957 1999 -- Bill McMillin, Pasadena High, 1958 1998 -- Robert Smith, Pasadena High, 1971 1997 -- Larry Forehand, Pasadena High, 1962
Filing Dates Set for 2013 Board of Trustees Election
Filing dates for the 2013 Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees election have been set. Candidate applications may be filed beginning Jan. 30, 2013. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. on March 1, 2013. The election is set for May 11, 2013. Ballot applications must be submitted to the Pasadena ISD Election Office, 1515 Cherrybrook, Pasadena, Room F6. For questions about the election process, please call 713-740-0027.
Three High Schools to Receive Funding for New AP Courses
Three Pasadena ISD high schools - Dobie, Memorial and Pasadena High - have been chosen to participate in a program designed to start new Advanced Placement math and science courses for select groups of "traditionally underrepresented minority and female" students. Minority and female students who demonstrate strong academic potential will be selected to enroll in the new courses, which cover science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. The Pasadena ISD is as one of 487 districts across the country invited to participate in the program. The program offers willing and academically prepared high school students the opportunity to study at a college level, enabling them to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for college success. Research shows that students who take AP math and science were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering and life science disciplines-the fields leading to some of the careers essential for America's future prosperity. The three schools will receive funding to start one or more new AP courses. The grants will be used by teachers for professional development and to acquire classroom materials, lab and technology equipment, college-level textbooks, and other resources imperative for a high-quality AP course. These grants will vary from $1,200-$9,000, depending on which subject area the school is starting. In addition, to support inclusivity and outreach to students in the participating schools, all AP STEM teachers at these schools will receive a $100 gift card for each student who achieves a score of 3, 4 or 5 on an AP STEM exam. The cards can be used by the teacher to further invest in classroom resources - with the goal of driving student engagement and achievement in years to come.
Credit Union CEO Lukaszewski Honored as 2012 Distinguished Citizen
"We would not be able to do what we do here in Pasadena without people like Linda Lukaszewski." -- Pasdena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis
Those words rang true at the district's 2012 Distinguished Citizen reception at the Orozco Complex on Tuesday night as Linda Lukaszewski was honored with the prestigious award in front of a crowd of friends, family and community leaders. "We as a district know that we can count on Linda in everything that we do," said Dr. Kirk Lewis, Superintendent of the Pasadena ISD. "When she is out among our students, you can see the love and commitment she gives to make sure we are empowering the kids to be the best they can be." Lukaszewski, who is the president and chief executive officer of Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, has played an important role in maintaining both the financial well-being and the high-level of educational achievement in the Pasadena schools and community. "It's an honor," Lukaszewski said. "I am extremely excited to have this bestowed upon me." She has served in community groups ranging from the annual McDonald's Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament and steering committees, to the Education Foundation's scholarship and application review committees. Among her generous gifts of financial resources, she is also a tireless volunteer with the district's Helping One Student to Succeed (HOSTS) program which helps students in reading and writing. "The kids love her," said Ginger Lay, the district's HOSTS coordinator. "For her to give up her time each week at these campuses is a big commitment, and she and her team at the credit union have been doing it for years." "Why do I do what I do?" Lukaszewski said. "I volunteer because I like it."
LIST OF PAST WINNERS
• Faye Schimek, 1995 • Kathyrn Whitfill, 1996 • Kathleen Morris, 1997 • John Phelps, 1998 • Denise Converse, 1999 • Gilbert Aguilar, 2000 • Eddie Dansby, 2001 • Russell and Judy Lamontagne, 2002 • Dr. Paul Covell, 2003 • Rosalie Kuntz, 2004 • Emory Gadd, 2005 • Charles Davis, 2006 • Herman Williams, 2007 • Carroll Smith, 2008 • Terry Brotherton, 2009 • Bill Barmore, 2010 • Dana Philibert, 2011
Board of Trustees President Marshall Kendrick and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kirk Lewis present Lukaszewski with a bronze commemorative plaque.
Linda and her two granddaughters -- six-year-old Andi and three-year-old Charli -- celebrate the evening festivities.
Long-time Pasadena ISD educator Richard Mills congratulates Lukaszewski on her award.
Linda is greeted by her family members as they gather for a group photo.
Fellow Pasadena ISD Education Foundation member Randy Drake commends Lukaszewski on her award.
VIDEO: Fox 26 Houston Highlights District E3 Program
SHHS Students Pay Surprise Birthday Visit to 102-Year-Old Neighbor
Elodia Brandin, who turned 102 last month, shares a pleasant afternoon in her swing with her birthday visitors from South Houston High School. Holding the birthday banner are J.C. Longoria and Alvaro Gonzalez. Sitting with the birthday girl are sisters Gabby and Sophia Villarreal.
Several times they had passed the house on their afternoon walk home from South Houston High School -- four students -- two Hansels and two Gretels with more than a passing interest in the elderly woman who lived there. "We'd see her outside, feeding the birds or watching her dog," says Sophia Villarreal, one of the four South Houston students, all sophomores. "I always thought she was a cute little old lady." Too old for gingerbread, the four friends saw an opportunity one day last month to do a good deed. On the stroll to their homes in Arlington Heights, the subdivision adjacent to the high school, they spotted a banner hanging in front of the woman's house: "Happy 102 Birthday Granny Brandin." They knocked on the door -- and then serenaded 102-year-old Elodia Brandin with "Happy Birthday." Sophia, a member of the South Houston High orchestra, even took out her violin and played scales, part of what turned out to be a 30-minute birthday visit from four total strangers. But strangers no more. Since then, the students have stopped by on several occasions to say hello. Sometimes it's all four -- Sophia and her sister, Gabby Villarreal, along with Alvaro Gonzalez and J.C. Longoria. Other times, it's one or two of the group who stop to chat. Was Granny Brandin surprised by the birthday visit? "Well, I guess I was!" she said in a strong, clear voice. "They would wave at me while I sat in my swing. I'd wave back, but I didn't know who those kids were." All five are friends now, although forming the friendship wasn't that easy, even with the birthday banner draped in front of the house. Alvaro -- "He's sort of the crazy one," Longoria says -- suggested to the others that a birthday greeting for Granny would be a nice touch. That was fine with the others. Until they noticed a sign on the front door warning would-be intruders that the occupant was armed and the premises well-defended. "It was like, 'Oh, never mind!'" Gabby said. "I was a little scared," said Sophia. Elodia's daughter-in-law answered the door, invited the students in and summoned Elodia to meet them. The four sang "Happy Birthday" and struck up a conversation with Elodia's son, who mentioned his skills with the fiddle. At his urging, Sophia unpacked her violin to perform a short birthday concert. "She was surprised and happy," Gonzalez said. "I think it was cool." The four students were just as intrigued. "I've never met anyone 102 before," Gabby said. Elodia presented each of the students with a handmade Hershey's Kisses candy holder in the shape of a bird and fashioned out of red and white yarn. Each came tagged with Elodia's favorite Bible verse. Over the past 53 years, Elodia was seen 12 of her descendants graduate from South Houston, including six grandkids and five great grandkids. Her daughter, Carole, was a member of the school's first graduation class in 1959. Elodia has lived in a cottage adjacent to the main house for the past 42 years. "She's a very nice lady," Longoria said. "I could tell by her face that we brought her a lot of happiness. I felt like we had done something really good." "We really made her day," Sophia said. "And that really made my day."
District Officials Treated to Tech Innovations on Four-Campus Tour
Sam Rayburn seniors Nilda Chavez, Maria Serrato and Tania Cazares show off their iPads during a classroom demonstration.
Pasadena ISD administrators got a close-up look at new technology applications in classrooms on Wednesday during the district's second annual Technology Tour. Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and several members of the district's Board of Trustees made stops at Genoa and Pearl Hall elementary schools, San Jacinto Intermediate and Sam Rayburn High. The tour featured a variety of new teaching tools and techniques, including graphic arts software, iPads and even computer game design. The tour was coordinated by Vicky McCarthy, the district's executive director for instructional technology.
Dr. Kirk Lewis, superintendent of schools, chats with Pearl Hall fourth-grader Joshua Guadarrama, hard at work on an idea for a computer game.
School board members Marshall Kendrick and Jack Bailey take a peek at the graphic design work of Sam Rayburn student Jesus Rocha.
Pearl Hall fourth-graders absorb a lesson in computer game technology from Richard Healey (right), a computer design teacher, via a Skype connection from England.
FALL PRIZE PARADE: ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS Part 1
BAILEY ELEMENTARY Mini-grant name: "Academic, Social And Emotional Development." Writers:Eugenia Morefield, Dee Pelts, Ellen Stajic, Shelley Corely. Amount:$4,652. Sponsor:McDonald's, Mariselle Quijano-Lerma.
MATTHYS ELEMENTARY Mini-grant name: "I Think / I Do / I Learn: Technologically Kinsthetic Learning." Writers: Holly Barber, Andrea Sentell. Amount: $4,443. Sponsor: Brooks & Sparks, Inc.; Randy Sparks.
Mini-grant name:"Igniting the Literacy Fire." Writers:Cheryle Lerch, Becky Vargas. Amount: $4,999. Sponsor:Shell Oil Company, Andy Jones.
McMASTERS ELEMENTARY Mini-grant name: "IPads for IEPS." Writers: Laura Johnson, Jean Coker, Diana Barclay. Amount: $3,850. Sponsor: MDL Enterprise, Inc.; Dennis and Michele Lamm.
Mini-grant name: "Road to Literacy and Writing Success." Writers: Angelica Moreno-Perez, Melissa Hickman, Deedee Pitts, Kelcey Davis, Cindy Burton, Ann Settlow, Jill Lacamu. Amount: $4,828. Sponsor: Bay-IBI Group Architects, Calvin Powitzky.
Mini-grant name: "3D Rover System." Writers: Ritu Gandhi, Carla Beames, Trina Gaines, Brenda Izaguirre, Rose Devlin, Ana Villarreal, Rebecca Erbrick, Angela Styers, Tiffany Cantu, Ann Baker. Amount: $5,000. Sponsor: Randall-Porterfield Architects, Mike Porterfield.
Mini-grant name: "School Success Through Self-Regulation." Writers: Yesenia Benites, Pam Aaron, Mary Owens, Teresa Jackson, Priscilla Holton, Yessenia Quezada, Genie Moore, Bethany Woodard, Irma Parkin. Amount: $1,403. Sponsor: Jack and Kathy Bailey.
L.F. SMITH ELEMENTARY
Mini-grant name: "Learning Hook with a Nook." Writers: Margaret Collier, Margie Cioci, Ashley Waldrep, Dolores Cavazos, Brenda Barbosa, Ramon Arias, Marianela Rodriguez, Julie Harberson, Rogelio Guzman, Jamie Garcia, Laura Davis. Amount: $4,399. Sponsor: Texas Bay Area Credit Union.
Mini-grant name: "I Want IPads!" Writers: Stephanie Nix, Camille Shock, Katherine Wood, Cheryl Harris, Patty House, Holly Montemayor, Sue Cardwell. Amount: $4,990. Sponsor: Mosher, Seifert & Company, Ken Seifert.
Mini-grant name: "Leveled Reader for Life Science Lenders." Writers: Jamie C. Murray, Shari Willis. Amount: $5,000. Sponsor: Philibert Insurance Agency, Inc.; Dana Philibert.
Mini-grant name: "Climb to Fitness." Writers: Benjamin Jimenez, David Garza, Matt Sanchez, Oscar Torres, Eva Quintanilla, Maricel Gomez, Laura Sanchez. Amount: $1,600. Sponsor: Herman and Judy Williams.
Mini-grant name: "School Success Through Self-Regulation. Writers: Lidia P. Hernandez, Sara Rodriguez, Laura Hinton, Angie Long, Jason Watson. Amount: $400.
Mini-grant name: "Stem Garden." Writers: Benamin Jimenez, Aurora Mar, Norma Garcia, David Garza, Matt Sanchez, Oscar Torres, Eva Quintanilla, Laura Hinton, Maricela Gomez, Laura Sanchez. Amount: $3,550. Sponsor: Rosewood Funeral Home, Jess Fields.
Mini-grant name: "Gifted and Talented: Enrichment 2.0 Via IPad II." Writers: Benjamin Jimenez, Aurora Mar, Norma Garcia, David Garcia, Oscar Torres, Matt Sanchez, Eva Quintanilla, Laura Hinton, Maricel Gomez. Amount: $4,662. Sponsor: City of Pasadena, Richard Scott.
Pasadena ISD Police Toy Drive Continues Through Dec. 18
Freeman Elementary Students Receive New SPARK Park
Kathleen Tinsley Ownby, executive director of the SPARK park program, offically opens the new park at Freeman Elementary.
Their faces said it all. It had been a long five years, but the fourth grade students at Freeman Elementary were a ribbon-cutting second away from getting their hands on the playground they had been promised since kindergarten. The park was made possible by the School Park Program (SPARK), a non-profit organization operating out of the City of Houston's Mayor's office that has helped develop public school grounds in neighborhood parks since 1983. "This could not have been possible without the help of our partners and community members," said Freeman Principal Michael Van Loenen. "We are so appreciative, and I hope this will continue to be a place where we can grow, play and come together as a community." As a requirement of the program, each selected school is given a goal of raising a small portion of money for their park. At Thursday's dedication ceremony, SPARK's executive director Kathleen Tinsley Ownby announced that the students had raised over $30,000. Freeman is one of a handful of district schools to be a part of the SPARK program. The first SPARK park in Pasadena opened at Parks Elementary in 2007. "I've seen a lot of parks," said Ownby, "but you all have the very best SPARK park yet."
State Representative Carol Alvarado presents school principal Michael Van Loenen with a Texas flag.
Assistant Principal Susan Wadlington accepts a flag of the U.S. from Jorge Maldonado-a representative of the office of Gene Green.
Ready to test out the new playground, a Freeman student tests out the new rings.
TEXAS INVITATIONAL: New Champ, Same Coach as Duncanville Wins
SMUGMUG On-Line for this Event:CLICK HERE Too hot to handle: Duncanville's Nasser Issa (30) and Matthew McQuiad (3) battle with DeSoto's Julian Green (32) for control of a loose ball.
Although the McDonald's Texas Invitational hasn't had a repeat Boys Division 1 Gold champion in six year, the tournament now has a repeat coach. Danny Henderson, who accepted the title trophy a year ago with Flower Mound Marcus, reprised the role on Saturday night after his new team, the Duncanville Panthers, edged DeSoto, 52-47, for the Gold championship at Phillips Field House. Duncanville senior Jerami Grace scored 15 points while teammate Omar Sherman added a handful of key rebounds and free throws during a game-deciding, four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter. The Panthers forged a crack in the deliberately paced contest with a nine-point run that gave them a 44-34 lead with 3:50 to play. DeSoto, the 2010 tournament champion, managed to close the gap to one. But with 30 seconds left, Sherman grabbed a key defensive rebound off a miss by DeSoto star Matt Jones. Sherman drew a foul and sank both free throws. Jones, who'll play for Duke next year, led all scorers with 21 points. Davontae Bailey added 10 points to the Duncanville cause. Duncanville also won the girls championship -- and this time it was a team repeat. The Pantherettes, tournament champs in 2011, walloped Bellaire 63-31 in the title game Saturday afternoon. Among Pasadena ISD schools, South Houston's boys team had the best tournament showing. The Trojans beat Sharyland, 61-57, on Saturday to claim the consolation trophy in the Division 2 Silver bracket. The Trojans finished 3-2 in the tournament.
Duncanville's Omar Sherman grabs a key offensive rebound late in the game. Sherman converted the rebound into a two-point bucket.
Duncanville's Davontae Bailey brings the ball up the court, followed closely by DeSoto's Matt Jones (14).
The Panthers' Matthew McQuaid puts up a three-pointer late in the game.
Duncanville's Jerami Grace leaves a wake of DeSoto defenders as he scores on a lay-up.
Nasser Issa nails a 3-pointer from the corner for the Panthers.
Someone forgot the pool: DeSoto's Julian Green and Duncanville's Issa show off their swimming strokes while diving after a loose ball.
DeSoto Coach Chris Dyer talks to his team during a timeout.
Henderson has a few points to make with his players during a timeout.
Duncanville's Jerami Grace receives the Scott Talton MVP Trophy from Vicki Talton and her son, Scott.
Duncanville players celebrate during the trophy presentation.
South Houston Intermediate Applauds Veterans with Annual Observance
SMUGMUG On-Line for this Event:CLICK HERE Military veterans parade into the school gym at the start of the observance.
South Houston Intermediate held its annual Veterans Day observance on Monday with dozens of former service men and women in attendance. The veterans were treated to dance performances, musical numbers and certificates of appreciation for their service to the country. Dr. Kirk Lewis, superintendent of schools for the Pasadena ISD, praised the veterans and encouraged the students to explore the many ways they can serve the nation. The Sam Rayburn High JROTC presented the colors and performed drill demonstrations. South Houston Intermediate's Pride Dance Team performed to "Yankee Doodle" and the school's Praise Dance Warriors performed to "Unthinkable." The Company Dancers from South Houston High performed to "Celebrate Good Times." The band, orchestra and choir from South Houston Intermediate also entertained the veterans.
Two-year-old Konner Brownlee makes the rounds during an early morning reception for the veterans, including (above) M.D. Russell and Leo Hernandez. Konner personally thanked each veteran in attendance for his service.
Assembled veterans rise for the presentation of colors.
Veterans salute during the playing of the national anthem.
Sam Rayburn High's JROTC squad gives a drill demonstration.
Female members of Sam Rayburn's Texas Battalion give their drill demonstration.
South Houston Intermediate's band plays the "Armed Forces March."
U.S. Army veterans rise during their portion of the medley.
Dr. Kirk Lewis speaks directly to the veterans.
Dr. Lewis presents a certificate of appreciation to Army veteran Ambrosio Alejandro.
Mario Hernandez, on active duty with the National Guard, receives his certificate from Dr. Lewis. Hernandez is a former South Houston Intermediate student and a 2006 graduate of South Houston High.
Veteran Russell Lamontagne, honored by the district as a Distinguished Citizen in 2002, receives his certificate.
South Houston Intermediate's Pride Dancers perform (also in the following two photos).
The South Houston Intermediate choir sings "United We Stand."
Richard Briley, assistant band director at South Houston Intermediate, plays "Taps."
Andrew Reynolds directs the South Houston Intermediate orchestra.
South Houston Intermediate student Eleazar Barrios plays violin.
South Houston student Luis Guerra performs on the cello.
The Company Dancers from South Houston High perform (top and below).
South Houston Intermediate Principal Laura Gomez with veteran Gilbert Joe Cisneros, who thanked the school on behalf of all the veterans.
Army veteran James Banks and wife Mae at the breakfast reception.
Veterans David Martinez and Jamie Chestnut.
Prominent PHS Alums Present Gifts to School in Halftime Ceremonies
Frank and Donna Hale, flanked by Pasadena ISD officials, present their eagle sculpture to the school. Accepting the gift are Board of Trustees members Jack Bailey and Mariselle Quijano-Lerma; PHS Principal Joe Saavedra; and (far right) Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis.
For the Pasadena Eagles, their final football game of the season on Friday night was like Homecoming and Christmas rolled into one. Two of the school's most distinguished alumni presented gifts to the school during during halftime ceremonies at the PHS-Sam Rayburn game at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Frank Hale and his wife Donna, both members of the PHS Class of 1963, presented Principal Joe Saavedra with a handsome bronze sculpture of the school's eagle mascot. The sculpture will be placed in the school library. Barbara Legler, who filled the seat of her late husband Ken Legler in the Texas House earlier this year, presented a check to the PHS band drawn from contribution sent to the family following Ken Legler's death in June. Ken and Barbara Legler met while both were members of the PHS band in the 1970s. Ken Legler graduated in 1976 and his future wife one year later. Both were members of the band when it performed in the Orange Bowl in 1974. Hale was a standout running back for the state-ranked PHS team of 1962. Donna Hale was a twirler in the PHS band and later became the first cheerleader at San Jacinto College. Hale is a former criminal courts judge for Harris County. He previously served as a prosecutor for the City of Pasadena and and as municipal courts judge. He has served three terms as president of the Pasadena Bar Association and is a merit award recipient from the Texas Bar Association.
Rep. Barbara Legler (far right) makes her check presentation the Eagle Alliance Band. Accepting are band director Jason Warren, assistant band director Michael Allen and PHS Principal Joe Saavedra. Also in attendance are (from the center) Darlene Legler, Nancy Herrod and Deborah Mathew.
Frank and Donna Hale receive a certificate of appreciation and a flower arrangement prepared by the PHS chapter of Future Farmers of American.
Frank and Donna Hale with Pasadena ISD officials and family members.
Donna and Frank Hale pose with their gift to the school.
Morales, Marine Ecology Group to Partner in Beautification Project
Morales Elementary has been selected to partner with Artist Boat, a marine environment awareness group, for a campus beautification project and after-school programs designed to educate and empower Morales students on various aspects of marine life in and around Galveston Bay. A year ago, Artist Boat partnered with Pomeroy Elementary for a similar program. A mural depicting marine ecology was unveiled at Pomeroy last spring. Funded by a grant from the Harris County Department of Education, Artist Boat will work with three elementary schools this year -- Morales and two others in the Houston area. Student projects will include garden cultivation and a water display. Plans call for Morales to set up committees of teachers, parents and community members to assist with the project. Schools, parents, local businesses and community members who wish to donate supplies or assist in voluteer activities are asked to contact Tim Berk, habitat specialist for Artist Boat, at 409-770-0722.
Sam Rayburn's Texan Battalion Squads Earn First National Rankings
Sam Rayburn High's Texas Battalion teams at the National Raider Championships.
Sam Rayburn High's Texan Battalion JROTC teams earned the first national rankings in school history last weekend at the U.S. Army National Raider Championships in Molena, Ga. Sam Rayburn's Texan Female Raiders nailed down a No. 7 overall ranking and took fourth-place in the one-rope bridge event. The Texan Male Raiders earned a No. 17 overall ranking. Sam Rayburn was one of 79 schools from across the country competing in the event, which was held just outside of Fort Benning. The Texan Battalion was the only state school to meet the criteria to compete in the championships. The Lady Raiders were led by captain Yelitza Larraga and included upperclassmen Yolanda Larraga, Leslie Sanchez, Melissa Barajas, Wendy Forester, Omedi Amaya, Esmeralda Trujillo and Gabriela Mendoza. Freshmen members were Cecilia Perez, Olivia Huerta, Leeza Gallegos, Gabby Torres, Roxiee Santana, Elizabeth Martinez, Zenia Pina, Emily George, Yaresly Bautista and Raider team assistant Teri Barfoot. The Men's Raiders were led by captain Sidney Lopez and included upperclassmen Soloman Arriaga, Christian Cardenas, Jose Carrillo, Austin Diaz, Edward Fernandez, Anthony Flores, Luis Galan, David Ortiz, Gonzalo Santibanez, Santiago Reyna and Alex Ramirez. Freshmen members were Norlin Calderon, Gus Benitez and Robert Garza. Other event photos follow:
Lukaszewski Named Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Citizen for 2012
President and CEO of Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, Linda Lukaszewski has been selected to receive the Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Citizen award for 2012. She will be honored by the district and the Board of Trustees at a reception on Dec. 11 at the Carmen Orozco Professional Development Center. Lukaszewski's roots run deep throughout Pasadena ISD. She has participated in the district's HOSTS program for the last 7 years and has been a frontrunner with the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation where she served as President in 2008. "Gulf Coast is a teachers credit union, we want to be involved in everything we can," said Lukaszewski. "I work with a great team of people who love doing everything for the kids just like I do, and that is near and dear to my heart." As a member of the Foundation's grants application review committee and scholarship committee, her contributions have helped district students receive the resources needed to excel in the classroom. She also plays a vital role while serving as a member on the steering committee for the McDonald's Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament and as chairman of the Dancing with the Principals-two of the Foundation's biggest fundraisers. "I really enjoy working with school districts, and I feel like I have been given back more than what I give," said Lukaszewski. "The Foundation has given me so much throughout the years; not only do I get to watch the excitement of the teachers when they get their grants, I get to see those funds really make an impact in the schools down the road."
LIST OF PAST WINNERS
• Faye Schimek, 1995 • Kathyrn Whitfill, 1996 • Kathleen Morris, 1997 • John Phelps, 1998 • Denise Converse, 1999 • Gilbert Aguilar, 2000 • Eddie Dansby, 2001 • Russell and Judy Lamontagne, 2002 • Dr. Paul Covell, 2003 • Rosalie Kuntz, 2004 • Emory Gadd, 2005 • Charles Davis, 2006 • Herman Williams, 2007 • Carroll Smith, 2008 • Terry Brotherton, 2009 • Bill Barmore, 2010 • Dana Philibert, 2011
Gulf Coast Educators FCU Presents Donation Check to Komen Team
Dr. Karen Holt (center), team captain for the Pasadena ISD Komen team, accepts a donation check from Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union officials. Attending the presentation ceremony were Marsha Jones, principal at Schneider Middle School; Joseph Ditta, executive vice president for the credit union; Terrie Wollard, credit union vice president and CFO; Sonia Hartman, credit union assistant controller; Julia Arceneaux, the credit union's director of business development; Rhonda Kirchman, director of human resources at the credit union; Linda Lukaszewski, credit union CEO and president; Quita Brown, principal at Mae Smythe Elementary; and Dr. Kirk Lewis, Pasadena ISD superintendent of schools.
Officials from the Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union presented a check on Monday to the Pasadena ISD Susan B. Komen Race For the Cure team on behalf of credit union donors. Dr. Karen Holt, captain of the Pasadena ISD Komen team, accepted a check for $1,126 from Linda Lukaszewski, CEO and president of of the credit union. The Komen team expects to release final totals soon on student and staff fund-raising efforts at various district campuses.
Aquatics Coach Darla Kelly Named State Coach of the Year
Darla Kelly, the swimming and diving coach at Pasadena High, has been named the Texas State Coach of the Year for Girls Swimming and Diving by the National Federation of High School Associations. Kelly (right) remains in the running for sectional and national coach of the year awards to be presented early next year. Kelly has served as swimming and diving coach at Pasadena High since 1995. Previously, she served as diving coach for all Pasadena ISD high schools. In her 31 years of coaching, she has produced 37 conference champions and three district team champions. She has been named the recipient of either a swimming or diving district coach of the year honor 27 times since 1983. The past two years she was named region diving coach of the year.
'Obama,' 'Romney' Make Pitches Before Memorial High Mock Election
Dorian Johnson (playing Barack Obama) and Braden Cain (portraying Mitt Romney) shake hands following their speeches to the Memorial student body.
"President Obama" and his rival for the White House, "Mitt Romney," made their final campaign pitches to Memorial High students on Tuesday, the eve of the school's mock election to choose the nation's next mock commander in chief. Students and guests, including Board of Trustees members Marshall Kendrick and Jack Bailey, packed the school gym for a mock political rally that featured everything from make-believe Secret Service agents to a student press corps. Both President Obama, played by Dorian Johnson, and Romney, played by Braden Cain, gave speeches to the student body, members of whom sat on opposite sides of the gym according to their presidential preferences. First Lady Michelle Obama was played by Knowshaidymar Cuevas and Ann Romney by Sadie Burt. Nathan Robbins played Vice President Joe Biden while Logan Davis played GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Each presidential candidate was introduced by his running mate. Memorial students will cast their mock ballots on Wednesday during lunch.
Syed Ahmed, the communications director for "Barack Obama," and Colton Mills, the assistant campaign director for "Mitt Romney," shake hands before the big political showdown.
Press corps members David Alfaro and Kayla Ayala explore ways to throw hardball questions at the candidates.
Ladies of liberty Lexi Davis and Kassiby Tucker greet voters.
Members of the president's Secret Service detail -- Reggie Turner, Brady Morren and Ahrmon Mcleod -- throw up a curtain of protection around "President Obama" as he prepares to enter the gym.
"Barack Obama" and "Mitt Romney" make triumphant entrances.
Deni Nikolova sings the national anthem as Memorial High Principal Dr. Angela Stallings, "Paul Ryan" (Logan Davis) and "Mitt Romney" stand at attention.
First Lady "Michelle Obama" (Knowshaidymar Cuevas) and her "husband" laugh at the introductory remarks by "Joe Biden."
"Mitt Romney" applauds as "wife Ann Romney" (Sadie Burt) is introduced to the crowd.
"President Obama" delivers his speech to the crowd.
"Mitt Romney" makes his appeal for votes.
The Republican ticket -- "Ryan and Romney" -- celebrate another successful campaign stop.
"The President" celebrates with Vice President Joe Biden (Nathan Robbins).
Red Bluff Elementary's Hinton Honored with Torchbearer Award
Red Bluff Elementary Principal Tammie Hinton is one of seven educators across the country who were recently honored with the Torchbearer Award, presented by the New York Road Runners. The award honors educators whose efforts have transformed their school's culture and created a supportive environment for health and fitness education. "This is an incredible award," said Pam Tevis, assistant director of health and physical education, "Tammie does an amazing job promoting health and fitness with her students. She really is every kid's cheerleader and is always there right beside them." Along with a trophy, Hinton received grants, t-shirts, books and equipment for her students to continue participating in running programs in school. Hinton was selected as the winner last spring and was honored at the October Board Meeting.
VIDEO: Lupold Honored as Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year
Pearl Hall Elementary music teacher Jami Lupold was honored at a special ceremony and luncheon at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin over the weekend. Earlier this fall, Lupold was selected as the Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year- the first Pasadena ISD teacher in 16 years to win that honor. Lupold was also named one of six finalists for the Texas Teacher of the Year Award by the Texas Association of School Administrators. To find out more about Lupold, view the video below.
Over 700 Attend 'Tweens Read' Book Festival at Shaw
Authors E.J. Patten, Heather Brewer, Shannon Messinger, Stefan Bachman and Geoff Rodkey attract a large crowd in the Shaw cafeteria for an afternoon panel session.
Over 700 young readers from 18 Texas school districts converged at Shaw Middle School on Saturday for the annual "Tweens Read" book festival spotlighting 21 authors of books for pre-teen students. Participation in the event, sponsored by Blue Willow Bookstore, was twice that of last year's festival. The number of authors participating jumped from 13 to 21, and included several well-known names, including 18-year-old Stefan Bachman, who flew in from Switzerland for the event. Bachman is the author of the widely acclaimed novel "The Peculiar." Also attending was Heather Brewer, whose "Slayer Chronicles" series made the New York Times best-seller list. Student attendees came from across the Houston area and from as far away as McKinney, Texas. The final student registration total, released on Monday, came to 725. Authors met with students in three panel settings and participated in a book signing session in the school gym at the conclusion of the conference. The event is coordinated by the Tweens Read Organizing Committee, co-chaired by Julie Mulkey, a Pasadena librarian, and Dr. Margaret Hale, a professor at the University of Houston. Seven Pasadena ISD librarians and five district teachers serve on the committee.
Rachel Renee Russell, author of the 'Dork Diaries,' looks over a short story submitted to her by Tiara Layode, a fifth-grade student at Milstead Middle School.
Dave Roman, author of 'Teen Boat,' has lunch with Nathan Fields, a fifth-grader at Lomax Middle School.
Students pour over book and magazine clippings for illustrations to use in free badges pressed and given to attendees.
Students get acquainted with a baby armadillo presented by the Houston Zoo.
Brittany Peterson, a fifth-grader at Milstead, goes book-shopping.
Authors Trent Reedy, Tommy Greenwald, Greg Leitich Smith and Roland Smith meet with students during a panel session in the Shaw library.
Never stop reading! Two Deer Park students squeeze in some book time in the Shaw hallway during the lunch break.
Students From 10 District Schools Join In 'Afterschool' Lighting
Students flash their candles at the conclusion of the 'Lights On' program.
Students from 10 Pasadena ISD schools participated last Thursday in the "Lights On Afterschool" program at the San Jacinto Monument. The arts and skills program is an annual event to promote awareness of after-school educational and recreational opportunities in ACE (Afterschool Centers on Education) programs across Texas. The event concluded with a candle lighting ceremony and the singing of "Texas, Our Texas" by the Richey Elementary choir. Marshall Kendrick, president of the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees, served as speaker for the event. Participating were student groups from seven elementary schools: L.F. Smith, Gardens, Matthys, Morales, Parks, Golden Acres and Richey. Students from Keller and Milstead middle schools also participated as did Sam Rayburn High students involved in the school's widely praised anti-bullying campaign.
Students join in an all-schools dance performance.
Gardens Elementary students roll out their banner.
Parents snap pictures of performing students in front of the San Jacinto Monument.
Morales Elementary students in the school's after-school cheer program put on a show.
Steve Villano addresses students and guests.
Maintenance Dept. Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness
Maintenance Department Director Tom Douglas (middle row, third from left) and maintenance employees sport pink shirts in support of breast cancer awareness.
Members of the Pasadena ISD Maintenance Department rolled up their sleeves in new pink work shirts this week to flex their muscles in support of breast cancer awareness. Promoting the theme "Real Men Wear Pink," maintenance employees collected funds for the cause. Other donations were collected in support of Wendy Garney, teacher and cheerleader sponsor at South Houston High who is battling brain cancer. A barbecue benefit for Garney will be held Nov. 3 in South Houston. Click on the link below for details.
Students Watch Knights Take on Rangers in Living History Demonstation
SMUGMUG On-Line Photos for this Event:CLICK HERE Lady Amber, played by Amber Parr, prepares to skewer a plastic ring from the jaws of Squire Michelle (Michell Phillips) while on horseback.
Shining armor competed against silver badges on Friday as brave knights, fair ladies -- and a pair of "Texas Rangers" -- teammed up for a medievel exhibition at two Pasadena ISD elementary schools. Early Act First Knight, a curriculum-based, character-development service group sponsored by Rotary International, presented a living history demonstration of jousting, riding and broad sword skills at Red Bluff Elementary and, later in the day, at Morales, where the service group performed last spring. Dr. Randall Park, founder of Early Act First Knight, introduced a revised lineup of riders that included two "Texas Rangers" -- Ranger Hannah and Ranger James -- to match skills with the medievel cast, led by Sir Cass and Lady Amber. The theme for the show was "Historic Horseback Heroes." Dressed in western garb and riding a horse, Dr. Park spoke to students about the importance of correct behavior, using the analogy of chivalry displayed by the knights of old. He stressed, however, that chivary wasn't confined to the time of King Arthur. The Early Act First Knight presentation now incorporates a western theme to show that gallantry has never been confined to one period of history -- and is alive and well today. Dozens of students attended the demonstration dressed in floral adornments, plastic knight helmets and cardboard armor.
Sir Cass (Cassidy Garcia) greets the crowd at Red Bluff.
With banners flying, Ranger James (James Lehman) makes a calvary entrance.
Ranger Hannah (Hannah Walker) uses a borrowed broad sword to skewer two rings at once.
Ranger James uses his calvary sword to take a swipe at a head of lettuce.
Sir Cass puts his lance to good use.
Eight to Advance to National Punt, Pass & Kick Meet
Francesca Reyes (Atkinson) and David Castillo (Matthys) show off their first place medals for the 8-9 year-old division of the 2012 District Punt, Pass & Kick competition.
Out of the 290 students that participated in the district's punt pass and kick competition this fall, eight will advance to the National Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick Competition later this year. The top girl and boy winner in each age division received a medal and a ticket to see a district football game this weekend. They will now compete against the top students from across the states. Students are given one punt, one pass and one kick attempt in each age group. The total distances are then added together, along with accuracy, for a winner. The top three finishers in each division follows.
1st Place - Francesca Reyes/Atkinson
1st Place - David Castillo/Matthys
2nd Place - Esmeralda Calvillo/Moore
2nd Place - Michael Nunez/Kruse
3rd Place - Gissel Jaimez/Freeman
3rd Place - Jared Hernandez/Jessup
1st Place - Samantha Buendia/Gardens
1st Place - Allan Lopez/Melillo
2nd Place - Tatyanna Longoria/Shaw
2nd Place - Sabian Smith/Lomax
3rd Place - Esperanza Bautista/Keller
3rd Place - Javon Lopez/Milstead
1st Place - Tonya Montgomery/Melillo
1st Place - Darreon Jackson/Morris
2nd Place - Bryanna Rodriguez/Morris
2nd Place - Christian Castillo/Schneider
3rd Place - Saray Aguilera/Schneider
3rd Place - Austin Gonzalez/Park View
1st Place - Janet Lemus/Jackson
1st Place - Brandon Franco/Jackson
2nd Place - Amy Oquin/Bondy
2nd Place - Estaban Ponce/Miller
3rd Place - April Garcia/Southmore
3rd - Edward Cruz/Park View
Memorial High to Host Transition Fair for Special Education Students
Huge Crowds, Graduation Mark SHHS's Biggest Homecoming Bash
Fred Stroman receives a handshake of congratulations from Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees member Jerry Speer during his diploma presentation at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Cheers and tears, chills and thrills marked the biggest Homecoming celebration in South Houston High history last weekend with three events attracting nearly 2,000 alumni and guests for observances ranging from Hall of Honor inductions to a diploma presentation. Fred Stroman, a member of the Class of 1965, received his diploma in an emotional on-the-field ceremony just before the start of the Trojans' Homecoming Game against Sam Rayburn on Saturday night. Stroman, who left school early to join the Navy during the Vietnam War, appeared at midfield in a bright red cap and gown and walked to the home-field sideline when his name was called. He received congratulations along the way from Board of Trustees members Jerry Speer, Nelda Sullivan, Jack Bailey and Marshall Kendrick. South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen then presented Stroman with his diploma, designating him as an official graduate of the Class of 1965. "Those first few steps were the hardest ones I have ever taken," Stroman said. "I still have tears in my eyes thinking about it." "I have to admit it's a little strange," Dr. Fullen said, "to see my signature on a diploma with '1965' printed on it." Dr. Fullen was only five years old when Stroman left school to join the Navy. Stroman applied for his diploma under a provision in the Texas Education Code that allows school districts to bestow diplomas on certain former students who left school to join the armed services in specified times of military conflict. Stroman drove in from Missouri with several relatives in tow for the ceremony. Pregame activities also included the formal induction of five new members of South Houston High's Hall of Honor. Inducted were Dr. William Redwine, Class of 1961; Tim Tingle, Class of 1967; Mike Loftin, Class of 1969; Joe Soto, Class of 1978; and Michael De Voe, Class of 1965. De Voe was inducted as the eighth member of "The Fallen," a section of the Hall of Honor set aside to memorialize members of the armed forces and to first-responder civilians who gave their lives in service to their country or in the line of duty. Dr. Redwine is a former chief of staff at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. Tingle is an author, lecturer and preservationist who specializes in Native American cultures. Loftin is an authority on municipal finances who worked under two Houston mayors and is currently city manager of League City. Soto is currently major of the City of South Houston. Homecoming events this year were expanded to include an "Alumni Day" open house at the high school on Friday and an all-class party, held Friday night in the ballroom of the Marriott Hobby. The open house, the first for alumni in more than 40 years, attracted about 300 South Houston grads to campus for a hot-dog feast, a Hall of Honor reception and tours of the school. About 150 grads attended an afternoon pep rally in the boys' gym. On display in the Hall of Honor was a new "Hector's Hundred" glass case bearing inscribed brass plates for donors who contributed to a funding drive for the new South Houston High School Alumni Association. Donors ranged from the first graduating class in 1959 all the way up to a member of Class of 2013, which has yet to graduate. The all-class Homecoming party drew a festive crowd of 650 on Friday night. The football game on Saturday night, won by Sam Rayburn 23-21, attracted an estimated 800 alumni and guests. Another weekend highlight was the appearance of the school's first "Hector" mascot. Bob Fay, a member of the Class of 1959, appeared at the game in full "Hector" regalia and received a spirited greeting from both alumni and current students. Fay was on hand at halftime to help crown the school's new Homecoming King, Bradley DeAnda. Two former Homecoming Queens - Judy White Standridge and Becky Chambers Morrow - participated in the crowning of the Trojans' new Homecoming Queen, Yaressly Vigil. Standridge, a member of the Class of 1960, was the school's first Homecoming Queen. Morrow, from the Class of 1967, was crowned Homecoming Queen in 1966. Most of the proceeds from the "Hector's Hundred" fund drive and the all-class party will help fund a new equipment trailer for the South Houston band.
Hall of Honor induction for Dr. William Redwine.
Hall of Honor induction for Tim Tingle.
Hall of Honor induction for Mike Loftin.
Hall of Honor induction for Joe Soto.
Hall of Honor induction for Michael De Voe, represented by his mother, Dorothy Mudd, and his sister, Deborah Bower.
Trojan royalty, past and present: Newly crowned Queen and King Yaressly Vigil and Bradley DeAnda, flanked by 1966 Homecoming Queen Becky Chambers Morrow, 1959 Homecoming Queen Judy White Standridge and Bob Fay, the school's first Hector.
Brothers Marcus Lovell, Class of 1970, and David Lovell, Class of 1972, walk through the doors of Trojanland during Friday's alumni open house.
Class of 1970 alumni Valerie Johnson Gootee and Terry Tand Beeson whoop it up during the 'Beat Rayburn' pep rally.
Bob Fay leads the Trojan alumni in the singing of South Houston's Alma Mater at the conclusion of the pep rally.
Nola Boone, Class of 1971; Cathy Gooch, Class of 1974; and Bob Garner, Class of 1971, warm up to the festivities at the all-class party at the Marriott Hobby on Friday night.
Susan Sari Heffner, Class of 1970, catches up with Debra Yeary Guedry, Class of 1968, at the all-class party.
Kathy Bertram Blackburn, Class of 1971, snaps pictures of old friends.
Hitting the floor to line dance are Jamie Hugo Ashby, Class of 1969; Beth Roye Miletello, Class of 1968; and Pam Tellez Farmer, Class of 1981.
Dancing for the good times, then and now: Carrie Bentley Tanner, Class of 1972, and Ken Vanway, Class of 1970.
Class of 1970 gal pals Amy Barnet Sowers, Valerie Johnson Gootee, Karen Day Brotherton and Gwen Watson find a comfortable spot at the Homecoming Game.
Herk Munster, Class of 1968, shows off his Homecoming mum, a gift from Nikki Pullen Clark, Class of 1969.
Trojan alums show their support for the football team.
Hail Hector! The Trojans' mascot introduces Bob Fay, South Houston's original Hector, to a jubilent student body.
Fred Stroman salutes the crowd after receiving his diploma from Dr. Steve Fullen.
SHHS in Radio Spotlight on Eve of Big Homecoming Weekend
South Houston cheerleader Karla Villarreal talks about Homecoming plans with Pam Tellez Farmer, a 1981 SHHS grad.
South Houston High students and staff pumped up the school's "Trojan Pride" theme on Thursday during a radio show broadcast live from campus in advance of what promises to be South Houston's largest Homecoming celebration ever. Catherine Dietrich, a 1979 South Houston graduate, brought the production crew for her weekly Local Live Houston internet show to Reinartz Center for a 90-minute broadcast highlighting the traditions and campus activities at the school. Among Dietrich's guests on her "Stiletto Radio" program were South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen and faculty member Danette Jolliff, a 1985 South Houston grad and campus coordinator for Homecoming events. Guests also included theater arts student Ashley Perez, cheerleader Karla Villarreal and dance team member Jasmine Badillo. Joining a roundtable discussion of South Houston's traditions and Homecoming plans were Pam Tellez Framer, Class of 1981; Al Carter, Class of 1970; and Devlin Cirtain, Class of 1987. On Friday, the campus will host its first "Alumni Day" in more than 40 years. The school will open its doors to alumni at noon to take part in campus tours, a courtyard hot dog lunch and afternoon pep rally. The first 150 alumni who request free pep rally tickets will be admitted. The school will also hold a reception for five new Hall of Honor inductees: Dr. William Redwine, Class of 1961; Tim Tingle, Class of 1967; Mike Loftin, Class of 1969; Joe Soto, Class of 1978; and Michael De Voe, a member of the Class of 1965 who was killed in action while serving with the army in Vietnam. On Friday night, the South Houston Alumni Association will stage the first Homecoming Reunion Party, open to all alumni, at the Marriott Hobby. More than 650 tickets for the event have already been sold. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door for $30 each. Saturday night's Homecoming Game against Sam Rayburn High will feature a pre-game alumni observance that will include the formal induction of the new Hall of Honor members, a performance by the Alumni Choir and a special graduation ceremony. Fred Stroman, a member of the Class of 1965, will receive his diploma from Dr. Fullen under a Texas Education Code provision allowing for diplomas to be bestowed on students who left school early for military service in specified times of conflict. Stroman served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Organizers expect to exceed last year's Homecoming crowd, which included about 450 alumni.
South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen chats with Dietrich.
Danette Jolliff, SHHS faculty member and a 1985 SHHS grad, talks about weekend Homecoming plans. | Farmer and Dietrich share a smile after the show.
Jannettes past and present: Farmer, a member of the South Houston drill team 31 years ago, joins current drill member Jasmine Badillo in a workout, all to the amusement of school mascot Hector.
PHS Alumni Efforts Pump Up Volume at School and Game
SMUGMUG On-Line Photos for this Event:CLICK HERE Mom and daughter Eagles enjoy the Saturday tail-gate festivities. Mabry Henson Terrill, a 1978 graduate, with her daughter Jessica Terrill McCarroll, a member of the Class of 2000 and president of the PHS Alumni Association.
Efforts by the newly formed Pasadena High Alumni Association to turn up the volume at Homecoming festivities attracted graduates from near and far over the weekend, including an Olympic medalist. The result was greater volume. And also a volume. "Our yearbook collection at the school was missing 1941," Pasadena Principal Joe Saavedra explained. "I mentioned that to one of our alumni whose mother graduated that year. He's going to arrange to have that yearbook donated to the school." About 60 alumni came to campus on Friday for tours conducted by Student Council members and for the Homecoming pep rally. Refreshments were provided by culinary arts students and cheerleaders presented small mums to alumni. Dozens more attended a pre-game tail-gate party on Saturday at Auxiliary Stadium and participated in a parade across the street to Veterans Memorial Stadium. PHS seniors sold barbecue plates at the tail-gate party as a fund-raiser. A Pasadena Fire Department truck led the parade with the Eagles drill team, band and cheerleaders marching and performing along the route. A long procession of alumni followed in brightly decorated vehicles with Pasadena Eagle flags flapping on the sides. "Between tailgating, our parade and the game, we had over 250 alumni from years ranging from 1954-2012," said Tricia Anderson, a PHS graduate and faculty member who served on the organizing committee. "It was great to see people, young and old, all decked out in green and showing their Eagle Pride." Although the Eagles lost the football game to South Houston High, halftime provided high points for the weekend. Alex Alacron and Amalrani Ortono were crowned Homecoming king and queen. Marlen Esparza, a 2007 Pasadena High graduate and a boxing bronze medalist at the recent London Olympics, participated in the crowning ceremony. Saavedra also presented Esparza with a Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her induction into the Pasadena High Hall of Fame. Football players from Eagles teams in the 1990s were honored in a pre-game ceremony. The players were joined by their coach, Ray Ward. "Everybody had a great time," Saavedra said. "The alumni were happy to see that so many of our traditions are still going strong. We had a lot of our people comment about how happy they were that they came out and participated."
Montie Dykes Pennington and Linda Cruse Conard, both 1967 graduates, reunite at Homecoming.
PHS Assistant Principal Steve Martin chats with Anastasia Bradshaw Sawyer, a member of the Class of 1964.
Remembering the glory days, Joe Maddox, Class of 1959, and Larry Smith, Class of 1958.
PHS cheerleaders pose for a photo before the parade to the stadium.
PHS Principal Joe Saavedra escorts Olympian boxer Marlen Esparza to the 50 yard-line during halftime festivities.
Homecoming King and Queen for 2012: Axel Alacron and Amairani Ortono.
New York Times Bestselling Author to Speak at Tweens Read Festival
New York Times bestselling author Heather Brewer will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Tweens Read Book Festival at Shaw Middle School on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10-4 p.m. The event is devoted to celebrating and promoting reading by connecting "tweens" with authors and graphic novelists from around the country. In addition to Brewer, the following authors are scheduled to speak and participate in an autograph session: Stefan Bachmann, W.H. Beck, Shana Burg, Tommy Greenwald, Deron Hicks, Amy Ignatow, Lynne Kelly, Claire LeGrand, Diana Lopez, Shannon Messenger, E.J. Patten, Trent Reedy, Geoff Rodkey, Dave Roman, Rachel Renee Russell, Augusta Scattergood, Lisa Schroeder, Greg Leitich Smith, Roland Smith and Raina Telgemeier. All Pasadena ISD students in grades 5-8 are invited to attend this free event. For more information visit www.tweensread.com.
Dobie Tennis Players Honor Their Biggest Fan, Former Principal Jamail
Dobie Coach Manuel Moreno Jr. presents Dobie Pride items to former principal Steve Jamail.
The Dobie Tennis Team paid tribute to former principal Steve Jamail for the support he gave the Longhorn program during his years of service to the school and for his recent selection as Principal of the Year in Region 4. Jamail, who retired in January after 12 years as principal, was presented with a collection of Dobie Pride items, including shirts and a shadow box display, as well as a certificate for brunch at the Galvez Hotel in Galveston. Dozens of players, parents and school staff gathered on the Dobie tennis courts just before the Longhorns' afternoon match with Pasadena High to honor Jamail.
Jamail poses with members of the Dobie tennis team.
SHHS Theatre Invites Trick-Or-Treaters on 'Dracula' Tour
The South Houston High School Theatre is planning a Halloween night treat that kids and adults can both sink their teeth into. As preparations continue for the school's production of "Dracula," the drama department will offer backstage tours with the cast on Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The family-friendly event will include "vampire" treats and prizes, photos with the cast, T-shirts, face-painting, and arts and crafts. Parents are encouraged to bring their kids out before the start of trick-or-treating later that evening. See flyer below for additional information.
PHS Drama Club to Present 'Legend of Sleepy Hollow' in Late October
The Pasadena High School Drama Club will present "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," a play for family audiences. Three performances are planned for later this month. The play is an adaptation by Kathryn Schultz Miller of the short story by Washington Irving. Performances are planned for Oct. 27 at 1 p.m., Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Pasadena High auditorium. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12 and students. Teachers and staff will be admitted free.
After 47-Year Wait, Navy Vet to Receive Diploma at SHHS Homecoming
Few events can prompt smiles from parents quite like a high-school graduation ceremony. Fred Stroman remembers his rather unusual reaction to watching his two children receive their diplomas. "I cried," he said. "Those two days hurt me." Those graduations, Stroman says, were painful reminders that he never finished the course work required to earn his diploma five decades ago from his alma mater, South Houston High School. "I was happy for my kids, but at the same time they had something that I did not have," Stroman says. "If I had a chance to do it over and stay in school, I would have. But the facts of life were different for me." For Stroman, a retired postal worker who now pastors at small churches in Missouri, the wound of dropping out of high school is about to heal. On Saturday, Oct. 13, in an on-the-field ceremony just before the kickoff of South Houston's Homecoming Game against Sam Rayburn High, Stroman will finally receive his diploma. Forty-seven years after leaving school to join the Navy, Stroman will officially become a member of the South Houston High Class of 1965. "The Lord does answer prayers," Stroman says. "This is something I've dream about. In my heart, it means that I am no different than others who received their diplomas after going to school for 12 years. I just took a different path and that it took a little longer for me to get mine." The Texas Education Code allows school districts to grant diplomas to honorably discharged veterans who left school early to join the armed forces during designated periods of military conflict. Stroman served in the Navy in 1965 and 1966 -- during the Vietnam War. He was called back to active duty in 1968 during a crisis caused by North Korea's seizure of the USS Pueblo. Stroman says the urge to get his high-school diploma intensified after he read about an 87-year-old woman who received her diploma more than 70 years after she left school. He contacted the Pasadena ISD and learned that he was eligible to receive his diploma under the TEC's military service provision. That diploma will be conferred by Dr. Steve Fullen, South Houston's principal, during the school's Homecoming Game alumni ceremonies. Several Pasadena ISD officials, including Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and several Board of Trustees members, plan to attend. Pre-game plans also include the induction of five new members of the school's Hall of Honor and a performance by the South Houston High Alumni Choir. Stroman's wife, two children and three grandchildren will make the trip from Missouri for the ceremony. His wife, the former Sandra Waggoner, is a member of the South Houston Class of 1968. Stroman will wear a red cap and gown for the ceremony. "I think I will be the happiest person on earth," Stroman says. "I will be standing before so many of my fellow classmates who over the years have accepted me as one of them." Stroman's hopes of graduating on time were derailed when he failed the seventh grade. After his sophomore year at South Houston, he signed up to join the Navy immediately following his belated graduation in 1966. But just before the start of what was supposed to be his senior year, Stroman was told he lacked a half-credit to be classified as a senior. "I felt like a failure," he recalls. "I was so upset that I left school that day and went to the reserve center and told them that I was ready to start my two years of service." Stroman began his Navy career in submarines, and then became a cook aboard the USS Intrepid. On Thanksgiving Day 1965, he was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, cutting up 50 turkeys. Shortly thereafter, he transferred to the aircraft carrier USS Constellation and headed for the waters off Vietnam. After his discharge, he became a draftsman, but a devastating fire at his church convinced him to pursue ministry work. While studying to become a Southern Baptist minister, he worked for the post office, moved to Montana and finally to Lee's Summit, Mo., where he now lives. Stroman says South Houston's Homecoming will certainly allow him to complete his own full-circle journey. "I'll be able to stand before so many classmates who got to walk the halls of the great South Houston High School," Stroman says. "This is a long-time dream that's about to come true."
TV Crews Zero In on Mavs-Eagles Football Game This Friday
Memorial High's drum line performs at a game earlier this season.
Memorial and Pasadena High's football teams will attract the attention of TV crews from both near and far this Friday night. Both of the football squads are due to be featured in a British Broadcasting Company documentary on Texas culture at Memorial's homecoming game this Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. The BBC plans to spotlight the game as an example of the importance of football in Texas.
Homecoming Open House South Houston's First in Over 40 Years
Trojan Alumni Plan Return To Alma Mater on Oct. 12
The last time South Houston High School hosted an "Exes Day" for former students, the Vietnam War was raging and man had yet to set foot on the moon. Although the term "exes" has all but vanished from the homecoming lexicon, South Houston will make history on Oct. 12 when it hosts an open house for its alumni as part of the school's 2012 Homecoming festivities. The open house will mark the first time South Houston has opened its doors for an alumni gathering - during school hours - since the fall of 1967. Events will include a festival in the courtyard, student performances, campus tours and the annual homecoming pep rally, where seating will be reserved for the 200 or more alumni who are expected to attend. Starting at noon, alumni will be treated to free hot dogs, chips and drinks. Student organizations will set up booths to sell a variety of Trojan merchandise. The open house will kick off a weekend of Homecoming activities for the Trojan faithful. The school's first Homecoming Reunion Party is set for Friday night, Oct. 12, at the Marriott Hobby. Alumni from all classes, going as far back as the Class of 1959, have purchased nearly all of the 700 available tickets. Proceeds from the party will be directed toward the purchase of an equipment trailer for the South Houston marching band. The Trojans' Homecoming contest against Sam Rayburn on Oct. 13 promises to attract the school's largest Homecoming turnout in decades. The weekend's events are part of an effort by South Houston alumni to revive the school's Homecoming tradition, which was all but dead until two years ago. In 2010, using Facebook and other social media, about 100 South Houston alumni showed up for the Homecoming game. Last year a far more intensive networking effort resulted in a total additional Homecoming Game crowd of about 750. Shortly after that, the South Houston High School Alumni Association was formally launched to boost alumni involvement -- and especially Homecoming attendance -- even more. Pre-game festivities will include the induction of five new Hall of Honor members and a performance by the Alumni Choir. Hall of Honor inductees and their families will also be treated to a reception during the open house on Friday. The open house, organized by staff and students at the school, will be the first event of its kind at South Houston since the Trojans' 50th anniversary celebration in 2007. The school that year held a Friday night open house with courtyard activities the following morning leading up to the football game. This year's event will allow alumni to visit the campus during the school day, to stop by old classrooms and see many of their former teachers. The open house will begin at noon with booths and free food in the courtyard. Alumni are asked to enter the school through the front entrance, sign in and receive an alumni badge. Members of the school's band, orchestra, choir, cheer squads and NJROTC will be performing at various locations on campus. Others students will be on hand to serve as tour guides. The reception for the Hall of Honor inductees will be held in the Reinartz Center in the middle of campus starting at noon. Alumni are invited to tour the Hall of Honor, adjacent to the Reinartz Center, and help welcome the inductees. Alumni may attend the formal recognition part of the reception at 12:30 p.m., but the doors to the Reinartz Center will be closed during that portion of the event. At 1:45 p.m., visiting alumni will be invited to join with current students at the pep rally in the boys gym. The pep really will conclude at 2:30 p.m. Alumni are advised to park in the Shaver Street parking lot on the north end - immediately in front of the courtyard/cafeteria area. The high school has undergone only modest changes since it opened in 1957. A handful of classroom wings have been added over the years. The Reinartz Center, which opened in 2001, occupies what used to be the central courtyard, the site of many past football pep rallies. The cafeteria underwent a major remodeling two years ago. Plans call for the construction of a new competition gym, to be built just west of the current gym on space now used for the main football practice field and track.
Pep Rally Honors Heroes of Jackson's 1952 Championship Team
SMUGMUG On-Line Photos for this Event:CLICK HERE Jackson Intermediate Principal Paula Sword accepts a 1952 letter jacket presented to the school by Larry Early (center) and Richard Maxwell (right). The jacket belonged to the late Teddy Early, a member of the Wildcats' 1952 championship team.
Jackson Intermediate students took a trip back in time on Wednesday -- back 60 years -- back before their parents and many of their grandparents were born. Back to when their school wasn't even named Jackson Intermediate. The Wildcats held a boisterous and often emotional pep rally to honor members of Jackson Junior High's 1952 championship football team, six of whom were in attendance, as was the team's coach, Harry Morgan. Paula Sword, Jackson's principal, gladly accepted a letter jacket worn by the late Teddy Early, a member of 1952 squad. His teammate, Richard Maxwell, choked up as he told the students about his friendship with Early and how he arranged, following Early's death last year, to have his widow donate the jacket to the school. Early's younger brother, Larry, was also on hand for the jacket presentation. Bill Newcomb, who played on the 1952 team, addressed the students about the importance of discipline, character and leadership in any winning endeavor. "Our leader was Harry Morgan," Newcomb said. "And he's sitting right here." Morgan, who'll turn 87 next week, smiled at the response from the students. Morgan went on to serve as an assistant football coach at Pasadena High and in 1957 became the first head coach in the history of South Houston High School. Newcomb, the third head coach in South Houston history, went on to become director of athletics for the Pasadena ISD. Students listened intently as Newcomb spoke of the value of friendship. "You will make friends here and those friendships will last your whole life," he said. "These guys are a testament to that. We love each other like we were brothers." Players from the 1952 team in attendance were Maxwell, Newcomb, Curtis Cooper, Claude Pace, Buddy Boydston and David Sadler. All except Boydston went on to play on Pasadena's High outstanding teams of the mid-1950s. Jackson's football teams went unbeaten in both 1951 and 1952, a time when ninth-grade football was played at the junior-high level and opponents included junior highs from Galena Park to Galveston. Jackson, the oldest of the Pasadena ISD's intermediate schools, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Bill Newcomb, a member of the 1952 Jackson team, introduces his teammates to the pep rally crowd.
Harry Morgan, coach of the 1952 Jackson squad, poses with the school's Wildcat mascot.
Honored guests Bill Newcomb, Richard Maxwell, David Sadler, Curtis Cooper, Larry Early, Buddy Boydston, Claude Pace and Harry Morgan.
Members of Jackson's football teams pour into the gym at the start of the pep rally.
Jackson cheerleaders get the student body fired up.
Boydston, Pace and Morgan listen to a performance by the Jackson band.
Jackson's horn section blasts out the school fight song.
Sword speaks to Jackson students about the school's rich history.
Joining in the celebration are (front) Sword, Early and Maxwell; and (back) Rosie Prusz, the Pasadena ISD's Associate Superintendent for Instructional Leadership; Steve Laymon and Troy McCarley, both associate superintendents for campus development.
Pasadena High Alums Planning Two-Day Homecoming Bash Oct. 5-6
Pasadena High seniors Alyssa Shotwell, Dominic Cortes and Jorge Cisneros -- all members of the Student Council -- paint welcome banners for returning alumni.
Homecoming fever will return to Pasadena High next week with festivities covering two days at two stadiums and featuring a return home by Olympic medalist and PHS graduate Marlen Esparza. The newly formed Pasadena High School Alumni Association has finalized plans with school officials for a Homecoming celebration that will actually spill over into a second stadium the day of the Eagles' Oct. 6 Homecoming Game against South Houston. The theme for this year's event is "Through All Eternity." "It says so much about all the alumni already involved," said Jessica Terrill McCarroll, a 2000 Pasadena High graduate who serves as president of the Alumni Association. "We hope that those who are able to attend, as well as those who cannot, will rally together with us and show our current Eagles what this lyric really means." Thei year's Homecoming festivities are expected to equal - or perhaps surpass - the school's giant Homecoming bash in 2002. "The students are excited about the prospect of seeing the alumni at the game and interacting with them," said Tricia Anderson, a 2003 Pasadena High graduate who teaches at the school and served on the Alumni Association's executive committee. "The more alumni I talk to, the more excited I get. Many of them are making signs and T-shirts and planning to decorate their cars. This is a chance to remind everyone that once you become an Eagle, you're an Eagle." The Alumni Association, formed earlier this year, has worked closely with Pasadena ISD officials and school administrators to bring Eagle alums back into the Homecoming mix on a permanent basis. The date and time of the Eagles' Homecoming Game this year was actually chosen with direct input from Pasadena High alumni. Plans include an open house at the school beginning at noon on Friday, Oct. 5. Alumni will meet at the front entrance and be escorted by Student Council members on tours of the campus. Refreshments will be served in the cafeteria beginning at 12:45 p.m. Alumni are invited to attend the Homecoming pep rally from 1:30 to 2:15. Game-day plans call for a picnic-style, tailgate gathering for alumni at Auxiliary Stadium, across the street from Veterans Memorial Stadium, beginning at 3 p.m. The tailgate event will feature a car show and spirit contests. Alumni are asked to park on the visitor's side of Veterans Memorial Stadium and cross the street to the festivities at Auxiliary Stadium. At 4:30, alumni will return to the visitor's side parking lot and drive to the home side of the stadium in a parade. Pregame ceremonies, which begin at 5:30, will include a salute to the Eagles' playoff teams from the 1990s. Kickoff against the Trojans is set for 6 p.m. Esparza, the bronze medal winner in boxing at the recent London Olympics, will help crown the school's 2012 Homecoming Duke and Duchess at halftime. Esparza is a 2007 Pasadena High graduate. Group activities are planned for band, drill, cheerleading, JROTC and other groups during the second half of the game.
Pasadena ISD Wins Service Award from Rebuilding Together-Houston
Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis, holding the district's outstanding achievement award, and other luncheon guests: (front) Rafael Garza and Guadalupe Garza, both teachers at L.P. Card; and (back) Pete Nardo, board member for Rebuilding Together -- Houston; Jayne McFarland, Laura Mann and Carole Helmle, CTE coordinators at L.P. Card; Sarah Wrobleski, CTE director at L.P. Card; and Troy McCarley, Associate Superintendent for Campus Development for the Pasadena ISD.
The Pasadena ISD's drive to refurbish 100 community homes through its "Seniors Helping Seniors" program has earned the district an outstanding achievement award from the Rebuilding Together-Houston organization. Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis accepted the Chairman's Distinguished Volunteer Service Award at Rebuilding Together-Houston's 30th Anniversary Partners in Progress Luncheon earlier this month. Dr. Lewis also provided the introduction speech for the event. The keynote address was delivered by Rob Mosbacher Jr., the founder of Rebuilding Together-Houston. The "Seniors Helping Seniors" initiative, coordinated by the L.P. Card Career and Technology Center and the five district high schools, reached its goal of 100 refurbished homes last May. Rebuilding Together-Houston provides volunteers -- such as high school seniors in the Pasadena ISD -- with supplies donated by business partners and obtained through grants. Volunteers then refurbish homes of persons who meet certain criteria related to income and the homeowner's age.
Chronicle Reporter Makes Presentation at First District Media Day
Chronicle reporter Mike Glenn addresses journalism students.
Mike Glenn, the crime beat reporter for the Houston Chronicle, spoke to dozens of journalism, photography, yearbook, newspaper and video-tech students from the Pasadena ISD on Saturday, part of the first district Media Day, organized by journalism teachers from South Houston, Memorial and Dobie high schools. Following breakfast and welcoming remarks, students broke into small workshop groups covering topics such basic photography, news writing and yearbook marketing. Faculty organizers were Andrea Nguyen from South Houston, Monica Edwards from Memorial and Jacob Rogers from Dobie. "The students were very excited and enthusiastic," said Nguyen, who worked as a TV news reporter before becoming a teacher this fall. "This event allowed students to network with others like them from different schools and to share ideas for yearbook and newspaper." Nguyen, who led the session about careers in the media, showed students samples of her reporting and anchoring work on youtube.com. Students were also eager to know more about the kinds of stories she covered, the celebrities she interviewed and how much money journalists make. "The sessions were very interesting," said South Houston senior Valerie Lopez. "I also learned about how to sell advertising as a way to create revenue for my school's publication." Students enjoyed a pizza lunch before attending the session featuring Glenn. "Journalism is the only profession protected by the U.S. Constitution," he told students. "Reporters should always seek truth and try to inform people as accurately as possible. I got into news because I wanted to be where the action was." "I am happy with our Media Day," said Edwards. "The kids were engaged and seemed to have fun. Our keynote speaker was the perfect end to a good day. His real-life stories added to the experience for the students." "We planned all this over just a few weeks, so there wasn't enough time to get all schools involved," said Nguyen. "Our goal is get all five high schools' media departments to collaborate each year for this event. In this digital age of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, media literacy is huge."
Nominations are now being accepted for the Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Citizen Award for 2012. The award is given annually to a local resident or business person who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the causes of education and youth-related activities in communities served by the Pasadena ISD. Nominees must demonstrate a commitment to the educational, social, spiritual and personal growth of the young people of our community through volunteer efforts in Pasadena schools or any youth-related organization. They also must reside or work within the boundaries of the school district. The Distinguished Citizen Award will be presented at a special reception in December. A bronze plaque will be dedicated at the reception and placed at the front entrance to the Administration Building. Those wishing to submit a nomination should return a completed form (see link below), along with any supporting documentation such as newspaper clippings or resumes, by Wednesday, Oct. 3. Nominations may be submitted to Renea Ivy-Sims, Associate Superintendent for Communications and Community Relations, Pasadena ISD, 1515 Cherrybrook, Pasadena, TX 77502. For additional information, call 713-740-0247. Past recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Award are: 1995 -- Faye Schimek 1996 -- Kathryn Whitfill 1997 -- Kathleen Morris 1998 -- John Phelps 1999 -- Denise Converse 2000 -- Gilbert Aguilar 2001 -- Eddie Dansby 2002 -- Judy & Russell Lamontagne 2003 -- Dr. Paul Covell 2004 -- Rosalie Kuntz 2005 -- Emory Gadd 2006 -- Charles Davis 2007 -- Herman Williams 2008 -- Carroll Smith 2009 -- Terry Brotherton 2010 -- Bill Barmore 2011 -- Dana Philibert
School Rallies Pay Tribute to Advanced Placement Scholars
Sam Rayburn High seniors Dahniella Alcaraz, Carlos Sotello, Nick Holloway, Josue Luviano and Natalie Hudson lead a parade of AP honorees into the school gym.
Pasadena ISD high schools celebrated another successful year of Advanced Placement test results with student recognition rallies at four campuses this week. Dobie, Sam Rayburn, South and Pasadena packed their gyms to honor their highest achieving AP students. Memorial is planning a recognition rally for later in the school year. For 2011-2012, 1,520 district students took a total of 3,186 AP exams. A total of 104 students achieved a score of 3 or higher on at least three exams and earned AP Scholar status. A grade of 3 (on a scale of 5) generally results in college credit being received in that subject area. Twenty-two district students earned AP Scholar with Honor distinction by posting an average score of 3.25 on all exams taken and posting a score of 3 or higher on four or more exam. Eighteen students earned AP Scholar with Distinction honors by posting a 3.5 average on exams taken and a score of 3 or higher on five or more exams. Dobie's Eric Wilson was honored as a National AP Scholar for averaging a 4 on all exams taken and for scoring a 4 or higher on eight or more exams.
Sam Rayburn senior Nick Holloway receives congratulations from Todd Penner for his $200 award.
Dobie senior Eusebio Maldonado collects $400 for his AP achievements as a junior.
District High School Students Take Top Dollar at Livestock Auction
A total of 27 district students took home top dollar at the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo auction on Thursday. Dobie High's Matt Mikes took home the Grand Champion title and $6,000 for his prized lamb. Reserve Champion winners were Memorial's Cody Brabston who received $5,000 for his rabbits and Katie Burt who received $7,000 for her turkey tom. Memorial's Aaron Aleman who placed third for his steer, took home a hefty $9,500 for his sell. A complete list of winners can be found after the photos.
Dobie Principal Franklin Moses congratulates Matt Mikes on his sell.
Sisters Sadie and Katie Burt wait behind the stage to auction off their Reserve Grand Champion turkey.
Memorial High's Cody Brabston shows off his Reserve Grand Champion rabbits to the buyers.
Aaron Aleman, Memorial High, guides his steer offstage to its new owner.
Colton Williams gets his goat ready for auction hoping to catch the eyes of a few sellers.
SHHS Alums to Partner in Fund Drive for Trojan Band Trailer
The newly formed South Houston High School Alumni Association will partner with the Pasadena ISD to provide funding for a customized, big-rig trailer to be used by the Trojan band for equipment transportation. Two district high schools, Dobie and Memorial, currently have trailers, purchased through booster fund-raisers, to accommodate their band transportation needs. The district's three oldest high schools -- Pasadena, South Houston and Sam Rayburn -- do not. The South Houston alumni group, although only one year old, expects to raise roughly half the cost needed to purchase and customize a trailer to be used by the band, possibly by the start of the 2013 football season. "The band trailer represents an ideal funding goal for our alumni association," said Diane Phelan, a 1989 South Houston graduate and the president of the group. "The trailer is one of South Houston High's most visible needs. Our intention is to turn it into a highly visible accomplishment for our alumni group while at the same time providing a helping hand for current students." The final cost of purchasing, painting and fitting out a used trailer is still being studied, but the South Houston alumni group has agreed to a matching contribution, likely between $6,000 and $8,000, Phelan said. The rest of the funds would be raised through grants, band fund-raisers and other individual contributions. "This is a wonderful goal and represents a remarkable achievement for a group that didn't even exist a year ago," said Pasadena ISD communications official Al Carter, a 1970 South Houston graduate who serves as a liaison between the alumni association and the district. "The enthusiasm among our grads for a more active alumni role has been strong," Carter said. "This agreement drives home the message that this organization is serious about enhancing the experience of being a South Houston graduate and engaging in projects that befit the school and current students in a major way." A non-profit group, the South Houston Alumni Association is close to completing two successful fund-raising endeavors. The "Hector's Hundred" project has already raised over $10,000 from a donor-funded display to be placed in the school's Hall of Honor. The display will feature 100 brass plates from donors who gave at least $100 each to the drive. The plates will be included in a large glass case containing a large wooden figurine of the school's "Hector" mascot. All 100 plate slots sold out within six weeks. The group is also nearing a sellout for a first-of-its-kind, all-class Homecoming party set for the Marriott Hobby on Oct. 12, the night before the Trojans' Homecoming Game against Sam Rayburn. All but about 50 of the 700 tickets available for the event have been sold. "This is a clarion call to all Trojans -- but especially former band members -- to jump in and support the association's efforts," Carter said. "Along with all the many good reasons to grab a ticket to the Homecoming bash on Oct. 12, there's that additional incentive to step up and do something to help the school in a very tangible and visible way." "If people don't already know what our association is about, they'll see real proof of it, hopefully, next year, when that big red band trailer takes its place in the school parking lot and at football games," Phelan said. "That trailer will say volumes about the hard work of our executive committee and level of appreciation among our alumni for our school." Remaining tickets for the Homecoming party at the Marriott Hobby can be purchased on-line using Paypal. Those interested should go to the Pasadena ISD website, click on the gray "Alumni Central" button, then click on "High Schools" on the left and then "South Houston High School Alumni." The Pasadena ISD website is: www1.pasadenaisd.org. Tickets are $25 each. The deadline for on-line purchases is Oct. 7.
Annual Walk for Success Brings Students Back for Graduation
School officials hit the streets on Saturday during the district's Walk for Success outreach in hopes of getting students closer to commencement. The annual walk involves teams of administrators and volunteers who pay door-to-door visits to the homes of students who have decided to leave school before graduation. The program helps students who are credits away from graduation receive their high school diploma by way of Community School, Virtual School, TAKS prep courses or regular classroom attendance. "Some of these students only need to pass one part of the TAKS test," said Dr. Angela Stallings, principal at Memorial High. "I think us being here motivates students to take that next step." A total of 105 homes were visited this year and of those, 40 students have committed to return as of Monday. Judge Jo Ann Delgado, who serves as the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2 Place 1, was one of the many volunteers who worked the phone banks during the walk. "Once you see the students who do return and get their diploma to graduate, which is everyone's goal here - it's rewarding," said Delgado. "I would challenge many of the businesses in our community to put together a group of volunteers, because this is a community effort and it goes back to the workforce of tomorrow."
The Memorial administrative team of Mike Adams, Dolly Markell, Angela Stallings and Sabrina Guerrero pound the pavement and are off to another home visit.
Memorial High principal Dr. Angela Stallings makes a successful house visit to soon-to-be student Ana Trevino.
San Jacinto Intermediate Assistant Principal Tony Davila helps a parent re-enroll their child by phone.
Back at the office, the Special Programs team of Karen Jordan, Gloria Gallegos and Naomi Odom celebrate another successful enrollment.
Dobie's Jamail Picked as Region 4 Principal of the Year
Former Dobie principal Steve Jamail (left) with current Principal Franklin Moses at a recent Longhorns football game.
Retired Dobie High principal Steve Jamail has been named Region 4 Principal of the Year for 2012 by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. Jamail, who retired in January after 11 years as Dobie's principal, joins winners from the state's 19 other Education Service Center regions in a pool of candidates for the honor of Texas Principal of the Year title. The TASSP recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from each of the 20 regions. Jamail served 20 years at Dobie, the first nine as an assistant football coach and then as an assistant principal. He received his bachelor's degree from TCU, where he played football. His career in education spanned 40 years. Region winners will be recognized during the Josten's Night of the Stars Awards Dinner in Austin on June 11, 2013.
Pasadena High Alum and Olympian Esparza Receives Key to the City
Hometown hero and Pasadena High alum MarlenEsparza now has a key to the city of Pasadena to display next to her Olympic bronze medal. Hundreds of fans, family members and fellow Eagles gathered at City Hall for a special homecoming ceremony outside the mayor's office on Tuesday. Esparza was the first American woman to qualify for a spot on the Olympic boxing team and the first woman ever to win an Olympic medal in boxing. "I really want to tell people that they don't need anyone to look up to," Esparza said during a press conference before the celebration. "They always have it in themselves, they just need to find it." But it was an emotional thanks to the community for its support that got fans out of their seats cheering for the young Olympian. "I want to commend you for being a role model for students and young kids everywhere," Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell said. "You are a living example of how hard work and dedication really do allow you to reach your dreams." Esparza said she is considering going for gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but is currently focused on attending college and starting a clothing line that will partially benefit health and fitness programs for youth.
Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell introduces Marlen Esparza during a press conference on Tuesday.
School Board President Marshall Kendrick receives an autograph from Esparza.
Students Benefit from 'Stuff the Bus' School Supply Campaign
BY BRITTA GAMINO Pasadena ISD Communications
First-grader Rigoberto Juardo's eyes lit up as he entered the cafeteria at Pomeroy Elementary. He had been pulled out of class just seconds ago, but he wasn't sure for what reason until he looked toward the front of the stage. To the average bystander it was a simple set up, a table and a few decorations. But that's not what caught Juardo's attention. It was something he couldn't wait to get his hands on, something he had been hoping to have for school. A bundle of perfectly packaged school supplies sat on the stage. And it had his name on it. Earlier this week, 15 wooden pallets filled with school supplies were dropped off at the district's administration building for distribution as part of the Stuff the Bus campaign. The campaign-in partnership with Cox Media Group Houston, local radio stations and Kroger-is an annual school supply drive geared to help students in need be fully prepared for the first day of school. For three weeks, customers could purchase pre-packaged school supplies from participating Kroger stores. The supplies would then be collected and distributed to schools around the Houston area. Kroger co-manager Jason Lopez estimated that $63,000 worth of packets have been donated to Pasadena and surrounding districts so far. "Our Stuff the Bus campaign is one of the ways Kroger can make sure that the kids in our community have the necessary supplies to excel in school," Lopez said. "We do our best to help out in any way we can and we like seeing that the donations go to the children that need it." "The Kroger contribution takes strain off parents who work so hard to keep shelter and food for their children in our school neighborhood," said Ana Perez, a Pomeroy social worker. "It has positively affected our whole community and we are so grateful."
Kroger Consumer Affairs Specialist Alex Canga receives a thank you note from two fourth grade students.
Pomeroy Principal Stephen Harding joins Kroger representatives Jason Lopez, Kendra Carey and Alex Canga for a group photo opportunity.
Fallen Soldier, Four Esteemed Grads Chosen for SHHS Hall Induction
A former South Houston High student who lost his life in a Vietnam firefight in which a fellow soldier earned the Congressional Medal of Honor will be inducted into the school's Hall of Honor this fall along with four other esteemed graduates. Michael De Voe, a member of South Houston's Class of 1965, will join seven other Trojan alumni already memorialized in "The Fallen," a section of the Hall of Honor dedicated to those who have been killed in the line of duty as members of the military or in civilian responder roles. The four esteemed graduates to be inducted are: Dr. William Redwine, Class of 1961, a former chief of staff at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital; Tim Tingle, Class of 1967, a noted authority on Native American culture; Mike Loftin, Class of 1969, a municipal finance expert and former key administrator for the City of Houston; and Joe Soto, Class of 1978, the current mayor of South Houston. The five new inductees will be honored during Homecoming ceremonies in mid-October. A reception is planned for Oct. 12 at the school in conjunction with an alumni open house that day. The inductees will be recognized again in a ceremony preceding South Houston's Homecoming Game on Oct. 13 against Sam Rayburn High. De Voe, whose mother still lives in the Freeway Manor area, was a private first class and nearly a year into his tour in Vietnam when he was killed in a fierce firefight on May 22, 1966. The engagement resulted in the death of six soldiers, including the platoon leader. David C. Dolby, another private in the platoon, took command, provided cover for the casualties and then single-handedly neutralized the enemy fire. For his actions, Dolby was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Johnson in 1967. Dr. Redwine, voted "Most Likely to Succeed" as a senior at South Houston, recently completed a two-year stint as chief of staff at St. Luke's. He continues to serve as a physician advisor at the hospital, where Dr. Redwine has maintained an affiliation since 1979. A 1965 Rice graduate, he earned a scholarship to Southwestern Medical School and received his M.D. in 1969. He held a faculty position at the University of Washington School of Medicine and clinical faculty positions at the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center. Tingle, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a speaker, writer, teacher and story-teller who specializes in Indian culture and themes. His great, great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the "Trail of Tears," the name given to the forced relocation of Indian tribes from the Deep South in the 1830s. Tingle has written nine books, including "Walking the Choctaw Road," a depiction of the tribe's history over two centuries, and "Saltypie, a tale of one Native American family's struggles in the 20th Century. A veteran of 11 speaking tours for the Department of Defense, Tingle has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress. For his literary works, he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters earlier this year. One of his recent performances, "Rolling Way the Rock," was based on the story of Choctaw Clarence Carnes, the youngest inmate ever sentenced to Alcatraz prison. Loftin played an important role in shaping the financial direction of Houston under Mayor Kathy Whitmire in the 1980s and again under recent Mayor Bill White. In 1982, in the aftermath of Hurricane Alicia, he established a new hurricane recovery management program for the city. In 2009, he assisted White in paring over $50 million from the city budget. Now the city manager for League City, Loftin has taught public budgeting to more than 200 master's degree candidates at the University of Houston. A former South Houston High drum major, he continues to play the saxophone professionally and has performed with numerous celebrity talents, including Lena Horne, Gladys Knight, the Mills Brothers and the Coasters. Fittingly, he was voted "Most Versatile" as a senior at South Houston. Soto has served as South Houston's mayor since 2005. He attended South Houston Elementary and South Houston Intermediate before enrolling at South Houston High. His daughter, Jerrica, is a sophomore at the school and a member of the Trojans' volleyball team. A lifelong resident of South Houston, Soto served as city councilman from 2004 to 2005 before being elected mayor. He continues to manage his own trucking business and has five children and 11 grandchildren.
PHS Faculty Alums Covering 35-Year Span Hold 'Rock the Nest' Reunion
Faculty and staff alumni spanning 35 years and the tenures of three principals at Pasadena High gathered for a "Rock the Nest" reunion last weekend at the Monument Inn. Nearly 200 people turned out for the reunion, which featured faculty and staff veterans under Lonnie Keller, who served as principal from 1967 to 1982; Tom Hancock, principal from 1982 to 1995; and Wayne Adams, principal from 1995 to 2002. Members of the organizing committee were Diane Barnes, now at Memorial High; Colleen Terrell, also at Memorial; Tricia Cherry, now retired; Gail McCombs, who is still at the school; and retired school librarians Jane Golenko and Linda Duke.
(Left) Barbara Crowson (center), who served as an assistant principal under Lonnie Keller, with her husband, George, and Nell Huffman, the long-time secretary at Pasadena High; (right) former Pasadena High teacher Barry Harris, who now teaches at Dobie, with former Pasadena High assistant principal John Meehan.
(Left) Jack Bains, who served 42 years at Pasadena High; (right) retired faculty/staff members Marlane Sgro, Karen Kent, Brigid Dixon, Sue Watson and Bill Marceau.
(Left) Retired Pasadena High counselor John Logan, current Pasadena High P.E. teacher Denise Pearce and retired counselor Jerry Roberts; (right) retired Pasadena High math teacher Geneva Ames and Nell Huffman.
(Left) Retired principal Tom Hancock, retired assistant principal Bill Kielman and retired principal Wayne Adams; (right) retired Pasadena High teachers Sandra Bryan and Babe Reich.
SCHOOL STARTS: District Students Turn Page from Summer to Studies
Morris Middle School sixth-graders Destinee Gonzales, Kennedy Nguyen and Alyssa Walker greet the morning sun -- and a new school year -- before the start of classes on Tuesday.
Yellow school buses, congested traffic, new clothes, new lunch boxes -- and sleepy students of all ages -- marked the first day of school at Pasadena ISD campuses and around the community on Tuesday. Campuses reported a smooth start to the school year amid what is expected to be a slight increase in the district's 2011-2012 enrollment total of 52,919. Tuesday was the first day of school for three new elementary school principals: Michael Van Loenen at Freeman, Beverly Bolton at Meador and Stephen Harding at Pomeroy. High school freshmen began classes on Monday. Students will attend classes through Friday and then take a three-day weekend for Labor Day.
Beverly Bolton, Meador Elementary's new principal, welcomes a second-grader back to campus on Tuesday. Bolton was promoted from assistant principal after the retirement of Darlene Davis.
Morris Middle School fifth-graders Jacob Nguyen and Bryan Orozco check the list of homeroom assignments. Both attended Atkinson Elementary last school year.
Mike Van Loenen takes questions from second-graders during his first school day as principal at Freeman Elementary. Van Loenen came to Freeman from Lomax Middle School, where he was assistant principal.
Tara Merida, counselor at Meador Elementary, greets a pair of students before the first bell.
Travis Teichelman, science teacher at Beverly Hills Intermediate, directs arriving students to their assigned locations.
Beverly Hills Principal Alyta Harris welcomes back eighth-grader Diamond Gant.
A group of Bondy Intermediate students pink out for the first day of classes.
Bondy Patriot cheerleader Nyla Santana helps new seventh-grader Kayla Cruse find her homeroom.
Gardens Elementary Assistant Principal Vicki Lenio gives a young student a welcome back hug.
Turner Elementary Principal Keith Palmer greets new students on the first day.
Lomax Middle School sixth-grade math teacher Rebecca Castaneda finds a group of smiling students waiting her arrival.
Pencils in hand, Lomax sixth-graders George Faris and David Ibarra are ready for the first day of classes.
Pearl Hall's Lupold Named Texas Teacher of the Year Finalist
Pearl Hall Elementary music teacher Jami Lupold has been named one of six finalists for the Texas Teacher of the Year Award, to be presented in October by the Texas Association of School Administrators. Earlier this month, Lupold was named Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year, the first Pasadena ISD teacher in 16 years to win that honor. The state Teacher of the Year Award is the highest honor that can bestowed upon an educator in Texas. "We are so proud of Jami," Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis said. "She has represented our district well." A member of the Pearl Hall faculty for the past 13 years, Lupold has collaborated with a variety of organizations, including NASA, the Houston Symphony, the Society for the Performing Arts and the Houston Friends of Music on numerous projects that have had a major impact on both her students and the community. Jami and her mother, with whom she team teaches, established the "Building Cultural Bridges" program at Pearl Hall. The program has drawn numerous musicians, astronauts and scientists from around the globe to the campus to share their stories and expertise with students. Eight years ago they added music and technology specialist, Seth Fewell to their team bringing a much more sophisticated level of technology to the school. The Texas Teacher of the Year program annually recognizes and rewards "teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching." Texas Teachers of the Year serve as traveling ambassadors for public education and for the teaching profession. They set their own schedule of speeches and workshops while continuing to teach. They make presentations to a variety of groups, including community and business leaders, government officials, other teachers and future teachers, often for recruiting purposes. The winner will attend all National Teacher of the Year activities and be recognized by the State Board of Education, the Texas Legislature and the TASA. The winner will also serve on the Educator Leadership Council and will be eligible for additional technology or scholarship awards from program sponsors.
FRESHMEN FIRST: Ninth-Graders Report; Over 900 at Dobie
Pasadena High teacher Agata Perez leads a group of Eagle freshmen "down the yellow brick road" on a tour of the school.
Ninth-graders across the Pasadena ISD sized up the gleaming hallways of the district's five high schools on Monday as Freshmen First orientation officially kicked off the start of the 2012-2013 school year. An estimated 900 freshmen packed the Dobie High court for a early morning welcome from Franklin Moses, who launched his first full year as the school's principal. The Longhorns' ninth-grade count exceeded last year's by about 10 percent. With an enrollment of over 3,500, Dobie now ranks as one of the top high schools in Texas in the number of students. Freshman numbers in the 500-700 range were reported at South Houston, Pasadena, Memorial and Sam Rayburn. Freshmen were introduced to their homeroom teachers and were versed on campus rules and procedures. All other Pasadena ISD students will report for the first day of classes on Tuesday.
South Houston High freshmen pour into auditorium for an orientation session.
Dobie early birds Diana Tufino, Yamelli Puente and Karla Gamez take a bench break while waiting for the sun to come up.
Dobie freshmen study the list of homeroom assignments.
Pasadena High teacher Cirilo Ojeda and senior cheerleader Lupita Hernandez welcome a group of freshmen to their second-period class.
Dobie assistant principal Donna Branch provides directions to a freshman student.
Pasadena High biology teacher Edgar Garcia leads freshmen students on a tour through the courtyard.
South Houston assistant principal Donetrus Hill receives some assistance from freshman Chris Lopez while explaining school rules during an assembly.
Dobie junior Brenda Nanbin holds up a homeroom sign as she assists arriving freshmen in the food court.
Pasadena High seniors Dezirae Hernandez and Stephanie Gonzalez make their pitch to freshmen to try out for the Lady Eagles' softball team.
With the sun breaking free of the horizon, Dobie instructional assistant Robert Waloven directs traffic in front of the school.
Memorial freshman Veronica Jimenez is giddy about gearing up for the new school year during the school's morning assembly.
Rayburn substitute aide Laurie Hernandez guides a lost student to the freshmen school assembly.
Two Rayburn choir students make their way down the halls to check out the student schedules.
Former TEA Head Urges Career Tech Teachers to 'Tell Your Stories'
Dr. Shirley Neeley Richardson makes her pitch for greater public awareness of the need for expanded career and technology programs.
Career and technical education teachers must be prepared to "tell your stories," the former commissioner of the Texas Education Agency told a gathering of nearly 150 Pasadena ISD teachers and staff at L.P. Card on Thursday. Dr. Shirley Neeley Richardson, who retired as TEA commissioner in 2007, advised the district's career tech faculty members to talk up the merits and the potential of the new Career and Technical Education High School, scheduled to open in 2014. "Tell everyone about the new high school," Dr. Richardson said. "You have never been in the spotlight like you have the last five years - and like you are going to be for the next century." A former superintendent of the Galena Park ISD, Dr. Richardson said the demand for technology-based jobs is huge and growing every day. That makes the need for expanded career tech programs even greater, she said. But the success of those programs may depend on how well the public understands the need. "I want you to go out and tell your stories," she said. "Tell your stories." Dr. Richardson praised the recent successes of L.P. Card and other career tech programs in the district. She singled out Card welding instructor Ezequiel Garcia, who was named the district's 2012 Secondary Teacher of the Year, and the district's robotics team that fared well in world competition. She commended the district's "Seniors Helping Seniors" program, which completed its 100th home-restoration project last spring. "One hundred homes in just four years," she said. "Can you imagine if every school district in Houston did that?"
Dr. Richardson asks for a show of hands of career tech teachers who went to school in the Pasadena ISD.
Teachers Climb the Wall to Try Out New P.E. Apparatus
P.E. instructor Troy Ralls of Melillo Middle School shows his grit on the climbing wall.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students will literally be "climbing the walls" at Pasadena ISD middle schools beginning this fall. But on Thursday it was the teachers' turn. P.E. instructors from the district's eight middle schools participated in a safety training session on the new climbing wall installed at Lomax Middle School. Thanks to a Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, climbing walls have been installed in the gyms of each district middle school for use by students during their P.E. classes.
With spotters in place, teachers slowly move across the face of the wall.
Kimberly King of Special Programs gets a grip on the situation.
Spotter Stephani Herring comes to the assistance of climber Crystal Lilly. Both teach P.E. at Melillo.
Four Pasadena High Grads Take 'Kruse' Line to College
Scholarship recipients Hortencia Armenta, Estefany Maldonado and Rodrigo Sanchez.
Three college-bound Pasadena High graduates made a return trip to their alma mater on Thursday for a reception honoring them as recipients of Kruse Elementary scholarships. Estefany Maldonado, Rodrigo Sanchez and Hortencia Armenta received certificates and checks for $1,000. All attended Kruse Elementary. A fourth recipient, Jose Lozano, would not attend the reception because he was attending orientation at Texas A&M. Maldonado is also making preparations to leave for A&M. Sanchez is headed to Stephen F. Austin University. Armenta will attend San Jacinto College. Each student was asked to bring along a favorite teacher from their days at Kruse. The checks were presented by a delegation with strong Kruse ties. On hand were former Kruse teacher Lynne Hooper, former Kruse principal Rosie Prusz and Bill McMillin, a local businessman who attended Kruse and graduated from Pasadena High in 1958. Prusz is now the associate superintendent for Instructional Leadership with the Pasadena ISD. McMillin is a long-time volunteer in the HOSTS program. Hooper, a driving force in the HOSTS program during her 13 years at Kruse, helped launch the scholarship program in 1995. The reception marked the 18th year for the scholarships to be awarded. The program is set to end in 2014 when the last of Hooper's students at Kruse graduate from Pasadena High.
Scholarship presenters Bill McMillin, Pasadena High Principal Joe Saavedra, Lynne Hooper and Rosie Prusz.
Sanchez (center) with Hooper, Saavedra, Prusz and McMillin.
Maldonado receives her scholarship certificate.
Armenta after receiving her certificate.
Recipients welcome their favorite Kruse teachers for a group photo: (back) Martha Green, Kruse secretary Frances Hernandez, Tricia Russo, Armenta, Maldonado, Susanna Sliva, Sanchez and Laura Pena; (front) McMillin, Pasadena High counselor Krishna Shah, Prusz and Hooper.
Alarm Clocks Ring for District's Slumbering School Buses
Pasadena ISD mechanic Andy Castillo and shop supervisor Dave Chinfatt check over a district school bus in preparation for the start of a new school year.
Starting next week, students around the Pasadena ISD will once again roll out of bed at dawn's early light, rub the sleep from their eyes and wobble into a new school year. This week it was the teachers' turn to get reacquainted with their alarm clocks. But there's another critical component of the education system that also must be shaken from its summer slumbers. Starting this week, the district's fleet of 315 school buses will be roused from weeks of inactivity. If you thought it was tough to get an 11-year-old back on a school schedule, consider the rooster crow required to stir a 22,000-pound metal behemoth. Mechanics with the district's Transportation Department will spend most of this week peeking under the hood of every district bus to check fluid levels. Once a bus is properly nourished, a mechanic will turn the key to see if the bus starts. Most will. Some won't. "There's so much heat in the summer time, it can easily drain a battery," says Jonathan Dow, the district's interim transportation director. "And we got some of our buses in 1990. When a bus gets that old, it gets kind of tired." When the previous school year ended in June, about a third of the district's buses remained in operation for summer school transportation. A rotation system kept most of the buses busy during the few weeks of summer school. But since mid-July, nearly all of the buses have sat idle at the district's bus compound on Lafferty. The district's mechanics, however, have stayed business with a schedule of "lower preventive maintenance," which includes everything from the engine to the brakes and tires, to "upper preventive maintenance," which includes things like the interior, lighting and emergency exits. "Transportation is a 12-month enterprise," Dow said. "In this downtime, it's all about safety. Safety is paramount. We need to make sure it's safe for kids to ride to and from school." Last year those safe rides add up to nearly 2.5 million miles for Pasadena ISD buses. Those buses used 553,763 gallons of fuel, about 80 percent of it diesel. The district purchased 760 new tires, at a cost of $121,379 -- about $160 per tire. And the district employed 265 bus drivers -- another important group of folks who'll be shaking the summer cobwebs next week. Fortunately, none of education's human components will require jumper cables. Just a few sleep-headed school buses. "By next week," Dow said, "we'll be ready to go."
Jonathan Dow, the district's interim transportation director, looks over the bus fleet at the Lafferty compound.
Sam Rayburn, Memorial Bands Beat Heat with PFD Help
Sam Rayburn High band director Jeff Embrey sprays Texans band members with cold water as they march in formation.
The marque in front of Sam Rayburn High registered "100 F" as the school's marching band wrapped up another sweaty practice near high noon on Friday. Time to shower? Yes, but not in the usual way. For the fourth year in a row, the Pasadena Fire Department provided a quick cool-down with a 10-minutes blast of cold water from Station 4's firetruck. Band members marched in formation as Sam Rayburn band director Jeff Embrey hosed them down in the school parking lot. Embrey turned over the soggy chore to Granny Brasfield, district chief for Station 4, and PFD Lt. Justin Miller. The Sam Rayburn band will make its 2012 football debut on Aug. 30 when the Texans take on Porter at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Thursday night game will mark the start of the 2012 season for Pasadena ISD schools. The Memorial High band took its turn under the hose on Friday.
Embrey mans the fire hose with help from PFD Lt. Justin Wilson.
Texans band members pause in soggy formation.
District chief Granville Basfield provides heat relief with help from Lt. Wilson.
Sam Rayburn students nearly vanish in an aquatic mist.
Sam Rayburn freshman Barbara Moreno stays focused despite her soggy state.
The PFD turns its jets on the Memorial High band. Additional Memorial photos follow.
First-Year Faculty Members Flock to New Teacher Welcome
Robyn Ruiz, a new chemistry teacher at South Houston High, takes a spin at the Whataburger Wheel.
Cookies, cosmetics, caricatures and the always-popular cash booth greeted about 500 newcomers to the Pasadena ISD's faculty ranks on Wednesday during the annual New Teacher Welcome at Memorial High School. District Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis delivered a formal welcome following a presentation of colors by the Sam Rayburn High JROTC. Teachers begin their first duty days on Monday. Classes for high school freshmen begin on Aug. 27. Classes for all other students begin on Aug. 28.
Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis welcomes the new teachers to the district.
Angela Cavender (right) of Memorial High looks over supply materials provided by Gateway Printing's Bill Raymond (left).
Lori Wiltz, a new teacher and coach at Pasadena High, nervously awaits the completion of her free caricature drawing.
South Houston High's Kirsten Wiley and Park View Intermediate's Jennifer Wiggins stop for a chat with Texas State Teachers Association representatives.
Sam Rayburn High's JROTC presents the colors.
New district teachers take a break from booth-browsing to listen to Dr. Lewis's welcome address.
Cris Bocanegra, a new addition to the Beverly Hills Intermediate faculty, and Gloria Benitez, new to Matthys Elementary, stop by the cookie table.
VOLLEYBALL: Lady Texans Beat Galena Park to Launch New Season
Lady Texans' senior Sam Lang slams the ball over the outstretched arms of two Galena Park defenders. Photos by Al Carter, Pasadena ISD Communications
Sam Rayburn High's volleyball team helped launch a new school year of athletics competition on Tuesday with a 3-0 victory over Galena Park at the Texans Gym. The Lady Texans prevailed in three tight sets: 26-24, 25-21, 25-23. Sam Rayburn seniors Sam Lang and Kasie Mahaney led the way with five kills each. Taylor Ladner paced Galena Park with nine kills. Dobie, Pasadena, Memorial and South Houston also opened their seasons. Memorial lost to Aldine McArthur while South Houston fell to Texas City, both on the road and both by 3-0 scores. Dobie dropped a pair of matches at home -- to North Shore, 3-0, and to Elkins, 3-1.
Junior Jessica Salinas gets low for a dig.
Senior Sandra De La Cruz waits for a Galena Park serve.
(Left) Lang shovels the ball back over the net; (middle) Mahaney goes airborne for a spike; (right) Sam Rayburn Coach Deborah Powell discusses the situation during a timeout.
(Left) Salinas checks the Lady Texans' alignment before the next serve; (middle) De La Cruz goes up for a slam as the referee ducks out of the way; and (right) celebrates a point with a teammate.
Lang whoops it up with teammate Rachel Rodriguez.
Mahaney and Lang wait at the net for the next Galena Park serve.
Memorial Service Set for Elmer Bondy, Longtime Pasadena ISD Educator
Elmer Bondy, whose 39 years of service to the Pasadena ISD ran the gamut from football coach to district administrator, died on Saturday at the age of 90. Bondy joined the faculty and coaching staff at Pasadena High in the late 1940s. He went on to serve as assistant principal at Pasadena High and in 1963 was named the third principal in the history of South Houston High. After four years at South Houston, he moved to the Administration Building as the district's Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools. A highly regarded member of the Pasadena community, Bondy was honored in 1993 with the naming and dedication of Bondy Intermediate. Elmer Glenn Bondy was born in Monroe, La., and raised in San Antonio, where he graduated from Brackenridge High School in 1940. He attended Southwest Texas State on a football scholarship, but his pursuit of a degree was interrupted by World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, at age 19, Bondy enlisted in the Army Air Corps. A combat pilot and second lieutenant, he served in the Philippines and Australia under the command of Gen. Douglas McArthur. After the war, he re-enrolled at Southwest Texas State and earned a bachelor's degree in education. He married Isla Stockwell of Raymondville in 1947. The couple moved to Pasadena where Bondy began his career in education. He later earned a master's degree in school administration from the University of Houston. Bondy was a past president and lifetime member of the Pasadena Noon Optimist Club, a Texas Life Member of PTA, a member of Pasadena Rotary Club and First United Methodist Church in Pasadena. Survivors include his son Robert Glenn Bondy and wife, Brenda; and son Charles Stockwell Bondy and wife, Robbie. A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to First United Methodist Church, 1062 Fairmont, Pasadena, TX, 77504.
Pearl Hall's Lupold Wins Region 4 Teacher of Year Honor
Jami Lupold accepting her award as Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Pearl Hall Elementary music instructor Jami Lupold was selected Region 4 Elementary Teacher of the Year during an awards banquet last week. Lupold, who was named the Pasadena ISD winner last spring, will now compete for the state elementary teacher of the year award. That announcement will be made this October in Austin. "It is an enormous honor," Lupold said. "Without our principal's and our superintendent's support, we would not be able to have developed the type of programs that have brought so many great opportunities to students and teachers at Pearl Hall. It is such a great way to validate the work that my teaching team and I have been doing through music education over the past 13 years." With 26 years of teaching experience -- including the past 13 at Pearl Hall -- the unique collaborations established with NASA, the Houston Symphony the Society for the Performing Arts and the Houston Grand Opera have had a major impact on the culture of our community. Eleven years ago Jami and her mother, with whom she team teaches, established the "Building Cultural Bridges" program on campus. The program has drawn numerous musicians, astronauts and scientists from around the globe to Pearl Hall to share their stories and expertise with students. Lupold was elated to hear her name called at last week's awards banquet, which drew an audience of about 800, including Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and her parents, Bill and Pat Surface. "I smiled inside and out," she said. "And then I looked at Dr. Lewis and grinned. He nodded and smiled, and I turned and looked at my mom and dad. And my mom said 'It's you!'" My dad was smiling so proudly," she said. "He gave me that 'Well-done!' look he has always given since I was just a kid playing at music contests." So what great plans does the music education team have for Pearl Hall this school year? There are 4 major plans in place: We'll start the year with students building habitats for colonizing the Moon and Mars guided by the astronauts and engineers who work on this every day. Our select Christmas choir will sing for the Houston Symphony's family Christmas concert as we have for several years. We are collaborating with Commander Chris Hadfield of the International Space Station Expedition 35 crew to help write the first music CD to be recorded in space - with a post-flight concert on stage with the Houston Symphony and our choir. We will continue the mission of creating "Passion-Driven Learning" for students and teachers infusing creative and performing arts throughout our curriculum as Jami experienced this summer at Harvard with Yo Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble.
FAQ's: Your 2012-2013 Dress Code Questions Answered
The Pasadena ISD's new student dress code will be implemented in the fall of the 2012-2013 school year in order to maintain a respectful and positive learning environment. Students are asked to use good judgment when selecting attire. It is important to note that all clothing should be free of any references of death, sex, drugs, alcohol, gangs or weapons. Please check with your child's individual campus for additions and/or deletions to the lists below. The student dress code is available online in English and in Spanish on the district website, and can be accessed by visiting www.pasadenaisd.org and clicking on the back to school banner on the homepage. The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the district dress code:
Q: What color shirts can my child wear to school?
A: Shirts may be any color. Shirts must be collared polo or oxford style.
Q: Are logos allows on shirts?
A: Yes. Logos are allowed on shirts, jackets, sweaters and hoodies.
Q. Are striped polos allowed?
A. Yes. Printed, striped, plaid and any other appropriate designs are allowed on shirts as long as they are a collared polo or oxford style.
Q. Can my child wear a t-shirt underneath their school shirt during the cooler months?
A. Yes. Turtlenecks and t-shirts may be worn underneath the standardized shirt as long as they are appropriately sized.
Q. Can my child wear a sweater or hoodie to school?
A. Yes. Sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets and hoodies may be worn over the polo or oxford styled shirts. The only requirement is that the collar be visible at all times.
Q. What color pants/jeans can my child wear to school?
A. Pants should be khaki, navy, black, brown or gray and be free of any design.
Q. Can my child wear jeans with holes or tears in them?
A. No. All pants/jeans must be free of slits, holes or tears and must be one continuous solid color, free of manufactured fading or bleeding and appropriately sized.
Q. What kind of shoes can my child wear?
A. Students must wear shoes with backs. Shoes with Velcro, straps or laces must be securely fastened at all times. Skate shoes are not permitted.
Q. When can my child wear a spirit shirt?
A. Spirit shirts may be worn on days designated by the campus principal.The principal and assistant principal(s) are authorized to make determinations regarding whether any fashion, fad, hair, jewelry or article of clothing is inappropriate for school wear or disruptive to the educational process or safety of the campus.
Q. Is my elementary student required to wear a belt?
A. Belts are required for garments made with belt loops in grades 3-12 only.
Pasadena's Esparza Falls in Semifinals, Takes Home Olympic Bronze
Texas A&M's Cammile Adams will compete for a medal in the 200-meter butterfly this week.
UPDATE: Marlen Esparza wrapped up her boxing career on Wednesday with a semifinals loss at the London Olympics that prevented her from reaching the gold-medal round. Esparza, a 2007 Pasadena High graduate, was awarded the bronze medal in the women's flyweight division. Esparza lost 10-8 to China's Cancan Ren in the semifinals. UPDATE: Pasadena High graduate Marlen Esparza assured herself of an Olympic medal on Monday when she defeated Karhla Magliocco of Venezuela 24-16 to reach the semifinals of women's flyweight boxing in London. Esparza will face world champion Cancan Ren of China in the semifinals on Wednesday. Esparza qualified for at least a bronze medal with her victory on Monday. UPDATE: Since the publication of this story last week, readers have pointed out another U.S. Olympian with Pasadena ISD connections. Cammile Adams, set to compete in the 200-meter butterfly, is the daughter of Eddie Adams, a 1975 Pasadena High graduate and a former South Houston High swimming coach. Cammile, a junior at Texas A&M, will compete on Tuesday. The finals in her event are set for Wednesday.
Two world-class athletes with Pasadena ISD connections will be competing in the London 2012 Olympics beginning next week. Women's boxer Marlen Esparza (top right), a 2007 Pasadena High graduate, and men's gymnast Jonathan Horton (bottom right), the son of South Houston High alumnus Alan Horton, will be among the hundreds of American athletes competing for Olympic gold. Esparza was class president and graduated in the top two percent of her class at Pasadena High. She was accepted to Rice University, but decided instead to pursue her interest in a boxing career. Earlier this year, she made history by becoming the first American woman boxer to qualify for the Olympics, which is offering women's boxing as a competition sport for the first time. Horton graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 after leading the Sooners to five NCAA titles. He competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, landing a silver medal in the horizontal bar and a bronze in the team competition. In London, he hopes to lead team USA to gold as well as an individual top finish in the men's rings competition. He currently resides in Houston and trains at Houston Cypress Academy of Gymnastics. His father is a member of the South Houston High Class of 1969. Esparza will compete in the first round of women's flyweight on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 7:30 a.m. on NBC. Men's gymnastics coverage begins with the team final on Monday at 10:30 a.m. The rings competition is set for Aug 6 at 8 a.m. The 2012 London summer Olympics kicks off on Friday with coverage of the opening ceremonies beginning at 6:30 p.m. NBC (Channel 2 in the Houston area) has exclusive rights to all Olympics coverage.
Teague Principal Morris Begins Stint as TEPSA President
Teague Elementary Principal Lorie Morris will serve as District 4 president for the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) this school year. Officers from the 20 TEPSA districts across the state were installed at the association's July leadership conference. "District officers play a vital role in communicating TEPSA's mission at the local level," said Sandi Borden, the association's executive director. "They are committed to serving Texas PreK-8 educators and students. Morris, now in her 21st year with Pasadena ISD, has served as a TEPSA district officer for four years. "I love my job -- each day is a new learning experience," she said. TEPSA has served Texas school leaders since 1917. Member-owned and member-governed, TEPSA has more than 5,800 members who direct the activities of more than 2.5 million children in Pre-K through Grade 8.
Aggie Ring Comes Full Circle, Thanks to Pasadena ISD Police
Darryl Morris, accompanied by his seven-year-old daughter Madlynn, claims his long-lost Texas A&M ring from Pasadena ISD Officer Seth King.
By CHRISTINA FRANCISCO Pasadena ISD Communications We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we. True to each other as Aggies can be. These are words from the school song of Texas A&M -- "The Spirit of Aggieland" -- words etched in the heart of every Aggie. In the past few weeks, these words have had even more meaning for Darryl Morris. Last week Morris was reunited with his beloved Aggie ring, a keepsake he hadn't seen in six years. Lost - or likely stolen -- in 2006, the ring was returned to Morris after some diligent detective work by Pasadena ISD police. "You can't really describe what that ring means to someone who doesn't know," said Morris, a 1993 A&M graduate. An Aggie ring is perhaps the most celebrated of the many traditions at A&M. Students are allowed to order a ring only after meeting certain academic criteria at the university. Around the world, it helps Aggies quick identify other Aggies. "People will look and see if you have a college ring, then look to check if it's a ring from Texas A&M University," said Morris, now the director of human resources and public relations for the Columbia-Brazoria ISD. Morris last saw his ring in early 2006. After attending a school board meeting, he returned to his apartment in Katy and tucked away the ring away in its usual place -- a box stashed inside a computer-desk drawer. The next morning, Morris says, following a visit from a cable technician, Morris went to get his ring. It wasn't there. He reported the incident as a theft to local police. His report, he says, was lost in paperwork. Then, in early July, a Pasadena ISD employee found a gold college ring on the ground in the rear parking lot of The Summit, the district's multi-purpose complex on East Sam Houston Parkway. The markings were clear: a Texas A&M ring, Class of 1993 - and on the inside was a name. "Darryl Lynn Morris." The ring was turned over to Pasadena ISD Officer Mike Y'Barbo, himself an Aggie graduate. After spending a week trying to locate "Darryl Lynn Morris," Y'Barbo went on vacation. He turned over the information to Officer Seth King, a graduate of Texas A&M at Galveston. "Truly, it looked too easy to not solve," said Stewart Russell, the Pasadena ISD's chief of police. "Being an A&M ring with his name on it, how could we not find this guy?" But King discovered it wasn't as easy as it seemed. "The connections weren't made where you'd expect them to be," said King. King was given only a name, a class year and a couple of old addresses to track down Morris. After a few dead ends, King unearthed a string of leads that eventually led him to a working phone number. "I got the call last Tuesday, and I have just been on pins and needles ever since," Morris said. "It's like a dream. I can't believe I'm going to get to wear it again. "It was nice to help, especially when I found out it was stolen," King said. "Even though we couldn't get the guy that took it, it was nice to get him his property back. We try to do the best we can for everybody." Morris said the ring symbolizes more than just his love of A&M. The ring was given to him, those many years ago, by his wife and son. "It's exciting," Morris said. "It's really wonderful. It nearly brought me to tears.""
Pasadena High's Early College Program in Final Countdown
Incoming Pasadena High freshmen Josue Bravo and Jackie Alonzo compare notes during a summer prep class at the school. The two are among 57 students set to take part in the new Early College Program, which begins later this month.
By BRITTA GAMINO Pasadena ISD Communications It began as a plan to expand the dual credit program at Pasadena High. But when the plan becomes reality later this month, 57 Pasadena High freshmen will find themselves on a path to earn a college degree the same day they graduate from high school. The Pasadena High Early College Program, set to launch with the first day of school, will allow incoming freshmen to concurrently enroll in classes through San Jacinto College. This gives each student the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time they earn their high-school diploma. The college courses would be offered at no cost. That would represent a savings in college tuition costs of about $6,000 per student. And a time savings of two years in each student's pursuit of a four-year college degree. "The overall goal is for us to work with our students and create a plan for them to get 60 credit hours that are transferable to a four-year university," says Pasadena High Principal Joe Saavedra. Initially, four associate degree programs will be offered: business, psychology, life science and mathematics. The plan represents a pilot program currently open only to eighth-graders who live in Pasadena High's attendance zone. Fifty-seven students have been accepted into the program for the first year. School officials hope to expand it later to as many as 500 students from around the Pasadena ISD, and offer the program at all district high schools. "The idea is for us to start the program here and then figure out how to open this program to every school," Saavedra said. Students interested in enrolling in the program had to maintain at least an 80 average in all core classes, pass the TAKS test, show a good attendance record and submit two letters of recommendation from current teachers. An interview process helped determined each student's commitment to the program. Finally, students completed an application for San Jacinto College. The program is a first for the Pasadena ISD. More than 40 early college high school programs have already been established in Texas. Saavedra said that by exposing students to college at an earlier age, most will be motivated to pursue degrees beyond the associate level. He said during the first two years of the program, students will be taking all their classes -- both high school and college -- at Pasadena High. As seniors, students in the program will take all classes at San Jacinto College. "What is so unique about our campus is that we actually have a separate building to lend to the program," Saavedra said. "That way our students can be separated but still feel part of a group and part of the student body." Early College classes will be contained in a two-story section of what used to be the main building. Some of the second-story classrooms overlook the food court. Classrooms will have a college look and feel, with smaller areas for studying and group projects. Classes will have a student-teacher ratio of 20:1. Students will still have the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities, campus events and athletics at Pasadena High while enrolled in the program. They'll also have access to San Jacinto College resources such as campus libraries, tutoring facilities, writing centers and computer labs. "Students will have the same access as regular college students," said Jaynie Mitchell, director of Dual Credit and Early Admission at San Jacinto College Central. "They can attend sporting and arts events as well, and become part of the proud Raven tradition at San Jacinto College Central."
Jason Jones, Vianey Espinosa and Jessica Castillo combine efforts during an AVID class held over the summer at Pasadena High, where all three will participate in the Early College Program.
Classes in the Early College Program will be held in a contained, two-story location in a central part of the Pasadena High campus.
From Behind the Scenes, Morgan Moves to Front of Board Tenure Pack
Vickie Morgan, once an elementary school room mom, listens to comments of a speaker at Tuesday night's Board of Trustees meeting. Morgan this month began her 26th year of service as a board member, the longest tenure in Pasadena ISD history.
By BRITTA GAMINO Pasadena ISD Communications Vickie Morgan was about to make Pasadena ISD history. It was election night in the spring of 1986. Morgan, whose only experience in public education had been to tenderly serve as an elementary-school room mom, sat quietly in the front of a crowded conference hall waiting for vote totals to be announced. She knew the odds were against her. She was challenging a 19-year incumbent for a seat on the Board of Trustees. She was attempting to become the first elected female trustee in school district history. She had already reconciled herself with the probability of defeat. Then the results were announced. It would be a while before Vickie Morgan would be passing out scissors and paste pots again. When the tally was announced, Willie Morgan found himself on the receiving end of a look he'd never seen before, at least not from his usually demur wife. "The look on her face," he recalls, "said it all." It said more than that. The unlikeliest of candidates for elected office, Morgan last month began her 26th year of service as a member of the Pasadena ISD school board. With her swearing in on May 24, she surpassed the tenure of Harvey Turner, who served from 1969 to 1994, a full quarter-century. "I decided to run, never thinking that I would be elected my first time," Morgan said. "I said to myself, 'Okay, I am going to run, but if I don't get elected I am not going to be heartbroken.'" Morgan had regularly attended board meetings and simply viewed board membership as a way to stay connected with her children, with educational issues and with the Pasadena community. She decided to challenge Carl Schwartz, who had served on the board since 1967. And she won. In the quarter-century since - fueled by an intense passion for the welfare of Pasadena children -- she has left an indelible stamp of leadership and advocacy on behalf of district students. "All of her decisions are based on what's right for kids," said School Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis. "She has been an unwavering supporter of Pasadena ISD and believes in what we are trying to accomplish." Unopposed in her latest re-election bid, Morgan has played a vital role in helping to implement special programs to meet student needs. She has been a vocal supporter of new teaching methods that incorporate advances in technology. "I've seen a tremendous change in the way instruction is delivered from when I first started out," Morgan said. "We no longer have the standard teacher-lecture dynamic. We have a more direct, hands-on approach that not only encourages kids, but allows them to interact with each other and learn from each other as well." Often, she finds herself visiting classrooms around the district to experience firsthand what is involved in students' daily learning structure. "To see those kids interacting and learning from each other," she said, "is incredible." One of her more recent concerns has been the district's projected budget crunch for the next two school years, the fallout of a state budget shortfall. "I want a resolution to this financial crisis," she said. "I want to be able to reward our employees, supply our classrooms and provide new technology for our students." Morgan's contributions to the community haven't abated over the years. She has stayed involved as a PTA volunteer, a Girl Scout troop counselor, the director of Vacation Bible School at South Main Baptist Church in Pasadena and the coordinator for several other events at her church. Through her board service, she has consistently demonstrated her concern for the well being of children. She says she hopes to see a program established to combat bullying in schools during her new term in office. Bullying, she says, affects students at every grade level. Awareness, she says, is the key to fighting the problem. Morgan has also been diligent in raising awareness on another issue -- one that had tragic consequences in her own life. For the past two years, she has conducted a crusade - in speaking appearances and on the Internet -- against the dangers of choking games played by many young people. Choking games involve acts of self-suffocation -- through strangling or intense pressure to the chest - that cut off the flow of blood from the brain, resulting in a temporary high. In 2009, Morgan and her husband lost their daughter, Jenny, a senior at Memorial High, to a choking game incident. Morgan's most personal quest is to help educate students, parents and educators on the dangers and warning signs of choking games. She now speaks to groups both locally and statewide - often in conjunction with local police departments - and also to churches and other groups about the tragedy of such activity. Her goal is simple -- to save lives, one child at a time, through awareness. Not that she's comfortable with her own public profile. "I love doing things for people, but I don't exactly like the attention," she said. "I'm not that kind of person. I'd rather just stay in the background."
Morgan, along with Board of Trustees member Marshall Kendrick, were sworn in for new terms by Dexter Joyner, legal counselor for the district, during the Board's May meeting.