Fort Bend & Sugar Land Schools, Sports, and Students
CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS RAISE NEARLY $1,500 FOR UNICEF
Members of the Clements High School’s UNICEF Club recently presented a check for more than $1,452 to a representative of UNICEF’s Houston Regional Office after a successful “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” fundraiser. Last fall, members of the Clements UNICEF Club joined other children and teenagers across America by going door-to-door to collect change for the cause and spread awareness about the organization and the work it does around the United States and the world to help children in desperate need.
The Clements club invited participation from the entire student body by encouraging classroom competitions to collect loose change during the week of Halloween. Students and teachers emptied their pockets during their fifth period classes to benefit the organization. Ms. Badillo’s class came in at the top of the competition by collecting more than $100 in donations.
On Halloween night, Clements students Ryan Fisch, Stassney Brown and Deven Patel collected the most change, with more than $50 each.
QUAIL VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL SUPPORTS AVON 39, THE WALK TO CURE CANCER
Quail Valley Middle School (QVMS) students, staff, parents and community members raised $2,500 to support Avon 39, the walk to cure cancer, during a fundraising event held on campus. Students who raised at least $25 for the cause were invited to attend the event that included board games, music and line dancing, basketball tournaments, volleyball games, a movie room, food and door prizes.
Darren Woodard, NFL defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals and son of QVMS staff member Andra Woodard, served as the keynote speaker. He shared details of his education and professional football career, reminding students of the importance of remaining in school. “Anything you want to achieve in life is possible if you keep education at the forefront,” said Woodard.
Health teacher and event organizer Regina Crafter, who is also the reigning Ms. Texas America, thanked guests for attending and supporting the event. “No matter what amount you contributed, you supported a worthy cause and thought of someone other than yourselves,” she said. “For that you should be commended.”
Event sponsors were Smashburger, Red Lobster, Guru Burgers and Crepes, The Rouxpour, Raising Cane’s and a host of QVMS parents. Students Musjan Effendi and Claudia Castano served as hostesses.
LAMAR CISD PRINCIPAL FINALIST IN H-E-B EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARDS PROGRAM
Ben Perez, principal of Lamar CISD’s Ray Elementary, is one of five elementary school principals who are state finalists in the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program.
Perez was surprised March 16 at his campus by representatives of the grocery chain, his parents and members of the Lamar CISD administration, led by Superintendent Thomas Randle, and the entire student body. Perez received a $1,000 for himself and a $2,500 check for his school. If he is the overall winner, he will receive an additional $10,000, with the school earning a check for $25,000.
The winners of all of H-E-B’s Excellence in Education categories will be named May 2 in Austin. Lamar CISD has had numerous finalists in the program and was named Large District of the Year in 2009.
A product of Lamar CISD’s Terry High School, Perez began his career as a teacher’s aide, working at Bowie Elementary with the P.E. teacher, while simultaneously attending the University of Houston-Downtown. After college, he became a teacher at Lamar CISD’s Pink Elementary. Perez taught first and fourth grades, quickly earning the trust of his principal and his fellow teachers, becoming the math specialist within three years.
After five years as a teacher, Perez became assistant principal at Ray Elementary, where he was instrumental in achieving a school’s highest honor: a National Blue Ribbon. He became principal at Ray in 2009.
ELKINS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SUPPORT AREA HOSPITAL PATIENTS
To support area patients following surgery, Elkins High School students donated 125 heart-shaped pillows to cardiac patients at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital as part of a community service project initiated by human services teacher Lanette Marquardt.
The students created the pillows in their fashion design and human services classes, using computerized embroidery machines. Each 10-inch pillow features a design (such as flowers, butterflies and hearts) or meaningful messages (such as “Be Blessed” or “Home is Where the Heart Is”) and is the perfect size for patients to place over their chests to help ease discomfort from an automobile seat belt during their ride home from the hospital.
“The purpose of the project was to have students make an impact on the community, while gaining hands-on experiences using computerized embroidery machines,” said Marquardt.
SSLW AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY PROGRAM
Suburban Sugar Land Women recently held an African American History Program led by Donisha Smith at Youens Elementary School in Alief ISD. Program highlights included an art exhibit by Glover Elementary School, Rosalind Riggs, art teacher; a presentation by the mothers and daughters of Girl Scout Troop 19330; a presentation about African American inventors; the Hastings High School cheerleading team; a recitation of Phenomenal Woman by Madyson Horton, Alayja Simmons, Donisha Smith and London Thorn; the Youens Elementary Honor Choir; and special guests from Dulles and Ridge Point high schools and Lamar High School senior volunteers.
CALVARY EPISCOPAL STUDENTS WIN TAPPS AWARDS
Calvary Episcopal Preparatory High school students traveled to Waco recently to compete in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) State competition. Crusaders have been working all year to be prepared for their academic competitions and have announced that awards were earned by Monica Pena, who won a 2nd place medal in mixed media art, a 7th place ribbon in poetry and a 4th place ribbon in computer-rendered art; Melissa Phan, who took the 3rd place medal in mathematics, 4th in prose performance and a 5th place ribbon in calculator applications; Chase Ligon, who was 7th in persuasive speaking; and Davette Stegman, who earned 7th place in original oratory.
CAMPBELL ELEMENTARY FUN RUN
This year marked another successful Fun Run event that supports Campbell Elementary. The school appreciates and acknowledges all the participants and the community for their involvement in the spring fundraiser with special recognition to the overall female and male winners: Anngela Caron of Sugar Land, who finished at 19:07; and Justin Harder of Charlotte, North Carolina, who finished at 18:16.
AUSTIN HS SCIENCE OLYMPIAD TEAM HEADED TO STATE COMPETITION FOR THIRD YEA
Austin High School’s Science Olympiad Teams took 1st place at the Lone Star College-University Park-Regional Science Olympiad on March 28 and advanced for the third year in a row to the state competition to be held April 24-25 at Texas A&M in College Station.
There were 16 events at the tournament and the Austin teams received 17 medals out of a possible 34.
The Texas Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement. Team competition is patterned after track tournaments with challenging and motivational events ranging from earth science through physics. Events range from hands-on labs to student built machines, from outdoor events to paper and pencil tests. The emphasis is on learning, participation, interaction, having fun and team spirit.
Thanks to generous donations by companies such as Clariant International Ltd, the AHS students have been able to concentrate on preparing for the event instead of fundraising. Matt Wilson, sponsor of the AHS team, said, “I’m so proud to be a part of this year’s team. They’ve been preparing since last August when they started seeking out corporate sponsors such as Clariant International Ltd and Shell. We have some of the most highly motivated and enthusiastic young adults I have ever had the opportunity to work with.”
SUGAR LAND GIRL SCOUTS EARN GOLD AWARD
Four Sugar Land area Girl Scouts from the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, one of the largest councils in the U.S., earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest recognition a Girl Scout can receive. Less than 5 percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn the national recognition.
The Gold Award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. It marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.
To address the issues of bullying and sexual harassment after seeing countless stories about teen suicide on the news, Shravya Prabhu, a junior at Hightower High School, developed curriculum that taught more than 40 youth in three different nonprofit community centers — Knowledge-First Empowerment Center, Parks Youth Ranch and Fort Bend County Women’s Center — to respect people’s boundaries and differences, identify forms of bullying and sexual harassment and to stand up for themselves and their peers.
“I often wondered why someone would be so frustrated to make such an extreme decision to take their life,” said Prabhu. “After some research, I realized that the underlying cause was low self-esteem or lack of knowledge on how to get help in such cases, so I felt it was necessary to educate other teens in order to help them stand up for themselves and others from all walks of life.”
Caroline Cayll worked with eight volunteers she recruited to help her support and expand the therapeutic horseback riding program at Southern Equestrian Center in Frenso. She designed, built and donated four wooden saddle racks for saddling horses before riding. The program helps those with special needs improve their balance, posture and coordination.
“I’ve been riding horses since I was in elementary school,” said Cayll. “Earning my Gold Award not only helped me help the stable where I ride, but it also allowed me to expand the stable’s therapeutic riding program to allow more people in the small town of Fresno and the surrounding Houston area to have more convenient and affordable therapeutic riding options for disabled children.”
Sindhu Sathees hosted a summer music workshop for more than 100 children at the Boys and Girls Club of Stafford. With assistance from five volunteers she recruited, Sathees hosted several hands-on activities that helped kids learn more about how music is conventional and how they can fine-tune their skills as musicians. The workshop concluded with a talent show. Participants in the workshop auditioned and showcased their abilities for their friends and families.
“I wanted to help the kids explore their abilities and share their talents with friends in a fun and interactive atmosphere,” said Sathees, a senior at Clements High School.
Elizabeth Kamla, also a senior at Clements High School, held a musical theater workshop at the Boys and Girls Club. She taught children traditional theater, improvisation activities and a dance routine that they would learn in a musical. The workshop concluded with a talent show.
“I brought a new workshop to the Boys and Girls Club that they do not offer and introduced the kids to the world of musical theater, which is something a lot of kids had never been exposed to before,” said Kamla. “They were introduced to something brand new that they can use in the future and were given a new and healthy way to express themselves.”
FBISD JUNIORS EXPLORE THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY DURING MONTHLY LEADERSHIP SESSION
Cohorts of Fort Bend ISD’s Student Leadership 101 Program gained insight into the medical profession as they completed their monthly seminar focusing on Leadership in the Medical Community. Sponsored by FBISD Board members Grayle James and K.P. George. The session gave the high-school juniors an opportunity to meet with professionals at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital to learn about careers in the medical field.
Steven Ramirez, sports medicine coordinator and Austin High School graduate, welcomed the cohorts. He spoke about his educational background and career in sports medicine outreach. “My job can be considered as a hospital concierge in charge of special services,” he said. Ramirez does everything from coordinating athletic programs to evaluating injured student athletes to expediting an injured child’s admittance to the emergency room.
Greg Haralson, chief executive officer at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, shared his experience in hospital administration and duties as CEO. “My role is different from one day to the next,” he said. “I may have to serve on a committee, meet with the executive team, develop projects, recruit physicians and other staff, or attend community events. The list goes on and that’s the reason I love performing in this role.”
The cohorts also met Dr. Kulvinder Bajwa, surgeon and assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical School. A graduate of Willowridge High School, Dr. Bajwa spoke of his extensive medical background and shared reasons why doctors are considered leaders within the community.
“We are experts on various subject matters, healers, community activists and role
models,” he said.
TECHNICAL EDUCATION CENTER STUDENTS HOST CULINARY CRITIQUE EVENT
To demonstrate their skills, Culinary Arts students at the Technical Education Center opened the doors to the center’s Global Market Grill. They presented a complimentary meal to a select group of culinary tasters representing District and community members who critiqued and rated the meal, service, ambiance and serving size.
The menu included appetizers – crab dip and turtle dip, entrée – catfish fillet, jambalaya, creole slaw, corn fritters and hush puppies; dessert – king cake and louisiana crunch cake; and beverages – voodoo punch and water.
“I thought the meal was outstanding,” said Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD superintendent of schools. “The kids did a great job at cooking and serving and took really good care of us.”
Culinary Arts teachers Shawndra Harmond-Young and Mike Miller instructed the students, who created the menu, prepared the meal, decorated the restaurant in a Mardi Gras theme and served as hosts for the event. Following their service, the students introduced themselves to guests and shared their future career goals.
“This event was really fun and exciting for us,” said Head Chef Derrick Latson, a student at Hightower High School who plans on becoming an executive chef and business owner one day.
“The kids have really come a long way since the start of the school year,” said Valerie Stanley, a local pastry chef who partners with the Culinary Arts program to provide students with additional guidance and instruction.
CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR EAGLE SCOUTS
A group of Clements High School seniors have all attained the rank of Eagle Scout. They represent three different local Scout troops: 659, 731 and 828. Besides earning the highest award in scouting, these students have also been involved in various extracurricular activities at Clements including academic decathlon, band, choir, athletics, run-through crew, DECA, NJROTC and theatre.
PRINCE NJOKU PRESENTS INVOCATION DURING INDUCTION CEREMONY
Bush High School junior Prince Njoku had the distinct honor of presenting the invocation at the Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas 2015 JA Hall of Achievement induction ceremony, held March 26 at the Hilton Americas-Downtown. Jennifer Anderson, executive vice president of operations at Junior Achievement, heard Prince speak at a JA campus event and was so impressed that she recommended to JA that he represent Bush High School by delivering the invocation at the ceremony.
Presented by RBC Capital Markets, the event honored three laureates, including Barbara Bush, former First Lady of the U.S.; Albert Chao, president and CEO of Westlake Chemical Corporation; and James Gallogly, retired CEO of LyondellBasell Industries.
The event also included a reception, silent auction and dinner program.
Njoku is an active participant in JA. He also plays on the school’s varsity football and track teams, is a member of the Gifted Intelligent Gentlemen (GIG) club and has been recommended for the National Honor Society. He currently maintains a 3.4 GPA.