Fort Bend & Sugar Land Schools,
Sports, and Students April 2017
FALCON PHOTOGS EARN GOLD KEYS
Thirteen Foster High School students earned awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (South and Central Texas regions). Foster photographers and writers won two Gold Key Awards, four Silver Key Awards and seven Honorable Mentions in the contest. The two Gold Key winners are headed to Nationals.
Senior Haley Keith and junior Savannah Fairless both received Gold Keys in photography.
Students submit their works earlier in the year and they are judged by a panel in New York City. The awards were announced earlier this month.
Keith and fellow senior Truman Bui received Silver Keys in Photography, while freshman Francisco Garza earned a Silver Key in short-story writing and junior Sydney Olejniczak earned a Silver Key in humor writing.
Honorable Mentions went to: Sophomore Sarah Archibong – Photography; Senior Truman Bui – Photography; Savannah Fairless – Photography; Haley Keith – Photography; Chase Martin – Photography; Carlos Yicon – Photography; and Senior Margaux Malek – Science Fiction/Fantasy writing.
THREE FBCA ATHLETES SIGN NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT
Three Fort Bend Christian Academy High School seniors have made the pivotal decision to play a sport at the collegiate level. National Signing Day, usually the first Wednesday of February, is the first day that a high school senior can sign a binding National Letter of Intent with a school that is a member of the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
FBCA senior Winston (Armani) Crosby signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at West Texas A&M University. Armani has played football for 13 years, and the running back has received numerous awards at the varsity level including: Touch Down Club Houston Offensive Player Of The Year Finalist; TAPPS Sophomore Honorable Mention All-District Football; TAPPS Honorable Mention All-State Football; First Team All-District Running Back; FBCA Offensive MVP award recipient; and FBCA Best Offensive Award Recipient.
“I am so happy and look forward to becoming a West Texas A&M Buffalo,” Armani said. He thanked God, his parents and others for their support. “I would also like to thank my uncle Darnell for coming to my games and encouraging me to do my best, stay focused, and stay humble,” he said. “A special thanks to my coaches for teaching me discipline and hard work and to Coach David Robertsfor seeing potential in me.”
FBCA senior Alyssa Riepel signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. With 14 years of experience in soccer, Alyssa has played the sport for FBCA since she was a freshman. Alyssa excels at defense and is part of the Eclipse Soccer Club.
“My favorite moment throughout my career was last year going 16-0 in District and ending the season 19-2 with my girls,” she said. “Also having Coach Tom on the sidelines coaching me last year. He always put a smile on my face.”
Her awards at the varsity level include: Most Versatile Player; Defensive MVP; 1st Team All-District; 2nd Team All-State Academic All-State; and 1st Team All-State.
“I would like to thank my mom and dad for all the work they have put in to get me this far,” she said. “I would also like to thank all the club and high school coaches I have had throughout my soccer career.”
FBCA senior Ethan Buis signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at the University of Northwestern St. Paul in Minnesota. Ethan has played football for 11 years, and he received the 2nd Team All-District Offensive Line distinction.
“My favorite moment playing football at FBCA was when the opposing team’s coach congratulated me on a great game and told me I was a heck of player,” he said.
Fort Bend Christian Academy is a private, college-preparatory school located in Sugar Land. For more information, visit the school website, fortbendchristian.org.
FORT BEND ISD NAMES 2017 ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY ROOKIE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR
Fort Bend ISD announces its first-year teachers who have been named the District Elementary and Secondary 2017 Rookie Teachers of the Year. The honorees are first-year teachers who are making a positive difference in the classroom.
The District’s Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year Judging Committees met and reviewed all campus nominations and selected six winners. All of the District campus nominees represent the best new teachers
Elementary Rookie Teachers of the Year are: Elizabeth Salcich, Colony Meadows Elementary; Hannah Michel, Madden Elementary; and Courtney Esmond, Mission Glen Elementary.
Secondary Rookie Teachers of the Year are: Noemi Rodriguez, Baines Middle School; Brittany Wise, First Colony Middle School; and Trevor Caswell, Willowridge High School.
The District Rookies of the Year will be honored, along with the Teacher of the Year Finalists and Campus Teachers of the Year, at the District’s annual awards banquet on April 20.
FORT BEND ISD’S 2017 PRINCIPALS OF THE YEAR
Veteran educators Stephanie Houston and Dee Knox were named Fort Bend ISD’s 2017 Principals of the Year. Houston is the principal at Ridgemont Elementary School and is the Elementary Principal of the Year; and Knox, principal at Dulles Middle School, is the Secondary Principal of the Year. They were selected by their peers for the honor based on their outstanding leadership, service and dedication to their students and staff.
An educator for more than 23 years, Houston expressed that she is grateful that her peers see her hard work, dedication, and commitment to Ridgemont Elementary and FBISD.
“I am extremely elated and honored to receive the recognition and humbled by this acknowledgement because I commit myself to do this awesome work for the students in order for them to succeed,” Houston said.
Houston also served as the principal at Townewest Elementary for eight years.
Prior to that, she worked for Alief ISD as an elementary teacher, math specialist and
Knox officially joined the District in 1993 as a teacher at Austin Parkway Elementary, and then served as assistant principal at Walker Station Elementary. Later, she became the assistant principal at Holley Elementary, where she eventually assumed the role of principal.
Currently, she is principal of Dulles Middle School and has already proven she is a great leader. “I have been blessed to have people in my life that have shaped me into the leader I am today,” Knox shared. “I am grateful to my peers and colleagues that I have worked with, laughed with and from whom I have learned.”
Both principals will be honored later this spring at the Region 4 Education Service Center Principal Recognition Ceremony.
FBISD NAMES 2017 BILINGUAL AND ESL TEACHERS OF THE YEAR
Each year, Fort Bend ISD’s Multilingual Services invites the District’s elementary and secondary principals to nominate their outstanding Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to compete in the Houston Area Association for Bilingual Education (HAABE) Teacher of the Year Awards Competition.
Representing FBISD in the competition this year are: Rosa Villeda, FBISD 2017 Bilingual Teacher of the Year – Goodman Elementary; Kennette Bardell, FBISD 2017 Elementary ESL Teacher of the Year – Ridgemont Elementary; and Lili Dibai, FBISD 2017 Secondary ESL Teacher of the Year – Sugar Land Middle School.
As District winners, they will be honored at the HAABE Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 6, and will advance to the Houston-area competition.
FBCA TROMBONIST RANKED 1ST IN STATE FOR SECOND YEAR IN ROW
Fort Bend Christian Academy high school sophomore Benjamin Kopferr has been playing Bass Trombone for five years and has only been in the FBCA band for two years, but already his musical abilities make him stand out among the best. He was ranked 1st in State and was invited to participate in the Texas Private School Music Educators Association (TPSMEA) All-State Band for the second year in a row.
“It was a big accomplishment making it two years in a row to All-State,” Kopfer said. “I love the competition! It was an exciting time of rehearsing with the best students in the state. I also enjoy the conductors who have much experience.” The conductor this year was Jack Delaney, Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the Meadows School of the Arts of Southern Methodist University. Kopfer said Delaney set high expectations for all the band members. “The performance sounded beautiful, and it is something that I will always remember,” he said.
FBCA Director of Bands Aaron Perez said Ben is an extraordinary musician who actually challenges him to be a better teacher and musician.
“Ben is always striving to perform at his absolute best, and that is why he has been invited to play in the TPSMEA All-State Band two years in a row,” Perez said. “It is rare to see a sophomore sitting in an All-State Band. It’s very rare to see a sophomore sitting in an All-State Band knowing that they made it the previous year as a freshman. Ben can be one of the few students in the state that can continue participating in the All-State Band his whole school career. It’s an honor and privilege to teach Ben through the FBCA Band program.”
Kopfer also plays for the FBCA Baseball team. He said he enjoys getting to experience the different opportunities at FBCA like Eagle Week, a week-long opportunity during the spring for high school students to participate in service and mission work locally and abroad.
MISSOURI CITY TEEN EARNS GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD
Alexandra Sepulveda, a sophomore at Dulles High School – Math and Science Academy, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting. The award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable community service projects that require a minimum of 80 hours to complete. Less than five percent of Girl Scouts earn the award.
To earn the award, Sepulveda created a reading area for each of the kindergarten classrooms at Palmer Elementary School in Fort Bend ISD. She also collected donations of rugs, pillows, cushions, books and shelves used to decorate and stock the areas. Sepulveda, who worked with 20 volunteers on this project, put together the reading areas in four classrooms over the course of two days, including mounting posters and inspirational quotes on the walls.
“I always loved reading as a kid; I would read at least two books a week in elementary school,” said Sepulveda. “I wanted other kids to be able to do that, too.”
After graduating from high school in spring 2019, Sepulveda will attend college and continue to volunteer.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients receive greater lifetime benefits than their peers with regard to positive sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement thanks to their experience in Girl Scouting, including earning their Gold Award. To learn more, visit girlscouts.org.
FORT BEND ISD BOARD AND STUDENT LEADERSHIP GROUP VISIT AUSTIN
The start of the 85th Texas Legislative Session is an exciting and busy time for not only elected officials, but also the many advocates and leaders from across the state. As Fort Bend ISD student leaders visited Austin recently, the halls of the State Capitol were filled with people, rushing from one meeting to another. The priorities and goals set here will affect the lives of millions of Texans for the next two years. This was one of the themes of the day for students in the Board’s Student Leadership program, to see in real life what they have learned in their classrooms and seen on television.
For the first part of the day, the students, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre and several members of the Board – President Kristin Tassin, Vice President Jason Burdine and Trustee KP George – met with several lawmakers representing Fort Bend County in the Texas House. Representative John Zerwas (District 28) and Representative Phil Stephenson (District 85) shared how they became interested in politics and how what they do in their professional lives influences their work in government. For Rep. Zerwas, a physician, the primary priorities are health care, public safety and education.
“I congratulate you for participating in this leadership course,” he said to the students. “Texas is highly invested in making sure you get a good education. I believe that is how we define what the future of Texas looks like.”
Wroe Jackson, the Chief of Staff for Texas Senator Joan Huffman (District 17), met next with the students and discussed his work as a legislator staffer. As an attorney, Jackson works mainly on issues of criminal justice, voting rights and elections for Sen. Huffman. He also helps to meet with constituents and visitors to her office. He and the other staff members work to make sure that the senator is prepared for business when bills have to be debated and votes have to be taken.
“She has to find a way to get the information that she needs to be an informed decision maker, and that’s where staff comes in,” he said.
Jackson informed the students that they soon could be working with legislators, encouraging them to look into internships when they begin college. He explained that these internships can help the students further their growth in leadership and give them an insight into politics, if they choose to go in that direction.
During lunch, students heard from Dr. Dupre, Board President Tassin and Representative Alma Allen (District 131) about what they can do now, as student leaders, to prepare for their adult lives as engaged citizens. Tassin shared what school boards do, and how they function like municipal and state government bodies, setting the priorities and policies for school districts. She and Rep. Allen encouraged the students to consider what they can do now, as students in high school, to get involved in the democratic process.
CALVARY STUDENTS RECOGNIZED AT SCHOLASTIC ART AND WRITING COMPETITION
Two Calvary Episcopal students earned recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing regional competition. Grace Stewart received an Honorable Mention for her art piece “Through the Eye of the Lens.” Grace studies art at Calvary with Mary Jean Duval. Isabel Beale received a Gold Key for her short story “The Head that Split,” which she wrote as part of a project in Lauren Gant’s English class.
LAMAR CISD’S 2017 PRINCIPALS OF THE YEAR
Two veteran educators were recently honored as Lamar CISD’s Principals of the Year for 2017.
Jill Nehls is the Elementary Principal of the Year. She is in her eighth year as principal at Long Elementary.
She was an assistant principal at Frost and Smith elementary schools prior to taking the helm at Long. She taught in Alief ISD before coming to Lamar CISD.
Jerry Kipping is the Secondary Principal of the Year. He is in his second year as principal at Foster High School.
He was principal at Lamar Junior High before moving to Foster. Kipping also served as assistant principal at Briscoe Junior High School and Terry High School, and as a teacher and coach in Corpus Christi ISD.
The District’s top principals are chosen every year by a vote of their peers.