Inaugural STAAR award recipient announced

Sam Houston SMTC junior Vanessa Luna Tinoco received the Sofia John STAAR Achievement Award recently for having the most improved score on the second round of STAAR science testing. Tinoco received $600 and a story about her posted on the  school’s website.

The award was conceived and implemented by Sofia John in response to her experience teaching at Sam Houston. A Yale University graduate and former Teach for America teacher, John believes that students who are struggling with obstacles outside their control are often overlooked.

STAAR Committee President Sherry Tate John, HISD Strategic Partnerships General Manager Caleen Allen, and Principal Alan L. Summers bestowed the honor on Tinoco.

“We wanted students to recognize the importance of this accomplishment,” said John. “Science is a critical part of education, and having this success will hopefully spark more achievements from students.”

The award recognizes scientific achievement for the most determined learner, proving that effort and perseverance has its rewards. Its mission is to encourage and recognize those who strive for improvement.

“To invest in a young person’s future is one of the most important decisions you can make,” said Allen. “HISD is grateful to the Sofia John STAAR Award Committee for believing in the importance of academic success.”

Author and financial advisor Sharon B. Jones has pledged financial counseling workshops for Tinoco’s family. In addition, two copies of her book, “Family Friendly Money Recipes,” will be given to the school’s library.