Rita Graves has been selected as the new principal for Lamar High School. Graves has served HISD for 20 years, starting as a first-grade teacher and reading specialist at Poe Elementary School. She then served as magnet coordinator and dean of magnet students at Pin Oak Middle School, a foreign language magnet school and National Blue Ribbon School, where she started a Chinese language program to complement the existing language program. Graves served as principal of Roberts Elementary School for six years and Pin Oak for three years. She has served on the U.S. Department of Education’s NAEP Principals’ Panel since 2014 and also participates on the NAEP Transcript Study Advisory Panel. Graves currently serves on the board of Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and is the former president of the Houston Association of School Administrators. Graves graduated from the University of Houston and was named Outstanding Young Alumna in 1998.
Soaking up striking views of the Galleria to the west and Downtown Houston to the east, Lamar High School Project Advisory Team members got their first look inside the school’s new four-story addition.
Members were shown a 3-D printed model of the campus and then given the opportunity to walk through the steel structure, up to the fourth floor of the academic wing, where they could view construction progress. Continue reading
At Lamar High School, it’s not uncommon to see a massive crane hoisting steel columns and beams into the air as crews work to rebuild the school as part of the 2012 Bond Program.
The $122.9 million project began vertical construction last November with the installation of the new building’s first upright column. Steel installation has been underway since then, recently reaching as high as the third floor of the building’s north wing.
While crews construct the physical structure, Lamar Principal James McSwain is working with educators to ensure furniture and interior features of the new building enhance the school’s innovative new teaching methods. Continue reading
Though there’s not much to see above ground, construction at Lamar High School is well underway, as crews are drilling piers and preparing to lay the foundation for the campus’ new addition.
As part of that foundation work, crews soon will begin installing grade beams and pouring the concrete slab. Once the groundwork and foundation are complete, installation of steel columns and beams will follow, taking the project vertical by year’s end.
“Once this project gets out of the ground, it will be easy to see progress almost every day,” said Heery International Project Manager Marvin Stone, who oversees the Lamar construction for the Houston Independent School District. “Stay tuned. This will be a fun project to watch.”
HISD kicked off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on Thursday, May 4, at Kim Son restaurant with an extravaganza of color and entertainment. The Asian-Pacific American Heritage Celebration featured performances, awards, and the traditional dragon dance.
Eighty Lamar High School graduates armed with shovels lined the school’s front lawn on Thursday, eager to break ground on a new campus as they celebrated the 80th anniversary of their beloved alma mater.
Graduates spanning eight decades each had the opportunity to dig into the dirt, formally marking the start of construction on the $108 million project.
“This is an exciting day for us,” said Lamar Principal James McSwain. “It’s a day that the school community has been looking forward to for many years.”
The initial construction phase for Lamar High School is expected to get underway this month after the district approves the project’s Guaranteed Maximum Price and issues a “Notice-to-Proceed” to the construction manager-at-risk, Gilbane Construction.
This first phase of construction — dubbed “Phase 0” — will focus on re-routing underground utilities, relocating the central utility plant, and demolishing a small portion of the current building that stands in the footprint of the new construction. Some street parking and athletics activities will be impacted.
More than 100 students, parents, staff, alumni, and community members turned out for a community meeting Wednesday evening to hear about innovative design plans for the new bond construction project at Lamar High School.
The HISD Board of Education is searching for a new superintendent, and trustees want input from community members about the qualities and traits they would like to see in the next district leader.
The board has hired Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to assist in the superintendent search process. The Illinois-based firm is conducting a survey (which you can find here) and helping trustees host a series of community meetings in March to gather input from various district stakeholders. Feedback obtained from those meetings will be used by trustees to finalize their superintendent profile and begin searching for candidates.
Editor’s Note: Black History Month runs from Monday, Feb. 1, through Monday, Feb. 29, this year, and HISD is celebrating with a series of weekly stories recognizing distinguished African Americans who graduated from HISD high schools. This article focuses on alumni who went on to have successful careers in radio, television, and film. Previous articles highlight athletes, artists, and politicians.
HISD has produced a number of notable African-American graduates who have established successful careers in radio, television, and film. Before making their names in the industry, though, they got their start in district communications programs.
Television producer and Yates High School graduate Kim Gagné (1982) is a two-time Daytime Emmy award winner who won for her work as a supervising producer for the Steve Harvey show. She also won a regional Emmy for her time with Houston’s KHOU-TV. Gagné got her start as a student in the Yates School of Communications. In her “I Am HISD” profile, she discusses the skills she learned while at Yates.
“While I was in the Yates magnet program, I realized that what I wanted to do with my life was possible,” said Gagné. “I thought, ‘This is not crazy. I can achieve this.’ The magnet school was in its infancy, and the teachers were so dedicated. We learned about TV, radio, film, and photography. It was pretty amazing. I had the best experience and made lifelong friends.”
Roland Martin, who also graduated from Yates (1987), is best known as a nationally syndicated columnist, a TV One cable-network commentator, and host of “News One Now,” a one-hour weekday news show. He is also a former CNN analyst and was named by Ebony magazine as one of the 150 most influential African Americans in the U.S. in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
During a visit with Yates students, Martin remembers that it all began in high school. “The foundation of what I do, everything related to communications, actually began at HISD and Yates,” he said. “That has been my passion since I was 14 years old, and I certainly want the school to continue with its strong and vibrant communications program.”
Other distinguished African Americans in radio, television, and film who graduated from HISD schools include Ralph Cooper (Worthing HS, 1966, radio), Rosalind Jordan (Jones HS, 1984, journalist), and Sherri Williams (Lamar HS, 1990, journalist).
Join the conversation! Do you know other distinguished alumni who graduated from HISD schools? If so, tell us about them on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #HISDBlackHistory.