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Student caseworkers go the extra mile to end student hunger

2013 February 14
by HISD Communications

This week’s Shout-Out goes to student caseworkers Shawndra Johnson and James Williams in the Dropout Prevention department (formerly Student Engagement), from Federal and State Compliance Senior Manager Mark White.

“Their usual work is dealing with truancy and dropouts, but when they realized they had hungry kids, too, they decided to do something about it,” explained White.

“Homelessness and dropout issues often develop hand-in-hand,” he added, “but we have a whole different set of students who are housed, yet still hungry. Because of Free and Reduced (price) meal programs, they can get free breakfast and lunches at school, but a lot of times, they don’t eat dinner and they don’t eat on the weekends. You can tell when they’re at breakfast on Monday morning and they’re eating other kids’ meals, or asking ‘Are you going to eat that?’ at lunch, and literally putting the food in their pockets to take home for later. And we have hundreds of them.” 

So Johnson and Williams began working with local food banks, grocery stores, and other community partners to create a system for getting food discretely to those students. 

“This is not something in their job description,” added White. “And it’s not something I asked them to do. But they do this on the weekends and the evenings, because they just don’t want to see kids going hungry. They were even making deliveries over the Christmas break to make sure the kids had something to eat.”

(Please contact Jesse Marché at 713-556-6753 if you would like to support their efforts.)

Other Shout-Outs this week go to:

  • Burbank MS Teacher Dr. Linda Velasquez: She deserves to be recognized due to her dedication, efforts, and tireless work for the bilingual, ESL and Dual Language students for more than 25 years. She is always creating the best instructional environment for minorities and teachers, not only at Burbank, but at other schools as well. —Crespo ES teacher Gustavo Tamayo
Know someone who deserves a shout-out? Send an email to with the subject line “Shout Out for eNews!” and tell us why.
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