First-of-Its-Kind Energy Institute High School Debuts

Energy Institute HS Ribbon Cutting from Houston ISD on Vimeo.

Members of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (PESA) gathered with Houston energy executives and HISD officials on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, to mark the opening of the new Energy Institute High School, the first of its kind in the nation. The revolutionary partnership between local industry leaders and HISD staff will ensure that students receive the skills necessary to compete in today’s 21st-century workforce.

“The energy industry is front and center here in Houston,” said Sara Ortwein, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, “so it’s not only visionary but appropriate that our city, the energy capital of the world, be home to the nation’s first school dedicated to the study of energy.”

To kick off the grand opening, Energy Institute High School hosted its first Advisory Board meeting at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center. The board, which consists of executives from Halliburton, Shell, Apache, and other top energy companies, is charged with providing HISD and Energy Institute staff insight into the field and how to prepare for energy careers. They will collaborate with the district to develop and continually update the institute’s curriculum.

“We know that building a strong future for both Houston and the energy industry depends on developing the skills, talents, and, most importantly, the passions of our young people,” said Ortwein, who is also an Advisory Board member.

During the meeting, HISD Superintendent Terry B. Grier was recognized for his continued dedication to integrating the energy industry into HISD schools. “We are excited and thrilled about where we are going with this new high school,” said Dr. Grier. “We’ve got a fantastic principal, strong leadership, and great advisors. We want to develop this into the country’s finest high school.”

Students at the Energy Institute will explore geology, offshore technologies, energy management, oil and natural gas production, energy alternatives, and much more. HISD has expanded its existing partnership with the IPAA and PESA to enhance the school’s instruction with the goal of preparing all Energy Institute students for college and/or energy-industry careers right after graduation.

“I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be here,” said IPAA President Barry Russell. “We are looking forward to transferring some of the booming aspects of the energy industry to the students.”

Following the Advisory Board meeting, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the Energy Institute, located at 812 W. 28th St., to celebrate the new partnership. “I foresee such good things for our students – opportunities that will change their lives – and I can’t wait to get started,” said Principal Lori Lambropoulos. “I look forward to creating a school that will make this city proud and provide our students with opportunities that are unique, original, and aligned to what industry corporations want to see in their upcoming professionals.”

Energy Institute students will explore the energy field through guest speakers, mentoring, field trips, summer camps, paid externships, and scholarships. All classrooms will utilize state-of-the-art technology, and teachers will receive training and real-world insight from industry leaders. The institute will begin with ninth-graders and add a grade level each year, eventually serving grades 9-12.

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