Two HISD schools win most-improved attendance awards

If 80 percent of success is just showing up, students at Harper Alternative School and Inspired for Excellence Academy are going to have a great year. These two HISD schools made the largest gains in attendance from the fall 2013 to the fall 2014 semesters and were rewarded with certificates and assemblies featuring inspirational speakers and entertainment.

“You did something great!” said Harper Principal Raymond Glass II to his students. “You beat out all the other schools in HISD.”

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Harris County Judge Hilary H. Green, and Former NFL and Texas A&M football player Antonio Armstrong gave rousing speeches to Harper high school students. At the Inspired for Excellence assembly, former NFL and Baylor University football player Tyrone Smith and First Sergeant Lashan Bland, who oversees the Marine Cadet program there, addressed middle school students. First Sgt. Bland did one tour of duty in Iraq, where she supervised 100 soldiers.

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“You have no idea how proud this makes me,” Sheriff Garcia told Harper students. “When you are here, you are safe, you are learning, and you are not getting in trouble, which means your tomorrows are getting brighter!” Judge Green advised students to “be a mentor to someone else, and keep it going.”

Armstrong encouraged students to view school as a stepping stone to their future. “I grew up in Kashmere Gardens, and my mom was a single parent,” he said. “One year, we didn’t have water, electricity, or phone service, but I still had a 4.0 in school.”

Slam poet Marley spoke at both schools about his road to success and read from his book of published poems before performing with break-dancing troupe Havikoro.

Also attending both events were HISD student caseworkers Sonya Lugo and Clifford Hite, who collectively, have 42 years of experience working with students to keep them in school.

Recently, selected students at both schools received Kindles for marked improvement in attendance and behavior. Read about that here.