HISD alum and health pioneer memorialized in Earth Day tree planting

HISD’s Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy community will be planting 20 trees in one hour on Saturday, April 22, in honor of the late Dr. Polly Sparks Turner. The Earth Day initiative is in partnership with the Astros Foundation and Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Turner leaves a lasting legacy as the former president of YWCPA and chartered advisory board member, as well as the 20th South Central Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

She graduated from Wheatley High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University. After earning her doctorate from the University of Texas Health Science Center, she went on to become a trailblazer in her fields of health and pharmacy and higher education. Turner became the first African American Director of Pharmacy Services at Beaumont City Hospital, Houston’s Twelve Oaks Hospital and Doctors Hospital, and the first African American bureau chief for the City of Houston Health and Human Services Department.

Aside from her professional accomplishments, Turner was an active philanthropist, fundraiser, mentor, and volunteer up until her passing in March 2023. She was 84 years old.

On Earth Day, students, volunteers, and members of the sorority will give back to the community and celebrate Turner’s life by planting 20 trees in her honor.

Special guests include Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, Sen. Borris Miles, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Paul Harris with the Astros Foundation), YWCPA Board Member Argentina James, and Turner’s family.

Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy

1906 Cleburne Street

Saturday, April 22

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.