Category Archives: Achievement/Recognition

National Merit Scholarship Program names 81 HISD seniors as semifinalists

The National Merit Scholarship Program has named 81 Houston Independent School District seniors as 2021 semifinalists.

The high school seniors have an opportunity to compete for approximately 7,600 scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. Nationwide there are approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

“We are proud of our global scholars who are competing with their peers from across the nation for this prestigious academic honor,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We support and encourage them to maintain the level of excellence that has resulted in their semifinalist designation, despite challenges they may face in this year of flexibility.”

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HISD recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month 

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday issued a proclamation designating Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month in the district.  

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off with the anniversary of the 1821 Independence Day of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The month also encompasses the independence days for Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18).  

Throughout the month, a variety of virtual events showcasing performances, art, and many other displays of the rich Hispanic culture can be observed across the city of Houston.  

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HISD grad receives scholarship for work in MFAH’s #StrongerThanCovid photo series

An alum of the Houston Independent School District was recently presented with a college scholarship from Houston’s prestigious Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

Mary Onwumere, a 2020 graduate from Lamar High School, received the $500 scholarship for her work in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s #StrongerThanCovid photography series. Mary’s work, along with 18 other HISD students, make up a virtual exhibition curated by the MFAH and can be viewed here.

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HISD students win Microsoft Innovation Challenge

The winning team, Heights High School’s Bulldog Apparel

Six Heights High School students took home top honors in a virtual entrepreneurship challenge last Saturday during Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas’ official JA Company Program kick-off.

The Microsoft Innovation Challenge empowered teams of students from across the district to come up with innovative additions to Microsoft’s communication and collaboration platform Teams that would increase productivity, and the human connection, at work, as well as in remote learning.

The winning team, “Bulldog Apparel,” was comprised of Heights students Bora Colkesen, Faustino Martinez, Joe Maddux, Emma Rodriguez, Alan Hernandez Saavedra and Kevin Valerio. After a 30-minute brainstorming session, the six students pitched their winning idea for a Teams poll icon that would give the meeting host immediate and direct feedback from participants.

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HISD Director of Athletics named to board of Touchdown Club of Houston

Houston Independent School District Director of Athletics and UIL Activities Andre’ Walker has been named to the board of the Touchdown Club of Houston, an organization established in 1966 that is dedicated to community service and sharing fellowship through football.

“We know that Andre’ will represent the district well,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “He is a tireless supporter of student-athletes and we are proud of this appointment and his many other accomplishments.”

Walker is an HISD graduate of Kashmere High School and an alumnus of Texas Southern University who holds a Master’s degree in Education from Prairie View A&M University. He served as a teacher and later an assistant principal at Key Middle School and Kashmere High School.

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Nutrition Services recognized for community outreach, focus on healthy eating

Nutrition Services received top honors for its school-based initiatives and ongoing community outreach in Food Management magazine’s 2020 Best Concept awards competition.

The department was named Editor’s Choice Best Concept Awards Best of Show for their efforts to feed families during the COVID-19 pandemic, expand salad bars to all campuses, and launch a food literacy program to help students understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

The magazine also highlighted the department’s Good Food campaign, which calls for all students to have access to nutritious food that is flavorful, colorful, wholesome, and locally sourced, and recognized the team for successfully converting from third-party management to self-operating status.

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Sam Houston MSTC teacher named finalist for national award in Career and Technical Education

Sam Houston MSTC Plumbing and Pipes Trades teacher Raul Ortega has been named one of 50 finalists from across the nation for the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

The award, which was started in 2017 by national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools founder Eric Smidt, recognizes outstanding instruction in skilled trades in U.S. public high schools.

Ortega, a licensed plumber, is entering his ninth year at Sam Houston MSTC. Ortega’s hands-on classroom includes bathroom and kitchen simulators where students learn to install fixtures and piping systems using curriculum from the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER). Students enrolled in the program also perform basic plumbing repairs for homeowners in the Sam Houston MSTC community and learn directly from local employers who visit Ortega’s classroom regularly to hire graduating seniors. 

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Khalilah Campbell-Rhone named Officer of Special Populations

Khalilah Campbell-Rhone has been named Officer of Special Populations. She is a proud product of the Houston Independent School District and the University of Houston, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Dr. Campbell-Rhone has worked as a teacher and administrator at several campuses including Tanglewood and Stevenson Middle Schools, Sam Houston MSTC, Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy and served as principal at Thomas Middle School and currently at Worthing High School. During her tenure in HISD, she also served as a School Support Officer and oversaw and advised 17 principals and schools in the district. 

“I am honored to have the opportunity to help HISD continue to provide quality programs and services to the district’s diverse groups of students,” Campbell-Rhone said. “I look forward to supporting Dr. Lathan’s vision of providing equity to all HISD students.” 

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20 HISD students named National Merit Scholarship winners

A total of 20 Houston Independent School District students from six high schools have been selected as winners of National Merit Scholarships this year with the final four recipients named this week.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) annually selects winners in three categories: awards funded by corporations-recipients were named in April, awards funded by NMSC-recipients were named in May, and awards sponsored by institutions of higher learning-the first group of recipients were named in June. The final four HISD scholarship winners are in the second and final group of recipients who won awards funded by colleges and universities.

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Senior celebrations poignant, bittersweet for Bellaire HS grad

When Bellaire High School Senior Madison Olds thinks back on the past three months, she does so with a sense of bittersweet nostalgia.

She thinks about the missed basketball, baseball, and soccer games where, as a cheerleader, she didn’t get to cheer her teams on to victory. She thinks about the missed trips to Chick-Fil-A for lunch with her friends.

She thinks about missing her senior luncheon, joining with her cap-and-gown-clad classmates for their senior class picture, and graduation practice — all part of an annual Senior Week that she had been looking forward to since she was a freshman.

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