A long red carpet adorned with gold stars and flanked by large striped boxes overflowing with white and yellow balloons posing as popcorn helped set the stage for a celebration at Mitchell Elementary School.
Eager students grabbed bags of popcorn and gathered for classroom watch parties, loudly counting down the seconds until the premiere of the new school’s virtual grand opening.
First-grader Nidarshani Chinthagunta gasped and her eyes widened as a bright turquoise bike adorned with white balloons was wheeled into the T.H. Rogers conference room where she stood sandwiched between her mother and school principal.
Grabbing the 20-inch Titan Tomcat by the seat and handlebars, she carefully eyed the new bike as she whispered a shy, “thank you.”
Nidarshani was one of two grand prize winners in the district’s “Blast Off with a Healthy School Breakfast” art contest held in honor of National School Breakfast Week in March.
More than 60 students submitted original artwork using the breakfast theme. A panel of judges from the district’s Nutrition Services and Fine Arts departments selected the top winners at the elementary and secondary levels.
The smell of freshly made popcorn and thunderous cheering filled the hallways of Scarborough Elementary School as overhead announcements reminded students there was just “thirty seconds until showtime.”
“Ah! I’m so excited!” one student yelled from his classroom.
“This is going to be so cool!” hollered another.
The excitement was focused on the Scarborough Elementary School Virtual Grand Opening, which students and staff were celebrating with classroom watch parties.
Sit down to a table at Bludorn Restaurant in Midtown, and you expect to see a few things: an airy dining room with high-end lighting, the wine wall with vintages from around the world, and artfully plated dishes with ingredients like maitake mushrooms, chermoula, and sea urchin.
But what you might not expect to see is a carrot—or Swiss chard or green beans or kale—planted, cultivated, and harvested by a third-grader just down the block.
So how do these vegetables make it from the hands of an elementary school student to the plate of a high-end restaurant with a Michelin pedigreed chef?
Just down Taft Street from Chef Aaron Bludorn’s flagship restaurant sits Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, and its school garden. Or, as Kellie Karavias calls it, the Cultivated Classroom.
Neymar Gonzalez could barely contain his excitement.
The Braeburn Elementary School third-grader vigorously clapped his hands as a five-minute countdown launched on the big screen at the front of his classroom.
“Yay! Five minutes until showtime!” Gonzalez squealed. “I’m so excited!”
Similar excitement was felt throughout the school on Friday afternoon as students celebrated the premiere of their school’s virtual grand opening — a specially themed “Bobcat News” segment — with cupcakes and classroom watch parties.
The virtual event officially marked the beginning of a new chapter for Braeburn, which was among four HISD elementary schools that had to be demolished and rebuilt after sustaining significant damage during Hurricane Harvey.
Lined up on the hardcourt, Kolter Elementary School students eagerly awaited their turn to grab fun signs and silly glasses and squeeze between columns of red, white, and blue balloons for the perfect photo op.
On the far end of the court, the students — all clad in blue t-shirts emblazoned with a large “60” — chased each other around and danced to music booming through nearby speakers.
The spirited atmosphere was part of celebration day, which included a watch party for the virtual grand opening and 60thanniversary of the newly built school.
The recently released list of Texas Honor Roll schools selected by the Educational Results Partnership includes 49 Houston Independent School District campuses.
The schools were selected by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP) for 2019-2020 based on students’ academic performance, closing achievement gaps among groups of students, utilizing evidence-based instructional practices, and having a defined system-wide mission of college and career readiness for all students.
A line of cars snaked through the parking lot of Atherton Elementary School, out onto Rawley Street, and stretched toward nearby Boyce-Dorian Park—horns honking as they made their way to the front of the line.
But on this sunny Friday afternoon, the cars were not a part of a student pickup line or another traffic jam. They cheered from their cars with signs and balloons to celebrate Dr. Albert Lemons, who was retiring as principal of Atherton after 55 years with HISD.
Faculty and staff at Atherton organized a drive-through parade to celebrate, with countless community members participating, as well as Mayor Sylvester Turner and Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan.