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.
After nearly 30 years of teaching—in two different countries—it takes a lot to startle Irene Mirasol, an 8th grade teacher at Gregory Lincoln Education Center.
But as she walked into the school’s gym on a Tuesday morning, the English/Language Arts teacher was not expecting to be recognized as the HISD Teacher of the Month.
“I’m so surprised,” Mirasol said. “Gregory Lincoln is my second home. This honor, this recognition is definitely for my students, the staff, and the leadership team here. I’m even more motivated now to do more for my students, and for the community of Gregory Lincoln.”
Gregory-Lincoln Education Center dance instructor Thomas Porter teaches all types of dance in his classes, but he has found that ballet helps his students improve in all areas.
“When I began taking dance lessons, I focused on jazz and tap,” Porter said. “But when I took ballet, I saw a major improvement in my jazz techniques. Ballet quickly became my favorite form of dance.”
That’s why he jumped at the chance to have Melanie Hovis from the Houston Ballet teach a series of six master classes at Gregory-Lincoln this spring. Hovis has been teaching with the Houston Ballet for two years, having danced previously with the Austin Ballet. Continue reading →
Jason Moran works with a dance class at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center.
In this week’s I Am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other team members, HISD alumnus and renowned pianist, composer, and bandleader Jason Moran talks about giving back to the HISD schools he attended and receiving a McArthur “genius” grant. He attended McGregor Elementary School, Gregory Lincoln Education Center, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. During a recent visit to Houston to engage with students at all three schools, he took time out from his busy schedule to talk to HISD. For more background information see these links: African-American alumni give back and HISD alumni bringing Black History month to life.
You are in year two of a three-year homecoming residency sponsored by Da Camera with the three schools you attended at HISD. What inspired you to give back to students in those schools?
Many of the thought patterns that I continue to use as a mature artist were learned at those schools. Macgregor Elementary is the place where an instrument was first placed in my hands [a violin], and that prompted my parents to buy a piano for all of us boys to practice on. That piano is still in my living room In New York City, and it’s probably the one I play the most. Though they seem fleeting, these ideas that are planted early on in children’s minds are very important. Continue reading →
As a reward for cooking healthier at home, four Gregory Lincoln Education Center students received laptops for participating in a Nutrition Services department healthy recipe contest. Culinary arts students were challenged to bake the Nutrition Services’ sweet potato muffin recipe, which utilizes whole grain flour and real sweet potatoes.
Nutrition Services Education Dietitian Jennifer Lengyel and Gregory Lincoln’s Culinary Arts Teacher Kelly Karavias encouraged the students to integrate nutritious ingredients into a recipe that the whole family will enjoy. “Everybody likes a delicious, warm muffin,” Karavias said. “Parents like it, little kids like it.”
At the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, which has a culinary arts program, the classes are a collaboration between Dietitian Jennifer Lengyel and Gregory-Lincoln Culinary Arts Instructor Kelly Karavias.
The goal is to develop students’ interest in kitchen fundamentals while also letting them practice concepts learned in math and other subjects. Continue reading →
Nicole Ayen-Metoyer has been selected as principal of Gregory-Lincoln Education Center. She began her career at HISD in special education as a resource teacher, and she later became department chairperson at Dogan Elementary. Ms. Ayen-Metoyer also served as evaluation specialist, response-to-intervention coordinator, and teacher development specialist. After 13 years of teaching and central office experience, she joined the administration team at Hogg Middle School as lead assistant principal.
Ms. Ayen-Metoyer received her bachelor of science in English from University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and her master’s degree in library services from University of the West Indies, Jamaica.
HISD Nutrition Services is piloting a composting program to help local agriculture by recycling food leftovers. Last fall, the department selected the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, Garden Oaks K-8 Montessori, and Briargrove Elementary to pilot the program, which will help HISD become even greener.
Dietitian Jennifer Lengyel manages the new initiative and is excited about Nutrition Services’ involvement in the program. “Compost soil has super nutrients,” said Lengyel. “Instead of food waste going to the landfill, now it will help grow more food.” Continue reading →
Campus is second in a series of schools with space available to be profiled in advance of School Choice Fair
Kellie Karavias (holding rake) poses with some of her students
Students at HISD’s Gregory Lincoln Education Center can not only hone their skills in the visual and performing arts, but also in the culinary arts. This fine arts magnet school, which serves students in grades Pre-K through 8, offers focused instruction in the areas of music, choir, theatre arts, dance, visual arts, and multimedia.
Their subjects ranged from starry nights and galaxies to water lilies and sunflowers, but the one thing all the orbs had in common was their inspiration: a desire to show how HISD is putting a “global” spin on education for all of its 215,000 students.
Children from 28 different campuses decorated Styrofoam balls this year to serve as the table centerpieces at the State of the Schools luncheon, and participating students were eager to share their artistic visions with guests.