Tag Archives: Waltrip High School

Kennedy Elementary officially dedicated Wednesday morning


Most of the 44 presidents in the history of the United States appeared Thursday morning for the official dedication of John F. Kennedy Elementary School, even if they were only student portrayals of the chief executives.

Students performed skits and gave even shorter speeches about the importance of education, public service and the historical biographies of a few of the former presidents, including a longer production involving students portraying the school’s namesake and his family.

Throughout the speeches by various HISD staff and community members, nearly all of them spoke of the dedication of Kennedy’s staff and administrators in educating children.

The stage performances were done with accompaniment by the Waltrip High School band.

Students from Kennedy Elementary’s fledgling band program sat and performed with their elders, a point that wasn’t lost on Sam Sarabia, HISD’s chief elementary schools’ officer.

Sarabia said that as he sat earlier watching the band perform, he could see Kennedy’s students absorbing the moment, watching how they played with passion. He implored the older students to recognize and accept their role as models for those who come after them, as parents and community members had done before for them.

The school, which officially opened after winter break earlier this year, serves about 750 students. And the school serves them well, as evidenced by the multiple years of exemplary and recognized status marked on the first wall to greet visitors driving to the school.

The two-story building is a combination of the former Kennedy and Allen elementaries built with approximately $17.2 million approved by voters in the 2007 bond program.

“Where we came from, the building was 48 years old, we had rain falling on us, we had possums in the building some mornings, and now we walk on terrazzo floors… the (air conditioning) works,” said Kennedy Elementary principal Daryl Sherman. “And everyone has technology to use for instruction. I think every child in HISD deserves that.”

The library and media center serve as the hub of the school, drawing students and visitors to its circular center and serving as a catalyst for children to read early and often.

“I’ve not had one tour where people weren’t wowed,” Sherman said. “When we were planning the building, we wanted to do something special. We have the library as the focus of the school. Reading is in everything we do. We know that when students are successful readers, then they’re successful throughout their life.”

The new Kennedy Elementary was built in such a way that it’s expected to require about 20 percent less energy to operate. Nearly every classroom, including special rooms for art, music and computer instruction, has clear views into the rooms for observation as well as windows for natural light and views to the outside.

“Voting Early Style” – HISD students, teachers, principals go Gangnam Style to get out the vote

Forget what you thought you knew about “Gangnam Style,” the year’s biggest hit song and music video. Some may say it’s a parody of fashion and lifestyles in an upscale Korean neighborhood, but they’re mistaken. We sent the lyrics around the district and our students, faculty and staff have come to the conclusion that rapper PSY was actually encouraging Harris County voters to not only vote this election, but to vote early and finish the entire ballot.

We want anybody who’s eligible to vote in the November 6 election to take control of their future and go to the polls. We encourage you to register to vote (do it soon as the deadline is fast approaching) and to vote early beginning October 22.

We’re also asking for your help in getting out the vote. Make sure your friends see this video by tweeting it (we’re using the #VoteEarly hashtag and you can tag us with @HoustonISD), posting it to Facebook or Tumblr and liking it on YouTube.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP7lBB83McY]

HISD Awards Top Custodians and Plant Operators of the Year

The Houston Independent School District presented the Custodian and Plant Operator of the Year awards, and recognized the strong work ethic, dedication and commitment of the entire operations staff on June 7.

“We want to take the time to say – we see what you’re doing, we know what you’re doing, and most importantly, we appreciate what you’re doing,” Superintendent Terry Grier said.  “The work of these employees is vital for all our schools and facilities to be able to operate smoothly on a daily basis.”     

The Secondary Custodian of the Year award was given to Hortencia Garcia from Waltrip High School and the Elementary Custodian of the Year award was given to Maria Fuentes from De Zavala Elementary School.

Honorable mentions were also given to Vickie Newton from TH Rogers Middle School and Vilma Villatoro from Red Elementary School for excellence and innovation in service to their campuses.

“We are truly proud of these custodians, who exceed expectations in every area of plant operations, and who go to work every day with their most important customers in mind – the children of HISD,” said Leo Bobadilla, Chief Operating Officer.  “These awards serve as tangible recognition of their efforts, and our appreciation.”

Marili Vaquiz from Burrus Elementary School was awarded Elementary Plant Operator of the Year, and Gary Vaughn from Welch Middle School was awarded Secondary Plant Operator of the Year

Honorable mentions for excellence in plant operations were also given to Maria Cerda from JP Henderson Elementary School, Jerry Johnson from Waltrip High School, and Connie Broussard from McNamara Elementary School.           

HISD’s custodians and plant operators are tasked with ensuring all of the district’s schools and facilities are clean, safe and operating adequately.

Grad Labs help students earn their diplomas

On Memorial Day weekend, when her family was gathered around the grill, Rebecca Babb was at work on the computer.

The Waltrip High School senior was determined to finish the only course standing between her and graduation.  “I told my mom, ‘I am going to try, I am going to see what I can do,’” Rebecca said.

Rebecca Babb, who graduated from Waltrip High School on Sunday, credits her school’s Grad Lab with helping her to receive her diploma with her class.

Rebecca knew the stakes: Pass the online math class and walk the stage or fail and report to summer school. She had already failed Algebra II twice.

Waltrip Graduation Coach Brett Rusnock, who works in the school’s Grad Lab, identified the online class as an option that would allow her to graduate with her class.

Her hard work and extra effort were rewarded on Sunday night as she walked the stage in her red cap and gown to receive her diploma.

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