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This was HISD’s week to shine in soccer, science, good taste, and test prep

2014 April 17
by HISD Communications

This is one of those times I can’t just settle on one topic, so I’ll be the bearer of much good news from our campuses.

Let’s all send positive thoughts to our Lee High School soccer team, which earned itself a solid place in HISD history this week by becoming not only Lee’s first soccer squad to go to state but the first in the district. The team is playing in the semifinals Friday – and we hope in the finals on Saturday in Georgetown, near Austin.

Their athletic ability is impressive, but what really stands out about this team is its diversity, reflective of Lee’s multicultural student body and the international popularity of soccer. Team members not only come from the U.S., but Vietnam, the Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Cuba.

To most of us, Tuesday was “tax day,” but it had a much happier designation for one of our schools. Houston Mayor Annise Parker declared April 15 Kashmere Junior and Senior Day in Houston. The proclamation cited the performance by Teach for America second-year science instructor Adeeb Barqawi’s classes on the district-level assessment in physics.  His 84 students outperformed those at all other HISD schools in showing their mastery of that challenging science.

The good news for the rest of HISD high school students is that Kashmere’s STEM magnet, one of those in HISD funded by a $12 million federal grant, still has openings for next year. You can learn more by contacting Ogechi Uwaga at Kashmere,

Cooking competitions are a staple of television these days, and I was lucky enough to judge one last weekend involving culinary students from four of our high schools at a national event called Cooking Up Change at Rice University. Teams were challenged with coming up with school lunch items that met both federal nutritional guidelines and school cost constraints – and the demanding tastes of the judges.

The Westside HS team won out with a delectable Lonestar Chicken Chili Sub, served with grilled vegetables, and a parfait dessert. The item will be featured on HISD menus next year, and earned them a trip to Washington, D.C., where they’ll compete against teams from around the nation. It was a tough field with teams from Davis, Barbara Jordan, and Harper Alternative high schools showcasing everything from jerk chicken to chicken cacciatore to sweet potato hash and honey buffalo chicken flatbread.

While many face the STAAR exams with trepidation, we love what they did over at Marshall Middle School last weekend, combining fun, socializing, and – yes, hard work – to be ready for the important assessments.

The school had an overnight lock-in from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning with food, a talent show, a movie, a motivational talk from former NFL player Jay Barnett, and tutorials. Great idea.

Shout-outs are also in order for:

  • Lanier MS’s orchestras, which both earned UIL sweepstakes honors last weekend; and
  • Odyssey of the Mind teams from T.H. Rogers, Pin Oak, Oak Forest, Walnut Bend, Carnegie Vanguard and River Oaks who placed first in state competition Saturday and will be going to the World Finals Tournament in Iowa at the end of May.

Excellence from so many students from so many schools in fields from sports to science to food gives credence to our claim of being #greatallover.

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