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Student achievements give us reason to be proud

2014 May 29
by HISD Communications

Humility is an admirable trait, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid bragging. The end of the school year, when student achievements are front-and-center, is one of those times.

First, there’s the news that the class of 2014 has smashed the record for scholarship and financial aid offers — more than $233 million, and counting. The goal set by our College Readiness folks had been $200 million, and that seemed pretty bold, when you considered last year’s stellar total was $185 million.

That’s a testimony to the hard work of our students and our own hard work to increase rigor, offer more AP classes and SAT tests on campus with free online test prep, and to make applying for financial aid and scholarships easier by having a FAFSA Day at each high school.

These efforts are paying off, literally and figuratively, for our students.

There are so many young people who could be singled out as the school year winds down, but let’s give a shout-out to Natalie Nichols, a fourth-grader at Helms Elementary School in the Heights, who was brought to our attention by her math teacher, Tonya Vetter. Ms. Vetter is understandably proud of this young adopted child from Guatemala.

She tells us Natalie has had a great year in her reading and math scores, culminating in a perfect score of 2008 on her STAAR math course. She didn’t miss a single question. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing even greater things from Natalie.

The culmination of our school year is always the joy of seeing our seniors in bright caps, gowns, and smiles as they cross stages across our city to receive their diplomas and move onto the next phase of their lives. There will be 42 of those inspirational ceremonies in coming days.

To those graduates, dream big and never give up. To the rest of our students, enjoy a safe summer — read lots of books — and we’ll see you again in August.

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