DEAN STUDENTS TAKE TOP SPOTS IN ENGINEERING COMPETITION
In their first year competing at the third annual Texas A&M Spark Conference, the students of Dean Middle School rose to the challenge by winning multiple first-place designations in individual and group projects among hundreds of students competing from districts across Texas on Dec. 3.
The Spark Conference is an engineering design competition with a strict focus on inspiring K-12 students to explore the field of engineering, increase student awareness and provide exposure to Texas A&M University’s culture and tradition.
The conference was held in the TAMU Memorial Student Center and hosted several impromptu design competitions on-site for each age group, with competitions for elementary, middle and high school students. In the middle school category, the competitions included:
- BristleBots (a robotics competition using a toothbrush, motors and batteries to build the fastest robo-bug);
- ReservWars (an oil industry competition that challenged competitors to design the best reservoir for oil production, achieve the best flow rate for a virtual oil company and how to manage and separate the oil and fresh water to protect the environment after a spill);
- Balloon Car Competition (a competition using Newton’s third law to design and build a race car powered by balloons);
- Clean Water Competition (a competition to create the best design to clean dirty water); and
- Filtered Blood Challenge (a competition to design a filter that could help perform dialysis to remove toxins from blood).
Each competition was divided into rounds and rotations. Dean students won first place in four out of nine rotations, bringing home 10 total first-place designations in both individual and team categories.
The students who were awarded first place in their events are:
- BristleBots Rotation 1 – Jacob DeGeorge, Abastion Caballero, Kendrick Dugar and Elijah Daigle;
- BristleBots Rotation 2 – Jacquelyn Pham, Katherine Rios and George Kamau;
- Balloon Car Race Rotation 3 – Maleny Rojas and Jackie Sanchez; and
- Reserve War Rotation 4 – Melanie Acosta.
Other students who attended the conference from Dean included Dana Santana, Jaylin Valdez, Vanessa Castillo and Francisco Hernandez.
Teachers and staff members who attended included Chad Gogan, sixth-grade science; Loretha Daymon, seventh-grade science; Stephanie Castro, eighth-grade science; Ahmad Branch, men’s athletic coordinator; Derrick Crowder, assistant principal; and Clint Vick, director of instruction.
CYPRESS RANCH BASSOONIST TO PERFORM AT CARNEGIE HALL WITH HONORS BAND
Cypress Ranch High School senior Paras Gupta has been selected for the 2017 High School Honors Performance Series to be held at Carnegie Hall in New York City in February.
Gupta will play the bassoon with the Honors Band. Participation in one of the five Honors ensembles is limited to the highest-rated high school performers from across the world.
Earlier this year, Gupta auditioned for the Honors Performance Series and was accepted after a review by the Honors selection board. Acceptance to the elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication and achievements demonstrated in his application and audition recording.
He will join other performers from 49 United States, Guam, two Canadian provinces and a number of foreign countries for a special performance at world-famous Carnegie Hall, a venue that marks the pinnacle of musical achievement.
“Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing,” said Morgan Smith, program director. “We processed more than 18,000 nominations this year and have selected nearly 750 of the most talented student performers from around the world. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these musicians never forget.”
Gupta has studied music for seven years and is a member of the Cypress Ranch varsity band. He has received Region and Area awards in ninth through 11th grades. He was recently in the news for earning a perfect score of 36 on the ACT and is a National Merit Semifinalist and National AP Scholar.
“I love playing the bassoon. Hard work, combined with passion, has presented this unique opportunity to me,” said Gupta. He credits his success to music teacher Conrad Cornelison, a bassoonist with the Houston Grand Opera, and Rachel Roberman, band director at Hamilton Middle School, his first bassoon teacher and still a coach and mentor.
Finalists will come together in New York City for five days in February. They will have the opportunity to learn from world-renowned conductors, work with other finalists and get a taste of New York City. Two performances, an Honors Choral Performance and an Honors Instrumental Performance, will take place Sunday, Feb. 5, and are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased through the Carnegie Hall box office.
BOBCAT BASKETBALL PLAYERS THROW NEW YEAR’S BASH FOR REACH UNLIMITED
Cy-Fair High School boys’ basketball players continued a new tradition of serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by throwing a New Year’s Eve celebration at Reach Unlimited’s learning activity center on Dec. 29.
Organized by team parent and Hamilton Elementary School teacher Vikki McCoy, Bobcats from all four basketball teams participated in a variety of activities with the clients at the local facility dedicated to serving individuals with special needs.
“It was really great to see all of players from our subvarsity and varsity teams take part in such a neat experience,” said Chad Suleimanji, head boys’ basketball coach. “We spent time playing games, making crafts, dancing and celebrating the New Year. It’s humbling to see how happy the Reach clients get during our visit.”
They concluded the event with a big countdown in front of the Reach facility at noon.
“As a coaching staff, we couldn’t be prouder of the players for embracing this opportunity to give back,” Suleimanji said. “A big thanks goes to Vikki McCoy for helping organize and coordinate this event the last two years. We hope that this becomes a yearly tradition that we can all look forward to.”
ARAGON MS STUDENT PLACES FOURTH AT NFL PP&K COMPETITION
Aragon Middle School sixth-grade student Abby Wischmeier placed fourth in her age group in the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Houston Texans Championships, held Nov. 27 at the Texans practice stadium.
The event encourages youth to stay active, challenging them to punt, pass and kick a football as far as possible.
Wischmeier, 11, was one of 33 young athletes to advance to the competition after placing first in her local citywide competition with a distance of 217 feet, 9 inches. She represented the Langham Creek Family YMCA at the team championships.
A natural athlete, Wischmeier’s on-field discipline and character translates to her other endeavors, including practicing her viola and earning a place on the honor roll.
“Through YMCA Youth Sports, our mission is to create a fun, positive environment within a competitive framework. The NFL PP&K competition embodies this mission,” said Matt Thompson, Langham Creek Family YMCA executive director. “We are so proud of Abby for advancing as far as she did and we know she will continue to develop to compete next year!”
LOBOS SOCCER COACH EARNS 500TH CAREER VICTORY
Erik Lane, Langham Creek High School boys’ soccer coach, reached a coaching milestone on Jan. 6 by achieving his 500th career victory.
Langham Creek defeated Progreso High School, 2-0, in the first match of the day in the CFISD Varsity Men’s Soccer Showcase, to put Lane into the 500 club.
“It’s a credit to all the kids I have coached who have allowed me to be successful,” Lane said. “I have been fortunate to be at three schools that had a lot of talent. They bought into what we were trying to do and as a result we have been really successful.”
Now in his 26th year, Lane began his career at Spring High School, where he coached eight seasons. He then moved to Brenham High School, coaching 14 years before coming to Langham Creek. He is in his fourth year with the Lobos.
Lane’s teams have qualified for the playoffs in 21 of his 25 years.
“It’s rewarding when your hard work pays off,” he said. “I’m enjoying my time at Langham Creek. We have good kids and good talent, and hopefully that will lead to a successful season.”
STUDENTS SHOWCASE UNITY, POSITIVITY BY ‘HUGGING’ THEIR SCHOOLS
Students at two CFISD elementary school campuses recently showcased their support and love for one another by encircling their school buildings in a giant “hug.”
A total of 1,020 students and 111 staff members at Lieder Elementary School reinforced the concept of caring for one another by holding a “Hug the School” event on Nov. 18.
Students and staff held hands and surrounded Lieder, a No Place for Hate campus, in order to display love and care for everyone at the school. The school added another fun element by utilizing the “Stephen Spangler Energy Stick,” which lights up when an electrical circuit is completed.
“Before the event we discussed how we, as a school, need to support and love each other by connecting with everybody,” said Dr. Karen Stockton, Lieder principal. “The students most assuredly felt the power of so many people being connected in a real, tangible way. Everyone enjoyed it tremendously and took the message to heart, as we see students continuing to work together to show each other respect and love daily.”
Matzke Elementary School celebrated Unity Day on Oct. 19 by embracing the school in a hug that included 990 students and 102 staff members.
The students and staff wore orange clothing and wristbands as the designated color of Unity Day, when students across America show they are united in an effort to spread kindness and acceptance while eliminating bullying and unkind behaviors.
“This was a symbol of support for one another and our desire to make Matzke a place where everyone feels kindness and acceptance,” said Cathy Jacobs, Matzke principal.
SEVEN CFISD MUSICIANS PERFORMED AT INAUGURATION CELEBRATIONS
Seven CFISD students were among the 13 members of the Virtuosi of Houston Young Artists Chamber Orchestra selected to perform at events in Washington, D.C., celebrating the 58th Presidential Inauguration and the 115th United States Congress.
The students performed at “An Honorary Reception and Candlelight Congressional Dinner” on Jan. 18 at the Hay-Adams Hotel. The following evening, they performed for the reception at the Texas Society Black Tie and Boots 2017 Presidential Inaugural Ball at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
The students were present for the swearing-in of President-Elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20 at the U.S. Capitol. The four-day trip allowed plenty of opportunities for the students to enjoy sightseeing and entertainment.
The trip was arranged by Virtuosi board member Monzer Hourani, a local architect and humanitarian who is underwriting the trip along with Dr. Garrett and Mandie Peel, and Glenda Perryman.
The following CFISD musicians were chosen from among 51 Virtuosi members to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:
- Audrey Godfrey, Cy-Fair High School freshman – violin;
- Leilani Lawton, Cypress Ranch High School junior – violin;
- Victor Mauriz, Cypress Creek High School senior – cello;
- Amaris Piedra, Langham Creek High School senior – violin;
- Jesse Serpas, Cypress Lakes High School senior – cello;
- Grant Velasquez, Cy-Fair High School senior – viola; and
- Victor Zia, Jersey Village High School sophomore – violin.
“We are very excited and honored that these young musicians are able to go to Washington, D.C. for the auspicious occasion of the inauguration festivities of our great country,” said Zarine M. Boyce, Virtuosi of Houston president and CEO (pro bono). “This is an amazing life-changing and life-developing experience that these children will have.”
Jersey Village sophomore Marilyn Paz won second place in the Beginner Photo Story category of the ATPI Fall Contest for her Community Service entries.
CFISD STUDENTS WIN 22 AWARDS IN ATPI FALL CONTEST
CFISD students won 22 awards in the 2016 Association of Texas Photography Instructors (ATPI) Fall Contest, after judging took place on Oct. 29. The five judges — Austin Gartman, John Knaur, Leighton McWilliams, Chad Smith and Leah Waters — spent eight hours judging more than 6,500 entries from 89 schools across Texas, as well as California, Kansas and Oklahoma.
The following CFISD high school students earned first-, second-, third-place, first honorable mention and honorable mention awards among the more than 6,500 total entries:
- Madeline Ward, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (Pops); and
- Marilyn Paz, Jersey Village – Beginner Photo Story (Community Service).
- Judy Labib, Cypress Woods – Advanced Black and White (Snake Eyes);
- Megan Anderson, Cypress Woods – Advanced Thematic – Dreams and Nightmares (Grip on Death); and
- Andrea Zagal, Jersey Village – Beginner Student Life (On the March).
- Julian Sedeno and Kourtney Williams, Jersey Village – Advanced Advertisement/PSA (Don’t Take Life Too Seriously); and
- Nathan Thompson, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (Industrious Migrant).
First Honorable Mention:
- Maia Castillo, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (Take Care).
- Charlynn Haynes, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White;
- Rafael O’Neill, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (Office Politics);
- Mason Cullen, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (Space);
- Nathan Thompson, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (The Broken Past);
- Casey Mass, Cypress Ranch – Advanced Black and White (Tracks);
- Paige Prescott, Cypress Woods – Advanced Black and White (Lost Love);
- D’Lynn Gutierrez, Cypress Lakes – Advanced Digitally Constructed Single Images (Colosseum Fashion);
- Diana Laguna, Cypress Lakes – Advanced Informal Environmental Portrait (Destapa);
- Paige Kuhn, Cypress Creek – Advanced Nature (Fuzzy and Fat);
- Austin Haag, Cypress Lakes – Advanced Thematic – Dreams and Nightmares (Alive);
- Imiyah Mann, Cypress Creek – Beginner Student Life (Braids Before Racing);
- Kevin Vo, Jersey Village – Beginner Student Life (Clicking); and
- Yetlanezi Rodriguez, Jersey Village – Beginner Student Life (Over the Top).
CY-FAIR BAND TAKES TOP AWARD AT ANNUAL ‘BATTLE AT THE BERRY’
The Cy-Fair High School marching band claimed the grand champion award, or first place in Enrollment Class 5, at the second annual Battle at the Berry Marching Contest at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium on Oct. 15.
Hosted by the Cypress Lakes High School marching band, the Battle at the Berry featured 24 bands from across the Houston area competing in four different classifications based on marching band enrollments.
“This event was a great opportunity for the local bands that participated to perform in a world class facility,” said John Morrison, coordinator of secondary music for CFISD.
“The Battle at The Berry was an awesome show. There were wonderful band and color guard performances throughout the day. Thanks to all of the directors for sharing their 2016 band shows,” said Manuel Gonzales, director of bands at Cypress Lakes.
Category: Schools, Sports, Students