CYPRESS WOODS DRILL TEAM WINS GRAND CHAMPION AWARD AT REGIONAL
The Cypress Woods High School Crimson Cadettes drill team completed a successful Crowd Pleasers dance regional at Magnolia High School on Feb. 7, earning first place in each dance event.
The Crimson Cadettes officers won first place for their size division, defeating all officer lines in their category to claim the title of grand champion officers.
The Cadettes were also named academic champions of the contest for having the highest GPA average among competing teams. They earned a $500 check for their booster club for being named overall grand champion, defeating every team at the contest.
“I am so proud of the Cadettes. They have been working so hard and putting in lots of time and effort,” said Lauren Reilly-Gregory, drill team director. “The Cadettes made up their minds that they were going to work hard as a dance team to have a successful contest season. This is such a well-deserved win for the Cadettes and a great start to our contest season.”
CY-FAIR GRAD, WNBA STAR DELIVERS INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE
With Motive in her voice, Chiney Ogwumike addressed high school students, speaking about the meaning of purpose and passion. Speaking to a group of high school journalists on Jan. 20, Ogwumike addressed the advice that helped her flourish as a student and an athlete.
Ogwumike graduated from Cy Fair High School in 2010, where she was captain of both the volleyball and basketball teams her junior and senior years. In high school, Ogwumike led the basketball team to two state championships, was awarded Academic All-American her senior year and both Gatorade National Athlete of the Year and Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2010, before being recruited by Stanford University, where she played forward from 2010-2014 while working toward her International Relations major.
After college, Ogwumike was drafted by the Connecticut Sun as the No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick, and was awarded the title of WNBA Rookie of the Year in August 2014. Despite her prestigious achievements, Ogwumike remains humble in all aspects of life. Growing up, her mother, Ify Ogwumike, assistant superintendent of student services for CFISD, emphasized the importance of academics. Now, at age 22, Ogwumike hopes to inspire and guide CFISD students with the knowledge she has acquired through life experiences that have contributed to her success.
MCFEE ES FIFTH-GRADE STUDENT WINS ELEMENTARY SPELLING BEE
McFee Elementary School fifth-grade student Zayn McGhee won first place by correctly spelling the word “existential” in the 15th round of the annual districtwide Elementary Spelling Bee, held at the Berry Center on Feb. 3.
Kirk Elementary School fifth-grade student Ellie Jung was the runner-up. Both McGhee and Jung will compete in the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee, scheduled to be televised live from the Houston Public Media Studios on March 28 at 2 p.m.
Approximately 56 spellers will qualify for the regional bee. The top two spellers will qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 24-29.
“Zayn and Ellie battled it out for six rounds. Both spellers showed great sportsmanship by shaking hands and congratulating each other,” said Shakena McFarland, elementary reading/language arts/INSS curriculum coach and Spelling Bee coordinator. “In the end, with his sharp-looking suit, Zayn was dressed for success and took home the 2015 championship. We wish both spellers the best of luck in the regional bee.”
CY LAKES STERLING STARS ENJOY SOUPER BOWL OF CARING KICK OFF
The Cypress Lakes High School Sterling Stars dance team helped kick off the Houston Food Bank and Houston Texans’ 2015 Souper Bowl of Caring event on Jan. 14 with opening and closing performances at NRG Stadium.
The Sterling Stars helped pack more than 800 food boxes along with volunteers from H-E-B, Kroger and Randalls during the kick off event for the nationwide, grassroots movement utilizing Super Bowl weekend to mobilize youth to fight hunger and poverty in their local communities.
They began the day with a high kick opening performance and participated in live media interviews with KPRC Local 2, ABC 13 and Fox 26 before packing boxes and helping clean up.
“From the kick off to the clean-up, the Cypress Lakes Sterling Stars thoroughly enjoyed each moment,” said Annette Stark, Sterling Stars director. “Showing the Houston community that our youth is also concerned and involved with helping end hunger in Houston, the Sterling Stars spent their morning at NRG Stadium encouraging others to join our efforts in the Souper Bowl of Caring!”
CYPRESS CHRISTIAN ARTISTS FEATURED IN NATIONAL PUBLICATION
The winter edition of the NAHS News, a publication of the National Art Education Association, featured an article about the Cypress Christian School National Honor Art Society (Chapter 5791970) and artwork from the following art students: Avery Barbisch (12th), Hannah Gould (11th), Emily Fredrickson (11th), Hannah Hurst (10th) and Chris McKnight (10th). Art teacher Beth Brubaker is thankful to be able to instruct student artists on how they can make an impact on the world through art.
In 1978, the National Art Education Association began the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) program to inspire and recognize students who have shown an outstanding ability and interest in art. The NAHS strives to aid members in attaining the highest standards in art scholarship, character, and service, and to bring art education to the attention of the school and community. NAHS is designed specifically for high school students in grades 9-12.
JERSEY VILLAGE JOURNALISTS WIN QUILL AND SCROLL AWARDS
Four Jersey Village High School graduates and one current student earned national Gold Key awards in the Quill and Scroll 2014 Yearbook Excellence Contest.
The following Jersey Village journalists were among the 217 national Gold Key winners selected by judges out of more than 1,600 entries: senior Kayla Torres, Clubs/Organizations Spread (with graduate Marieke Alsguth, contributor); graduate Matt DuBose, Feature Photo Division; graduate Emily Ngo, Clubs/Organizations Photo Division; and graduate Natassha Arreola, Sports Action Photo Division.
The professionals serving as judges commended the heightened creativity of the winners. The judges also commented on the fine reporting, in-depth captions and strong visual packages of the winning pieces.
“Receiving recognition for five students showed the quality of work that the JVHS journalists apply to their publications,” said Margie Comstock, yearbook adviser. “These students pour their hearts and souls into creating the yearbook for their classmates. We are very honored that Quill and Scroll selected these works to award Gold Keys.”
Gold Keys and the opportunity to apply for college journalism scholarship were awarded to yearbook staff members in this year’s contest. A complete list of winners is available at the Quill and Scroll website at quillandscroll.org.
TD CLUB RECOGNIZES CY RIDGE, LANGHAM CREEK FOR SPORTSMANSHIP
Cypress Ridge and Langham Creek high schools were recognized by the Touchdown Club of Houston as 2015 Sportsmanship Award finalists during the 10th annual Comerica Bank Sportsmanship Luncheon, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on Jan. 29 at the JW Marriott.
The two CFISD schools were among 15 Class 6A finalists in the greater Houston area, and were chosen based on actions of the football team, the coaches, the support groups at games (parents, band and pep squad), respect for the American flag, a score based on the number of personal fouls incurred during games, and a score based on the number of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
Cypress Ridge was honored as a finalist for the third time in the school’s 12-year history. “I believe Cypress Ridge High School and our community represent the values of athletic competition in a very positive way,” said Gary Thiebaud, head football coach and athletic coordinator.
Langham Creek was recognized as a finalist for the first time. “I am incredibly proud of our athletic program and all of our support groups on campus,” said Todd Thompson, head football coach and athletic coordinator.
Voting was conducted by the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) Houston football chapter and tabulated by Touchdown Club member Sid Shaver of Statesman Corporate Finance, LLC.
LANGHAM CREEK & ARAGON WIN DISTRICT SCIENCE OLYMPIAD TITLES
Students from Langham School and Aragon Middle School won first place in their respective high school and middle school District Science Olympiad competitions, held Jan. 31 at Cypress Woods High School.
Langham Creek scored 42 points (lowest score wins) to capture the high school title, ahead of second-place Cypress Falls (72 points) and third-place Cypress Ranch (80 points). It was the second consecutive year for the Lobos to win the competition.
“I’m really proud of all of our kids. It’s hard to come back and defend. We lost a lot of seniors last year, but everyone stepped up their game,” said Gareth Gingell, Langham Creek Science Olympiad sponsor.
All 10 high schools competed in Science Olympiad, with six campuses bringing two teams: Cy-Fair, Cypress Falls, Cypress Ranch, Cypress Woods, Jersey Village and Langham Creek.
In the middle school competition, Aragon won with 46 points, followed by second-place Anthony (54 points) and third-place Hopper (59 points).
“I’m super proud of them. They’ve done a really good job,” said Aragon Science Olympiad sponsor Katelyn Kennedy.
All teams will now move on to Regional Science Olympiad competitions, which will determine which teams advance to Texas Science Olympiad, to be held April 24-25 at Texas A&M University.
STUDENT TRAINERS WIN ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Four CyFair High School seniors have beenselected among an exclusive group of statewide recipients of the Texas State Athletic Trainers’ Association (TSATA) All-State Academic Achievement Award.
Cy-Fair student trainers Sabrina Alonzo, Krystal Cruz, Chandler Hamilton and Samantha Rivera were CFISD’s only recipients for 2014-2015.
In order to receive the award, students must be graduating seniors, possess an overall grade-point average of 92 or above, be in good standing as an athletic training student and be of good moral character.
Cy-Fair head athletic trainer Christopher Graf nominated the four winners for the award. “We would have been proud to have one recipient, but to have four in one year is a very proud accomplishment for us,” Graf said. “It shows how hard these students want to work—not only with the athletes but in the classroom as well.”
Alonzo and Cruz said they are tentatively planning on attending the University of Texas at San Antonio in the fall, and Cruz said she hopes to one day be a pediatrician. Hamilton and Rivera are undecided on colleges, but Hamilton is seeking an undergraduate in education and Rivera plans to major in athletic training.
“Being a student trainer is a big responsibility and I think it will prepare them for whatever they plan on doing in their life,” Graf said.
SAVED BY TEAMMATES, CY SPRINGS SIGNEE HAS NEW LEASE ON LIFE – HOURS AFTER SIGNING HIS NATIONAL
Letter of Intent to play football for Stephen F. Austin State University on Feb. 4, the symbolism of inking a new chapter in his life story was not lost on Cypress Springs High School senior Lawrence Ghansah. It was only seven months before that his life was nearly tragically cut short.
“Without these guys right here,” Ghansah said, pointing to Panther teammates Brian Harden, Roshad Dorsey and Christian Vasquez, “I’d be in a coffin. I’d be six feet under right now. I would not be signing a letter of intent.”
Last July, the four friends were traveling to a community pool together when Ghansah jokingly brought up an unlikely scenario. “He said it would stink if you got a cramp right in the middle of the pool in the deep end,” said Harden, a senior quarterback. “We just laughed it off.”
As he made his first jump into the deep end, however, Ghansah wasn’t laughing. His leg began to cramp up before he even hit the water. “I think I caught it in mid-air. I felt something in my leg I was like, ‘Oh no,'” Ghansah said. “When I was in the water I was actually trying to push up and ask for help but I couldn’t get there.”
From his friends’ perspective, Ghansah was continuing a joke from the conversation in the car. “Lawrence plays a lot, so we thought maybe he was faking,” said Dorsey, a senior safety. “I guess he stayed under too long, so I said, ‘Oh I don’t think he’s playing,’ to Brian and Christian.”
Dorsey plunged to the bottom to try to bring his friend to the surface, and managed to get his head above water for a split-second before the weight caused him to let go. Still debilitated from the cramp, Ghansah sunk 10 feet down to the pool floor.
“Roshad almost died too because he hung onto me,” Ghansah said. “When he let go of me, I was on the bottom trying to make one last stunt to the wall so I could jump up. By the time I get to the wall I’m like, ‘Is this really it?’ I basically saw my life flash before my eyes.”
Harden joined Dorsey for one last rescue attempt, this time managing to keep him above the surface and prop his body against the pool wall. “He came up and his eyes were rolled back. I was pretty scared,” said Vasquez, a junior kicker. “We put him on the wall and he couldn’t grab on, and that’s when we knew it was serious.”
As Vasquez pulled Ghansah up to the ledge, Harden recalls being so exhausted from the struggle that he could only lay next to his unconscious friend. Meanwhile, Vasquez and Dorsey performed CPR – a skill they both learned in health class at Cypress Springs.
“That’s when I started doing CPR. It was natural instinct, really,” Vasquez said. “I was about to start doing mouth-to-mouth, and then the water came up out of his mouth. Luckily he woke up.”
Ghansah spent about seven hours in the hospital, but faced no long-term effects and went on to have an all-district senior season.
Panthers head coach Rick Cobia continues to be proud of the effort his players showed that day. “They weren’t going to leave him. They weren’t going to quit fighting for him. As a coach, that’s the epitome of family. Of team,” Cobia said. “We were blessed to have that outcome where Lawrence was OK. It’s a scary moment when you think you could have lost that young man. And now here he is today signing his scholarship. That particular day was a very close bonding day that I think those four kids will have the rest of their lives.”
Harden reflected on that moment during National Signing Day, as his friend signed with SFA. “I was thinking about it last night,” he said. “It would have been terrible if we weren’t there or if someone wouldn’t have helped him. He wouldn’t be able to have this opportunity. We’re blessed he’s alive to keep playing ball.”
Ghansah said his future will always be tied to his teammates – his family – and that near-death experience. “I’m just blessed,” he said. “I owe them my life. I’m glad I got to share this day with three of my best friends.”