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Cy-Fair Schools, Sports, Students September 2017

| September 1, 2017

(L-R): Cypress Ridge offensive lineman Tyrese Williams, Cypress Springs defensive back Leon O’Neal, Cy-Fair running back Trenton Kennedy and Cypress Ranch offensive lineman Colten Blanton were honored as part of the Touchdown Club of Houston 2017 UIL Preseason Football Team.

(L-R): Cypress Ridge offensive lineman Tyrese Williams, Cypress Springs defensive back Leon O’Neal, Cy-Fair running back Trenton Kennedy and Cypress Ranch offensive lineman Colten Blanton were honored as part of the Touchdown Club of Houston 2017 UIL Preseason Football Team.

FOUR CFISD FOOTBALL PLAYERS HONORED BY TOUCHDOWN CLUB

A quartet of CFISD football senior standouts were honored as part of the Touchdown Club of Houston 2017 UIL High School Preseason Football Team on Aug. 16 at the organization’s Touchdowner of the Year Dinner at the JW Marriott.

Cy-Fair running back Trenton Kennedy, Cypress Ranch offensive lineman Colten Blanton, Cypress Ridge offensive lineman Tyrese Williams and Cypress Springs defensive back Leon O’Neal were among the 32 players selected to the preseason team, which the Touchdown Club assembles through film study, recommendations, recruiting rankings and other preseason publications.

Each was presented with a plague commemorating his honor and congratulated by guest speaker and past Touchdowner of the Year Jerry LeVias, and the 2017 Touchdowner of the Year Murry Bowden, a former All-American linebacker at Dartmouth College and 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

CFISD has had multiple representatives on the preseason team in each of the last four years, which includes seven in 2016. Since 2013, 18 CFISD players have been preseason selections.

Visit touchdownclub.org for a full list of honorees and other information.

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After an introduction to the College Kick-Of, CFISD seniors file out of the arena seats to various seminars that included topics on building an academic resume, picking the right college and essay writing tips.

After an introduction to the College Kick-Of, CFISD seniors file out of the arena seats to various seminars that included topics on building an academic resume, picking the right college and essay writing tips.

INAUGURAL “COLLEGE KICK-OFF”ATTRACTS 800 SENIORS

What started as an essay-writing workshop at one CFISD high school campus has turned into a district-wide operation for seniors to get not only information for picking the right college and find ways to pay tuition, but also in-person assistance from those in the know on the application and essay-writing process. The first College Kick-Off brought nearly 800 CFISD seniors to the Berry Center on Aug. 2, putting them in the same rooms with current college students, college representatives and admissions counselors. Students rotated among pre-selected sessions, while a bonus hour was added following each of the two sessions, allowing anyone extra time in computer labs set up for essay writing and application submissions.

Representatives from both in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities, including those identified as highly selective, were on hand to assist in the application process and answer a multitude of questions. “This is like ‘College Night’ with practical help,” said Sandra Poag, the college and career specialist at Langham Creek whose essay-writing workshop years ago helped spawn the district-wide event.

The kick-off is an extension of the work college and career specialists do in serving their respective students at each high school. The timing right before the start of the school year also coincides with the opening of the application process for many colleges and universities. While many began accepting applications for the Fall 2018 starting July 1, the next opening for others began Aug. 1.

“I was definitely telling everyone that in the panel, ‘If they had this event, I would have totally attended,’” said Maggie Nunez, a Langham Creek alumna and senior at the University of Houston-Downtown. “This is really good, especially for first-generation students like myself because they have no one to mentor them. This would have been beneficial.”

Though there was registration in advance of the kick-off, seniors who walked up needing help were welcomed as well. That was the case for Brook Ohlsson and Samantha Williamson, as the two Cypress Ridge High School seniors spent time in the computer labs. “I’ve started an application but I was so confused, I was lost and I didn’t know what to do from there,” Ohlsson said. “Then I’ve read the essay prompts but I haven’t started any. So I came here to get a direction with where I wanted to go with our essay. I was able to get my prompt that I’m going to start writing on.”

The College Kick-Off also gave college representatives a more hands-on way of bringing their schools to the seniors. “I like this a lot more. For the students interested in Baylor because that’s who I’m here with, they’ve been able to do their application with me sitting in a chair beside them and telling them, ‘Hey, this is what’s going to look good on your application,’” said Graham Traylor, a Baylor regional admissions counselor. We get to talk more one-on-one and have some quality time versus a college fair where there’s a line of 40 people behind them.”

Updating and recent events, college partner information as well as presentations from the kick-off are available on the College & Career Readiness webpage at cfisd.net.

College representatives from both local universities and those across the country were part of CFISD’s first College Kick-Off, giving seniors extended one-on-one time on various college topics.

College representatives from both local universities and those across the country were part of CFISD’s first College Kick-Off, giving seniors extended one-on-one time on various college topics.

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Millsap Elementary teacher Christine Hopkins sits on the bench of her new Little Free Library in front of her house in Bonaire.

Millsap Elementary teacher Christine Hopkins sits on the bench of her new Little Free Library in front of her house in Bonaire.

MILLSAP TEACHER HELPS BUILD, PLACES FREE BOOK EXCHANGE IN FRONT YARD

A dream became a reality for Christine Hopkins, a reading and writing teacher at Millsap Elementary School who recently opened a Little Free Library in the front yard of her house in Bonaire.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that pushes the love of reading and helps building communities by creating neighborhood book exchanges around the world. With more than 50,000 registered libraries in more than 70 countries, the organization encourages anyone to “take a book, return a book” at its exchanges.

“In my classroom, I let kids take books home and I’m not that teacher that goes, ‘OK, you have this one and you to bring it back,’” Hopkins said. “So I’m pretty sure that there’s hundreds of books that have not been brought back in my classroom – and I’m OK with that. It’s the same idea as this.

“Bring a book, borrow a book and take a book. If they bring it back, great. If they don’t, great.”

Hopkins’ ,Little Free Library is in the shape of a red schoolhouse, a nod to her passion for teaching, and includes an adjoining bench. The project was a collaborative effect between Hopkins and Toni Ritenour, an engineer who started building the library with spare parts around her shop.

The two noticed how many libraries were in the Houston Heights area north of downtown Houston. In all, there are eight registered libraries within roughly six square miles in Houston Heights. There are now 11 registered in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD attendance zone, which covers 186 square miles.

The library was completed July 16 and Hopkins received her plaque to display on it two days later. It’s protected from the shade of a large tree and the bell on top even rings.

“Kids don’t read during the summers, but if they have books or if they walk by and they see that there’s free books, then they might actually read,” said Hopkins, who’s heard from others hoping to build their own libraries. “So I’m starting something and I like that because our community needs more of this.”

Visit littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap for a map of registered local libraries.

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One future Bridgeland Bear faces two Lady Bears in a tug-of-war match at SAC camp.

One future Bridgeland Bear faces two Lady Bears in a tug-of-war match at SAC camp.

NEW BRIDGELAND SCHOOL COACHES AND ATHLETES HOLD SUCCESSFUL SAC CAMP

New Bridgeland High School Head Football Coach and Campus Athletic Coordinator David Raffield left the large group of future Bears encircled around him with one lasting message on the final day of the school’s strength and conditioning (SAC) camp.

“I don’t want to just compete. I want to win and dominate,” said Raffield, who spent eight seasons as head coach at Cypress Falls High School and returns to CFISD after six years at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station.

It may sound like a lofty goal for a campus that has just opened and an athletic program field its first team. But Bridgeland’s newest athletes are ready for the challenge. “We made each other a lot better,” said incoming Bridgeland sophomore Zach Bacon, when comparing the progress he and fellow Bears made from the summer’s first day to the last. “We know now what our expectations are and how the season is going to be. We’re ready.”

High schools and coaches are able to conduct strength and conditioning programs for students in grades 7-12 from their respective attendance zone for no more than six weeks under guidelines set by the University Interscholastic League. Bridgeland finished its camp July 27.

CFISD’s 12th high school is the second to welcome new students in the last year. Bridgeland is relieving growth at nearby Cypress Ranch High School and has opened with freshmen and sophomores.

Raffield and fellow Bridgeland athletic staff held SAC camp roughly nine miles away at Salyards Middle School while construction was ongoing at the Bridgeland campus. Weights, racks and platforms emblazoned with Cypress Springs High School logos took up real estate in a hallway just outside the athletic locker rooms. Instead of desks and offices, staff used cafeteria tables and chairs to set up shop and check in athletes and their required paperwork.

Some on Raffield’s staff joined from outside CFISD, so learning the district in a temporary home was part of the job. “The staff – custodial staff, principals and coaches – here (at Salyards) has been amazing,” Raffield said. “The coaches have just figured it out and made adjustments along the way. I think it sets the tone for a good culture.”

Like most days, the final workouts included stations in the modified weight room, with ropes outside and over on the football field where athletes ran and flipped tires. The rising freshmen and sophomores then all made their way to the field for competition drills. Eight groups were made, including five Lady Bears. In addition to a sprint relay that covered the entire 100-yard field, groups went to the center for a series of tug-of-war challenges.

When it was over, the Bears and Lady Bears encircled Raffield, who reinforced how high the expectations are going forward.

“It’s a process – we know that – but it was a good process this summer,” Raffield said.

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Cy-Fair Educational Foundation Chairman Terry Wheeler (left) and Richard Guderyon (second from left) join foundation board members on stage for a check presentation. Guderyon of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene presented a check worth $8,587.84 to the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation.

Cy-Fair Educational Foundation Chairman Terry Wheeler (left) and Richard Guderyon (second from left) join foundation board members on stage for a check presentation. Guderyon of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene presented a check worth $8,587.84 to the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation.

CLASS OF 2017 GRADUATES CLAIM MORE THAN 100 CFEF SCHOLARSHIPS

More than 100 Cypress-Fairbanks ISD graduates celebrated earning scholarships valued at $447,000 at the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation (CFEF) 2017 Scholarship Reception on Aug. 1 at the Berry Center.

The CFEF, which has awarded more than $7.5 million in scholarships to 1,600 CFISD graduates since its 1970 inception, welcomed families of the 105 winners to the annual event.

The Class of 2017 CFEF scholarships were comprised of 46 Schroeder Scholarships for future Lone Star College – CyFair students and 59 endowed scholarships.

The reception allowed scholarship donors, sponsors and recipients to put a face with the name of each side and start forming a mentor-mentee relationship.

“It’s really good to know that I’ll have support,” Cypress Falls High School alumna Janeth Rios Trevino said. “I’m the one who has to pay for my college. My parents aren’t going to be able to help me out. So knowing that I’ll have some support helps me relax more and know I can do this.”

One guest speaker and past scholarship recipient didn’t hesitate when asked of the foundation’s impact.

“There’s no question that I would not be here had I not been awarded the scholarship,” said Jason Burkett, the 2005 Cecil Hall Scholarship Recipient. “And it’s not really the financial aspect of the scholarship, but the intangibles. The mentoring and the network this gave me access to.”

Other speakers included Richard Guderyon of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, who presented a check worth $8,587.84 to the CFEF, and foundation board trustee Deena Morgan, a past recipient herself (1995 Cecil Hall scholarship).

“It’s exciting to see this grow because that means there’s more people involved in raising money and donating money,” Board of Trustees Vice Chair Keith Grothaus said. “The scholarships continue to rise – we gave over $400,000 of scholarships this year. So that means there’s more kids here. It means there’s more parents. It means more lives are being changed and it’s just fantastic to be part of that.”

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CFISD student athletes capped a banner year academically by posting their highest passing rates and honor roll participation numbers since the athletic department began tracking the figures.

CFISD student athletes capped a banner year academically by posting their highest passing rates and honor roll participation numbers since the athletic department began tracking the figures.

STUDENT ATHLETES CAP BANNER 2016-2017 SCHOOL YEAR WITH BEST-EVER ACADEMICS

Student athletes at CFISD middle schools and high schools ended the 2016-2017 school year in grand fashion when it came to academic success, which included posting a combined 93 percent passing rate across CFISD. The effort and ensuing results are a combined effort from not only the student athletes, but campus administration, faculty, coaching staff and support at home.

At the high school level, student athletes ended the 2016-2017 school year with a composite passing rate of 91 percent. Forty-one percent made the A/B honor roll over the same time frame. This marks the fourth consecutive year for improvement in both categories, while the 2016-2017 percentages are the best since the athletic department began tracking the numbers.

CFISD saw similar success with its academics at the middle-school level. Student athletes finished with a composite passing rate of 95 percent for the 2016-2017 school year. Fifty-three percent made the A/B honor roll during the same stretch.

Both percentages are the highest totals since tracking the figures began. “It has always been our goal as an athletic department to utilize our students’ passion for athletics to motivate them to higher levels of performance,” said Ray Zepeda, director of athletics. “Our coaches have collectively worked extremely hard and have found many creative ways to encourage their student athletes to reach for their absolute best effort in regards to academic performance. We are very pleased with the combined efforts of our student athletes, coaches, principals, teachers and district academic support personnel.

“The results attained by all for the 2016-2017 school are the best that we have ever had as a department. We are looking forward to continuing to improve our students’ performance as we enter the 2017-2018 school year.”

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Rising Langham Creek sophomore Joshua Hernandez, second from left, stands with the top finishers for Region 12 in the Boys 15-16 Division pole vault. He qualified for the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.

Rising Langham Creek sophomore Joshua Hernandez, second from left, stands with the top finishers for Region 12 in the Boys 15-16 Division pole vault. He qualified for the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.

TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES QUALIFY, COMPETE IN USATF JUNIOR OLYMPICS

In putting an end to the summer track and field season, CFISD was represented at the 51st USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, which drew nearly 10,000 athletes to Lawrence, Kansas, for the 2017 edition. The national meet took place July 24-30 at Rock Chalk, the track and field home to the University of Kansas.

Randy Smith, an incoming freshman at Bridgeland High School, and Anthony Wyrick, an incoming freshman at Langham Creek High School, made up half of a 3,200-meter relay quartet that placed fifth nationally in the Boys 13-14 Division. The relay team finished the race with a time of 9:03.84.

Smith also competed in the 1,500 where he place 30th in the field.

“This experience was exciting and hard at the same time,” said Irina Smith, Randy’s mother. “He proved to himself that hard work pays off, but also gave him a chance to compete and compare himself in his age group across the country.”

Another incoming freshman who competed at the USATF Championships this year was Robert Postell, who will attend Bridgeland High School. The pole vaulter participated in the Boys 13-14 Division pole vault, but didn’t place after he no-heighted at 9 feet, 8 inches.

Joshua Hernandez, a rising sophomore pole vaulter at Langham Creek, qualified for the championships in the Boys 15-16 Division but wasn’t able to attend the meet. He qualified based on his second-place finish at the Region 12 championships. Hernandez set a personal-best mark at the regional meet (13-1 1/4).

“It is a huge accomplishment that not a whole lot of athletes ever get to experience,” said Israel Hernan­dez, Joshua’s father. “If it all works out, we will definitely make the trek next year if he qualifies again.”


Category: Around Cy-Fair, Schools, Sports, Students

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