TEA News Releases Online
Sept. 13, 2011
School volunteers to be lauded at SBOE meeting
AUSTIN -- The State Board of Education Friday will honor 15 volunteers from school districts across Texas with the Heroes for Children award.
The board will recognize the hard work and contributions of these 15 school volunteers – one from each SBOE district – in a ceremony in Room 1-104 of the William B. Travis State Office Building at 1701 N. Congress Ave. in Austin. The event will begin at 9 a.m.
The Heroes for Children honorees are selected by the State Board members and recognized for volunteering their time, talents and skills to help improve the public schools in their communities.
Each hero will receive a certificate of honor, a copy of the resolution scheduled for board approval and photographs commemorating the ceremony. Each hero will also have his or her name engraved on a plaque that is permanently displayed at Texas Education Agency headquarters.
The State Board of Education meeting will be broadcast live online. A link to the webcast will be posted at http://www.texasadmin.com/tea.shtml.
A description of the contributions each Hero for Children has made to Texas schoolchildren appears below.
Hilda Granados, SBOE District 1. Granados, a volunteer in the Laredo Independent School District, was the very first parent volunteer at J.C. Martin Elementary School when it opened in 1974. Granados tutors students in reading and math; assists teachers, monitors the lunchroom and is an advocate for the children. She is a constant fixture at all the school functions, including the Open House and Progress Report Nights; and she is part of a program called SCAN – Serving Children and Adolescents in Need, providing input for program improvements.
Marco Castillo, SBOE District 2. Castillo has been a mentor in the Corpus Christi ISD’s Guidance + Partnership=Success Mentoring Program since its inception in the 2010-11 school year. The program helps at-risk students persist in attaining the grades, behavior and attendance to successfully complete the ninth grade. Castillo, described as “super hero-like,” has filled the role of parent, brother, teacher, counselor, as well as mentor and uses the mantra of “failure is not an option.” At the district level, Castillo assists with the GPS Mentoring Program Design Team, working with other team members to design and plan ideas and strategies to help both students and mentors.
Antonia Reyes, SBOE District 3. Reyes is a volunteer at the Airport Elementary School in the Weslaco ISD. She volunteers at the parent center, preparing class materials, binding notebooks, decorating bulletin boards, doors and much more. In addition, she has worked with the district’s migrant department, the M.A.N.O.S. tutoring program, and the Gear Up program, a dropout prevention initiative. She is also an advocate for higher education and travels with students around the state visiting universities in Austin, San Marcos, Kingsville and San Antonio.
Allison Louis, SBOE District 4. Louis is described as “invaluable” to the staff at Westbrook Intermediate School in the Clear Creek ISD. According to her nomination form: “Louis goes above and beyond to support the gifted and talented community.” Louis has been a volunteer for 10 years and in addition to doing the usual volunteer things – cutting, pasting, folding, collating, assembling and organizing – she also reads to the students; tutors math and spelling; and works with small groups on class projects. She also volunteers with the Ecology Club, Orchestra Booster Club and theatre production classes.
Carroll Polk Wilson, SBOE District 5. Wilson has been a volunteer in three Texas school districts since the mid-1980s. Wilson started volunteering in the Temple ISD in 2007 and in 2009 established the Temple ISD Wildcat Mentor program – a mentoring program providing at-risk students with a positive role model. Wilson served as president of the organization for two years and conducted the recruitment, screening, and interview process for all mentors, as well as scheduling all the mentee-mentor events. Wilson was previously a school volunteer in the Canyon and Wichita Falls ISDs, where he also established mentor programs.
Tommie W. Friday, SBOE District 6. Friday has been a volunteer at the Krahn Elementary School in the Klein ISD for three years. Motivated by his own struggles in reading, Friday uses his personal equipment and materials to work with six groups of students who have reading-related problems in grades one through four. As a certified Neuhaus Reading Instructor, he matches his instruction to the differing ability levels of each student. He says his own reading struggles help him relate to the challenges he sees the children face every day – and he gets great pleasure from giving these children the gift of reading.
Barney ‘Pop” Bennett, SBOE District 7. Bennett, or “Pop” as he called by the children and staff at Winship Elementary in the Spring ISD, has been a volunteer since 1997. He says the greatest thrill he ever had was seeing a struggling child have the light bulb come on and “get it.” Over the years Bennett recalls that he has worked with about 750-800 students, encouraging them to learn through humor, stories (some are true, and some tall tales) and his grandfatherly wisdom. In honor of his volunteer work, the staff at Winship named a hallway after him, the “Passageway of Possibilities – POP.”
Denise Sheffield, SBOE District 8. Sheffield, a volunteer in the Lumberton ISD, is described as someone who has successfully combined being Parent-Teacher Organization president, volunteer, substitute school nurse, wife and mother. During the 2010-11 school year this mother of four worked to “re-establish” the PTO organization at the Lumberton Primary School. Under Sheffield’s guidance, the Lumberton Primary PTO hosted homecoming, Christmas, Valentine’s and track & field day events. The PTO honored the teachers with birthday gifts, luncheons and a teacher appreciation week full of daily surprises. The members also planned and held a “Picnic Day” as a positive behavior reward where parent volunteers take students outside for lunch. They also held a book fair, Red Ribbon Week activities and a third-grade pumpkin decorating contest.
Sherri Hocutt, SBOE District 9. Hocutt was nominated for this recognition by the fourth-grade teachers at the Chisum Elementary School in the Chisum ISD. Hocutt said she was motivated to be a volunteer because of the dedicated volunteers she saw at her school when she was a student. “There are several reasons why I volunteer,” she says. “I enjoy being instrumental in the students’ lives by helping a student read, learn math facts or take an Accelerated Reader test. “Ten minutes makes a world of difference in a child’s life. Most children just want to feel special,” she said. “I get the opportunity to make a child feel like they are somebody, that they are special, and that school can be fun and rewarding.”
Melissa Mozer, SBOE District 10. Mozer has been a volunteer for 12 years at Cinco Ranch High School in the Katy ISD. She has served as an executive board member of the CRHS Athletic Booster Club and on the club’s scholarship committee. She is also a member of the choir booster club board, Parent-Teacher-Student Association board, the Katy PTA Council and has worked with Project Graduation and the Cougar Commitment/POWER program, the Katy ISD drug awareness program that benefits all the high schools.
Jane Denbow, SBOE District 11. Denbow is a 30-plus year volunteer with the Weatherford ISD where she has been a board member, tutor, mentor, child advocate and a sponsor for needy children. Denbow served from 1985 to 2003 on the WISD board of trustees and on the local chamber of commerce where she was instrumental in starting their education committee to partner with Weatherford ISD and the annual Teacher of the Year recognition. She currently is a volunteer in the HOSTS/STARS program – a prescribed reading program and on the board of the Weatherford ISD Education Foundation.
Elizabeth Chappell, SBOE District 12. Chappell is president of the Coppell ISD Gifted Association and an advocate for a unique group of gifted students – those termed “twice exceptional students.” These are students that are academically gifted in an area, yet struggle with learning differences, such as dyslexia. She has also organized special speakers for GT parent meetings; coordinated enrichment programs designed to bring students together with their intellectual peers; created and hosts a creative writing competition and serves on the district’s Strategic Planning Committee.
Warren Adams, SBOE District 13. A retired firefighter, Adams has worked for 11 years to provide library funds at Cockrell Hill Elementary School to help the librarian reach her goal of having 10 books for every student in the school. Adams also provides assistance to students and families in need through donations for utilities, school uniforms and the Angel Tree. He is always willing to deliver items from the neighborhood grocery store; act as a positive role model and mentor; is involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters; provides eye glasses and medical assistance; and provides school-wide incentives for any student that maintains an average of 75 percent or above in academics.
Cheryl Preece, SBOE District 14. Preece is a volunteer at Troy Elementary School in the Troy ISD. This volunteer has tutored, mentored, donated, painted, cut and pasted for more than six years. Her many volunteer duties include tutoring math and reading; donating hundreds of books, school supplies, computer parts, Accelerated Reader prizes and clothing. She also takes lessons and books to the homes of sick students so they can keep up with their studies; participates on three different campus improvement committees; and works at and supports every school event such as the book fair, TAKS survivor games, reading and math nights, and the school carnival.
Liz Melgar, SBOE District 15. Melgar is a volunteer at the Texhoma Elementary School in the Texhoma ISD. Melgar spends her day monitoring the cafeteria and playground, listening to students read, coaching math and journal writing, and assisting in the library and computer lab. She also acts as a translator for parents at public hearings, at financial aid assistance meetings and for parent-teacher conferences.
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