The Curtain lifts for Act II

Published 8:33 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

By Rickie R. Harris

As we begin the second semester, I want to begin by saying thank you to our community for an outstanding show of support for our students during the first semester. It was a phenomenal experience to see the number of fans cheering for the Mustangs at the State Championship football game in Houston. Fans from all over southeast Texas attended! Winning the state title, the amazing support, and the Mustang Celebration and Parade are all experiences that our students will always value and remember. Thank you to the Orange City Council, Councilman Larry Spears, and Jay Trahan and staff for your work in organizing the parade celebration. I would also like to say an early thank you to Pastor Ronnie Crockett for organizing “Mustang Sunday” which will be held tomorrow at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. We appreciate all that your church committee has done to recognize our students.

During this new semester, we look forward to more exciting activities, including various academic and athletic events. We know that our Mustangs and Stallions will represent us well.

Prior to the semester break, West Orange – Stark Elementary and Middle School students competed in their respective District UIL Academic Meets. More than a dozen Middle School students placed in ready writing, chess, general math, social studies, number sense, listening and more. Seventh grader Amori Haley placed first in seventh grade impromptu speaking; and, Trinity Brown placed first in sixth grade social studies. In Elementary District Academic Competition, 25 WO-S students placed in various individual and team contests. The fourth grade number sense team of Daryl Webb, Zack Nation, and Benjamin Luna earned first place honors.

At this week’s meeting of our School Board, we will be honoring staff members. These individuals include Community Liaison Russell Bottley, Attendance Clerk Karin Morris, and STEM Teacher Selwyn Dews. We appreciate all that they do for our students.

At the meeting, we will also honor several of our very dedicated fans. This is a recognition which I am excited to implement and continue in the future. Community members are invited to nominate super fans through our website: or by picking up a nomination form at the reception desk of our Educational Service Center (902 W. Park Avenue).

Also this week, area pastors will meet together in a Quarterly Pastor Luncheon at the District Educational Service Center. At the meeting we will discuss our shared school community. The luncheon will be held on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m. All area church leaders are invited to attend. RSVP’s (to 409-882-5600) are requested no later than Tuesday, Jan. 19. These luncheons are so valuable and allow us to work together to identify ways in which we can partner to benefit our students, their families, and our cities.

Finally, we are making strides to become more digitally inclined. We encourage every parent to take advantage of “Family Access.” This portal is available by digital device, computer, or smartphone on our District website. “Family Access” includes student gradebook, attendance, and other data. It is a great parent resource for monitoring academic performance. The portal allows the ability to stay up-to-date on grades and contact our staff immediately regarding concerns. Our hope is to have every parent utilize this free resource as we work to provide the best possible customer service possible.


As contemporary author John Maxwell said, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD