Unexpected challenge reveals strength of commitment

Published 8:29 am Saturday, April 2, 2016

By Rickie R. Harris

West Orange – Cove is very fortunate to have received very little damage during the recent flooding that has drastically impacted so many in our area. North Early Learning Center received minimal damage. Only a small amount of water entered the building. I want to, again, publically thank our maintenance team for doing an outstanding job of preparing the school for invasive waters and then moving quickly to recover impacted areas so that the school could reopen promptly. Our team, led by Executive Director of Operations Dr. Wayne Guidry and Maintenance Director Greg Willis, worked through the final weekend of Spring Break to clean the building for our staff and students. We appreciate your dedicated commitment!

A number of West Orange – Stark High School students also exhibited a strong commitment to their classmates and district during the break by preparing for an important business appointment. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students, led by Selwyn Dews, have developed “Dream 16” using a business model. Earlier in March, Dream 16’s student chief operation officers Hien Nguyen, Tyffani Hinson, and Brandon Roy presented an overview of their company plan to the WOCCISD district instructional team. Their vision is to develop educational products for students in lower grades.

During the break and in the midst of a community challenged with flooding, Dream 16 student leaders participated in an intensive internship where they further developed their operations, social robotics application (app), and the accompanying curriculum and professional development. Their app will support our preschool students in gaining self-awareness. It is designed for use with a robot.

Upon return from their internship, “Dream 16” presented their concept to Spring ISD. The audience included assistant superintendents, administrators, software representatives, and higher education entities. Spring ISD is in the process of determining whether to incorporate the curriculum these students are piloting/developing at one of their schools. Dream 16 did a phenomenal job with their presentation and a Microsoft representative will be visiting our high school to follow-up with the project.

Also during Spring Break, WO-S High School junior Ja’Tayjay Vital competed in her third consecutive STATE powerlifting meet. She earned a bronze medal in her weight class. We are very proud of this Lady Mustang!

Very soon, West Orange – Stark High will again host the District Track and Field Meet. While we were not originally scheduled to host this meet, we welcome the opportunity to showcase our facility and operations. This varsity meet will be held Monday, April 11 and Thursday, April 14. Mark your calendars and please join us for this very exciting event.

I would also like to invite the men of our community to make a strong impact within our school system by participating in the Men of Excellence program which will be launched in the fall. The volunteer program will support student success. Volunteer packets are downloadable on our website: www.woccisd.net. An informational video about the program is also viewable.

And again, I would like to remind all parents to take advantage of our Family Access Parent Portal. Family Access includes student gradebook, attendance, and other data that facilitates parent and school communication. Applications and information packets are also available on our website.

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.