Mustangs appreciate, serve local community

Published 9:02 am Saturday, April 16, 2016

By Rickie R. Harris

Many times over the past year I have thanked members of this community and various organizations for their support of our school system. I sincerely believe that we are stronger and can achieve more by working together. It is also important that we, as a school system, support our community

Students in Lacey Hale’s commercial photography class at West Orange – Stark High School are participating, this month, in an impactful lesson. Community service is at the core of the activity at multiple levels. It originated in the writing of a grant by Ms. Hale, commercial photography teacher. The grant, funded by the West Orange – Cove CISD Education Foundation, provided for the extension of learning through a local field trip. Students were able to spend time at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and in the downtown Orange area taking photographs. They were able to see a great deal of our community and capture it through photographic art. Students have since selected their best photograph and are preparing for a Charity Auction which will be held this month. It is our hope that these photographic images will hang on the walls of area homes and offices; and, they will perfectly illustrate the power of working together to achieve more. Proceeds from the auction will benefit local Orange charities. The auction will be held Wednesday, April 27 from 6 – 8 p.m. at The Garden District. If you would like to attend, a RSVP is required by Friday, April 22 to 409-920-1003.

Our staff was also eager to support the Deweyville School District. Teachers at West Orange – Stark Elementary School worked as grade level units to create a basket for each Deweyville Elementary School teacher that lost a classroom of valuable resources to flooding. WO-S teachers purchased and collected items vital to successful classroom instruction and delivered them to their fellow teachers. It is our hope that this gesture of Mustang support will help our neighbors begin to rebuild.

Before the year ends, other campus events will provide additional opportunities for students and staff to serve the community, including West Orange – Stark Elementary’s financial literacy Lemonade Stand project which benefits the Southeast Texas Humane Society.

This past week, I met with local church leaders and pastors. We shared information that allows us to work together to better serve our shared community. These community leaders are currently working with our school district to recruit volunteers to participate in our Men of Excellence program which will begin in the 2016-2017 school year. The initial organizational meeting of Men of Excellence will be Thursday, June 9 at West Orange – Stark Elementary School. Please contact us at 882-5627 if you are interested in participating.

I would also like to invite all community members and district stakeholders to attend “Coffee and Conversation” Monday, April 18. I will host the event at the West Orange Community Center from 6 – 7 p.m. I will welcome individual information shared with the purpose of moving our District forward.

Finally, WOCCISD is working towards on-line registration. In order to do so, it will require that all of our parents utilize the Family Access Parent Portal. Family Access includes student gradebook, attendance, health, and other data. Family Access applications and information packets are downloadable 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