• 72°

Schools encourage, develop leaders

Students experience community service
Editorial by Rickie R. Harris          

The 2016-2017 fall semester is very close to completion. Our students have been extremely busy with academics, fine arts, athletics, and career and technology courses. They have also been active serving others; while, at the same time, learning to become leaders.

Our smallest Mustangs were excited to honor our service men and women recently as part of Veterans Day activities. North lessons emphasized the vocabulary word “veteran.” Students assisted in placing American flags along the campus exterior during the week preceding the holiday. West Orange – Stark Elementary students also paid tribute to veterans through wearing red, white, and blue and inviting veterans to lunch.

West Orange – Stark Middle School National Honor Society students visited Forest Lawn Cemetery in West Orange to place flags on graves. This annual event allows our students to remember and honor our local heroes.

At West Orange – Stark High School, age eligible students supported our community through participation in a campus blood drive to benefit Life Share Blood Center and area hospitals. Maintaining a local blood supply is critical, especially during the holidays.

Our High School students, through organizations which included National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Council, and athletics, also promoted community pride in school through the painting of hoof prints on Newton Street and on private driveways throughout the area.

The West Orange – Stark High School Career Center is also providing an additional service that benefits the greater business industrial community. We have continued a program which was initiated in January of 2016. After multiple visits and inquiries from various industries in

southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana searching for high school welders, we are excited to see students continue to take advantage of classes offered through our new welding program. With the new flexibility in Career and Technology certification rules, we have been able to offer the course with WOC Maintenance Department Welder Gary Suggs as the instructor.

Additionally, West Orange – Stark Elementary recently held their first annual National Honor Society Induction Ceremony. Thirty-two fourth and fifth grade students were inducted. The purpose of the National Elementary Honor Society is to recognize students for their outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated personal responsibility, to provide service to the school and community, and to develop leadership skills in the students of elementary schools. We look forward to watching these young leaders contribute to our school and community.

We are proud of our students, staff, and programs. At all our grade levels, we are developing leaders today for service tomorrow.

Finally, I would like to share that our accountability appeal with the Texas Education Agency was approved for West Orange – Stark High School. I am proud to report that our District and ALL of our campuses have achieved the highest possible rating of “Met Standard.”

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