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Campus calendars include special events

Editorial by Rickie R. Harris

December is an extremely busy month. In addition to daily classroom and extracurricular activities, special events add excitement to campuses. All of our schools have full calendars, which include holiday events, before the break begins on Thursday, Dec. 22.

West Orange – Stark Middle School will host the Middle School UIL District Academic Meet on Tuesday, Dec. 6 and Thursday, Dec. 8. In fact, WOCCISD will observe a district-wide student early release this Thursday to support this major event. Schools from throughout the area will attend and compete in events which include ready writing, poetry, chess, mathematics, spelling, science, social studies, and more. Good luck to all competitors!

Fourth graders at West Orange – Stark Elementary are in the midst of preparing for their annual program. It will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Andrew Hayes Gymnasium. The community is invited to attend.

Also on the 13th, members of the varsity choir at West Orange – Stark High School will sing at area nursing homes.

The Middle School is scheduled to present a Winter Showcase performance on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Middle School. The event will feature band, drama, choir, performing arts, and other student groups, as well. The community is also invited to this presentation.

At North Early Learning Center, the December calendar includes a nursing home visit on Dec. 19 and a holiday program on Dec. 20. Students and staff, additionally, are looking forward to Santa’s highly anticipated visit to all North ELC classrooms on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

The Mustang football team has advanced to the Regional Finals of the state high school play-offs. Our students, staff, and fans are continuing to cheer this group forward. Go Mustangs! Basketball season has also started. Both the boys and girls teams are competing in tournaments this weekend and next. I look forward to watching these teams compete, as well.

Our secondary students are also preparing for end of marking period and semester exams.

The WOCCISD District-wide PTA will sponsor a Santa Holiday Gift Shop for students Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-21 in the Elementary School Library. The gift shop assists students with affordable holiday shopping for family and friends.

I also want to mention recent events, our students participated in the annual Toy Coffee. Student organizations collected toys and delivered them Thursday to the Service League of Orange / Salvation Army benefit. Many of our campuses also collected canned goods for various community entities prior to the Thanksgiving holidays and are currently actively collecting additional items for Toys for Tots and additional December holiday canned food drives.   Our students are glad to help however they can.

Have you noticed our new billboard? A billboard promoting our school district has been placed along Interstate 10 in Orange. The billboard proclaims this the “Home of the West Orange – Stark Mustangs.” Be on the lookout as you travel I-10 east. The billboard is located near the MLK exit in Pinehurst.

Finally, to better serve our district employees, the operating hours of our WOCCISD Educational Service Center building (902 Park Ave.) which houses our business and administrative offices will change in January 2017. We will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the school calendar year. This will more appropriately accommodate our staff members.

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

We are empowering lives through excellence every day!

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