|Deer Park ISD|
Evidence of Excellence
Three Deer Park ISD students took the top three spots in this year’s annual RESPECT Contest.
Carpenter Elementary student Madison L. was the first place winner from Deer Park ISD. She will receive a $100 prize for herself, $1,000 for the school, and a $1,000 donation to the charity of her choice. Madison said she plans to support a charity that protects elephants.
Deer Park Elementary fifth-grader Allison B. was the second place winner from DPISD. She will receive a $100 cash prize, a $500 donation for DPE, and $500 to a charity of the student’s choice. Allison chose to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Carpenter student Emma V. was the third place winner from DPISD. She will receive a $100 prize, a $350 donation to WAC, and a $350 donation to her favorite charity, the Houston Zoo's wildlife program.
Sponsored by Houston law firm Arnold & Itkin LLP, the contest was created to help foster respect in our schools and throughout the community. Participating fifth-graders were asked to draw a picture and explain what “respect” means to them or why it is important in two sentences or less. "Whether in the classroom or the courtroom, civility is a fundamental component of our society that is becoming increasingly rare," owners Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin stated. "In partnering with teachers across the Houston area, we hope to bring awareness to the importance of respect."
The winners of the contest, along with their homeroom teachers, school representatives, and/or parents, will be honored in a ceremony at the Harris County Civil Courthouse on April 27.
Parkwood Elementary’s students and staff members recently had a Fill the Boot fundraiser to provide breakfast and goody bags for first responders, who reciprocated by stopping by the school to visit with the children. Parkwood students toured emergency vehicles from the City of Deer Park, the City of Pasadena, and Acadian Ambulance Service of Texas.
Five Deer Park High School-South Campus Culinary Arts students swept the top awards in two different areas at the recent state competition. The DPHS students---the Culinary Arts team of Christian H., Lorenzo M., and Ivan V. and as well as Matthew G. and Addison B., who participated in an individual event---bested students representing 30 schools from across the state.
The DPHS group won first place in the team event and will advance to nationals. Matthew and Addison won first and second place, respectively, in the Mystery Basket event, which is similar to the popular television show, Chopped.
According to DPHS Culinary Arts teacher Reggie Vincent, no school has taken first place in both state culinary events before.
The list of winners was posted the night before the awards, but students don’t learn how they placed until the awards ceremony. “We stood up at a podium on a big stage in front of 1,000 kids or so,” Christian explained. “They announced sixth place up to first place, and once it got down to second place, we were all just looking at each other.”
“Our team was all giddy,” Ivan added. “We were just jumping up and down!”
The awards ceremony included another memorable moment when Matthew was announced as the first place Mystery Basket winner. But when his name was called as the top winner, he went to stand at third place. “He had won third place at regionals, so he just assumed that he was going to win third place at state, too,” Addie said.
Their success was made even more important because it resulted from teamwork and dedication. “It was nice to win, but also the group bonded together, and that wasn’t the case at first,” Christian explained. “At the beginning of the year, we didn’t really know each other. Nobody even wanted to be on our team. They said we weren’t serious enough for it.”
National competition will take place in Nashville beginning on July 3.
Teachers at the District’s Early Childhood Center recently baked up a day of fun for students. The teachers went above and beyond the call of duty when they volunteered to allow students to smash pie in their faces as an incentive for the school’s fundraiser. Students and families were challenged to raise at least $500 through the Pennies for Patients campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and teachers volunteered to get pied by students. Assistant Principal Jenny Martinez said the school raised over $1,500.
Today's Deer Park ISD students continue a long legacy of successfully competing in athletics, fine arts, and academic areas. But a group of elementary students is the District's first to compete in an entirely new arena: the Rubik's Cube competition. The competition is based on Speedcubing, or trying to solve a Rubik's Cube as quickly as possible. Students compete individually and in small groups tasked with solving a group of cubes. The fastest two students have logged times of 43 seconds and 48 seconds.
According to Fairmont Elementary Gifted and Talented Specialist Tracy Marshall, she and her fellow specialists came across the idea while attending a GT convention. Clubs were organized at FE, Carpenter Elementary, Dabbs Elementary, Deer Park Elementary, and San Jacinto Elementary. The students, representing grades three through five, auditioned for the 16 spots on the two District teams being organized. The teams will compete at the Houston Rubik's Cube Competition on March 25.
"The kids feel so accomplished once they succeed," Marshall said. "It seems to just encourage them to keep working to get faster. I also see a boost in their self-confidence once they realize they can do it, especially when adults start asking the students for help! I have even heard them compare some things we are doing in class to the steps used in the Rubik's Cube."
Created in 1974 and peaking in popularity in the early 1980s, the puzzle experienced renewed interest in the early 2000s. Since then, gifted and talented (GT) educators have focused on the puzzle's instructional value.
"In school, nonverbal intelligence is important because it enables students to analyze and solve complex problems without relying upon or being limited by language abilities," Marshall said. "Many mathematical concepts, physics problems, computer science tasks, and science problems require strong reasoning skills.
"Specifically, working with the cube helps improve memorization, pattern recognition, spatial awareness and problem-solving skills," she continued. "We teach the solution through a series of algorithms."
The Deer Park Elementary Student Council held a peanut butter and jelly drive this week benefiting the Deer Park Food Bank. Student Council sponsors Jake McNeely and Brittany Saultz organized the drive to give students an opportunity to get involved in the community. Saultz said she was extremely proud of the kids, who collected 12 boxes of donations containing a total of about 240 individual items. “We are helping people who live around us be able to eat nutritious food,” DPE Student Council President Azoney S. said.
Photos by DPE Campus Technology Integration Specialist Amy Carson
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