Friday, May 27, 2016

A Celebration for Seniors Committed to Serving Our Country

Various branches of the military were represented at the event.
It is reported that one percent of the U.S. population actively serves in the military. Sixteen Lake Ridge High School seniors were recently added to that percentage, and they received a hero’s celebration for making that commitment.

Lake Ridge High School held its first Military Signing Day on May 24. The day was a celebration of the students who have signed to enlist in the military or received a scholarship for a college Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.

The Army, Navy, Marines, and National Guard were all represented. Two of the recruits were even accepted into the prestigious U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and the U.S. Naval Academy.

“It was a very long process that started at the beginning of my junior year,” said senior Isis Coty, who was nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy by U.S. Congressman Joe Barton. “It was a blessing all around, and it felt really great to honored at the signing day ceremony.”

Isis Coty (middle) said she later plans to go
into The Marine Corp.
The auditorium was filled with students, parents, staff, community leaders who were ready to cheer on the recruits for their decision. An officer with the U.S. Marine Corps conducted the official swearing-in ceremony to conclude the day.

“I get so emotional thinking about how proud I am of these kids,” said Kayla Middleton, librarian at Lake Ridge High who helped orchestrate the event. “It’s so courageous that they’re willing to selflessly say, ‘I’ll do it. Pick me. I’ll stand there and defend our country so that you can sleep night.’”

Middleton said although it was her idea, none of it would have been made possible without the help of counselor Lea Lester and JROTC instructors Sedric Wade and Bertha Middlebrooks.

The organizers said the event went as planned, and they are excited to make it an annual tradition. Altogether, MISD has 80 seniors who plan to enlist into the military after graduation.

Friday, May 20, 2016

High School Senior Graduates at 15 Years Old

Donyea Grayson is just like any other high school student. She stays active in school, keeps up with her grades, and likes to hang out with her friends.

She’s excited to cross the stage this June on graduation day, but she won’t be able to drive herself to the event.

In fact, she can’t drive anywhere at all by herself because she’s only 15 years old.

“My friends forget that I’m this young,” said Grayson. “I started high school when I was 12, but I’m lucky that I had my older brother there with me so that he can sort of protect me.”

As a child, Grayson skipped two grade levels. She’s used to being the youngest in her class and said that it pushed her to be a stronger person and work even harder.

“It helped build my character because early on, it was hard for the kids to accept me since I was younger,” the 15-year-old recalled. “I pushed myself to prove to my teachers and classmates that I did belong in that class.”

Grayson is involved in many organizations at Lake Ridge High School. She was on the Academic Decathlon team, cheerleading squad, and a member of the National Honor Society.

Her momentum won't stop when she graduates.

She will be attending The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the fall with hopes of majoring in psychology and eventually going to law school. She was admitted into the UCLA Academic Advancement Program (AAP) and made the UCLA Cheer Squad of 10 females.

“I essentially gave up two years of childhood for two years of adulthood,” said Grayson, who expressed excitement for her future. “I would do it all again because it shaped me to be who I am today.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

8-Year-Old Who Battled Leukemia Gets Disney World Wish Granted

Karsyn and her mom attended a classroom party after
the surprise trip was announced.
The first day of kindergarten can be stressful on parents, but those feelings were compounded for Wendy Eubank who found out on the same day that her 8-year-old daughter, Karsyn, had cancer.

“The doctors told us she had leukemia, and we just didn’t know what to think,” said Eubank. “It was extremely difficult to take in.”

The Tarver-Rendon Elementary School student was in the hospital for a majority of kindergarten and first grade. She returned in second grade, and finished her last round of treatment in January 2016.

Even while battling leukemia, Karsyn has always dreamed of going to Disney World. With the help of Make-A-Wish Foundation, that dream became a reality. Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children, ages 2 ½ to under 18 years, who have life-threatening medical conditions.

The second-grader was surprised at her school by her family and Cinderella on Friday.

“Here’s a little girl who has struggled and fought and has been so brave,” said Jamie Norwood, principal at Tarver-Rendon Elementary School. “We were all so excited that she got to come back to school. It’s a chance for her to have fun and not think about being sick.”

Karsyn was surprised by Cinderella at school.
Karsyn was a girl of few words when she was surprised with the trip, but she was able to describe how she felt: happy.

“It's been a three-year long journey,” Eubank added. “I am super excited to be able to go to Disney World because she’s wanted this forever. She’s my miracle kid, and you can’t even tell anything is wrong.”

Karsyn’s blood counts are stable now. She will have to undergo routine testing for 10 years to monitor her health. Eubank noted that the last few years have taught her a lot.

“I think positive and take it one day at a time,” said Eubank. “You learn what life’s really about and what’s important.”

The Eubanks plan to take their trip to Disney World in December. They thanked their family, friends, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the staff at Tarver-Rendon Elementary for all the support they have received.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

School Nurses: More Than Bumps and Bruises

Members of the MISD Health Services team
said they love what they do.
School nurses are an important part of the education system that people often don’t think about until they need them.

That’s why Mansfield ISD would like to join other districts across the nation to celebrate School Nurse Day and remember the men and women who make the health of our students, staff, and families a priority.

“We have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body of everyone with which we come into contact,” said Ted Cross, MISD director of health services. “Nurses are often overlooked, but never unappreciated.”

MISD schools are staffed with full-time registered nurses dedicated to provide every student with individualized health care. Cross said people would be surprised to know the help school nurses give on a daily basis.

Each MISD campus is equipped with
"Go Kits" to take on school field trips.
“When kids don’t have glasses, we help with that. We have a large amount of community resources that we are able to tap into to benefit our students,” Cross continued.

MISD nurses prove that they are more than health care professionals. They have a calling to heal others and teach healthy practices.

“When you have a common goal and you see everyone actively working toward this, it’s inspiring,” said Laurie James, nurse at Lake Ridge High School. “It’s a very collaborative environment with my school nurse peers.”

Although May 11 is dedicated to the recognition of school nurses nationwide, MISD would like to let all its health professionals know that their willingness to serve does not go unnoticed.

“I would like them to know that we appreciate the sincerity and caring attitude they have for our students and staff. They go above and beyond,” said Cross.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Companies Honor Two MISD Teachers for Appreciation Week

Hall was surprised by campus administration and students
at the local Dunkin' Donuts.
Two Mansfield ISD teachers received an extra special treat by local businesses that wanted to give back to educators.

Judy Hall, fourth grade teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School, was recognized by Dunkin’ Donuts as its Teacher of the Year. The South Arlington location contacted schools in three districts and chose Hall after the great feedback received about her.

“I love to teach, and I love these kids,” said Hall. “They are fabulous, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

Hall received $1,000, free coffee for one year, a tablet, three dozen roses, and a Dunkin' Donuts card to receive a 50 percent discount for one year.

Marino (bottom right) was presented the award
in the middle of her math class.
A fifth grade teacher at Della Icenhower Intermediate School also received a surprise for a job well done. Kelly Marino was given the Air1 Teacher Appreciation Award.

The radio station took nominations for the award and determined a finalist based on the number of nominations received and the testimonials that were written.

Marino was surprised in her classroom with a bucket full of goodies by an Air1 representative.

“I am shocked and honored,” said Marino. “I don’t even know what to say. I just love my job, and I don’t need recognition for it—but I appreciate it.”

The tokens of appreciation were a great way to end National Teacher Appreciation Week. Mansfield ISD is very fortunate to have teachers who are so passionate about our future leaders.

Friday, April 29, 2016

MISD Senior Gets Full Ride to College Through Grades and Grit

Sutton applied to become a Dell Scholar through her AVID class.
Katlyn Sutton knew she wanted to go to college; she just didn’t know how she’d be able to pay for it. The Timberview High School senior has four sisters, and her family was struggling to make ends meet.

To make financial matters worse, Sutton started suffering from escalated symptoms of Chiari malformation, a defect in the area of the back of the head where the brain and spine meet. It was causing her to experience blackouts, heart palpitations, numbness, and sleep paralysis. She needed brain surgery to help alleviate those problems.

“I felt really awful about it because I knew we couldn’t afford the surgery, but the surgery was something I needed to function properly,” said Sutton. “We already couldn’t afford groceries and things like that, so it worsened the financial burden.”

Sutton didn’t let her situation determine her future. She kept working hard in her classes, maintained a 3.81 GPA, and scored high on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

As a requirement for her AVID class at Timberview High, Sutton applied to become a Dell Scholar. Dell Scholars are students who have overcome significant obstacles to pursue their educations. Designees receive $20,000 in scholarship money, a laptop computer, textbook credits, and ongoing emotional support.

When the 17-year-old found out that she had been chosen, she couldn’t believe it.

“I was like ‘oh my goodness! $20,000 is so much,’” Sutton recalled. “I can now have a better life than the one I was given. My future’s going to be better.”

Sutton applied for the University of Texas at Arlington and was able to get enough money for her college tuition through grants and other scholarships. The money from the Dell Scholars Program will allow her to live on campus and save up for a possible master’s degree.

The senior wants to encourage other students in her situation to not give up and continue to apply themselves.

“It’s possible,” said Sutton. “I didn’t think I would. Sometimes you’ll feel intimidated, but it’s truly worth it in the end.”