Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Solar Car Team Cruises to National Second-Place Finish

The Shine Runners spent a lot of time perfecting their new race car.
The Mansfield ISD solar car team is returning from a seven-day cross-country race as top performers.

MISD Shine Runners, consisting of 13 students and two teachers from Ben Barber Career and Technology Academy, came in second place at the 2016 Solar Car Challenge.

The Solar Car Challenge is an event where high school students across the nation can race the solar cars they design and build. The challenge alternates each year as either a closed-track event at the Texas Motor Speedway or a cross-country event.

“We have been preparing for the 2016 race for two years,” said Robert Goodson, advisor for the MISD Shine Runners. “I think this race is important because it gives students a great project and experience that puts into practice and reality all of the theory and skills we teach them in our classes.”

Students worked hard on their newest race car design, which they named Bahama Blue. The solar car was made lighter, built with stronger batteries, and was the first car of its type to have a continuous variable transmission (CVT).

“This was also the first solar car to have a push-rod suspension like an F1 race car,” Goodson continued. “All of these are the reasons we think we were awarded with the Lockheed Martin Award for Excellence in Engineering.”

The team received the runner-up trophy at a ceremony in Minnesota.
The Shine Runners easily passed the initial vehicle judging phase of the event and were ready to take Bahama Blue on the open road.

The cross-country race started in Fort Worth, Texas. Within the course of seven days, they drove through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and finally Minnesota, totaling 785.8 miles driven in the solar car.

“I was very proud of the students and the sponsors,” said principal Catherine Hudgins. “There is so much work that goes into this endeavor and so many things that can go wrong. This team and the sponsors get an A+ for problem solving and teamwork!”

The second place finish is the highest placement the Ben Barber team has ever achieved. Overcoming the challenges of the long trip made the win that much sweeter.

“I couldn't be prouder of the team,” said Goodman. “They earned every bit of that second place finish and put their blood, sweat, tears, hearts and souls into that car.

The Solar Car Challenge took place July 17-23. After some much-needed rest, the team will work to improve the car and hopefully train some new team members.

Monday, June 27, 2016

MISD Camps Make Summer Learning Fun

Students dressed up in the conservation costumes they created.
With fashion shows being held, mysteries being solved, and neat projects being made, it was hard to believe that a science camp was in session.

More than 300 Mansfield ISD kids and teachers got the chance to experience that science is not boring.

“We say that science is fun, but science camp is amazing,” said Daniel Beauford, the administrator of the MISD Science Camp. “I love seeing the kids get excited about science.”

MISD Science Camp 2016 was held at Thelma Jones Elementary School on June 20-24. Students from kindergarten through third grade all toured different stations to learn real-life applications of science.

This year’s theme was conservation. The activities ranged from experimenting with alternative fuels and making water filtration systems to making lava lamps and using recycled items to create costumes.

A teacher demonstrates a homemade filtration system.
The science camp, which is in its fifth year, was planned by gifted and talented specialists from across the district who came together to create an engaging, hands-on science curriculum.

“Having high-quality summer learning opportunities is a commitment that MISD has made to help students stay on track to achieve their college, career and life goals,” said Marie Medina, program coordinator for advanced academics. “I am proud that we have so many educators who are willing to give up part of their summer to be there for the kids.”

Other than science camp, MISD also offers creativity camp; preparation for middle school math; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) camps; and college readiness courses.

View a full list of summer offerings here.

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.