Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September....back to school on my mind

What is the state of the schools that serve Westbury's children?  That was the question I asked myself.  We are going to start featuring schools in the Crier and the September edition lists all the public  schools that our children are zoned to in Westbury.  Were you surprised at the list? I was.  Six elementary schools; 3 middle schools and 2 high schools. One of  my Leadership Houston class days was on Education and we had great speakers ranging from Dr Grier of HISD to the guys from KIPP to Dr Khatur, President of U of H. We visited HISD schools.  It really brought home to me the importance of community and civic involvement in our schools. 

I am pleased to announce several ongoing programs.  Westbury Methodist church has initiated a volunteer program with Anderson Elementary.  The Platou Center is reaching out to the nearby schools to offer afternoon programming. The Friends of Chimney Rock Park are working hand in hand with HPARD to bring good things to the center.  The Friends of Westbury High School host a gala each year and award thousands of dolalrs in shcolarships. But there is room for more!

Cindy Chapman and I visited HISD headquarters and met with the Strategic Partnership division to offer Westbury High School our full civic and community support of the high school.  This is such a pivotal time for Westbury. When I graduated 40 years ago (can that be right??) from WHS, it was Bellaire's equal if not superior.  Westbury was the most improved school in HISD last year.  The new principal, Mr Wainwright, is  home grown and a graduate of Bellaire High School. He is committed to Westbury and I believe WHS is going nowhere but UP.  Picture the possibilities of a high school sitting adjacent to a 300 acre Conservation Reserve..the Willow Waterhole.   Picture the Fine Arts program possibilities at WHS when the talented children from Parker and Johnston's music programs choose to go to WHS.

Watch the Crier for opportunities to join the team Working on  and for Westbury High School.  The Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy is preparing a special Sunday concert in the park series starting in November featuring our talented schools. (You heard it here first!)

I'll end with one of my favorite Westbury High School success stories because it involves a good friend of mine.  It also emphasizes  the importance of electives, especially skilled electives like Westbury's Automotive program which is arguably the best in Houston.

I met Robert when he was just twelve years old when he and my son played together on a team at Westbury Little League. They made the 12 year old All Star team together and became lifelong friends.  Sadly Robert's dad passed away and while at Westbury High School, Robert signed up for Auto shop probably to learn some of those things that his dad would have passed on to him. His Automotive  teacher was Mr. Falsone.  Mr. Falsone's accomplishments since founding the program more than 25 years ago include the program's certification in 1998 by the National Automotive Technical Education Foundation.  He is one of those teachers that you hope your kids will have who truly make a difference.  Robert was a whiz with cars and M.r Falsone urged him to get his ASC certification and he went to work for Allen Samuels through their school/work program.  Excelling at what he did, he won awards and Allen Samuels offered him a scholarship and after graduating in the top 10% of his class he went to San Jacinto Jr college where he graduated with a 4.0 and then went to Pittsburgh State graduating with honors and  an automotive management degree.  He came back to Houston, married his Westbury High school sweetheart, with his Westbury Little League buddy serving as his best man.  He honored his commitment to Allen Samuels and came back to work for them. He moved to Mazda North America as a District Support Supervisor.   But here's the best part of the story....he is now teaching at WHS with his mentor, Mr. Falsone teaching them automotive skills and preparing a new generation of young men for life.
If you are zoned to Westbury I urge you to check out the opportunities that await your son or daughter.  If you are interested in making a difference look for oppotunities in future Criers to help WHS.
Thankful for the cooler weather today but still praying for rain.