HOUSTON – April 24, 2018 – At Future Teacher Signing Day on Tuesday, Spring Independent School District celebrated 21 graduating seniors who are about to begin a journey that will lead them back home. The event is the culmination of an initiative that the district embarked upon three years ago in an effort to “grow their own.”
After completing the education pathway and participating in the Texas Association of Future Educators program, high school students make a commitment to earn their education degree and return to Spring ISD in four years to teach.
“Today’s ceremony is a recognition of your hard work and a reminder that your journey, especially as a future educator, is just beginning,” said Spring ISD Board President Rhonda Newhouse. “As you head out to college, remember you have people back here at home cheering for you. My fellow board trustees and I look forward to your coming right back here to Spring ISD when you are ready to teach and motivate a new generation.”
That’s exactly what Mariah Dancy did when she returned to Carl Wunsche Sr. High School a few years ago. Dancy grew up in Spring ISD schools, chose the education career pathway at Wunsche and went on to Baylor University to earn her degree before coming home to teach English II at her alma mater.
“I stand before you today, not as a representative of Spring ISD, but as a product of Spring ISD. You and I have more in common than you may realize,” Dancy said.
Dancy went on to briefly describe the four years of hard work she spent at Baylor University, overcoming obstacles and developing a formula for success based on principles she learned from her own teachers. She concluded with a quote from Maya Angelou: When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
“Spring Independent School District is home,” she said. “There is nothing more important than educating the masses here. I urge you to chase your dreams, take calculated risks, enjoy the success and sometimes the failures that come along with this journey. But always remember the road that will lead you right back home.”
Eight of the 21 students were each awarded $500 scholarships that had been donated for the occasion, an increase by six over last year. It was an emotional moment for Sai-Jatsiry Hernandez when she went forward to receive her scholarship. Hernandez, whose mother passed away a couple of years ago, said it had been her mother’s dream for her get an education, and she never expected to get the scholarship.
Hernandez has been a Spring ISD student since she started at Beneke Elementary School as a four-year-old bilingual student. This year she served as an intern helping a bilingual teacher at Hoyland Elementary School, and she hopes to go back there as a bilingual teacher when she graduates from college.
“I grew up in bilingual classes. I know what they are struggling with,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez wasn’t the only one at the ceremony that received a surprise during the scholarship presentations. An anonymous donor had provided several scholarships in memory of Superintendent Dr. Rodney Watson’s mother, Mattie L. Watson.
“My mom taught for 43 years, and she absolutely loved education,” Watson said. “We all remember our great teachers who have made an impact on our lives.”
A highlight of the ceremony came when Chief Human Resources Officer Deeone McKeithan announced that it was time for the future teachers to sign their letters of intent.
“We want you back,” McKeithan said. “Be excited about the journey because everybody is not creating a legacy – you are.”
The education career pathway was introduced at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School when it opened in 2006. Over the past six years, the district has expanded the pathway to Dekaney, Spring and Westfield high schools, allowing more students to be exposed to education as a career option beginning in the ninth grade. Also, the district’s relationship with Junior Achievement gives an opportunity for students to have a hands-on experience through internships and leadership programs at Spring ISD elementary and middle schools.
- Giselle Delgado, Dekaney, In Memory of Mattie L. Watson, donor anonymous
- Nadiya Taylor, Spring, In Memory of Brenda Green, donated by Leonard and Sherry Dunlap
- Shelby Felder, Spring, In Memory of Mattie L. Watson, donor anonymous
- Courtney Suydam, Spring, In Memory of Mattie L. Watson, donor anonymous
- Sai-Jatziry Hernandez, Westfield, In Honor of Mario Hinojosa, donated by Dr. Lupita Hinojosa
- Cecilia Camarillo, Westfield, donated by Spring ISD Human Resources Team
- Nia Stalbert, Westfield, In Memory of Mattie L. Watson, donor anonymous
- Hibana Escobar, Westfield, In Memory of Mattie L. Watson, donor anonymous
Students who signed letters of intent are:
Dekaney – Torionna Babineaux, Lone Star College; Giselle Delgado, Lone Star College; Dezjanique Johnson, Blinn College; and Laura Ventura, Lone Star College.
Spring – Shelby Felder, Stephen F. Austin University; Angela Rioz, Lone Star College; Courtney Suydam, Texas A&M, Texarkana; April Vega, Lone Star College; and Nadiya Taylor, Grambling University.
Westfield – Kalani Bonds, Alcorn State University; Cecillia Camarillo, University of Texas; Noemi Campos, Lone Star College; Francisco Canas Torres, Lone Star College; Hibana Escobar, Sam Houston State University; Sai-Jatziry Hernandez, Lone Star College; Kirlexia Jones, Prairie View A&M University; Corey Richardson, Angelo State University; Norli Servin, Sam Houston State University; Nia Stalbert, Prairie View A&M University; Viviana Torres Cardona, Sam Houston State University; and Janasha Walker, Prairie View A&M University.