Thursday, June 26, 2014

HEAP- It's a Huntsville Family Summer Tradition!

What are some of the signs of summer?  The kids out of school? The mercury in your thermometer rising? Families lighting up grills for BBQs around town?  

A budding scientist in Mrs. Smith's Mad Science session:
 H20 (aka Water) drop races demonstrate the principle
of surface tension and the hydrophobic effect... and they're pretty dang fun, too! 
In Huntsville, any list of "The Signs of Summer" would have to include the signs for HEAP, dotting yards and along roads throughout the city and Walker County. 

Definitely a "Sign of Summer" in Huntsville.

They go up in late May in anticipation of HEAP, the Huntsville Enrichment Activities Program. And it's been that way for over 45 years, so much so that HEAP is a family thing, a Huntsville Family thing.

Miss Bennett- Gibbs PreK teacher during the year, twirling coach during HEAP!
Yes, Miss Bennett attended HEAP growing up.
For those of us uninitiated in the phenomenon that is HEAP, it's a home grown summer day camp. We guarantee that you, or someone you know here in Huntsville has most definitely attended.

You have to get it just right for Giant Cup Stacking Races.
Ask around, and people will share great memories of attending- and since its been a part of our town for so long, HEAP kids have grown up, had kids of their own, and come summertime sent their little ones to enjoy the same experience.

This is Mrs. Coey's eighteenth year teaching team sports.
Her grandkids love HEAP, and being with their Grandma, Coach Coey!
As with most successful programs in Huntsville, HEAP is a community partnership.  Huntsville Independent School District provides the location (Huntsville Intermediate School) and provides the meals and the City of Huntsville helps provide the funding.  In this way, the attendance costs are kept down to make it affordable. Scholarship applications are also available on request. (And, following HEAP in the afternoons, the YMCA offers supplemental child care for an additional cost.) 

The three generations behind HEAP: Patsy and John Fortner,
with their daughter Gayla and Gayla's son Kenley.

And the theme of family is reflected in the program's management.   John and Patsy Fortner have been running this for close to twenty years, and their daughter, Gayla, a teacher in Abilene, comes home to help.  All of Gayla and her husband Scott's children have attended HEAP, and now their son Kenley helps out in the office.

She is getting the hang of this twirling!
The program taps the expertise of many current and retired Huntsville ISD teachers (many are HEAP alumni), as well as local experts in the field.  The 25 person team includes long-time HISD teachers, a second degree black belt in karate, Huntsville Citizens of the Year, youth directors and experts and community leaders of all kinds.

This is cool!
Activities include cup stacking, karate, science, cooking, playground games, indoor games, nature discovery, shooting sports, team sports, imagination station (potpourri of artistic and social skill building), arts and crafts, space camp, computer camp, robotics, twirling, hip-hop dance, drama, tennis and art.
Mr. Hyvl tests blocking in Karate.
The program is available to any child, aged 6-13.  Session I is in full swing, and Session II runs from June 30th- July 10.  HEAP is held from 8 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and the the YMCA offered supplemental care program runs from 12:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Optional (free) breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m., and lunch is served from 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. You can download all the relevant fliers including the HEAP registration form and YMCA application by clicking here.  If you have any questions, feel free to call the program at 936-661-5551.  Since Session II is almost full, remember to sign up early for the next year.

Robotics begin with a plan.

These girls search for just the right Lego for their robotic machine.

Let's give this creation a test drive.

Retired HISD teacher Mrs. Kruppa has been teaching cup stacking for years-
and she's not above stepping in to fill out a team for cup stacking relay races.
And retired HISD science teacher Mrs. Smith wouldn't miss the opportunity to conduct "Mad Science"
 at HEAP for anything- it's her summer tradition!

You can take my picture as long as you do it quick so
I can get back to my science!

Free play with cup stacking.

Mrs. Little hosts "Fun with Food."  Later,  her students will get to share their delicious creation,
made from scratch cookies- still warm from the oven!

Sparring with Mr. O'Brien

So many choices, you'd be forgiven if you thought
that if an activity isn't listed here, it doesn't exist!

God Bless America, Together We Stand.

Matthew Lahey  Huntsville ISD Huntsville Independent School District

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

You Did It! Congratulations to the Class of 2014, Huntsville High School

What does your diploma represent? 
It's piece of paper, it's "proof" you graduated, but it's really more than that. 
Congratulations to the Huntsville High School Class of 2014!
It represents all of your hard work, your persistence through the inevitable ups and downs of your life growing up.  
HHS Principal Beth Burt "moves the tassel" for each of the 403 graduates.
As you already know, the word commencement means "a beginning," and though this is the beginning of your new life, it's so much fun to take the time to celebrate all that you have accomplished, with the teachers, parents, relatives, friends and administrators that were with you along the way.

This is a GOOD day.
It all went by in a whoosh, and the ceremony was over in under two hours.  The memories, however, from this morning, and the four years at High School, will last a lifetime.  

Seems like a pretty darn good time for a hug: Mrs. Surley & Triston celebrate.
Action Shot:  Amy has her diploma!

Seth Autery and 402 of his closest friends proudly sing the school song.

Macy Cowart lead the Closing Prayer & Joanna "Bella" Abril is our Salutatorian.
That's Valedictorian Todd Christian on the way out with his diploma.
View from behind the Music Stand:
The Huntsville Hornet Military Marching Band under the direction John Green.
On Saturday, June 7th at 10:00 a.m., we came together as we have since 1916 to recognize our graduating seniors.  

Assistant Principal Mr. Herrington and the new graduates pause for a moment
for a prayer of gratitude and blessings.

The Huntsville High School Chorale sang, "Give Me Wings."
Lauren Davis (in green) is the Director, and the accompanist is Sherri Barrett.
Look at the top left corner- it's not a UFO, it's an IFM!
(That would be an "Identified Flying Mortarboard")
This was the second year our district live streamed our commencement.
Missed the stream?  Couldn't make the ceremony? Go to:

Shoes fit for a Salutatorian- Joanna "Bella" Abril!
How does Sheila Simmons, our freshly awarded Huntsville Independent School District's
Support Person of the Year, spend the following day?
Working Commencement with her M & O team, including Reverend Freeman, of course!   

Could not resist snapping this photo on the way out in the parking lot.
These are some really happy grads!

Introducing the Huntsville High School Senior Class of 2014.

A diploma represents all of your hard work, from PreK through twelfth grade.
Growing up, through the ups and did it!  
Matthew Lahey  Huntsville ISD Huntsville Independent School District

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Students Are Gone, Now it's Time to Celebrate our Staff and Faculty! - Huntsville ISD's All Star Awards

On Friday, June 6th, our district celebrated our annual All Star Awards, where we celebrated our Retirees, our employees' Service and our employees' excellence.  Each year, the district takes this time to honor outstanding accomplishments, and it's always a terrific way to begin summer vacation.

Presenting our 2014 Star Staff Awards! 

Support Person of the Year- Sheila Simmons

Instructional Assistant of the Year - Carol Johnson

New “Rookie” Teacher of the Year - Gianna Diaz

Innovative Teacher of the Year for Elementary - Nina Baker 

Innovative Teacher of the Year for Secondary- Stacy Godby

Teacher of the Year for Elementary- Grace Bass

Teacher of the Year for Secondary- Stacy Godby

It was not only great to see and honor those whose names are listed here, but also have a chance to see and visit with folks from all corners of the District.  We have a diverse group of people all working in different positions to make sure our children stay safe while getting the best education possible.

Because they were busy with their responsibilities during our District awards presentation,
our Transportation Department was celebrated earlier in the week.
Here Dr. Steve Johnson helps honor and celebrate the retirement of Thomas Peltier
as Transportation Director Tim Hooks looks on from the podium 

Read through the names below of the folks that have served us throughout the years, and scroll down further and take a look at the photos, see some familiar faces and maybe some folks you haven't met yet.

Celebrating of Years of Service ~  Work Anniversaries 

40 Years

Patricia Nash 

35 Years 

Connie Billingsley 
Donald Brinegar 
Linda Grigsby 
Carol Nichols 

30 Years 

Paula Duron 
Irma Gambrell 
Elva Hoch 
Linda Marshall 

25 Years 

Augustine Archie 
Jerrilyn Bulloch 
John Fuller 
Brian Gedelian 
Debra Hightower 
Lois Levingston 
Marsha Pugh 
Roberta Sturgeon 
Delanise Taylor 
Rebecca Vaughan 

20 Years 

Deborah Allen 
Beth Burt 
Susan Cryer 
Lastell Fraley 
Victor Garza 
Jerry Jones 
James Kreier 
Charles McGowan 
Leslie Nichols 
James Pitts 
Donna Sanders 

15 Years 

Jessie Anderson 
Kim Bolton 
Grace Burzynski
Shirley Ford 
Rebecca Fulenwider 
Mona Goebel 
Amanda Hoke 
Victoria Horne 
Ethel James
Carol Johnson 
Larraine McGee 
Quiana Mitchell 
Janice Moore 
Kym Murray 
Liseth Nieto 
Karen Paschal 
Blanca Rivas 
Amber Rodriguez 
Shanita Smith 

10 Years 

Sally Bacon 
Jennifer Barnes 
Lorena Buckner 
Kimberly Franklin 
Rachel Henley 
Tim Hooks 
Melissa Hunziker 
David Ingram 
Tanya Johnson 
Sylvia Kelly 
Kay Laube 
Nick Luggerio 
Brenda Oates 
James Oliphant 
Emma Pitrucha 
Rebecca Presley 
Brenda Schultz 
John Spencer 
Patricia Thompson 
Roxie Volkmer 
Amber White 
Danielle Williams 
Diann Young 

5 Years 

David Baker 
Latoya Bennett 
Rachel Calabretta 
Sharonda Cole 
Bridget Costello 
Juanita Deimel 
Marjorie Duffy 
Jamie Duke
Stephanie Dunn 
Amberleigh Ficklen 
Melinda Furr 
Dorothy Goad 
Angela Harper 
Krystal Herron 
Amy Holderrieth 
Yessenia Interiano 
Sharon Jefferson 
Melissa Jenkins 
Sonya John 
Jeri Johnsen 
Velvia Keithley 
Angela Martinez 
Nieisha Matthews 
Jacory McGinty 
Staci McGinty 
Juana Mejia 
Danny Milton 
Jennifer Moore 
Nanette Nira
Michelle Perry 
Cynthia Renfro 
Suzanna Salazar 
Amanda Smith 
Karol Smith 
Edwin Sowell 
Melanie Sowell 
Rebecca Turner 
Derek Waller 
Debra Wyatt 
Sarah Yates 
Michael Young 
Maria Zavala 
Vanessa Zuniga 


Grace Bass 
Carol Brown 
Claudia Cliff 
Rhonda Cox 
Ruth Eakins 
Larry Fusaro 
Irma Gambrell 
Mary Gibson 
Joyce Hoch 
Mary Hoffmann 
Barbara Johnson 
Lois Anne New 
Thomas Peltier

Employees of the Month 

Estela Anaya 
Mary Babida 
Kim Bolton 
Ana Bonilla 
Rudy Carreno 
Kimberlin Fitzgerald 
Paula Guthrie 
Jessica Jeter 
Rob Kennedy 
Kayla Neal 
Lori Riley 
LaVetha Scott 
Lonnie Stanford 
Ester Zamudio 

Educators of the Month 

Charly Baker 
Grace Bass 
Lynne Benavides 
Stacy Godby 
Rachel Henley 
Georgie Knocke 
Betsy Marlin 
Kasidy McKinley 

Kaelyn was there to pass out programs- and work security!

Twenty Year Service Awards waiting to be presented!

Beverly Kelly of HES  and Krystal Herron of MPMS.
Mrs. Kelly was Mrs. Herron's teacher, and her inspiration to becoming a teacher herself! 

Of course it could be the cookies- delicious as always!
Thank you Henry and Food Service Folks.

Henry and Most of the Food Service Team.

Huntsville Elementary Teachers are representing!

Networking of a Different Kind: Do you recognize Daniel Rollins without his cables or wifi?

Maintenance & Operations Crew:  Nick Soto and Juan Lopez.

A couple of MPMS' finest~ Nurse Julie Simmons & Amanda Leland

HES Principal Koren Nicks introducing her retiree and
Elementary Teacher of the Year, Grace Bass!

School Board Member J.T. Langley, Superintendent Dr. Steve Johnson,
Board Member and Secretary Tracy Stoudt and Deputy Superintendent Sonny Cruse.

Coaches Jason O'Bryant & Brad Didier showing their All Star Approval.

Let's here it for Samuel Walker Houston Elementary Teachers!

Little does Support Person of the Year Sheila Simmons
know her whole family is waiting in the wings ready to surprise her!

HIS's Michelle Rush likes what she sees!

Rookie Teacher of the Year Gianna Diaz gets hug
from a family member.
HAB's Maria Delgado and MPMS's John Ryan

Stacy Godby congratulated by Dr. J.

SHE's Amy Stevenson and Jennifer McKendree

Matthew Lahey  Huntsville ISD Huntsville Independent School District