School Times Now!
PHS Boys Swim Team Wins
4A State Championship
Where's Dr. Simmons
Promises Kept
Berkner's Bowling Girls Are Regional Champions
Forte' Places in Festival
MTE Dental Program
Inside RISD
Most people do not relish the idea of going to court, but just the thought of it brings a huge smile to the face of Sara Hofeditz. In 2002, as a senior student on the Richardson High School Mock Trial Team, Sara helped bring home the school and district’s first state mock trial championship. And just this past weekend, she repeated that experience of winning a state championship, but this time as the coach of the RHS Mock Trial Team.

This is the third state championship for RHS, with winning teams in 2002 and 2003 under former coach Tony Palagonia, and in 2007 under Ms. Hofeditz. “It is truly a dream come true for me,” said Sara. “I pursued a degree in political science in U.S. government with an emphasis on corporate communications and public affairs. Only in the back of my mind did I think the opportunity to teach at the Law Magnet at RHS would happen. And then the timing last summer was just perfect and here I am. I love working with these kids. And to help bring home the state championship my first year is really the crowning touch.”
The Mock Trial Team consists of 12 students, grades 10-12, who work for months on a case written and provided to teams across the state by the Dallas Bar Association. The team creates arguments for both the prosecution and the defense, acting as attorneys and witnesses. They are prepared for both sides, and don’t know until shortly before each individual competition which side they will have to take.

They argue against another mock trial team and are judged on how they present themselves in the courtroom, how they talk to the presiding judge, how they move about the courtroom, and how they argue their case. Quick thinking is crucial to a good defense or offense. Team member Jessa DeGroote said, “I think what set us apart in the competition is that each member of our team can stand alone, but that we work together really well as a team. There are no weak links.

RHS Mock Trail Team coach Sara Hofeditz made good on her vow to ‘wear my high school prom dress to school’ if the team she coached won first in state. She recently wore her frilly gown all day to the delight of her students.
Team members include seniors Caitlin Barrett, Will Harpham, Kathryn Palagonia, Michael Sheetz; juniors Jordyn Anders, Elise Miller, Andrew Townsend, Danny Weiner; and sophomores Jessa DeGroote, Ilva Fejzulla, Whitney Nwaogwugwu, and Victoria Varner. Their attorney advisor is Chris Pochyla.

As state champions, RHS will now compete for the national title which is hosted by Texas this year. “We like the fact that we will be familiar with the courtroom for nationals. That should make us more comfortable,” said team member Whitney Nwaogwugwu. The national competition is in early May, and the public is invited to attend the mock trials. Information can be found at under national mock trial competition.
When Sara Hofeditz was a senior at Richardson High School, she was a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, a group of student representatives who met with the district’s senior staff monthly over lunch to discuss issues within the high schools. Along with the top ten graduates of each school, Super SAC students were offered an open-ended contract, so that when they received their college degrees, they were invited to return to Richardson ISD to teach. In fact, their open-ended contract guaranteed them a teaching position if they wanted one.
Sara is the first top ten and/or Super SAC student to take advantage of that offer as she accepted the teaching position last summer following graduation from Southern Methodist University. She said, “I don’t know if it was really the open-ended contract that secured this position, but I am grateful for it. I had a lot of experience with the team, and had volunteered as mock trial team coach last year for Lake Highlands High School. It was their first year, and they went to the regional finals… very exciting for us all. But when you are a senior in high school and already know there is a job waiting for you, it's a great confidence builder.” The district has continued to offer open-ended contracts to its top ten grads and Super SAC students each year since Sara’s graduation. And the Lake Highlands High School Mock Trial Team continues be successful as well. >Top
Throwing their coach into the pool after their 4A State Championship win, the Pearce Boys Swim Team celebrated in a drenching style!

Congratulations to Coach Jeff Clayton and student athletes who placed first in state competition for swimming and diving, representing their school and Richardson ISD with pride. Team members include Nick Kalivas, John Kalivas, Andrew Lin, Stephen Yang, Chuck Zhou and Chad Robinson. >Top
In his first two months as RISD Superintendent, Dr. David Simmons has been tireless in his efforts to become a vital part of the RISD community. From visiting schools, speaking at events and attending extra-curricular activities, to meeting with students, staff, and community groups, Dr. Simmons has already engaged almost 80 separate events, community meetings, campus visits and functions.

He's been seen so often, in so many places, the community's now wondering "Where will he be next?"
Work is progressing at LHHS where the courtyard is being filled in for use as CATE classrooms.
As promised in the 2006 bond referendum, Richardson ISD is implementing new Career and Technology Education (CATE) courses at each of the district’s four high schools. Construction is underway to make room for these technical/vocational classes. Students will be welcomed next fall. CATE offerings will complete the core college preparatory curriculum.

The new programs include:

Berkner High School- Cosmetology, Electronics, Hospitality and Tourism, Project Lead the Way (more information below)

Lake Highlands High School- Cosmetology, Construction Trades, Criminal Justice, Hospitality and Tourism

Pearce High School- The Infinity Project (more information below), Geographic Information Systems, Hospitality and Tourism

Richardson High School- Automotive, Metal Trades, Hospitality and Tourism, Horticulture, Electronics
At Berkner, a new academic science, technology, engineering and math initiative, T-STEM, also begins next fall. This curriculum is in conjunction with the Texas High School Project, a statewide effort to make schools within schools where students can become exposed more in-depth to a field that interests them.

Project Lead the Way is the CATE program that will be implemented as the pre-engineering and engineering component of T-STEM.

Dealing with math and engineering, The Infinity Project at Pearce is a joint program with Texas Instruments and Southern Methodist University. The year-long course is intended to spark students’ interest in pursuing careers in engineering and technology. It is math- and science-based, exposing students to various types of modern engineering through lectures and labs.

Also at Pearce, Geographic Information Systems courses introduce students to GIS and Remote Sensing Satellite technology through academic study and applied instruction. Students will be provided the same data, imagery, and software used at NASA. This program is for students interested in geography, criminal justice and technology.

In addition, the Magnet School programs at Richardson High School are already in place and continue to attract students.

Students who attend the specific high schools where the programs will be offered have the first chance to fill the classes. If there are additional openings, then students at other high schools may explore transferring. For more information, students should speak with their counselors. >Top
In dramatic fashion, the Berkner High School varsity girls bowling team has brought home the North Texas Regional Championship trophy. After becoming district champs for the second straight year, the girls took on eight other teams at the Regional Tournament on March 3. In a roller coaster competition, the girls went from third to fifth to first, and finished the day as regional champions. They will now advance to the state finals on Sunday, March 25, in Garland. Team members include, Chelsea Conkel, Kelly Grett, Lauren Jacobsen, Amber McGee, Bambi Pride, Lesli Shockley, Deedi Thomas and Morgan Thompson. >Top
On March 3, the Pearce High School select choir Forte’ participated in the American Classic Chamber Choir and Madrigal Festival in San Antonio. This competition attracts top choirs from all over Texas, and this year included 34 high school groups. Forte’ captured third place while participating in the festival for the first time.
Last month marked the 2nd Annual Mark Twain Fluoride Varnish Dental Program. The event attracted 225 participants. Each student was first screened by a dental student from the Baylor College of Dentistry and was then examined by a registered hygienist from the Dallas Dental Hygiene Society. The hygienists applied fluoride varnish, which helps prevent future cavities. As the students left the library, they had a quick visit with the Tooth Fairy who gave them each a toothbrush. Thanks to the dental students and hygienists for volunteering their time and talents. >Top
For their February session, the class met at the district’s 93-year old Administration Building to learn about the day’s topics of administration and governance.
Class members sat in on a session of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council – a weekly meeting where RISD’s most senior administrators stay apprised of what’s happening around the district.

They heard about a new junior high reading program being piloted next year, and a summary of the new Career and Technology Education programs being implemented at all four district high schools.
Afterwards, the class moved to the auditorium, to attend a special meeting of RISD’s elected Board of Trustees.

Board members explained how a typical meeting is conducted, and the requirements and traditions that are observed. Members heard a budget presentation from Assistant Superintendent Tony Harkleroad, and also listened as members of the community used the forum to share thoughts with the trustees.

The morning concluded with the Board voting unanimously to invite members of the class to the district’s 2007 Superintendent’s Convocation that traditionally kicks off the new school year. >Top
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