School Times Now!
Graduation 2010
PTA Luncheon Honors
Scholarship Recipients
Immunization Requirements
for 2010-2011 School Year
Council of PTAs Inducts Its
First Male President
BHS Students Reach
For the Stars, Literally
Pearce Senior Leads
Bukhair Reading Program
Bowie 3rd Graders
Hold Stately Parade
Thurgood Marshall Learns
About Fire Safety
Forest Meadow Student
Selected as Laureate Escort
Forestridge Celebrates
Marathon Kids
Council of PTAs Provides 21
Car Seats to RISD Families
Brentfield DI Team Places
8th at DI Global Finals
Top 10 Luncheon
Summer Camp Opportunities
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Graduation 2010

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All four RISD high schools held graduation ceremonies Sunday and Monday at the Special Events Center, sending approximately 2,000 graduates across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Students in this year’s graduating classes received more than $25 million in scholarships.

Graduates will be attending universities across the United States in the fall, including Harvard, Boston College, Tulane, West Point, Yale, Berkley, Rice, Air Force Academy, and, of course, all of the major universities in Texas.

“These graduates have achieved amazing accomplishments,” said RISD Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner. “With a myriad of interests and talents, they will represent RISD in industries and areas across a wide spectrum. We wish them great success with their future endeavors.” >Top
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The RISD Council of PTAs recently hosted their annual Scholarship Luncheon at Northwood Country Club. Sixteen scholarships, totaling $26,000, were distributed to twelve graduating seniors and four teachers from across RISD.

The major source of funding for the scholarships is the RISD Council of PTAs' Used Book Fair, held annually in February. Scholarships are given in honor of the late Dr. J.J. Pearce, superintendent of RISD from 1946 until his retirement in 1977.

Scholarship recipients include:
Berkner HS – Lee Chance, Parminder Deo
Pearce HS – Zebulon Loewenstein, Katharine Smelko, Farwa Lalee, Thong Luong, Brenda Luna
Lake Highlands HS – Catherine French, Michael Svedeman
Richardson HS – Logan Meyer, David Seitz, Jose Manuel Lopez
Teacher Scholarships – Heather Benedetto, Christopher Cole, Annmarie Demattia, Emily May >Top
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Immunization Requirements for 2010-2011 School Year
The Texas Department of State Health Services revised the immunization requirements for enrollment for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. These changes affect incoming Kindergarten, 1st, 7th, and 8th grade students. Parents are encouraged to get their child’s immunizations updated as soon as possible and not wait until school begins. Immunization clinics can be extremely busy at the start of a school year, and waiting until then can delay a child’s enrollment in school. Immunization requirements for other grades remain unchanged from 09-10 requirements. Visit the state immunization website at for a listing of required immunizations for students of all grade levels. >Top
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Just on the heels of the national PTA organization installing its first-ever male president, Chuck Saylors, in June 2009, RISD Council of PTAs installed its first-ever male president, Tony Reynolds, in late May. (Pictured with Texas PTA President, Sharon Goldblatt.)

Reynolds is not new to PTA. His history of service to RISD and local schools includes a myriad of positions on district committees, local school PTAs, Council of PTAs and more. Additionally, he has been highly involved in Boy Scouts of America for 14 years.

“I don’t think I’m very different from the women who have preceded me,” said Reynolds. “I have worked through the different roles in PTA, both on Council and in local units, each building on my understanding of what being a PTA member means, and what can be accomplished through that membership. Being the first male RISD Council of PTAs president is just coincidental.”
Reynolds goal, he said, “is to reach more children and more families, and to affect them in a way that makes a positive change in their lives and in our schools.”

RISD Council of PTAs is made up of representatives from RISD school PTAs, including PTA presidents and council delegates. Activities include the Used Book Fair, proceeds funding student and teacher scholarships; the Car Seat Safety Program; Reflections, a national art contest; Clothes Closet, a resource for RISD families in need; and Council Play, a theater performance attended by RISD 1st and 2nd graders. >Top
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Students in Kevin Cieszkowski’s Scientific Research and Design class at Berkner’s STEM Academy decided, after reading an article on photographing the curve of the earth with a weather balloon, to try it themselves.

“Students did all the necessary research into what was required to launch and retrieve the balloon," shared Cieszkowski. "They purchased the materials and designed the apparatus.” The project took place over the last three months of school, with the launch taking place from the Berkner football field in late May.

The apparatus was built with a camera, a GPS-enabled disposable cell phone, and a styrofoam container. “A hole was cut in the styrofoam to allow the camera to record as it ascended and descended,” explained Cieszkowski. The picture shown was taken from 50,000 feet, about an hour and a half into the flight. Cieszkowski estimates that the balloon ascended to as high as 60,000 feet before its descent.
After more than two hours, the weather balloon touched down in the Murphy/Parker area, where the students were able to retrieve it.

“My students really felt a sense of accomplishment at the completion of this project,” said Cieszkowski. “The ability to see the curve of the earth and enter ‘near space’ is something that is normally left to the likes of NASA and other large organizations at a cost in the thousands of dollars. To accomplish this for under $400 was truly incredible.”

Cieszkowski added, “Many of the students in this class originally felt that science was too hard. This class, and this project in particular, showed them that science is something applicable and attainable by everyone. As teachers, we challenge our students to reach for the stars. These students did just that, literally!” >Top
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As an avid reader, Pearce Senior Katie Smelko decided to engage Bukhair Elementary students in one of her favorite hobbies. The project began as Katie’s Gold Award, her final project for Girl Scouts. She held a garage sale, raised $1,000, and then funded and led a reading program for 1st and 2nd grade students through Bukhair’s PACE after school program.

Katie’s involvement in reading at Bukhair, though, didn’t stop there. Working with Cheryl Plemons, Bukhair librarian, Katie recently selected a book from the RISD Junior High Summer Reading List, “Esperanza Rising,” and purchased a copy for every 6th grader at Bukhair.

“Every student going into junior high in RISD has to read at least one book from the Summer Reading List,” shared Plemons. “Because of Katie’s community service efforts, she was able to provide each of our 6th graders with a book from the list."
Last week Katie went back to Bukhair to book-talk her selection with the 6th graders. “’Esperanza Rising’ is an amazing book about a young girl who grows up in a wealthy family in Mexico. When the girl’s father dies, though, she and her mom can’t keep their family farm, so they have to move to California,” shared Katie. “The story tells of her experiences in going from being wealthy to having nothing. I think you’re really going to like it!”

“I first met Katie 12 years ago when I started teaching at Prairie Creek," said Plemons. "I quickly learned of her love of reading. In fact, in 2nd grade, she read a Harry Potter book in just three days!” “Katie is an amazing person.” >Top
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Trying to decide where to go on summer vacation? You might ask 3rd graders from Bowie Elementary.

Recently, these students held a Stately Parade and Stately Feast as a culmination of their state research projects. “The parade was fun! My state was Alaska, so I put some pine trees, a husky, a moose, a polar bear, and a dragon fly on my float,” said 3rd Grader Hayden Cox.

“I liked making the food for the Stately Feast the best,” said Madeleine Sullivan. “My state was Tennessee and I made bread pudding. It tasted really good.”
In addition to making floats and food, students also created commercials about their states, trying to persuade their audience to visit their state over summer vacation. Isabella Tatum researched North Carolina. She said, “People should visit North Carolina this summer because they have fun music festivals.”

In the end, students found out that there are many things that make each of our 50 states interesting and unique. >Top
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Second graders at Thurgood Marshall Elementary recently had a special visit from Dallas Fire Rescue Station 57. Firefighters, who brought a fire truck, a fire engine and an ambulance with them, taught the students about fire safety.

As a bonus, students received a tour the fire truck, watched the ladder raise more than 10 stories high, and learned how the different fire hoses work. Tabrasha Black, a 2nd grader, said, “I liked watching the man climb up the ladder.” Alejandro Galvan, another 2nd grader, liked getting to climb on the fire truck.

“The students really enjoyed the visit! They were very engaged as the fire fighters explained the equipment,” said Amasha Brown, 2nd grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall. >Top
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Cole Rauscher, 8th grader at Forest Meadow Junior High, was selected to be a Laureate Escort at the 12th Annual Junior Achievement Dallas Business Hall of Fame. He presented the honored Laureate, Elaine Agather, Chairman and CEO of Chase Bank - Dallas.

Cole was initially selected by his Business & Career Education instructor at Forest Meadow, Bobbie Lynn Weir, to interview with Junior Achievement for this honor.

Cole introduced Elaine Agather as “a banker, but not just any ordinary banker. She doesn’t just stay somewhere in a quiet office. She’s involved with just about everything in Dallas’ new arts district . . . ”
“It was my first time to speak to a group that large and be able to talk with business leaders one on one. And, Mrs. Agather was so nice,” said Cole. “It was a great experience - one I’ll be able to build upon for future endeavors.” >Top
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Forestridge Elementary hosted a Marathon Kids assembly for students who had completed the Marathon Kids program of running/walking 26.2 miles in 6 months. These students received a t-shirt, donated by Whole Foods and Run On, and certificates from PE teachers Ashley Castino and Terry Taylor.

As part of the assembly, Jennifer Kimble, Run On’s distance coach and a runner herself, taught the students about proper running technique and tips for being a good runner. She also explained how to fuel their bodies with the right types of food to be able to run.

Student who participated were motivated to "go the distance" with exercise and healthy eating. >Top
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The RISD Council of PTAs held its Annual Car Seat Safety Program for RISD parents, with Senior Corporal Debra Lang of the Dallas Police Department presenting information on care seat safety.

Parents attending the presentation received car seats and safety instructions for care and installation.

"In addition to keeping children safe, this ongoing program has saved the lives of two children," said Kay Reynolds, principal at Dobie Primary.

Pictured: Debbie Cotton, early childhood specialist in the RISD Family Literacy Center; Sr. Cpl. Debra Lang, Dallas Police Department; Alice Cromwell, Council of PTAs Health & Safety chair; and Kay Reynolds, principal at Dobie Primary. >Top
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Brentfield DI Team Places 8th at DI Global Finals
In a week filled with problem solving and friendship building, Brentfield Elementary's Destination ImagiNation team, “Fantastic Four + 3,” competed at DI Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee, finishing 8th out of 76 teams in their challenge – “You're Gonna Flip!” They advanced to this level after wins at the regional and state competitions.

The event started with Opening Ceremonies, including an Olympic-style parade of nations/states. After Opening Ceremonies, the students met their buddy team from Korea. The Brentfield students presented their Korean friends with Dallas Cowboy tote bags.

As part of the competition, the team completed two challenges - an Instant Challenge and their Central Challenge, which they started working on in October. Their challenge solution included a skit about Pablo Picasso and a creative puppet - "Double P."
Team members are (pictured-front row) Joel Herman, Sydney Engels, Nicole Webster, Haley Mearns (pictured-back row) Paige Wills, Charlie Weitz, "Double P", Lindsay Harmon.

Congratulations to these outstanding students! >Top
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District hold event honoring top 10, Seniors, teachers
RISD held its annual Top 10 Luncheon last month, an event that celebrates the top ten academic finishers from each of RISD’s four graduating classes. Each of the 40 students brought with them their parents and single most influential teacher from their time in RISD.

Each student received a watch, courtesy of Fossil. Event sponsors included Pogue Construction, SHW Architects, and PBK Architects.

Thanks to the sponsors and volunteers for making this an exceptional event.

RISD’s Top 10 graduates and their most influential teachers include:
  <empty> Berkner High School
Ameesh Goyal - Jakobus Wolf (teacher)
David Truong - Donna Rosen (teacher)
Truc Huynh - Robyn Bray (teacher)
Tracey Tran - Mark Davenport (teacher)
Alyssa Anderson - Mitra Ernst (teacher)
Andrea Abeln - Lisa Grinsfelder (teacher)
Daniel Lee - Robert Davis (teacher)
David Liou - Dean Webb (teacher)
Zuri Giang - Jenna Gates (teacher)
Esther Lee - Joni Walther (teacher)
Pearce High School
Karen Chen - Matthew Fields (teacher)
Jennifer Thompson - Jeffrey Roberton (teacher)
Nicole Aaron - Dr. Bob Nelson (teacher)
Kathryn Kimmell - Barbara Flickinger (teacher)
Jenna Beron - Jordan Cappetta (teacher)
Ian Heimbuch - Marilyn Rice (teacher)
Caleb Lewis - Steven Anthony (teacher)
Clinton Donelson - Rebecca Keeton (teacher)
Zebulon Loewenstein - Dale Ann Martell (teacher)
MacKenzie Staples - Mark Means (teacher)
  <empty> Lake Highlands High School
Nathan Hogg - Theodore Walker (teacher)
Ricky Zorn - Lonnie Jordan (teacher)
Garrett Wingfield - Chris Evetts (teacher)
Shea Snider - Janelle Lindley (teacher)
John Woodiel - Ken Taylor (teacher)
Matthew Keath - Hugh Atkinson (teacher)
Michelle McCloskey - Kathryn Laster (teacher)
Havilland Voss - Terry Berrier (teacher)
Robert Liebendorfer - Tracey Bishkin (teacher)
Abraham Myers - Molly Dixon (teacher)
Richardson High School
Andrew Fuerst - Pat Hofeditz (teacher)
Jason Wardy - Regina Moss (teacher)
Nathan Seymour - John Wing (teacher)
Michelle Grzybowski - Ann Yeargan (teacher)
Andrew Simon - Heather Guzman (teacher)
Kaleab Tessema - Amy Hammer (teacher)
Fabliha Anbar - Cameron Yarborough (teacher)
Logan Meyer - Chad Gilliland (teacher)
Kelly Nzali - Becky Saba (teacher)
Dylan Luper - Brent Morton (teacher) >Top
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Summer is here and many parents are looking for fun and engaging activities for their children. RISD Communications has compiled a list of summer camps and program opportunities for students. From athletics to arts, technology to theater, there are a variety of wonderful opportunities available.

Click here to find out more. >Top
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