Carlton Center honors its Class of 2018 graduates

May 29, 2018—Graduation season will be in full swing May 31 through June 2 at the Berry Center, but it officially got underway with 10 graduates from the Dorothy Carlton Center leading the way May 25.

The Carlton Center offers specialized programs to serve students with disabilities. Several graduates completed a pre-vocational program, preparing them and gearing each toward independence and potential paid employment. The training can last one or multiple years with partnerships with community businesses.

A number of graduates already had jobs secured following graduation.

“It’s just a day of celebration for not only the students, but their parents and the educators who have worked with them,” said Rhonda Turns, the Carlton Center director.

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Jessica Ann Powers of Jersey Village High School raises her arms in celebration after she and nine other Carlton Center graduates were honored at a ceremony May 25 at the center. She was among eight graduates who were part of the Vocational Independence and Training for Adult Living program and also previously walked with their home campuses.

Jerome Clinton Bell of Langham Creek High School and Jassiel Garcia of Jersey Village High School each donned or carried their respective caps and gowns representing the Class of 2018.

The remaining eight graduates honored were part of the Vocational Independence and Training for Adult Living (VITAL) program and previously walked with their home campuses:

  • Carson Travis Berg, Cy-Fair High School;
  • Zachary Renard Dumas Jr., Cypress Springs High School;
  • Jacob Ryan Dunshie, Cypress Creek High School;
  • Keyana Marie Hayes, Jersey Village High School;
  • Ericka Rubi Hernandez, Cypress Lakes High School;
  • Jesse Hernandez, Cypress Springs High School;
  • Jessica Ann Powers, Jersey Village High School; and
  • Ashley Renee Wilkinson, Jersey Village High School.

“It was really good. I learned a lot,” Dunshie said. “I think people can benefit from the Carlton Center because it teaches them skills that they need in the future. These people are really nice and really good. They’re actually the best teachers I’ve ever had.”

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Jerome Clinton Bell of Langham Creek High School holds is diploma during the Carlton Center graduation May 25 at the center. Ten graduates were honored, as the center offers specialized programs to serve students with disabilities. Several graduates complete  pre-vocational training geared toward independence and potential paid employment.

Said Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools: “We see that our motto comes to life – that it’s ‘Opportunity for All.’ Every student, no matter what their challenges are, we have a spot for them in Cy-Fair ISD.”

Members of the Cypress Woods High School wind ensemble performed before the ceremony and also during the processional, while the Cypress Woods Air Force JROTC color guard presented the colors.

Dan McIlduff, assistant superintendent for educational support services, gave the graduation address, while a reception followed for the graduates and guests.

“Thank you to the district for supporting us and providing all the resources we need to help our young people,” Turns said.

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Science Resource Center offers support outside the classroom

Part of ever-evolving education, curriculum and instruction is learning and delivering new methods to students that may go beyond the four walls of a classroom and the pages of a textbook.

CFISD offers a number of opportunities just like this in many subject areas. When it comes to science, one such opportunity is the Charlotte Davis Burns Science Resource Center (SRC) located across the street from Arnold Middle School at 11206 Telge Road. Established to provide support to science teachers and students at all grade levels, the SRC offers demonstrations and training, as well as hands-on activities and field trip opportunities among other things.

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The Charlotte Davis Burns Science Resource Center provides support to CFISD science teachers and students at all grade levels, offering demonstrations and training, as well as hands-on activities and field trip opportunities.

The facility houses hundreds of animals, many which were donated. There’s also an adjacent “pocket prairie,” which is a part of the Prairie Builders Schools & Parks program designed to form a bridge between the classroom and prairie science, culture, economics and global environmental stewardship.

“I was a generalist – an elementary science teacher,” said Denise Martin, SRC curriculum specialist. “For me, it really helped me to bring good science into my classroom. We’re very fortunate that we’re able to offer this resource to the teachers in Cy-Fair.”

In addition to working with teachers, SRC staff work with volunteers and parents on demonstrations and training, deliveries, lab kit preparations and usage, gardening and field trips. The volunteers in turn, are able to bring real-life science into the classroom and assist teachers in their instruction.

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In addition to working with teachers, Science Resource Center staff work with volunteers and parents on demonstrations and training. Field Trips also put students together with real-life science, including “Animal Odyssey,” a two-hour trip for kindergarten where they visit teacher- and volunteer-run stations housing fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals.

“The demos are all parent-driven,” said David Wallace, SRC manager. “And they’re only done by parents at the different schools.”

Added Martin: “So it’s exciting to be able to teach a child’s parent to take snakes into their classroom and they become superheroes for the day. Once they come to one training, we’ve hooked them in.”

Among the field trips available are “Animal Odyssey,” a two-hour trip for kindergarten where they visit teacher- and volunteer-run stations housing fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals. “Gulf Mysteries” allows first-grade students to explore the Gulf of Mexico and both the plants and animals that live in the environment. Third-grade students can participate in “Simple Machines,” where groups work through activities with inclined planes, levers, pulleys and wheels and axles.

But the curriculum can evolve, with the SRC ready to assist teachers who communicate their needs. It may be transporting and showcasing animals in a classroom for a day, to scheduling and overseeing a field trip to the facility.

“We just try to help the teachers any way we can,” Wallace said. “They’re just so appreciative of whatever we can help them do. I mean, that’s the whole reason we’re here.”

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Adjacent to the Science Resource Center is a “pocket prairie,” which is a part of the Prairie Builders Schools & Parks program designed to form a bridge between the classroom and prairie science, culture, economics and global environmental stewardship.

CFISD recognizes numerous volunteers with VIPS Appreciation Event

Though many of the thousands of volunteers who help serve CFISD aren’t motivated by recognition, the district made sure to let all the extra supporters know how important they are.

CFISD does this annually with its Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) Appreciation Event, put on by the VIPS Executive Board. The 2018 ceremony was held May 2 at the Berry Center, with the event and reception underwritten by PBK and supported by many other sponsors.

0509 VIPS Appreciation 1CFISD Board members join Ault Elementary School students for a special cheer during the VIPS Appreciation Event at the Berry Center on May 2. 

An addition to collectively recognizing all district volunteers, the ceremony highlighted 11 individuals and supportive businesses and faith-based organizations with awards that included outstanding volunteer and mentor at elementary and secondary levels, Bus Buddies Award and community engagement awards for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

“All the volunteers, every single day throughout the school year, are coming in and serving but we don’t know (and) we’re not able to truly recognize them until this event,” said Kelli Ray, a VIPS Executive Board member leading community outreach.

Volunteers provide support at district, campus and organizational levels by serving as business partners, Adopt-a-School partners and mentors. They even include Board of Trustees members, who give up many hours of their personal time to help steer the third-largest school district in Texas and 22nd-biggest in the nation.

“You get to see the kids on an everyday basis (and) what they’re doing,” said Krista Guerrero, who serves as Post Elementary School’s PTO president. “When they see you, it puts a smile on their face and there’s nothing better.”

Added Klaudia Weston, a volunteer with the Langham Creek High School band: “You get to know all the kids, get to know all the parents and actually support the staff and administration.”

0509 VIPS Appreciation 4Heath Rushing, right, Memorial Hermann Cypress CEO, accepts a Community Engagement Award for the hospital from Becky Souther, CFISD Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) executive board member at the VIPS Appreciation Event on May 2.

The VIPS Appreciation Event filled the Berry Center arena, with administrators from individual campuses bringing signs and balloons to show their support for their volunteers.

Attendees were treated to numerous performances from students across CFISD. They ranged from the Cy-Fair High School Air Force JROTC presenting the colors and Sampson Elementary School first-grade student Coral Khieu performing Sonatina on the piano, to Spillane Middle School’s percussion ensemble performing a piece with dinnerware and Cypress Ranch High School senior Abigail Ayala singing I Dreamed a Dream.

The Board of Trustees joined Ault Elementary School cheerleaders for a combined performance to end the ceremony.

“The VIPS Appreciation Event is a wonderful opportunity each year to recognize our district volunteers and business partners,” said Leslie Francis, CFISD director of marketing and business relations. “We are so fortunate for the incredible support from our sponsors, who completely underwrite the event, as well as our extremely talented students and staff which provide the entertainment.”

AFJROTC offers students leadership, team-building opportunities

A number of programs, classes and organizations within Cypress-Fairbanks ISD offer students the ability to assume leadership roles, work together in a team setting and learn discipline and structure. One that represents more than 1,100 high school students at all four grade levels is Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).

Hosted on eight of CFISD’s 12 comprehensive high school campuses – students from non-hosting schools combine with other units – JROTC is a federally-sponsored program by the United State Armed Forces and dates its origin to the National Defense Act of 1916. At its core, the program is designed to help develop students learn and understand good citizenship, leadership, respect, community service, the importance of physical fitness and self-reliance.

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Cy-Fair High School Air Force Junior ROTC students participate in the Military Drill Competition on Feb. 3 at the Berry Center. 

There is no military obligation and the program isn’t designed to steer participants toward military service, though the influence includes curriculum (aerospace science and leadership in CFISD) taught by retired military personnel and cadets required to wear a uniform. The focus is instead on building those soft skills to help students thrive in any career path they choose.

“The students run the program,” said Dr. Sharon Hogue, CFISD AFJROTC and career and technical education coordinator. “It’s a cadet-run program, and so the instructors build up the cadets and the cadets take charge.”

Within each JROTC unit are a number of activities and teams in which a cadet can participate, including the drill team and color guard. Units participate in competitions, team-building activities and community service. Earning a letterman jacket is also possible in JROTC.

“I really love ROTC because of everything it has to offer after school,” said Sayra Rodriguez, a Jersey Village High School senior and the school’s AFJROTC corps commander. “There are so many teams that you can join and it actually gave me my first leadership position.”

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Cypress Falls High School AFJROTC cadets lead the “Pass in Review” at Pridgeon Stadium on April 21. 

CFISD and its AFJROTC units hosted a Military Drill Competition on Feb. 3 at the Berry Center, in which 25 units from across CFISD and the Houston area participated. Langham Creek High School placed third overall, as cadets competed in events that included academic presentations and testing, inspections, exhibition drill and physical training. Units were evaluated by military training instructors from Lackland Air Force’s 737th Training Group, University of Houston ROTC cadets and Texas A&M University cadets.

The district also hosted its 16th Annual AFJROTC Pass in Review, which was held April 21 at Pridgeon Stadium. A military tradition designed to display the readiness of troops and their units to a newly assigned commander, the Pass in Review showcased the cadets’ discipline and uniformity to a crowd that included family, friends, Board of Trustees members and campus and district administrators.

Cypress Falls High School AFJROTC Unit TX-20003 served as the host school and senior Josephine Ngo served as the commander of troops.

“This event is steeped in military tradition dating back to the American Revolution at Valley Forge,” Hogue said. “These cadets carry on the proud tradition of excellence with their precision maneuvers, as evidence of the hard work, discipline and dedication of the instructors and cadets.”

Though a four-year program, JROTC has the ability to help students build long-lasting relationships beyond high school.

“We are a big family, so all the connections with people are really strong,” said Fatima Medina, a Cy-Fair High School junior and cadet captain. “You find friendships and connections and bonds that can’t be broken. It’s really a special thing.”

Technology Festival offers showcase for student projects

When speaking about the 2018 CFISD Student Technology Festival, R3: Rethink, Recreate, Redefine, Becky Cook, director of instructional technology, beams with pride when discussing two main points about the event and its nine-year history.

First is the fact that the projects, demonstrations and showcase items displayed by nearly 1,000 CFISD students April 12 at the Berry Center were the same projects, demonstrations and showcase items they work on in the classroom.

“These aren’t extra projects,” Cook said. “These are things that happen every day in our classrooms. What we love is being able to allow our kids to come here and have parents, community members and whoever see all the work that they’ve done.”

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Second is the growth experience in less than a decade. The festival started with 200 students at Cypress Ridge High School’s cafeteria and a minimal crowd.

More than 4,100 total guests visited the ninth edition, seeing displays that not only canvassed the entire arena, but the atrium and conference center as well.

“Every year, I have people that come up to me and say, ‘I had no idea,’” Cook said. “They’ll walk through the arena, come out and say, ‘I didn’t know we did automotive, I didn’t know we did Cisco Networking or health sciences.’

“And for others who have been around for nine years, they’re not shocked. They’ve seen this over and over again, and they’ve seen the growth.”

The event is a districtwide celebration of student technology projects and curriculum offerings with students in grades pre-K through 12 showcasing the use of technology in the classroom. Students demonstrated devices, software and programs to help solve problems, simulated collaboration inside and outside the classroom and modeled products they created using technology.

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As technology evolves, so does the festival and its projects.

The 2018 event featured an exhibit making its debut, with Tipps Elementary School pre-K students showcasing Bee Bots, a bumblebee-looking robot that maneuvers around an activity mat after it’s programed through coding by the students. The students, many only 4 years old, program the bot to move across the mat, learning shapes, letters and numbers in addition to coding, team-building, language and social skills.

“It’s amazing and everybody is into this,” said Yasmin Ahmad, a Tipps pre-K teacher. “They’ve never done this coding system before and never done this technology in pre-K. We have other technology in our classrooms as well, but this technology is more hands-on. They are directing the Bee Bot themselves and coding the Bee Bot themselves.”

And like many other events and showcases throughout the school year, the Technology Festival is just another example of CFISD offering opportunities for every student.

“From 4 years old all the way to seniors, there is something that will pique somebody’s interests,” Cook said. “It’s all about exposing our students to everything so that they have lots of choices when they decide a path.”

Bus Road-e-o showcases CFISD drivers in family-friendly event

For many in the CFISD community, their view of the district’s transportation department are the school buses transporting students to and from campuses and extracurricular activities.

The department, which transports more students to schools than any other district in the state, is more than that. And the School Bus Safety Road-e-o, held this year on April 7 at the Eldridge Transportation Center, is one way for the community to get that first-hand view.

The Road-e-o is a competition among participating drivers and attendants in two separate divisions (regular and special needs). The competition includes 12 events encompassing different aspects of driving and a written exam.

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In total, 42 bus drivers participated in the competition in addition to five special needs teams. This year’s event also drew participants from Conroe and Alvin ISDs.

But the day is also an open house for the hosting transportation center. Music, games and food were available to visitors, family and guests who attended to watch the competition or get a peek at how the transportation center operates.

Staff from the community programs department served as DJs and game organizers. Students and student groups volunteered, while the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department showcased a fire engine as well.

“There are so many facets that are involved with our transportation department that the community really doesn’t get to see,” said Bill Powell, CFISD director of transportation. “So, this is that opportunity for them to get to see behind the scenes of what we’re all about.”

The events included parallel parking, offset alley and diminishing clearance and straight line – a challenging event where the bus must be aligned to allow front and rear dual wheels to travel between a row of tennis balls without disturbing them.

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The top four finishers advanced to the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation (TAPT) School Bus Safety Road-e-o on April 21, where CFISD participants also excelled. Helen Nixon of the Eldridge Center got first place in the regular competition after taking second at the district level. Jessica Otwell of the Westgreen Transportation Center claimed second at regionals after she won her second consecutive district title.

Pam Bokemyer and Linda Hair (Eldridge) placed third in the special needs competition.

They all advanced to the statewide competition, which will be held during the 45th annual Texas Association for Pupil Transportation Conference and Trade Show on June 22 in Corpus Christi. Top competitors will then have a chance to advance to the national level.

With the day being filled with friendly competition and fun activities, the CFISD School Bus Safety Road-e-o not only gives community a chance to see the inside of the transportation department but also showcases the talented and skilled drivers within the district.

“The Road-e-o’s an awesome event where our drivers and attendants are able to come in and showcase their skills,” Powell said. “They hone their skills practicing throughout the year and it’s just a great time for the community to come together.”

TAP Camp blends teamwork, ambition and perseverance for students

The week of spring break was an opportunity for some to get time away, but for others, it offered the chance for many CFISD students to come together for a fun, motivational and educational experience. It came together for approximately 100 students at the annual TAP (Teamwork – Ambition – Perseverance) Camp, held March 13-15 at Anthony Middle School.

Funded by the Texas Support for Homeless Education Program (TEXSHEP) grant, TAP Camp is a multi-department, collaborative effort in its seventh year that offers a fun and learning environment, while at the same time helping students pick up tips to help with STAAR and end-of-course exams.

“The goal for TAP Camp is to bring these select students together, give them fun-filled academic support over spring break in preparation for the upcoming STAAR test and EOC,” said Ify Ogwumike, assistant superintendent for student services. “And we have wonderful, wonderful math teachers, we have community programs (and) they work together to provide these students with some educational experiences and some strategies that they can then take back to their campuses.”

Added Bambi Robinson, community programs support staff member: “I love the fact that when they come, they’re a little down in the dumps because it’s spring break. Everybody wants to have fun and they have to go to ‘math camp.’ But after the first hour of TAP Camp, they are so excited and ready to come back the next day.”

Helping this year’s camp be even more of a success was more one-on-one instructional support from staff and volunteers.

Students were transported by bus to Anthony, beginning their day on campus with breakfast and a pep rally in the arena. Daily agendas included team-building activities, objectives for both large and small groups, and math instruction from CFISD teachers. Following a lunch provided by the nutrition services department, participating students went back into rotation activities before everyone came together for a session and prize giveaways in the cafeteria.

“It’s fun mixed with learning,” said Joshua Phong, a camp attendee and Cook Middle School sixth-grade student. “They show you so many things I didn’t realize.”

Every attending student had the opportunity to not only have fun and learning math and team-building skills, but also return home with a prize.

The camp even involved parents, as a workshop was offered. Melanie Dobney, assistant director of community programs presented to nearly 40 parents, offering mentoring opportunities and leading giveaways of free books provided by First Book and a number of prizes as well.

TAP Camp ends with a grand finale, as students perform skits to help celebrate. Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools, visited attendees and helped provide support.

“They get their math,” Robinson said. “But they also get leadership skills (and) tools to help them succeed not just in school but in life. And I get the opportunity to see the kids at their schools throughout the semester and watch some of the seeds that we plant grow.”

TSA regional competition helps students bring CTE curriculum to life

To Steve Britt, a teacher at Cypress Woods High School, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum offered in CFISD and its partnering extracurricular activities is more than just teaching and learning inside a classroom.

It’s his genuine interests and likes.

“I have the best job on the planet,” said Britt, whose course load includes Robotics I and II, Principles of Manufacturing and Precision Metals Manufacturing, while he also serves as Cypress Woods’ sponsor for High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware program and on the Texas Technology Student Association (TSA) board of directors.

“I get to do my hobbies and take kids out and teach them how to make them their hobbies too.”

DSC_9119Cy-Fair High School students compete in VEX Robotics at the Brazos Valley TSA regional competition on March 8 at the CFISD Exhibit Center.

One event that helps CFISD offer this outlet to secondary students is the Brazos Valley TSA Regional Leadership Conference and Competition, which the district hosted March 8 at the CFISD Exhibit center. It was attended by 12 CFISD high schools and middle school, in addition to students from five visiting campuses.

Students enrolled in CTE courses showcased projects they designed and built, while the event also included a number of competitions including VEX Robotics, Rocket Launch and Carbon Dioxide Cars.

“Some of these kids do have experience coming from the home, whether their parents taught them,” said Mark Williams, CTE curriculum coordinator. “But, a lot of them, this is the first time they’ve ever picked up a handtool – a drill, a hammer – so they’re learning from my teachers.”

Regional competitions across Texas are held throughout February and March. Winners and qualifiers from the 16 regions advance to the TSA state competition, which will be April 15-17 in Fort Worth.

Cypress Woods has the largest TSA chapter in Texas, with students preparing and looking forward to competition from the beginning the school year, Britt said.

DSC_9132Cypress Woods HS CTE students prepare for the Rocket Launch competition at the BVTSA regional on March 8 at the CFISD Exhibit Center.

“It’s definitely helped me think in different ways, trying to figure out problems,” said Cypress Woods senior Ryan Johnson, the school’s TSA chapter president.

But even more so, Britt said regional competitions allow students to take the learning their doing in core classes and applying those lessons in real-life applications. The curriculum and competitions help prepare students for opportunities either entering those industries or higher education.

“I discovered a long time ago – don’t tell a kid that he can’t (because) he will,” Britt said. “I know that sounds cliché in a way but you encourage the kids in just a little bit, point them in the right direction, give them a little gentle shove and step out of the way, they will do astounding and amazing things.”

Cosmetology offers opportunities for high school students

CFISD’s career and technical education curriculum options are just another way the district offers traditional and non-traditional opportunities for every student. That includes a program like cosmetology, where classes not only educate students on a possible career in the field, but open doors to it upon graduation.

More than 1,200 students are enrolled in cosmetology across CFISD’s 12 comprehensive high schools. With some programs still growing at newer schools, the demand and enrollment is so large at others that some campuses require two teachers to meet the need.

CFISD even established, coordinated and operated its first-ever districtwide cosmetology competition, holding the contest Feb. 10 at Langham Creek High School.

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Langham Creek High School sophomore Anayah Dunbar stands beside her braiding project that won Best in Category at the inaugural CFISD Cosmetology Competition on Feb. 10 at Langham Creek.

“It’s growing and the interest in cosmetology just seems to keep increasing,” said Dr. Sharon Hogue, coordinator for career and technical education.

Freshmen, sophomores and juniors can take Introduction to Cosmetology and Cosmetology I, where they explore areas such as hair styling, manicuring, sterilization and sanitation, the principles of hair cutting, coloring, facial makeup, requirements and expectations, and career opportunities.

Upon completion, juniors and seniors can take Cosmetology II and Principles of Cosmetology Design and Color Theory. The curriculum combines to allow a student to earn the 1,000 clock hours of supervised classroom instruction and demonstration needed to meet the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requirement. A student is also qualified to take the state board test and earn a Texas Cosmetology Operator License following the advanced training upon passing the exam.

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Cypress Ranch High School senior Arianna Foster won Best of Show in fantasy braiding at the SkillsUSA Texas District 8 Leadership Conference and qualified for state competition.

That not only gives each student the opportunity to move right into the workforce following graduation, but does so at a fraction of the cost. The only fees associated with the curriculum are the cost of a $25 permit, the student’s kit and his or her test fee.

“People are blown away to know that instead of spending $27,000 someplace else, they can get it essentially free – or close to free – and come out ready to work as soon as they exit high school,” Hogue said.

CFISD added the cosmetology competition to give students a more cost-effective opportunity to showcase their work and compete. Almost all schools were represented among the 85 projects that were entered.

The event also served as a precursor to regional and statewide competitions held through SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization which serves nearly 400,000 students and professional members enrolled in training programs in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. The state competition is April 5-8 in Corpus Christi.

Plans are in place for the districtwide competition to grow, just as cosmetology continues to in CFISD.

“Teachers here are trained (and) they’re competing with any school that’s out there,” said Lynette Mosby, a Langham Creek cosmetology instructor. “So, if your student is thinking about doing something like this, Cy-Fair is an awesome place for them to get started.”

Record-breaking Superintendent’s Fun Run continues to grow

Growing from a simple idea to bring CFISD employees together and raise money for the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation (CFEF), the Superintendent’s Fun Run and Festival has grown into a community event that even Dr. Mark Henry, CFISD superintendent of schools, couldn’t imagine.

Now in its fifth year, the Fun Run and Festival has exceeded most – if not all – expectations. In addition to the 5K and 1-mile races, event organizers and support staff have been able to lean on numerous school, community and business partners, who have reciprocated through participation, sponsorships and support, helping turn races into a carnival-like atmosphere featuring on-site vendor booths, food trucks, bounce houses and student performance groups.

And the fifth edition, held March 24 at the Berry Center, was historic – representatives from CFISD and Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, the event’s underwriter, presented the CFEF with a check worth $100,000, a total nearly doubling any of the Fun Run and Festival predecessors.

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“That was my goal five years ago,” Dr. Henry said. “To eventually get to $100,000, but I thought it would take longer than this. But I will say that number is significant because that endows a scholarship for a student – $100,000 is a very, very nice scholarship for a student and that goes on into perpetuity. It never ends because we just take the interest and investment earnings off of that $100,000 and create a new scholarship every year so I’m really excited about that.”

The Fun Run and Festival featured a 5K and a 1-mile run that took place in and around the Berry Center and Lone Star College–CyFair. An added addition this year was the sleep-in pass, giving those who couldn’t attend an opportunity to still contribute.

Helping start the 5K was Arnstar from GoNoodle’s Blazer Fresh, who led race participants in stretching exercises before Dr. Henry signaled the official start. Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, the event’s underwriter, sponsored GoNoodle Plus for CFISD K-6 teachers, students and parents for the 2017-2018 school year. A classroom movement program aimed to fuel learning through the power of movement, GoNoodle is used in 80 percent of U.S. elementary schools.

“The energy, the electricity – it was impactful,” Arnstar said. “And just to know that Blazer Fresh is making a difference in the way it is, I’m super grateful.”

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In all, 60 sponsors helped make 2018’s Fun Run and Festival the biggest to date. That included Memorial Hermann Cypress, which has firmly entrenched itself as an ally of CFISD in just its first year. Hospital representatives were among the 80 vendor booths that helped give the event a carnival-like feel.

“Cy-Fair ISD knows how to do it right and knows how to put on an event,” said Heath Rushing, Memorial Hermann Cypress and Katy senior vice president and CEO. “We’re just proud to be a part of it.”

And while the Fun Run and Festival supports CFISD students through helping fund CFEF scholarships and other opportunities, the event also prominently featured hundreds of students of all ages.

More than 1,400 registered for the two races. More than 500 participated as volunteers. The 17 performances featured groups from a number of schools, including the Jersey Village High School cheerleaders, Andre’ Elementary School Leopard Steppers, Rennell Elementary School Redhawk Dance team, Cypress Ridge High School Dazzlers, Anthony Middle School Glee Club and Cypress Lakes High School R.E.D. Storm.

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“One of the things I take great pride in is the adults that work and live in this district have great relationships with the students that go to school in this district,” Dr. Henry said. “That’s a culmination of great parenting, great school system and instilling in students the idea of giving back for the things they have so much to be thankful for. I just really appreciate all the parents, the teachers and the employees, and of course our students for making this a success.”