Category: Education

Graduation Traditions Continue at HP

The class of 2014 toss their caps at Moody Coliseum at last year's commencement ceremony. Be sure to check next issue and for graduation coverage. (Photo: Don Johnson) 0
The class of 2014 toss their caps at Moody Coliseum at last year's commencement ceremony. Be sure to check next issue and for graduation coverage. (Photo: Don Johnson)

It’s that time of year again to turn tassels, toss caps, and lose yourself in a sea of gold and blue (oh, and did we mention the bagpipes?). Highland Park High School returned to its usual Moody Coliseum venue last year, following renovations and rerouting to Allen Event Center in 2013. We’ve got the rundown of graduation events and details so you can properly celebrate the graduates — all 535 of them.

May 28

  • Honors Day Breakfast — HPHS seniors, HP Cafeteria, 9:15 a.m.
  • Honors Day Assembly — HPHS seniors and parents (limited seating), Palmer Auditorium, 10 a.m.

May 29

  • Graduation — SMU’s Moody Coliseum, 7 p.m.

Chemistry Drives HPHS Science Team

The HPHS science team is coached by chemistry teacher Wenzen Chuang (left).

The HPHS science team is coached by chemistry teacher Wenzen Chuang (left).

Four members of the Highland Park High School science team will compete at the UIL state academic meet this week in Austin.

The team — which includes Robert Luo, Khai-Leif Nguyen-Hille, David Wiegn, and Jiamin Zhou — won first place in its Region II meet last month in Waco. Zhou took home an individual gold medal after earning the top score in biology. Nguyen-Hille was the runner-up.

Wiegn also was an individual gold medalist at regionals in current issues, and advanced to the state meet in social studies. The current-issues team finished second at regionals.

Boone Gets Another Term As SMU Chair

Mike Boone

Mike Boone

Park Cities resident and longtime civic leader Mike Boone has been re-elected chairman of the board of trustees at SMU.

Boone is co-founder of the law firm of Haynes and Boone and has been a trustee on the 42-member board since 1996. He also serves as vice chair of the Dedman Law School executive board and as a co-chair of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which is trying to raise $1 billion.

“Mike Boone’s leadership has been crucial as SMU marks the final year of its centennial celebration and capital campaign,” said SMU president R. Gerald Turner. “His able guidance has set a strong course as we prepare for our second century of achievement.”

Robert Dedman of Bluffview was re-elected as vice chair of the board, and Highland Park’s David Miller will continue his role as board secretary.

HP Senior Honored With Spotlight Award

Brandt Gros (right) with his Spotlight Award. (Photo: HPISD)

Brandt Gros (right) with his Spotlight Award. (Photo: HPISD)

Highland Park HS senior Brandt Gros was honored with the Spotlight Award at Tuesday’s HPISD board meeting, with many of his baseball teammates and coaches there to witness it.

The Spotlight Award goes out to a community member who has gone “above and beyond to support the special education population in HPISD.” It is given out by the Special Education Parents Advisory Committee of HPISD, or SEPAC.

Not only were notes read aloud that parents and community members had written about Gros, but a video was shown with encouraging words from members of the special-needs community.

“Brandt Gros is our answer to a very long time prayed prayer — that Jack will have a true friend. The one thing that shines above everything else is how Brandt sees the real Jack, not the kid in the wheelchair who can’t speak, but the Jack who has a heart of gold and just wants a true friend,” Jack’s mother Christina Murzin wrote. “He doesn’t think that he is doing anything out of the ordinary, yet anyone who knows him knows just how extraordinary a person he truly is.”

If that doesn’t warm your heart, we don’t know what will.

Three HP English Teachers Resign


Earlier at this week’s Highland Park ISD board meeting, the board reviewed the usual, end-of-year list of retirements, resignations, and terminations. On the list of resignations were three HPHS English teachers, who will leave the district effective June 2.

Of course, no further information was disclosed in the meeting packet (such as, say, motive for resignation), but one can’t help but recall all the “books drama” from this year — a.k.a. the nearly year-long temporary review, suspension, and reinstatement of various books that ended in an overhaul of EFA (LOCAL) policy.

“We are losing young, energetic teachers and older, seasoned ones,” resident Sabrina Schiller said during non-agenda comments. She and many parents from HP Kids Read voiced similar sentiments, as well as a few students.

No further action is scheduled at this time regarding literature selection policy.

PC YMCA Track Meet Goes On Despite Rain

First-graders react to rain before their 50m race. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua) 1
First-graders react to rain before their 50m race. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua)

First through sixth-graders competed in the annual Park Cities YMCA Track and Field Meet at Westcott Field at SMU on May 8 and 9.  Click “Read More” to see more photos. Records set were:

Sixth-Grade Girls:

  • Mile: Emily-Jane Cox, 5 minutes, 35.57 seconds, Providence Christian School
  • High jump: Ella Patterson, 5 feet, University Park/Armstrong team
  • 4×100 relay: UP/Armstrong team, 55.44 seconds

Sixth-Grade Boys:

  • Mile: Luke Rakowitz, 5:31.85, Cistercian

Fourth-Grade Boys:

  • 400: Beau Lilly, 1:05.36, Armstrong

HPISD Votes to Purchase Land From Church


rsz_hpisd_elem_siteHighland Park ISD trustees voted last night to purchase 4.6 acres of land from Northway Christian Church to build a fifth elementary school. This will be the first new elementary school in the district since 1949. Of course, the $20 million purchase is contingent on a successful bond package.

The area covers roughly one-third of the church’s property on the eastern side. Right now, there’s a baseball field and other recreational spaces on the site.

“This is the culmination of the extraordinary vision and dedication of our community to collaborate and partner with our school district,” HPISD facilities chair Jim Hitzelberger said.

Chris Nabors, a Northway member, coordinated the sale to the district.

“The timing is right, and the land sale will allow us to better fulfill our objectives,” he said.

HPISD Board Votes on New Officers


HPISD’s board of trustees elected new officers after the official board turnover last night, when former president Leslie Melson concluded her term and members Jim Hitzelberger and Lee Michaels were sworn in for a new and first terms, respectively.

Here are your new officers: Joe Taylor, president; Cynthia Beecherl, vice president; Paul Rowsey, secretary; Kelly Walker, finance officer. Former vice president Hitzelberger was elected to the facilities chair position.

Hyer Kids Show Postseason Mavs Spirit

Mavs Man visited with Hyer students on Tuesday morning.

Mavs Man visited with Hyer students on Tuesday morning.

The Mavericks might be eliminated from the NBA playoffs, but students and teachers at Hyer Elementary School showed their team spirit on Tuesday morning when Mavs Man and Champ visited.

The mascots showed off their dribbling and dunking skills, demonstrated some dance moves, and promoted good decision-making skills to the enthusiastic kids. The event was part of a breakfast event involving Hyer dads.

Dalai Lama Will Visit SMU in July


SMU and the George W. Bush Presidential Center will welcome the 14th Dalai Lama at 1:20 p.m. on July 1 for “A Conversation with the Dalai Lama.” The discussion with the Nobel laureate and spiritual leader of Tibet will take place at Moody Coliseum just five days before his 80th birthday. Fun fact: he and W. have the same birthday.

The event is open to the public and hosted by SMU, the Bush Center, and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. Tickets go on sale May 18 on Ticketmaster.

I remember when the Dalai Lama came to SMU my senior year *pushes glasses up nose*.

Hyer Fourth-Graders Help Their Own Future

Hyer fourth-graders presented a $7,000 check to MIS principal Laurie Hitzelberger.

Hyer fourth-graders recently presented a $7,000 check to MIS principal Laurie Hitzelberger.

Traditionally, the fourth-grade class at Hyer Elementary School has presented a gift to the school before leaving for McCulloch Intermediate School the following year.

But this spring, after a series of generous fundraising events at Hyer, the fourth-graders decided to change things up. Instead, they decided to “pay it forward” by donating a check for $7,000 to MIS.

The funds will go toward purchasing new iPads and other technology for fifth-grade classrooms at MIS, meaning those same fourth graders might be able to share in the benefits this fall.