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DPJH students look to make waves with short films

Written by Holly Galvan. Posted in Schools

Instead of breaking a leg, some of the Deer Park Junior High theater students are hoping to break viewing records to gain entrance to the third annual iPad Youth Film Festival. The festival is for students in kindergarten through 12th grade with the only rules being that the short films must be shot, edited, and published all via a mobile device.

The semi-finals are the evening of the June 23 at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Austin. When someone watches the entire video, it increases the chance of the student’s films advancing to the next round. The public vote accounts for 30 percent of a movie’s total score. The films that receive the most votes from the public will receive the highest score, and it will be added to the films overall score.

There are five different film categories; sci-fi, comedy, adventure, thriller/suspense, or animation/stop-motion. The DPJH theater class have films competing in each category.

DPJH Theater teacher Jennifer McLaughlin said she is always looking for opportunities to showcase her student's talents.

“I want everyone one to see how awesome they are. We have entered a few of these contests. I expected maybe one to [qualify for the next round], and I was so excited when I realized 10 had. I was jumping around the school,” said McLaughlin.

Katelyn Defrancis said this is her first year performing in school theater but has been in plays with the Art Park Players for more than seven years.

“My film is about a baby and a cat and how the cat calms the crying baby. It came up with the idea based on my experience with losing my cat. I wrote it by myself, and it took four days,” she said.

Xavier Cantus’ film is a summer zombie movie. He said he got the inspiration from his love of the Walking Dead TV show and comic books.

“The hardest part of making my film was the actual filming. The other students were so excited to be superstars that they had a hard time calming down. I even had to fire a few of them,” Cantu said.

Cantu said he has learned a lot by writing, producing and directing his play.

“Besides the issues with filming everything else went as planned. Filmmaking is just a hobby to me. I plan on going to college so I can be in the medical field,” he said.

Whether the DPJH students win or lose in their categories, McLaughlin said she is proud of them and the hard work they have done.

“I cannot choose a favorite [film]. I consider all of the 180 students my children. They are so talented, and they can now showcase that to a bigger audience,” she said.

Voting is open to the public until April 28. Visit to watch the students’ films.

DPJH students' efforts net $18K for classmates battling cancer

Written by Holly Galvan. Posted in Schools

checkpresDeer Park Junior High students in the BIG RED Community Improvement presented two checks of $9,000 each to two students battling cancer. This is the third fun run the class has held in the last three years. Photo provided by Leisa DavidsonDeer Park Junior High School’s BIG RED class hosted a Colorful Future 5K that raised $18,000 for two Deer Park ISD students who have cancer.

DPJH student Jeremy Donnelly and Bonnette Junior High student Jonathan McPeek both received checks for $9,000 each.

“The money is to ease the pain of medical bills, parking fees, food costs, and basically anything else the family needs. We don’t want the family to have to worry about money with everything else going on in their lives,” said DPJH Counselor Debi Meade, the facilitator for the class.

More than 600 people registered for the run. Meade said the number of people that registered for the event doubled from the previous year.

Robotics students headed to inaugural NASA Swarmathon competition

Written by staff. Posted in Schools

SJC RoboticsSan Jacinto College robotics students will join University of Houston-Clear Lake students as a combined team competing in the inaugural NASA Swarmathon competition in Florida. Pictured: San Jacinto College robotics students Luis Pantoja (left) and Bernardo Ramos (right) make wheel adjustments for the “Swarmie” robot featured in the competition. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

Several robotics students will represent San Jacinto College as they team with the University of Houston-Clear Lake to compete in NASA’s inaugural Swarmathon robotics competition at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida April 18 – 22.

Twelve teams representing 14 minority serving universities and community colleges nationwide were selected to compete in the physical Swarmathon competition, and 23 additional teams will compete in the virtual competition. San Jacinto College, in partnership with UHCL, as well as the University of Houston main campus, are the only two participating teams from Texas.

Bus incident stops traffic on Georgia Avenue

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Schools

busincidentDeer Park Police and DPISD officials check on a bus driver Tuesday afternoon. A special needs student became agitated, necessitating the driver to stop. The driver sustained a minor injury. Photo by Andrew Pressley.

Northbound lanes of Georgia Avenue north of Thirteenth Street were blocked Tuesday following an incident on a Deer Park ISD bus.

At approximately 4 p.m., a special needs student became agitated, prompting the bus driver to stop the bus, according to Matt Lucas, Deer Park ISD communications director.

Although Deer Park Police arrived on the scene, the incident did not involve an accident, Lucas said. The parent of the student arrived and picked up the student.

The bus driver sustained a minor injury. There were no other students on the bus and traffic was reopened a short time later.

One Act Play has high hopes with Shakespearean spin-off

Written by Holly Galvan. Posted in Schools

OAPWith their performance of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," students in Deer Park High School's One Act Play hope to land a spot at the UIL state competition. Photo by Holly Galvan.

Deer Park One Act Play is set to dazzle the crowd and judges at its regional competition April 23 at 5 p.m. at San Jacinto College’s Central campus.

OAP is preforming “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” which focuses on the characters who died in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with a focus on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Deer Park One Act Play received All Star Cast and outstanding technician awards in the Bi-District competition.

OAP Director Kelly Lawrence said student actors Alec White and Eli Martinez are both seniors and have acted together in class and onstage for their entire high school careers.

Maritime companies scout for interns and employees at SJC

Written by staff. Posted in Schools

SJC MaritimeScoutingJordan Gray, maritime student at San Jacinto College, interviews for an internship with Jason Buster, Mark Murphy, and Brian Sadler with Cheryl K Marine. The maritime company was one of 10 companies that recently visited the College to interview students for summer internships and employment. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.Ten maritime companies looking to hire interns and full-time employees recently conducted interviews with students at the San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus.

After a day of maritime transportation classes, the students gathered their resumes, took to the hallways, and waited their turns to speak with company representatives to vie for internships. Companies that interviewed students included Higman Marine, Buffalo Marine, Cheryl K Marine, Harley Gulf Marine, Marquette Transportation, Martin Marine, G&H Towing, Harbor Services, J.A.M. Services, and BaySmart.

"It's really cool that companies come here and interview us in our classrooms," said Richard Zienty, who interned last summer with Buffalo Marine and rode from Houston to Lake Charles and everywhere in between. "I'm interviewing for my second internship this summer but I'm also looking to get hired with a company.”

Texas ranks third in the nation, with Houston ranking second, for all domestic maritime industry jobs, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers Study released by the American Maritime Partnership. Having a maritime training program just around the corner allows local maritime companies access to a pool of candidates ready for work in the maritime industry. Companies like Higman Marine, Buffalo Marine, and Cheryl K Marine have hired San Jacinto College interns and employees for the past three summers.