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Arroyo, Mesa stand tall among DPVFD peers

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

If Firefighters and EMS personnel didn't have enough to do already, some go the extra mile to make the Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department stronger.

This week, Deer Park Fire Chief Greg Bridge and the Deer Park Rotary Club honored Phillip Arroyo and Joe Mesa as firefighters of the month for October and December, respectively.
Although new to the department, Arroyo's contributions are noticed by his peers and the citizens of Deer Park, Bridges said. So for in 2009, he has responded to 378 of 558 EMS calls.

DPHS debate fares well again

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The Deer Park HS Speech and Debate team had another successful weekend competing at the Clear Brook High School debate tournament. Senior Alexcis Mendoza earned 3rd place in Impromptu Speaking and advanced to octofinals of Championship Lincoln-Douglas debate. Freshmen Steven Morris and Jim Bockmon advanced to semifinals in the same event.

Maxwell seniors convince council to award meals bid

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Amid accusations of improperly cooked food, unsanitary utensils and trays, city council got more than an earful from concerned senior citizens at Tuesday's regular meeting. Council was slated to award a contract for meals to seniors at the Maxwell Center and those who are homebound.

Several seniors approached council about the condition of the food served by Ken's Restaurant, which is contracted by the city to provide lunches at the Maxwell Center and to homebound seniors through mid-January.

DPISD Board hears updates on district projects

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

The Deer Park Independent School District Board of Trustees took time to honor students, faculty and administrators prior to its combined workshop and regular meeting Monday night.

Students on the men's and women's varsity cross country teams were honored for winning their respective 22-5A district titles. Honored were freshmen Brooke Erdmann, Amanda O'Grady; sophomore Courtney Van Ness (who finished first overall at the district meet); and seniors Jessica Whitt (who was the top finisher at the regional meet) and Jamie Whitt. They are coached by Mike Walker and Yamelis Hennigan. The men's team was represented by sophomore Jeremy Dockan (who finished fourth in district), Joe Vera; junior Rueben George; and senior Johnny Moreno (who finished third in district). They are coached by Russell Elfstrom.

It's all about Peace, Love and Recycling at SJE

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

San Jacinto Elementary students Tyler Jones, Willie Lopez and Garrett Gibson empty recycling bins into the school's recycling dumpster. Photo by Bobby Vasquez.In the midst of the "Go Green" movement, the students at San Jacinto Elementary are making big strides. This year, the student body is participating in a yearlong commitment to recycling paper in its "Peace, Love, Recycle" program.

San Jacinto Elementary Principal Helen Boudreaux said the endeavor has taken off with all the students.
"They really get behind it and are having a lot of fun with it," she said. "We set up little competitions in the school and so the students get their families involved."
One of those was a weeklong competition collecting phonebooks for recycling. That week, San Jacinto Elementary students collected almost 1,000 phonebooks. Boudreaux said one grade level led the competition until one mother brought in several books to help her student's grade.
"When the families get involved, that gives us much more to recycle," she said.

College hosts kickoff meetings for innovative educational partnerships

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San Jacinto College (SJC) recently hosted kickoff meetings for two innovative programs in which the College will partner with area colleges and secondary schools to better prepare students for college.

The two interrelated programs are Houston Pathways Initiative (HPI), and the K-16 Bridge. HPI is a partnership in which San Jacinto College will work with the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston Community College (HCC), Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, as well as the Pasadena, Deer Park and Galena Park Independent School Districts. The Bridge is a collaboration between SJC and all of the secondary schools in the San Jacinto College district — Channelview, Clear Creek, Deer Park, Galena Park, La Porte, Pasadena and Sheldon Independent School Districts.
"The two programs are tightly connected," remarked Dr. Catherine O'Brien, who serves as San Jacinto College's dean of teaching and learning, and is heading up coordination of the HPI program for the College. "Houston Pathways is going to create a 'college-ready culture' by working with faculty to better prepare students for college. The Bridge is going to create a 'college-going culture' to help students to understand that everyone needs to go to college."
The $1.58 million HPI is funded by the Houston Endowment, Inc., and HCC is appointed as the fiscal agent. Through the initiative, educators will develop and share a database that tracks students' academic progress across institutional levels, from pre-kindergarten through elementary, middle and high school, and on through college.

SJC program specializes in producing rewarding teaching careers

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The path toward a successful, fulfilling career doesn't always begin with certainty. When Che Rogers began taking classes at San Jacinto College (SJC), she tried her hand at many areas of study, even zoology, before entering the school's child development program.
"When I first started college, I didn't know what I wanted to do. But after taking some classes in child development here, I realized that this is what I wanted," Rogers said. "The program has taught me so much about children; the instructors have really opened my eyes to the enjoyment of teaching."
A career as an educator is often thought of as a profession with moderate pay. However, it is a field with plenty of potential job growth as many enter retirement, creating additional job openings. The number of jobs for teachers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 
Those who shine as some of the country's brightest and most influential educators often say they value the rewards of the profession. SJC students are taught early on that there's more to education than classroom instruction.

Rotary gets a peek behind the red shield

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Capt. Eddie Alonzo of the Salvation Army East Haris County Corps, said the institution is an international movement for service and worship.Through community support and spiritual direction, the Salvation Army has served East Harris County communities for decades. Capt. Eddie Alonzo of the East Harris County Corps, gave Deer Park Rotary a peek Behind the Red Shield.

Funds raised through the popular bell-ringing program are used for year-round programs at their facility on Cherrybrook at Preston in Pasadena, Alonzo said. He reminded Rotarians the Salvation Army is a non-denominational church where he and his wife Delia are ministers.
"It's not about the bell-ringing or passing out toys, it's about Jesus Christ," he said. "The Salvation Army is a center for worship and services. It's an international movement. We have people from different denominations, not just Salvationists."
Alonzo said the Salvation Army serves all ages from all backgrounds.
The East Harris County Corps serves 85 seniors daily. From 7:30 a.m. to noon, participating seniors receive breakfast, a snack and a nutritious lunch. There are also activities such as card games, pool and even a Senior Prom in May.

3 officers sworn in to DPPD

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

The Deer Park Police Department welcomed three officers to its force this week. Sworn in as Deer Park Police officers were William Paul Chaffin, Jr.; Lars Pinto Moe; and Nicholas Charles Thatcher.

Just before he administered the oath, DPPD Chief Greg Grigg told them this would be one of the most important events of their careers.
"This is a day you will remember for the rest of your career," Grigg said. That sentiment was punctuated by the amount of family, friends and on- and off-duty officers and administrators who attended their ceremony.
"More will be expected from you because you have a higher responsibility … toward citizens and the city," Grigg said.
The trio graduated together from the police academy at College of the Mainland Dec. 7 and come with outstanding accolades.

Surgical technology provides an additional route into the medical field

Written by staff. Posted in Latest

The San Jacinto College (SJC) surgical technology program prepares graduates to become an integral part of a medical team in one of the fastest growing professions in the country.

Projected to grow 24 percent by the year 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, surgical technologists play a vital role in operating rooms during surgery, passing instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and surgeon assistants.
Decent average pay between $30,000-40,000 and a job in the medical field convinced 46-year-old Tina Wells to pursue a career in surgical technology at SJC after spending nearly eight years as a stay-at-home mom. 
"I started looking into medical field courses that would not take a lot of time to finish," Wells said. "I needed a job that would pay decent money to support myself and my two children. San Jacinto College is convenient, and quite honestly, the least expensive way to go. "
Wells said the SJC program has prepared her for work in operating rooms through strong partnerships with local hospitals for student clinical rotations.

SJC accelerates student support for college preparatory courses with Starfish

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Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, announced today that San Jacinto College has adopted Starfish to streamline and standardize its approach to student tracking and success intervention for the institution's college preparatory courses.

As a Title V institution, the college works to enhance and expand its capacity to serve Hispanic and low-income students.
"Approximately 53 percent of the students at San Jacinto College are first-generation college students," said Niki Whiteside, vice president of educational technology at San Jacinto College. "We have a tremendous opportunity to introduce a whole generation to the benefits of higher education. At the same time, we have a responsibility to teach them how college works and how to get through the system. As a result, we need support tools to keep track of our students in a more efficient and effective way."