One of the prevailing themes during school districts’ convocation rallies leading up to the start of the new school year was how one teacher can make a huge difference in the life of a child without them even realizing it. That difference could come in the way of just a sympathetic ear, daily enthusiasm for a subject or just showing they care.
One of those local teachers who makes a difference is Sarah Brown at Velasco Elementary School in Freeport, who recently received recognition as one of the Teacher of the Year finalists for the Houston region.
The Region 4 Teachers of the Year program serves a seven-county area comprised of 48 public school districts and 37 open-enrollment charter schools, representing more than 1.2 million students, 97,000 educators and 1,500 campuses. To stand out in that crowd says something about a teacher’s dedication and connection with her students and colleagues.
Brown, a fourth-grade teacher, is the first Brazosport ISD finalist in the Region 4 Teachers of the Year program in 35 years.
Her passion is important, as Velasco Elementary historically has been labeled an underperforming school by the state. A teacher’s role in turning that around doesn’t just involve assigning homework and pop quizzes but demonstrating the importance of education to the larger community.
“I love the school,” she said. “I love the community here. I love that our kids have so much potential. They are incredible kids. I can’t imagine working with a different population of students. I am built and designed for Velasco.”
Brown doesn’t see her responsibility to students starting and ending with a single academic year, but ensuring they are ready for the rest of their lives.
“Probably one of the biggest things that I do is really take time in establishing and building relationships with my students,” she told us during an interview last week. “Once they are able to trust me, then we move mountains together.”
Freeport students are blessed to have such a dedicated educator not intimidated by the mountains.
Angleton girl’s purpose greater than money
Most adults have garage and yard sales as a way to clean out the attic and closets while putting a few extra bucks into their pockets — often to go buy new things to fill the attic and closets.
Kinsley Kubala had a larger purpose when she piled clothing onto tables on the driveway of her family’s Angleton home Aug. 18.
After a talk from her mother when the 8-year-old got a little sassy while back-to-school shopping, Kinsley took the message to heart.
“Kinsley has always been sensitive to others, or thoughtful about others’ needs, and so after I had that conversation with her, she came to me and said, ‘Mom, do some kids really not get to go shopping?’ and I told her that yes, probably even some of her friends or people she knows,” Kaleigh Kubala said. “And so she said she wanted to do something that could help.”
The Westside Elementary third-grader spread the word in the community she wanted to collect clothes to give to families who might not be able to afford new outfits for the school year. The response overwhelmed the Kubalas. One donor brought six bags of gently used items to be given away.
“It makes me feel good inside,” Kinsley said. “I thought we could set up a free school clothes drive for the kids who don’t get to go shopping, and that way, they could just come get things here.”
They likely will be able to do the same thing next year as the young lady with a big heart wants to make the clothing drive and giveaway an annual event. “It’s good that people can get clothes now,” Kinsley said. “I just feel happy about it.”
If words matter, we’re in trouble
There has been no shortage of laughable, offensive and startling things to come out of President Donald Trump’s mouth since he announced his campaign for the White House almost four years ago. Some have deserved criticism, while others have just been people who don’t like him instinctively becoming apoplectic over anything he says.
That is true of his recent comments about being “the chosen one,” which had nothing to do with him having a Messiah complex and everything to do with his oft-shared belief America had gone too long without taking a stern economic approach with China.
Likewise, the Democratic Party’s 2020 front-runner, former vice president Joe Biden, has to hop from one campaign event to the other because one of his feet has permanent residence in his mouth. Always known for his gaffes, Biden has been on a roll of late‚ misidentifying the state he is standing in, putting historical events in the wrong decade and making an awful analogy of Barack Obama being assassinated with the civil rights killings of the 1960s.
If the election would occur today, Americans would have the choice between these two thick-tongued septuagenarians as the next president, setting up yet another choice of the least-awful option to lead the free world. Only this time, instead of closing our eyes and choosing, we’re better off plugging our ears.