Monday, December 29, 2014




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Education Celebrations column: Visually impaired students inspire excellence

By By Diane Boyett
Feb. 9, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 8, 2014 at 8:09 p.m.


Every day in classrooms across our 612 square miles, we are seeing amazing things happening.

We see the light shine in a child's eyes the first time there is true understanding of something that seemed so impossible just a day before. We see creativity that sparks such energy that the whole school takes notice. And we see caring and compassion that inspires.

I saw some of each of those amazing things during a recent visit to the Region III Education Service Center. A number of Victoria school district students joined other students from the area in what was called the visually impaired Olympics.

The students are all visually impaired and were using the skills they learn in their classrooms to complete tasks in a friendly competition. Witnessing the determination and excitement of the students was awesome.

But I was truly inspired when I realized that one of the VISD students was talking another student through the use of a piece of technology. And as soon as the other student understood how to get started, the teaching student went right back to his own assignment. Not only is this a very intelligent young man, but he is also clearly a young man of character.

I followed another very young student as he worked his way through an unfamiliar building using his cane and a little help from his parents. At a very young age, he possesses a sense of confidence in the world that is a reflection of the powerful support of his family and his school working together to lay the foundation for a very positive future.

I was also witness last week to the appreciation of culture that is coming throughout the month with the observance of Black History Month in our schools. Fifth-grade students across the district were invited to participate in a poster contest.

The students used the theme of Celebrating Civil Rights for their posters. The contest presented students with a cultural and artistic opportunity combined with a learning opportunity as they researched their topics.

We thank Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria for offering scholarships and other gifts to the winning students.

The posters are on display at UHV this month, and the top-placing posters will be featured on the VISD website this week.

By the way, can you imagine the celebration in a few households Friday evening when the families realized their child is in fifth grade and already has part of their college funded?

We all celebrated last Thursday when 125 voices of fifth-grade students joined to create the VISD Honor Choir. These students from all elementary schools in VISD represent the best of the best and were selected to spend time with guest conductor Crystal Dawdy of Howell Middle School.

The resulting concert was highly entertaining. Congratulations to the students and also to their music teachers for a great job.

And Friday we celebrated the 100th class day of the school year, and it was also School Counseling Week. There is always cause to celebrate in VISD. Please consider this weekly column an invitation to join in that celebration.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Contact her at di ane.boyett@visd.net.

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