Superintendent's column: Celebrating excellence across our 612 square miles

April 13, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.

Robert Jaklich

Robert Jaklich

As I travel across our "612 Square Miles of Excellence," I am constantly amazed by the level of talent I encounter with each and every visit. We have much to celebrate this week in the Victoria Independent School District, and we are extremely proud to showcase the latest accomplishments of our outstanding students and staff.

On April 5, Victoria ISD's Career and Technical Education instructors accompanied 27 students to the SKILLS USA - Texas Leadership Conference in Corpus Christi. We are extremely proud to announce that several of our CTE students received "Top Honors" at this event. The Welding Fabrication Team, consisting of students Tyler Hessler of East High School, Jeffrey Newport of East, Grant McGehee of West High School and instructor John Wright, won first place in the state and will continue to the national competition in Kansas City in June. State Superior Awards went to Michael Garcia of West for his fire pit welding project, Chad Lesak of East for his hog trap welding project, Jeffrey Newport of East for his barbecue pit welding project and Roman Zamora of East for his drop hitch barbecue pit welding project. Best in Show Awards went to: culinary arts students Jayme Beahn of East, Tera Stines of East and instructor Brittany Hudson; cosmetology students Briana Martinez of West, Kayla Villarreal of East and instructor Brenda Dungan. Third place winner in photography was student Tori Lev of East and sponsor Jake Flores.

On April 9, our students had the opportunity to participate in the Math and Computer Science Day Symposium hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria and Victoria College and sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Dr. Phillip Castille, president of UHV; Dr. Tom Butler, president of Victoria College; and Lauren Cahill, representing the Alcoa Foundation for serving as true champions for our children. The VISD had 29 teams compete in the math, computer science and robotics divisions. The following students are to be recognized for their outstanding efforts: Game Show No. 1 First Place - Team Ocelots, Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning students Chris Saenz, Sophia Muzquiz, Ariana Felder, Josh Kayl and instructor Gwen Etzler; Game Show No. 2 First Place - Team Zonbies, VCAL students Aaron Zapalac, David Bengtson, Sean Adames, Robert Barrera and instructor Cheryl Clark; Computer Science Winners Second Place - Team Binary, VCAL students Kevin Clark and Melissa Clark and instructor Cheryl Clark; Third Place - Team Pathfinders, VCAL students Juan Solano, Drew Herndon, Dalton Weaver and instructor Gwen Etzler; Mathematics Contest winners First Place Individual - Kevin Clark of VCAL; First Place Team - Wizards, Kevin Clark and Melissa Clark of VCAL; and Second Place Team - Orbital Drop Walrus Troopers, Joseph Bednarczyk and Jake Smitherman of West.

We are extremely proud of our students and staff for taking the risk of being great. Their efforts on a daily basis continue to make us the extraordinary school district we aspire to be. On behalf of the board of trustees and the entire VISD, we thank you for reminding us that the greatest risk in life is never taking one.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website,



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