Education Celebrations: Students display their academic projects

By Diane Boyett
March 30, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2014 at 10:30 p.m.

We have been celebrating a lot of excellence in the Victoria school district these past few weeks.

On March 18, 242 students were honored with the Board of Trustees Awards of Excellence.

Last Tuesday, we got to see excellence with the VISD Texas Performance Standards Project District Showcase. All across our district, students began working on the projects at the beginning of the school year. The idea behind the projects is to challenge students to take a step beyond their classroom work.

Based on grade level, the students select topics to research and then develop presentations based on what they have learned. Because they will be working on these projects over a period of months, the topic needs to be something in which they have an interest and are ready to commit significant time to in developing the presentations.

For the youngest of the students, the research resulted in some very cute presentations. Students went to the showcase in the same costumes they used to enhance their presentations.

Beyond being cute, these students, who represented the best from campuses across the district, were already showing that they are articulate and learned a good deal from their efforts.

As the grade levels progressed, the projects became much more complex. The top students in secondary grades actually made presentations to the audience as part of the showcase awards. The students exhibited confidence and a thorough understanding of their topics. The presentations yielded chuckles at times, tears, admiration and a bit of awe.

Victoria East junior Summer Gregurek is in her third year of projects and has expanded on her research each year. She has been working on the development of systems to safely and reliably generate oxygen for those needing it on Earth and in space travel.

This year, she measured oxygen generation using artificially generated light to prompt photosynthesis with a solar cell. This is research that started in her kitchen and could make a meaningful difference in the future.

Victoria West sophomore Kevin Clark conducted extensive research on global warming and posed a question about how to balance the detrimental effects of a warming climate with the actual benefits of a warmer world.

Freshman Skylar Jones, from Victoria East High School, researched and produced a video as a call to action to end genocide in North Korea. Her images were disturbing as she called for greater awareness of the acts of genocide that are occurring around the world.

Victoria West senior Kate Klimist also produced a video. Her topic hit close to home with a message directed at her fellow students. Her goal was to increase awareness of HIV in teens. She used actual Victoria West classmates in an effort to drive home the message that AIDS is a reality among their peers, and that the risk is very real.

Just a quick reminder - pre-registration is continuing across VISD for the upcoming school year. Parents of current students should have already received information for the coming year.

Parents of students who will be new to VISD next year are strongly encouraged to contact their neighborhood school or the Office of Students Services at 361-788-9250.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Contact her at



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