VISD Convocation rings in new school year (w/video)

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Aug. 11, 2017 at 9:57 p.m.

VISD Convocation speaker retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Kickbusch invites some of the school mascots onstage with her to help get the crowd excited before her speech. Kickbusch was the keynote speaker at the convocation at Faith Family Church.

VISD Convocation speaker retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Kickbusch invites some of the school mascots onstage with her to help get the crowd excited before her speech. Kickbusch was the keynote speaker at the convocation at Faith Family Church.   Olivia Vanni for The Victoria Advocate

Even after her sixth VISD Convocation, Sonia Salinas, head custodian at Howell Middle School, left Faith Family Church feeling inspired.

"We don't get to know everyone because we're so far apart," Salinas said Friday. "This is all our family getting together."

The church venue swelled with cheer, laughter and pink from more than 2,000 attendees all wearing the VISD Proud T-shirts. The district resumes classes Aug. 21.

Teachers and administrators from all the district's campuses shook pink pompoms and clapped along to the beat of the Victoria East and Victoria West high school bands.

Pulling up on his bike was Raymond Deeb, a new-to-the-district theater instructor for sixth, seventh and eighth grades at Stroman Middle School.

"I rode my bike because I heard about the drive," Deeb said, glancing at all the vehicles in parking lot. "It was a 15-minute ride."

Deeb previously taught at Baytown and moved to Victoria from Houston. In the two weeks he has been in Victoria, Deeb has been looking forward to the convocation and school year.

"It's a fresh start," he said. "I am excited to try new things and meet the students."

Another teacher looking to make her mark in the classroom is Reagan Katch, physical education teacher at Torres Elementary School.

This is also her first year at the district, she said.

"Positivity and teamwork" were the factors she hoped to gain from the gathering: "I am looking forward to connect(ing) with the students."

Superintendent Robert Jaklich gave a State of the District address and announced to the audience that the district for the first time has an attendance rate of 95 percent.

He also mentioned that more than 2 million meals were served by the child nutrition department, and of the 120,243 students seen in the nurse's office, 107,729 students returned to class.

The annual VISD Convocation featured Retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Kickbusch as the keynote speaker.

Kickbusch said she was born and raised along the border in a small barrio in Laredo, and she spoke about the challenges of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy.

Of 10 brothers and sisters, eight, including herself, are veterans.

In 1996, she founded Educational Achievement Services Inc., a human development company.

"Do your job so that even when you're not there, your work will speak for you," Kickbusch said in her speech.

The algorithm for brilliance is not a formula or quantifiable data, she said.

"It's about knowing (students') story, appreciating where they come from and taking them as far as the stars will allow," she said. "We all come from somewhere, and we all want to go somewhere ... When you're educated is when you're free at last."


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