I hope you feel encouraged every time you step on our campus. I am honored to head a school like Westbury Christian with so many colleagues who love what they do for a living and understand the “call” they answer each and every day. Their enthusiasm for the grades and subjects they teach, and their investment in the lives of their students, makes a real difference.
This year, it also makes WCS one of the top workplaces in Houston, according to a special section of the Houston Chronicle published on Sunday, Nov. 5. We are one of just 150 local public/private entities or nonprofit groups — and one of just 70 in the small company category, for those with 50-149 employees — to make the 2017 list. We are always looking for ways to let an increasing number of our neighbors and members of the greater Houston area know about the benefits of a WCS education, and recognition like this both garners us the kind of positive attention we could never afford on our own and bolsters our reputation as the kind of school where faculty and staff take a genuine interest and pride in their work with students.
Speaking of increased attention, two weeks ago, we had another opportunity – following our first in October 2016 – to be featured on Friday Football Fever on Fox 26. The McCloy Gym was LOUD that Friday morning, despite a very early start (everyone had to be in place ready to “roll” by 6 a.m.). The appearance showcased our Wildcat football team, varsity and mini cheerleaders and our Big Blue Band, while also giving school spirit a major boost (a couple of our VEX robots held up signs supporting the team, and there MAY have even been a teacher pyramid at one point!).
Here are some of the other “headlines” we’ve been making recently:
- The Wildcat football team has qualified for the playoffs again this fall – the fourth time in the program’s 19-year history – following a season in which they scored a three-game district win streak and have only one district loss to always-strong Second Baptist. For the first time, the Wildcats have home field advantage for the playoffs, so we will host the Knights of Holy Cross (San Antonio) this Friday, Nov. 17, at HBU’s Football Stadium (7502 Fondren Rd., 77074) beginning at 7 p.m.
- A pair of middle school sisters — Caroline, a 7th grader, and Catherine, a 6th grader — earned first chair on flute in the Concert Region Band and third chair on trombone in the Wind Ensemble, respectively, at the Region 23 middle school region band competition with more than 900 of the best music students, mostly 8th graders, from schools in Katy, Alief and Houston.
- WCS Seniors Mitch Watkins and Garett Leeson have earned special recognition for their top-notch academic prowess. Mitch placed among the top 3% of students who took the 2016 PSAT as juniors to be named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. Garett already met the qualifications of a National AP Scholar, the highest award given by the College Board’s AP program, following his performance on his junior year AP exams. Typically, students don’t earn National AP Scholar status until after all four years of high school!
This month I want to spotlight third grade teacher Jackie Román, who is in her second year at WCS. She came to us following 10 years teaching everything from pre-school to middle school English language arts in inner-city Catholic schools here in Houston. She also served in the U.S. Army for three years, including at the time of the September 11 terrorist attack. Mrs. Román’s passion for teaching stems from having witnessed her sister suffer through a very negative experience in first grade. She tells me she loves being at WCS because this environment allows her to really get to know her students, and their families, in a way many other school settings don’t. In fact, she has discovered that four of her current students’ parents taught relatives of hers — nephews and a cousin — at other schools in the past!
I want to close with a special story relayed to me by our assistant band director Linda Smith, following the Big Blue Band’s fall community tour, during which they performed at a couple of nearby retirement facilities and local grocery stores. After the band’s performance at the Meyerland Kroger located at South Post Oak and West Bellfort, a woman approached Mrs. Smith to ask where the band was from. She went on to explain that the performance was exactly what she needed in that moment. She had come from her oncologist, where she learned that her cancer was spreading and things were not looking good, so she appreciated the way the music lifted her spirits. Although there has never been a doubt for me, a story like that simply magnifies the importance of what we do at WCS. We are equipping students to share their talents in ways that will have a long-lasting positive impact, not just in their own lives, but also in the lives of those with whom they will cross paths, even seemingly randomly sometimes. God is good, ALL the time!
Michael D. White
Head of School