Students recognized for academic achievements during School Board Meeting

Image: Isaac Garcia earned 2nd place in the UIL’s 7th Grade Listening category. Garcia poses with Italy High School Principal Lee Joffre.

Isaac Garcia earned 2nd place in the UIL’s 7th Grade Listening category. Garcia poses with Italy High School Principal Lee Joffre. (Barry Byers)

Italy — The Italy ISD school board meeting held Thursday, December 19, had the following board members in attendance: Mark Stiles, Sal Ramirez, Larry Eubank, interim superintendent Henry Lind, Paul Cockerham, Cheryl Owens, Ida Overton and Russ Lewis. The meeting began with academic presentations and recognition given to those students who have excelled in recent weeks, including:

Jr. High UIL Accomplishments:

Dictionary Skills — 6th Grade

  • 2 – Courtney Riddle
  • 4 – Maddie Chambers
  • 2 – Italy
    • Maddie Chambers
    • Courtney Riddle
    • Nevaeh Salcido

Editorial Writing — 7th Grade

  • 6 – Jill Varner

Editorial Writing — 8th Grade

  • 6 – Hannah Haight

Impromptu Speaking — 8th Grade

  • Maegan Connor
  • Hunter Morgan

Listening — 6th Grade:

  • 3 – Tanner Chambers

Listening — 7th Grade

  • 2 – Isaac Garcia

Listening — 8th Grade

  • 4 – Maegan Connor

Maps, Graphs & Charts — 6th Grade

  • 2 Ryan Dabney
  • 3 – Italy
    • Tanner Chambers
    • Ryan Dabney
    • Cade Dodd

Mathematics — 6th Grade

  • 4 – Arely Salazar
  • 2 – Italy
    • Andrea Galvan
    • Jayden Perkins
    • Arely Salazar

Mathematics — 8th Grade

  • 5 – Marlen Hernandez
  • 3 – Italy
    • Marlen Hernandez
    • Chris Munoz
    • Annie Perry

Modern Oratory — 7th Grade

  • 4 – Virginia Stephens

Number Sense — 7th Grade

  • 6 – Karson Holley
  • 3 – Italy
    • Karson Italy

Oral Reading — 6th Grade

  • 6 – Kimmy Hooker

Ready Writing — 6th Grade

  • 1 – Ryan Dabney

Ready Writing — 7th Grade

  • 1 – Karson Holley
  • 5 – Karley Nelson

Social Studies — 6th Grade

  • 4 – Ryan Dabney
  • Italy
    • Tanner Chambers
    • Ryan Dabney
    • Michael Russell

Spelling — 6th Grade

  • 1 – Kimmy Hooker
  • 5 – Hannah Coffman
  • 3 – Italy
    • Hannah Coffman
    • Kimmy Hooker
    • Nevaeh Salcido

Also recognized for their efforts on their recent science fair projects were junior and senior physics and anatomy students. Catherine Hewitt recognized the following award winners:

1st Place

  • Zain Byers — “Should I stay or should I grow?” Analyzed the growth of spinach in 3 different types of soil.

2nd Place

  • Cody Medrano — Entitled, “Drinkable Destructions.” Creatively explored the effects of soda on teeth by employing deer choppers to show the results.

3rd Place

  • Emily Stiles — “Too Hot to Touch.” Explored the effects of heat on capturing fingerprints.

The following students were also recognized to the board members for earning the following awards with their projects:

  • Mad Scientist Award: Taylor Perry
  • How did you come up with that? Award: Emily Stiles
  • Insaneum Cranium Award: Tia Russell
  • Most Useful Information Award: Kelsey Nelson
  • Slow and Steady Award: Zain Byers
  • Happy Homemaker Award: Jaclynn Lewis
  • Most Surprising Results Award: Javier Enriquez
  • Biggest Eww Factor Award: Bernice Hailey

Italy ISD maintenance supervisor Michael Chambers covered topics such as purchasing new A/C units to replace failed units and making sure they are compatible with the new computer grid that allows the administration complete control over the HVAC system. This control, this digital control which is already in place upon the installation newer units, has already proved to be making a difference with the electric bill.

Johnny Johnson fielded questions from the board regarding Johnson’s dream of constructing a multiple functioning facility that would have a track, a turf football field, a pool and much more. Johnson explained how the facility was intended to provide opportunities to the youth of our community and from surrounding areas.

Also taking questions from the board while representing Johnson were Nathan Umanos, VP of Harrison, Walker and Harper, a building/engineering firm, and Thomas E. Batenhorst with GSBS Architects. Batenhorst said, "Our company is willing to invest a few hours to help Johnson get his vision off the ground. Often, a construction project is the result of one person’s idea.

Later in the meeting, Chambers approached the podium to discuss financial options and what the expectations of the board are regarding solutions for the surface of the high school football field. All agreed to move forward on deciding a course of action and eventually making the repairs.

The school board continued with the meeting but eventually hit a snag after the board was asked to agree on an architectural firm to oversee a bond election regarding the construction of a new sports facility, including a new field and track. The bond would also bundle in a new band/theatre building and modifications at the elementary school.

Under Action Items, Item C was to consider/approve an architectural firm for the proposed bond building project that was discussed earlier in the meeting. School board member Mark Stiles wanted to delay the voting and asked for a more informative investigation be done regarding the credibility and reliability of the architectural firm in question. Some fellow board members felt enough investigation, as it pertained to the firm, had already been completed and to their satisfaction. After a heated discussion, the board agreed to find out even more regarding the selected firm.

The above was a small sampling of the items and issues the board dealt with as they do in every meeting. The board members have much to consider when ruling on issues that effect the entire school system, the students the faculty and the tax payers. Vital decisions have to be made based on legality, financial availability and projections, safety, time frames, available resources, fairness and much more. The board members deserve a pat on the back for their constant efforts to maintain and build toward an even stronger school district that we can all can continue to be proud of.

Italy Family!