"Creating Our Future"
January 18, 2018
Plano ISD's annual tribute celebrating the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was held the evening of January 18 at Williams High School. The event featured the theme "Creating Our Future" and showcased student talent through musical performances, student writing, artwork and awards presentations.
Kindergarten to 2nd Grade Finalist
Jatvik Veerisetty, Wells Elementary School
3rd to 5th Grade Finalist
Sandra Aguirre, Haggar Elementary School
6th to 8th Grade Finalist and Contest Winner
Harrison Klotz, Murphy Middle School
9th to 12th Grade Finalist
Katie Lau, Jasper High School
Dottie Gandy, co-founder of the National Association of Women Business Owners gave a rousing address as the featured speaker. Ms. Gandy is an avid supporter of women in business and co-founder of the National Association of Women Business Owners. In June 2014, she was inducted into the National Association of Women Business Owners Hall of Fame. In 2016, the association was awarded the Susan Hager Lifetime Achievement Award. She has had successful careers as a corporate executive, business owner, consultant, keynote speaker and author. Ms. Gandy was present at the "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. King in Washington, D.C. and had inspiring words for the Plano community about their dreams and "Creating Our Future."
Dottie Gandy (right) pictured with MLK Tribute Chairman Emeritus Dr. Myrtle Hightower.
Individual Diversity Leadership Award - Heba Abdelghani
In her ESL classroom, Mrs. Abdelghani creates a safe environment for her students as they learn to speak English at Robinson Middle School. Students gain a sense of belonging as she creates a family environment in the classroom. She teaches her students problem-solving skills so that they can advocate for themselves both inside and outside of the classroom. Through her communication with ESL parents and families that are new to the country, they more quickly, feel they are a part of the Robinson community and are less reserved about getting involved at their child’s school. This has lead to an increase in volunteerism on the campus and more parents being a part of the PTA. The implementation of the Robinson ESL Parent Academy, as well as Mrs. Abdelghani's day-to-day outreach to parents, can be greatly contributed to these successes.
Group Diversity Leadership Award - McCall Elementary PTA
McCall Elementary is represented by several different cultures with 35 to 40 different languages spoken on campus. They take pride in and cherish their rich multicultural heritage. The McCall PTA has stepped up to take the lead in fostering student educational opportunities in cultural awareness and appreciation through community outreach and family events such as multicultural night. At this event, students and their families bring food, music, clothing and artwork to celebrate and educate others on their cultural heritage. This event is designed to help build a meaningful understanding of how we are all connected.
Diversity Leadership Service Award - Plano’s Closet and the Plano Senior High PTSA Outreach Committee
This joint effort by Plano Senior High School’s PTSA Outreach Committee spearheaded by Cynthia Flores-Harris and Plano's Closet, is a student organization sponsored by English teacher Jacqueline Mizeur. Ms. Mizeur has worked tirelessly to help provide basic needs to students who find themselves living in challenging circumstances. Jacqueline has inspired students for the last few years to form and participate in this program. By educating the school community, she has also created an environment where students feel safe reaching out for help. They know they can contact any adult on campus if they have food or clothing needs. Ms. Flores-Harris and the PTSA Outreach Committee contact businesses for donations of goods and gift cards, and they reach out to the PTSA community for donations. They also assemble everything, so that students can easily pick up what they need to take home.
Diversity Leadership Community Impact Award - City of Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere
Mayor LaRosiliere is passionate about fostering a sense of community. He views his role as Mayor is to inspire citizens, especially youth, to believe they live in the best city in the nation and to encourage them to give back to their community through service. This is reflected through the two community initiatives he helped launch. The Nourishing Hope Program affirms to our food insecure elementary students and their families that they will be provided access to nutritious food when needed throughout the year, and the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program has given hundreds of senior high students real-world workplace experience through an eight week paid internship.
Honorable Mention - Stephanie Mullins. Armstrong Middle School
As the department head for the ESL Department at Armstrong Middle School, Stephanie Mullins is strongly skilled at developing an inclusive environment within the school so that all English learners are able to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities that exist on Armstrong’s campus.
Diversity Leadership Award Nominees
- Kaki Bennett, Haggard Middle School
- Kathleen Good, Murphy Middle School
- Hedgcoxe PTA, Hedgcoxe Elementary School
- Hickey PTA & Multicultural Committee, Hickey Elementary School
- Terri Richards, Schimelpfenig Middle School
- Maria Roos, Armstrong Middle School
- Tina Vaguine, Davis Elementary School
- Brandon Watts, Huffman Elementary School
Music and Dance Performances
Attendees were treated to music and dance entertainment. The Plano East Senior High School Men's Chorus, directed by Dana Goodnuff and accompanied on African drum by Michael A. Hernandez Plano Senior High School band teacher, performed two selections: Betelehemu arranged by Wendall Whalum and the program finale, Hakuna Mungu arranged by William McKee. The Plano Children's Chorale, directed by Virginia Asiatico, Daffron Elementary and accompanied by Tobit Hall from Haun Elementary, performed Morokeni, arranged by Bernard Kruger. The Children's Chorale is a fifth-grade ensemble selected by audition and representative of the entire district. A dance by Sindhu Kavuru of the Nrutyashala School of Indian Dance was performed. And Samba Cat #1 was performed by the Plano Senior High School Samba Ensemble directed by Michael A. Hernandez.