2014 Kickoff Celebration Inspires Educators to Get Students to the Finish Line


Music, glow sticks, and pompoms filled the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District’s Performing Arts Center as crowds of teachers and staff gathered to kick off the 2014-2015 school year in an unprecedented two-day celebration.

Marking the start of another academic year, the kickoff event was held over three sessions on Thursday and Friday, August 21-22.

Staff from across the district heard from various speakers, including the HCISD’s Administrator for Organizational Development Veronica Kortan, Board President Greg Powers, and Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos.

Powers offered a warm welcome to teachers and staff and thanked them for their commitment to students.

“Thank you for the outstanding job you’ve done this past year. We’ve made great strides and accomplished big goals because of you,” said Powers. “Every day begins and ends with the people in this room. We are so blessed because we have a staff like you that are passionate, dedicated, and you work to keep our district at the forefront of education.”

Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos then set the tone for the academic year, he emphasized the importance of “Perfecting Your Practice”.

“This year we will solidify ourselves as the premier school district in the state of Texas, therefore it is imperative that we as a district perfect our practice,” said Dr. Cavazos.

He also reflected on an email he received from a former student thanking him for his words of encouragement and how those words motivated him to pursue his dreams 26 years ago.

“For our students to achieve, we must believe in each and every one of them, challenge them, support them, and get them to the finish line so they can start strong in their next stage in life,” said Dr. Cavazos.

Thursday’s morning session was dedicated to the Harlingen High School South feeder schools and the afternoon session was for the Harlingen High School feeder schools. District administrators welcomed back more than 1,000 teachers to HCISD with words of encouragement.

Guest speaker Manny Scott, original Freedom Writer, inspired teachers to believe in their students and to never give up in their mission to reach, and educate young minds.

“Mr. Scott’s presentation was very moving. I know how difficult it can be for some of these students that come to school just so they can have some food to eat,” said Pat Guajardo, HHSS AV Technology Teacher.” It inspired me to seek ways to help students that are less fortunate or maybe even just need someone to listen. He reminds us of how much power we hold as educators to make a difference in the lives of our students.”

Friday’s event was dedicated to the more than 600 employees that make up the District Operations’ staff. Guest speaker, Dr. Rosalinda Mercado-Garza Ph.D., a former HCISD student motivated staff to realize their full potential.

She shared with district staff her courageous story of how she broke free from her difficult situation with the help of educators.

“One person is all it took to change the trajectory of where my life and my siblings’ lives would go,” said Dr. Mercado-Garza.

Before closing, Dr. Mercado-Garza came on stage with her doctorate gown to thank HCISD teachers and staff for believing in her and helping her get to the finish line.

To see pictures from the event click here.

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