The passion and dreams of students were showcased Tuesday morning as the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District celebrated Texas Public Schools Week at the Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy.
Texas Public Schools Week, an annual celebration of the accomplishments and success stories of the state’s public school system, includes events across all 28 HCISD schools from Monday March 3 – Friday March 7. The event at Dr. Cano Freshman Academy, the district’s newest school, featured the official district-wide celebration, bringing together parents, district leaders, city officials and students.
“A significant centerpiece of the celebration of Texas public schools in Harlingen is the opening of this beautiful new building,” Superintendent Dr. Arturo Cavazos said. “Creating flexible learning spaces and a supportive school environment that inspires students are important variables to equating world-class public schools. But the sum to that equation is not the facility. It’s the learning.”
The Dr. Cano Freshman Academy opened its doors in August 2013, bringing together all HCISD ninth grade students who chose to feed into Harlingen High School or Harlingen High School South. The school was a significant component to the 2010 Bond Initiative when voters approved $98.6 million in new facility and renovation projects across HCISD.
“A city is only as good as its public schools,” Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell said to the crowd at Cano. “You can’t do great things without public schools. It doesn’t matter how many jobs or businesses you bring to your city if you don’t have people who are college and workforce ready.”
The Dr. Cano Freshman Academy offers students five schools of study that align with a university style operation. This format allows students to begin thinking about their college and career choices at an early age, positioning them for a smooth transition to the comprehensive high schools, the graduation endorsements set by the 2013 Texas Legislature with House Bill 5 and to post secondary education.
“Coming to CFA showed me what I wanted to do,” said Sahvanna Lopez, a Cano student who aspires to study to become a psychiatrist. “My career and technology classes in professional communication and introduction to human services have shown me that my is for helping others.”
The theme of Texas Public Schools Week for 2014 is Leave Your Mark. Schools across HCISD have used this theme as a guide for selecting activities and celebrations, inspiring students to dream big and to aspire to become successful citizens in Texas.
“Education is the most valuable currency,” HCISD School Board President George McShan said. “It empowers students throughout their lives. That’s the power of public schools.”
McShan, the longest serving board member with 26 years of service, spoke in his speech about the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. the Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools across the United States. He told the story of his father, a bus driver in a town outside of Austin, Texas, who was a hard worker and advocate of education, raising as on who would eventually become a leader nationwide in education with George McShan serving as the president of the National Association of School Boards in 2004.
The event at Cano represented a grand opening of its gymnasium, which was completed earlier this year. The school also unveiled its first mascot, a muscular Raven with a happy face. The event also included performances by the Raven cheerleaders, jazz band and women’s choir, as well as the presentation of colors by the schools Air Force and Army JROTC cadets and the National Anthem by student Victoria Monroy.