The University of Texas-Pan American honored nine "Honor Roll" schools from the Rio Grande Valley. Ranked by the Texas Business and Education Coalition (TBEC) and Just for the Kids Program (JFTK) during a banquet held Thursday, April 4 at the Ballroom, UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez presented each principal with an award for the school's success during the year.
"This is an evening of excellence because we are here to celebrate you," Nevárez said. "This institution has come a long way since its beginning in 1927. It has been recognized for its contributions towards creating South Texas teachers, and it will continue in that role by preparing tomorrow's teachers today."
Nevárez also credited the education accomplishments of South Texas to the close relationship the University has with area districts.
During the banquet, educators were given the opportunity to hear from Keynote Speaker John Stevens, executive director for TBEC. Stevens addressed the current budget problems and its effects on public education, but encouraged administrators and teachers to continue their quest for better resources.
"I know it's hard for educators to watch what is going on in Austin. Let me tell you that I don't think it's easy for our leaders either," Stevens said. "But tonight we are here to recognize those school districts that have educated our students at the highest level."
In order to make the prestigious TBEC/JFTK Honor Roll, schools have to meet rigorous criteria over a three-year period that includes high performance on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills tests. Only schools rated "Exemplary" or "Recognized" under the state's accountability system can qualify for consideration.
"We are thrilled with the work you have done in the schools because your success is our success," said Dr. John Edwards, UTPA vice president for Enrollment and Student Services.
Valley schools honored were Canterbury Elementary of Edinburg; Downs Elementary of San Benito; Dr. R.E. Margo Elementary of Weslaco and Leal Elementary; Marcell Elementary and Mims Elementary all from Mission; Stell Middle School and Lopez High School of Brownsville; and Memorial High School of McAllen.
Also honored for many years of dedication in improving education in South Texas was Murla Midkiff, former educator from the Mission I.S.D.
In all 42 Texas elementary schools, 12 middle schools and nine high schools were named to the TBEC/JFTK Honor Roll for 2002.