Ceremony celebrates 2004 honor roll schools of South Texas
Posted: 04/07/2005
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Twelve schools from the Rio Grande Valley were honored at The University of Texas-Pan American March 31, during the Texas Business and Education Coalition (TBEC) - Just for the Kids Honor Roll Schools of South Texas awards ceremony and dinner.

The honor roll schools are recognized for being the best performing public schools in the state and most consistent performers in educating all student groups over a three-year period of time.

UTPA's Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Dr. John Edwards (left) and UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas (center) presented an award to Graciela Olabarrieta (right), principal of Garza-Pena Elementary School, at the awards ceremony on March 31.
UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas thanked the school leaders and educators in attendance and said that the evening not only celebrated excellence, but commitment, dedication, care and love for children.

"Tonight we celebrate you because you have managed to make the connection between the intellectual powers that are in our community - in our children and in our region - and academic success," she said, as the evening's keynote speaker.

Cardenas told the crowd that children in schools today are likely to have a life span way beyond any known in human history.

"We cannot imagine the world our children - the children in your classrooms - will live in," she said. "The challenge, therefore, is to put into practice and to achieve educational success on a scale that none of us has dared to imagine before."

John H. Stevens, executive director of the Texas Business and Education Coalition, spoke on behalf of TBEC and was also the recipient of the Bridge Builder Award for his commitment to education and students.
Dr. John Edwards, UTPA's vice president for Enrollment and Student Services and the master of ceremonies, congratulated the schools on their achievement.

"What you (educators) do helps our families and communities in the Valley and it helps this University," Edwards said.

Executive Director of TBEC, John H. Stevens, said the schools in attendance represented excellence in Texas public education and noted there has always been a large concentration of honor roll schools in the Valley.

"What you do for the young people in your care would just blow people away," he said. "The reason we celebrate your success, is that what you do everyday provides the foundation for the kind of world we all want to live in."

Edwards honored Rose Marie Flores, who served the field of education for 42 years and recently retired as the principal of Bonham Elementary School in McAllen, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication and service.

"I am very thrilled and honored. I want to thank my wonderful faculty - some of whom are here tonight - I couldn't have done it without them," Flores said. "They are the ones who do the job, so I want to thank them for this honor."

Also recognized was Stevens, with a Bridge Builder Award for his continued influence as a prime mover for school reform and academic preparedness for students.

Rose Marie Flores, a recently retired principal from Bonham Elementary School, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 42 years of service to the field of education.
"I can't tell you how honored I am," Stevens said, who then reflected on the importance of the role of educators in his life. "You never know where that little boy or girl will go. It is our job to teach them, care for them and love them because they are 100 percent of our future," he said.

The following schools were recognized at the ceremony and presented awards by Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, UTPA's provost/vice president for Academic Affairs: Yturria Elementary School, Brownsville ISD; George West Primary School, George West ISD; Palmer-Laakso Elementary School, Los Fresnos CISD; Bonham Elementary School, McAllen ISD; Leal and Mims Elementary Schools, Mission CISD; Daniel Ramirez, Garza-Pena and North San Juan Elementary Schools, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD; South Texas High School for Health Professions and The Science Academy of South Texas, South Texas ISD and Valley View Elementary School, Valley View ISD.

Twelve of the 89 schools chosen for the 2004 award were from South Texas. Mims Elementary School was recognized for its fourth time on the honor roll.

For more information about TBEC Just for the Kids Honor Roll visit