American Graduate Champion: Sevylla del Mazo

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

sevylla-del-mazoToday’s Champion is Sevylla del Mazo. As a music teacher at Roots & Rhythms program, del Mazo teaches students to embrace their own cultures. Roots & Rhythms is an after-school drumming program founded in 2008 by del Mazo. With drums created from recycled buckets, the bilingual students of Roots & Rhythms collaborate, create, and have some fun while learning the basics of percussion. Thanks to a grant from the City of Austin’s Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division, this program continues to foster ties in surrounding communities and inspires hope for local children. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Her love and inspiration is contagious. Sevylla del Mazo has found that the most important thing she can do as an educator is to teach her students the love of learning. This is exactly what she does at Roots & Rhythms after-school program. She inspires hope for these bilingual students and strives to show them that what makes them different, also makes them unique, special, and worthy of a bright future.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: The Communities In Schools XY Zone Program

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

communities-in-schoolsToday’s Champion is The Communities In Schools XY Zone Program. This program is a leadership development and peer support program that develops productive life skills to help students succeed in school and achieve in life. XY-Zone Coordinators engage approximately 400 young men per year in activities focused on the Five R’s – Respect, Responsibility, Relationships, Role Modeling and Reaching Out on ten high school campuses: Travis, Crockett, LBJ, Lehman, Lanier, Reagan, Manor, Del Valle, Hays, and Eastside Memorial. The effectiveness of the XY-Zone Program achieved national attention when featured in Leonard Pitts’ syndicated column as part of his “What Works” series. Pitts’ column was followed by stories on NPR’s Talk of the Nation and KUT’s In Black America. Communities In Schools of Central Texas was recognized as an organization that demonstrates a substantive commitment to access and equity for young men of color, and have played a critical role in improving the lives and educational experience for the students Communities In Schools serves. XY-Zone participants demonstrate improvements in grades, attendance or behavior; they decrease risky behaviors, increase volunteerism, leadership, and future aspirations, and they are challenged and empowered to aim high, get an education, and break the cycle of poverty. Outcomes: 90% of case managed students show improvement or maintain grades, attendance and/or behavior, 97% of case managed students remain in school, 92% of case managed students are promoted or graduate, participants are significantly more likely to report improved school/community involvement after engaging in XY-Zone activities. 400 case managed students are served each year and an additional 300 students receive short-term or crisis support. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “When you talk to students after participating in the program, they tell you how far they have come and how they couldn’t have made it through high school without the Communities In Schools XY Zone program. The XY Zone Coordinators who work with theses students are working directly on high school campuses providing direct service to students. These coordinators serve as role models and they give the young men in the XY Zone program a belief in themselves and help inspire them to dream big, work hard, and to achieve success after high school graduation.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: John Armbrust

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

john-armbrustToday’s Champion is John Armbrust. Armbrust is founder and Executive Director of Austin Achieve Public Schools, a new school in East Austin that serves some of the most at-risk students.The mission of Austin Achieve is college-readiness for all of students. The school currently serves over 400 students in 6-8th grade. The recognition letter submitted by the community said:  ”Many families, community members, and even city leaders are unaware of the disparity between public schools in our city. The more we can tell our story, the more we can work with community partners to change the tide of educational quality in East Austin. John has built a small but dedicated group of leaders in the business community, and has grown the school to already reach hundreds of families in northeast Austin.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Wendy Phillips Sturdevant

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

wendy-sturdevantToday’s Champion is Wendy Phillips Sturdevant. Sturdevant attended Lake Travis ISD from kindergarden through high school. She returned to the school district initially as a high shcool math teacher and now as Associate Principal at Lake Travis High School. She has taught accelerated math and also helped challenged students pass the State Mandated Exams required for graduation. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Wendy was always available before and after school for student mentoring, tutoring and general guidance. {She is proof of} the powers of love, support, hard work, determination and going the extra mile can result in success and fulfillment.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Tearsa Foster

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Tearsa Foster. Foster is a special education, social studies and ELA teacher at the Travis County Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program. She has dedicated more than ten years educating and empowering students who have been viewed as troubled and unreachable. Foster meets the students where they are when they enter her classroom, but sets high expectations for them which makes them strive for excellence. The majority of her students are academically behind and have experienced very little success in an academic setting. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Ms. Foster provides hope to all educators and parents. She works with adjudicated students who at times have learning disabilities and/or are emotionally disturbed, however she is able to reach them. Her approach in the classroom creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm for learning. It is a reminder to us all that sometimes it is not that the student cannot be reached, but that perhaps we simply need to take a different approach, and she does just that.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Yesica Diaz

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

yesica-diazToday’s Champion is Yesica Diaz. Diaz is a College and Career Counselor at Eastside Memorial High School in Austin. She has 9 years of experience in the field and has counseled students in the following areas: dropout prevention, youth employment programs, career power programs, juvenile hall counseling, and college counseling. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Yesica is a great example that sometimes all it takes is just listening to youth and genuinely being there for them. Yesica is an example that it doesn’t have to take much simply the willingness to accept and be there for youth.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Ginger Morris

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

ginger-morrisToday’s Champion is Ginger Morris. As the creator of the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards, producer/director/choreographer of high school musicals and mentor to musical theatre Students, Morris has had an impact on many students. She is also the Education Manager at the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the founder/ director of Texas Arts Project, a nationally recognized arts boarding camp at St. Stephen’s School. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Ginger works to make musical theatre not only accessible, but fun and memorable for young students who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. You often hear in the news of budget cuts for the arts, and how young people lack exposure to theatre and music – but Ginger is making sure that doesn’t become a reality here in Austin. She is living proof that anything is possible if you work hard enough, and that giving back is part of what makes the arts community in Austin so incredibly special. She is truly an inspiration for lovers of the arts, lovers of teaching, and overall lovers of our city.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Gabriel Estrada

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

gabriel-estradaToday’s Champion is Gabriel Estrada. Estrada directs Austin Voices for Education and Youth’s Stand Up Clubs and Project AIM after school  program, and assists with community organizing and school improvement  efforts. He worked for the Austin Independent School District for 20 years, 19 of those as a 5th and 6th grade teacher at Zavala Elementary in East Austin. While there, he was an active member of Zavala’s renaissance as a nationally recognized community-based school reform model. His efforts in Zavala’s turnaround included leading educator development, house meetings over issues brought forth from community members and teachers, and actively initiating programs that enriched the education of students. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “In his 20 years of teaching, Gabe shepherded many a student and quite a few families to a pathway of academic success. Most of these families are Latino and low-income, and Gabe’s role as a mentor and trailblazer was significant. He believes in public education and its promise to give everyone the opportunity to be successful.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Phillip Eaglin

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

phillip-eaglinToday’s Champion is Phillip Eaglin. Eaglin, a former middle/high school teacher is the Founder & CEO of Changing Expectations, which provides informal STEM education learning opportunities for youth. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Phillips is an active advocate for young men of color and the importance of education. He has a perspective on his work that is firmly grounded in his own history as a science classroom teacher and as a professional development provider for science and mathematics education as well as for systemic school improvement. Phillip is strongly committed to supporting the STEM teaching and learning of high-need, traditionally underserved student populations, their parents, and their teachers.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Melissa Arasin

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

melissa-arasinToday’s Champion is Melissa Arasin. Arasin is a teacher at the International High School, a two-year program for recent immigrants in the Austin ISD. She becomes their motivator, translator, and she helps her kids explore the opportunities open to them in American society.  The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “The International HS does important work but it’s tucked away on the campus of the much better-known Eastside Memorial HS in far East Austin. Melissa would be lauded for her efforts no matter where she taught but the fact that she loves her work and the kids who come to her from around the globe keeps her plugging away.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.