Category Archives: Awards

GPISD’s Hobbs Williams Elementary School Named 2020 National Blue Ribbon School

The Grand Prairie Independent School District is proud to announce that Hobbs Williams Elementary School has been named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School. Williams is one of only 367 schools across the country to be recognized today by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a Blue Ribbon School based on overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“We are extremely proud of the students and staff of Hobbs Williams Elementary School,” said Linda Ellis, GPISD Superintendent of Schools. “This award affirms their hard work and commitment to excellence.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years. 

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

The U.S. Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

·         Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

·         Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Education Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13.

DFW Airport Chaplaincy recognizes major supporters with Ministry of Presence awards

By Stacey Doud

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Congresswoman Kay Granger and Rev. Greg McBrayer

The DFW Interfaith Chaplains held their annual Ministry of Presence Awards in the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport on December 13. These awards recognize the men and women who have gone above and beyond to keep the Chaplaincy open and available to DFW Airport travelers who may need spiritual comfort.

“We wanted to recognize those who have blessed us and continue to bless others,” said Father Greg McBrayer, who serves as a senior chaplain and is a 40-year employee of American Airlines, as well as the Host for the event.

“The mission of the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy is to provide the ministry of presence, spiritual counseling and personal support to the DFW Airport community at large by providing places of worship and reflection for people of all faiths and religious traditions,” McBrayer said.

The Chaplaincy is in its 42nd year and is currently made up of 19 volunteer chaplains representing different religions, as well as two intern chaplains. These clergy members keep this service open 24 hours a day and seven days a week in chapels in all of the DFW terminals.

“Every year, we gather to give thanks and to reflect and to recognize, some special individuals who have contributed in making our Chaplaincy the beacon of light, which it has become at DFW International Airport,” McBrayer explained.

To meet the needs of people of all different religions, the Chaplaincy offers sacred scriptures, such as the Bible and the Torah, as well as holding services for Catholic, Protestant and Islamic guests. The chaplains provide counsel, prayer and support, from consoling family members of fallen soldiers to performing weddings free of charge.

“This year, our Board of Directors added corporate sponsors and three new board members. We made additional improvements to our web site, and we added three new Chaplains. We also reinstated our Associate Chaplain internship program,” McBrayer said.

“This year’s, annual Spring Fling Golf Outing and RISE UP Prayer Breakfast were both very well attended again and fostered new partnerships in the airport area, enabling us to widen our footprint in the community.

“This year was also a very active year for our Chaplains, as we participated at more than 100 Fallen Soldier Angel Flights and ramp-side services of our own AA Employees transitioning home to their final resting places.  

 “We had more than 7,000 DFW employees and travelers attended our regular and special services, chapel masses and interfaith services. 

“This year, our chaplains logged more than 4,000 hours, connecting with more than 19,000 airport employees, travelers, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and military personnel. Of those, more than 4,000 were personally counseled. Our Chaplains also provided the ministry presence at numerous DFW Airport, DPS, American Airlines and other airport Community events.

“We also, provided continuing education training for our Chaplains and remain actively involved with DFW Airport and American Airlines at all Emergency Response Drills.

 “The highlight of this year, however, was the ribbon cutting and consecration of the new Terminal D – Meadows Chapel, located near gate 40, which is much larger and far more accommodating for all our all of worshipers. We are one of the few US Airports with Ablution Stations for our Muslims,” McBrayer reported.

McBrayer presented DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue, DFW Hub Operations Vice President Cedric Rockamore and Liz Wahlquist, who worked for Braniff for four years and continues to support the Chaplaincy, with Ministry of Presence awards. Kay Granger, who is a former mayor or Fort Worth and is now a Congresswoman, received an Honorary Lifetime Advisory Board Member position for her assistance in keeping the Chaplaincy Program alive via her position in government.

“We are recognizing our past, present and future,” McBrayer said. “We honored the past with recognizing Congresswoman Kay Granger, the present with Liz Wahlquist and Cedric Rockamore, and the future with Sean Donahue, who underwrote the spaces we needed at the airport. This allows us to serve many purposes, with one being ‘spiritual first responders,’” he added.

“The potential growth [for the airport] is enormous. DFW Airport strengthens and supports the area, and we try to support the supporters,” McBrayer added.

For more information, visit http://www.dfwairportchapel.org/.

The Winning Sand Sculpture of the 2019 Texas Sand Sculpture Festival

liberty-crumbling-by-damon-langlois-1Damon Langlois has been awarded 1st Place for his incredible sand sculpture, “Liberty Crumbling”, at the 2019 Texas SandFest. The 23rd annual Texas SandFest drew 35,000 people to Port Aransas, Texas and is recognized as the largest native-sand sculpture competition in the United States.

Texas SandFest’s mission is to give back to the community by raising funds for local charities and scholarships for high school students. This year they raised $355,000 and have raised $1,261,750 for charities in the last 8 years.

To see all of the winners from this year’s competition click here.

Read more from Twisted Sifter…

Grapevine Police Detective earns award from US Attorney’s office

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Detective Joseph Moeller (L) and Chief of Police Mike Hamlin

One of Grapevine Police Department’s detective’s perseverance through his pursuit of justice has earned him high honors by the United States Attorney’s Office – Northern District of Texas.

On May 10 2019, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Dana presented Detective Joseph Moeller with the U.S. Attorney’s Award of Excellence.

Detective Moeller and Special Agent T.J. Banks earned the award for their work in the case against Glenn Eugene Halfin, who ultimately pleaded guilty to Interference with Housing Rights, a hate crime statute created to protect people trying to live in peace from racial harassment.

Detective Moeller dedicated months to investigating harassment against a Grapevine family that included vandalism to their car and nooses around dolls, left for the family to find. Detective Moeller spent countless hours conducting surveillance and going through evidence to identify the suspect. Once Moeller had his case, he reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s office, believing the case could be federally prosecuted. He was right, and Halfin got the maximum penalty of 12 months.

Please join us in congratulating Detective Moeller on this prestigious award, as we thank him for his service, today and every day, in Grapevine.

Grapevine Dispatcher honored as Tarrant County’s Telecommunicator of the Year

header_npstw2019Every year during the second week of April, the telecommunications personnel in the public safety community are honored during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This event is a time to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving their communities. [Source: NPSTW.org]

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Elizabeth Wheeler (Photo: Grapevine PD)

This year (as well as last year), a Grapevine Police Department employee has been chosen as the Tarrant County Telecommunicator of the Year by the Tarrant County 9-1-1 District. This year’s honor goes to Elizabeth Wheeler!

The following is a description of the incident that Wheeler was most recognized for, though she takes pride in providing excellent public service for all calls during all of her shifts, including recently keeping a calm demeanor during a high-speed chase:

On January 6 2019, Wheeler received a 9-1-1 call from a young man on Grapevine Lake whose kayak had tipped over and blown away. Elizabeth worked quickly to input a call for service and ascertain his location to send first responders.  

When the man stated that his legs were becoming numb, Elizabeth encouraged him to continue moving, and assured him that help was on the way. Wind gusts were up to 25 mph, and Elizabeth continuously monitored the caller’s latitude and longitude for any location updates. Once the fireboat spotted him and pulled him into the boat, the man was in a hypothermic state from the cold – his body temperature had dropped to 80 degrees. 

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(L-R): Captain Mark Bills; Dispatcher Elizabeth Wheeler; Rotarian Brad Schnautz, Deputy Superintendent for GCISD; and Fire Chief Darrell Brown

Elizabeth stayed on the line with the victim for 25 minutes until his rescue, providing the utmost care, concern and empathy. Her handling of this call and the calm nature that she provided is the perfect example of the positive impact Dispatchers can make.

Elizabeth was honored with a Vocational Service Award and monetary gift from Grapevine Rotary for her actions in this case. [Source: GrapevineTX.gov]

Elizabeth has worked as a Telecommunicator for 13 years, and has been at Grapevine Police Department for a year-and-a-half. She says that she often gets asked if she feels numb after taking so many calls. “I am a point of hope for the people who call me,” she said. “Even if something doesn’t seem like an emergency to me, I have to remember that the caller considers the issue as one. So, I never get ‘numb.’  I have to be present with the caller. I do this because I have a passion to help people.”

Elizabeth has had some humorous calls in her lengthy career. “Parents need to educate their kids about 9-1-1 being only for when someone is hurt or if there’s a fire – things like that. I’ve had kids call me and say they needed help with their homework. That was an emergency to them!

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Saving the Pig

“My weirdest call was in reference to someone’s pet pig getting out. We thought it was a micro or mini pig. Nope! It was a huge pot belly! Her owner was on vacation and it was the first time that the pig was without her ‘person.’ So we had officers respond and save the pig!” Elizabeth added.

As Tarrant County’s Telecommunicator of the Year, Wheeler had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the very first Telecommunicator Appreciation Night, at the Rangers vs. the Oakland A’s game at Globe Life Park on April 13! Unfortunately, the game was rained out, but she’ll have another opportunity on June 8, when the Rangers make up the game with the A’s in a double header.

Fortunately, Elizabeth and her family were able to enjoy the evening, despite the weather. 

CONGRATULATIONS ELIZABETH!

 

 

[Editor’s Note: If you’d like to thank your community dispatchers, please DO NOT call 9-1-1 to do so. Call the non-emergency number for your police department or stop by the Public Safety Building to express your thanks.]

Fourth-grader wins school science fair by proving Tom Brady is a cheater

Author: Adrianna Rodríguez

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A 10-year-old boy in Kentucky set out to discover through hard science one of history’s most debated questions: Is Tom Brady a cheater?

Christopher Davis was looking for ways to get his son, Ace, excited about his school’s science fair at Millcreek Elementary.

Davis knew his son was a big football buck and thought this was a good way for him and the family to get through “the tedious project.” And it looks like Ace had a good time with it.

Read more from WFAA…

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport receives recognition for service and excellence

By 

planeTrade publication Air Transport World named Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport the 2019 Airport of the Year for its customer service experience, leadership in sustainability, efficiency and collaborative efforts with other agencies, according to a Thursday news release.

The recognition is the result of DFW Airport staff’s commitment to service, airport CEO Sean Donohue said in the news release.

“DFW is experiencing the fastest growth in more than a decade, and we see it as an opportunity to welcome the world to the Dallas Fort Worth region and advance the innovation and collaboration that deliver for our customers and make our communities stronger,” he said in a statement.

Read more from Community Impact…

North Texas restaurant ranks No. 2 on Yelp’s Best Places to Eat

By: FOX4News.com Staff

 – A North Texas barbecue restaurant was named the second best place to eat in the country, thanks to Yelp users.

295 5p tz2-celina tender smokehouse_00.00.00.29_1547079501152.png_6608035_ver1.0_640_360Tender Smokehouse opened in Celina, just north of Frisco, less than two years ago. It’s now listed as No. 2 on the review website’s 2019 Best Places to Eat. The list is based on restaurant ratings on Yelp and the number of reviews.

Read more from FOX4…

By Steven Devadanam

282627_originalThe already much-heralded University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has just scored global bragging rights. Jim Allison, a scientist at the revered health institute in Houston, has been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, it was announced on October 1.

Allison, who is the chair of Immunology and executive director of the Immunotherapy Platform, is the first MD Anderson scientist to receive the world’s most coveted award for discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine.

Read more from CultureMap Dallas…

Frisco ISD’s Karthik Nemmani plans to use Spelling Bee prize money towards Ivy League college

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Photo Courtesy Krishna Nemmani

The 14-year-old McKinney resident who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May said he plans to use the prize money to pursue an Ivy League education.

Karthik Nemmani took home more than $42,000 worth of prizes after winning the premier spelling competition, which culminated in a championship on May 31 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The prize haul included a $40,000 cash award from Scripps and another $2,500 cash prize from Merriam-Webster. The dictionary publisher and Encyclopedia Britannica also provided Karthik with a series of reference materials.

Read more from Community Impact…