SHS' Leah Warren Receives 'GROW' Award from Commissioner Sid Miller

Award Gives Recognition for Outstanding Work to high-achieving Texas students

AUSTIN – Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today honored Leah Warren, a senior from Sweetwater High School in Sweetwater, Texas, as the winner of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s monthly GROW award. The award Gives Recognition for Outstanding Work to middle and high school students who demonstrate leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom.

“I have to tip my hat to Leah for earning this month’s GROW award,” Commissioner Miller said. “Thanks to young leaders like Leah the future of Texas looks brighter than ever. I couldn’t be more proud to honor Leah, as she symbolizes everything I look for in a great leader — a strong work ethic, dedication to community and family, and a can-do attitude.”

Leah was chosen from hundreds of Texas students for demonstrating leadership in her school activities, as well as her commitment to community service. She is a shining example of a student leader who is dedicated to everything she does and the community around her.

Leah is a six-year member of FFA who participates, coordinates and assists in planning every major event and show each year. She has participated in stock shows, poultry and cotton judging, and veterinary technology contests. Leah also is recognized for providing inspiration to incoming students by assisting them in deciding what direction to take in school.

Beyond FFA, she is a band drum major and percussionist, as well as the 2015 Sweetwater High School "Yucca Gloriosa" Band Representative. Leah also is a member of the school’s Robotics Club.

“If someone asked me to describe the key attributes of a student leader, I would think of Leah Warren and her servant leadership approach at Sweetwater High School,” said Dr. Ronald Morris, principal of Sweetwater High School. “I know that Leah will exceed all expectations and demonstrate Texas pride in her future endeavors by leading with a quick smile and a compassionate heart.”

In the classroom, Leah excels in honors and dual credit classes. She has already earned 18 college hours through Western Texas College. Leah loves being challenged by rigorous instruction and academics — something that’s evident in her success. Leah also represents Sweetwater High School as part of the National Society of High School Scholars.

In the community, Leah plays intramural soccer, operates the technology each Sunday morning for her church and was crowned the 2014-2015 Sweetwater Lions Club Queen.

“Receiving the GROW award celebrates the positive impact the community of Sweetwater, Texas, has had on my development over the years,” said Leah. “Moreover, I am thrilled that our new Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Sid Miller, continues to recognize student leaders in Texas who demonstrate excellence in academic and extracurricular activities.”

This fall, Leah plans to attend Tarleton State University, where she will study science and pursue a career in veterinary medicine.

For more on Leah’s accomplishments, click here. The Texas Department of Agriculture established the GROW award to celebrate outstanding student leaders who demonstrate excellence in either their academic or extracurricular activities. Students can be nominated by community leaders such as teachers, coaches, school administrators, mayors, county judges or anyone else committed to recognizing youth leadership and achievement.

To nominate a promising middle or high school student, visit TDA’s website One GROW award winner is chosen monthly. Nominations for next month’s award are due March 1, 2015.

Tooth Fairy Pays a Visit to Students at Cowen Early Childhood Center

The tooth fairy, from Abilene Pediatric Dental Associates, came to visit JP Cowen students recently.  Rebecca Martinez had students well engaged and learning the facts of brushing their teeth.  All students received a Smile Bag with a princess, Cars, Toy Story Toothbrush, Sparkle Toothpaste, floss, stickers, and other free goodies! According to Principal Crystal Meneses, "It was a wonderful learning experience for the students at JPC!"

East Ridge Elementary 3rd Graders Learn at Abilene's Safety City

Third graders from East Ridge Elementary recently participated in activities at Abilene's Safety City. The Safety City program includes an educational facility featuring a "child-size" town of miniature buildings, streets, crosswalks, functional traffic lights, sidewalks, a working railroad crossing, and a school bus. A state-of-the-art fire education center opened in September 2009 that allows firefighters to teach home fire safety, and to fill a room with simulated smoke, allowing children to practice escape plans and gather at a designated meeting location. Construction on a "police" education building was completed in March 2011. This building houses a new classroom with stadium style seating and interactive learning tools.

Safety City's curriculum is designed to teach young people to recognize safety hazards found in everyday life and to learn to make wise choices when they are in situations which have the potential to cause them injury or harm. It is open to first and third grade school classes throughout the school year and to individuals, day care centers, recreation centers, church groups, etc. during the summer. Programs offered include bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, fire prevention, stranger awareness and our annual summer safety camp.

Alaina Andrews Selected as Sweetwater High's New Year Girl

Sweetwater High School recently announced the 2015 New Year Girl.  This contest was sponsored by the SHS Yearbook staff and the girls were nominated by their classmates.  The winners were selected by a mystery judge.

2015 New Year Girl--Alaina Andrews--junior

1st runner-up--Marisa Moncada--junior

2nd runner-up--Angela Blueford--freshman

3rd runner-up--Caty Borders--freshman

4th runner-up--Kaitlyn Thompson--junior

Lehnert and Leyva Advance to Regional Spelling Bee in Odessa

Kara Lehnert from Sweetwater Middle School and Hector Leyva from Sweetwater Intermediate each won their respective local competitions and will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee at Odessa College on February 28th. Runners Up locally were Danner Foust at SMS and Maryah Hutson at SIS.

Southeast Elementary Hosts Math Night for Parents

On Thursday, January 29th, Southeast Elementary invited parents to a Math Information Gathering. Kinder and first grade teachers answered questions and presented ways to help students with math strategies. Ideas were shared for use at home to help increase math understanding. Pictured in Principal Peggy Elliott discussing math ideas with parents.

Sweetwater Intermediate Robotics Team Advances to State Competition

The Sweetwater Intermediate School Robotics teams placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the TCEA Area Robotics Competition held at Clyde, in the Arena category. The school also placed 5th in the Inventions Category. The SISD 2nd place team will continue into the State Competition in May.  

Sweetwater ISD Employees Pledge $9,010 to Local United Way

Sweetwater ISD pledges $9,010 to local United Way. Lead by the district's United Way Leaders  (Dr. Ron Morris, Laura Orr, Danette Price, Kirk Stroman, Rajeania Pittman, Vicki Mayberry, Paula Carmichael, Peggy Elliott, Courtney Martin, Crystal Meneses and Ann Allen) the following totals were reached:

SHS - $2410

SMS - $855

SIS - $1745

ER - $1055

SE - $771

JPC - $500

Admin Building - $1674

Congratulations to Sweetwater High School who surpassed all past records of their donations and reached 100% participation.  Dr. Morris' creative enthusiasm was contagious! And, a huge thank you to Candy Mercer who designates the Powder Puff admissions to United Way each year.  Under her leadership, the SHS Student Council gave $300.  Thanks to SIS who consistently ranks at the top.  Truly, thank you to everyone. Your generosity is unmatched!

So proud of SISD being Stronger Than Ever and the true winner is our community.  This money will directly support Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, SNAP, Gateway Family Services, Women's Resource Center, Cancer Services Network, Sweetwater Backpack Buddies and the Big Country Medical Reserve Corps.