Sweetwater High FFA Student Alyssa Soles Receives Ford Leadership Honor

Sweetwater High School Senior, Alyssa Soles was selected to participate in the Ford Leadership Scholars program. Participants are juniors in high school and are chosen based upon six characteristics of leadership – action, relationships, vision, character, awareness and continuous improvement. 

Last month, she attended a pre-selection program in Austin that provided an intense hands-on leadership development experience through apprentice-type scenarios, interaction with nationally recognized leaders and selection of projects to be completed by students in their respective communities. 

“Fostering effective, visionary servant leadership is vitally important to the future of our state and nation. I believe the Ford Leadership Scholars program provides a unique opportunity for FFA members to develop their potential to lead a life of influence and for the FFA to create a legacy of leadership for communities across Texas” said Texas FFA Executive Director Tom Maynard. 

Funded by an endowment established by the Ford Motor Company, Texas Ford dealers and the Texas FFA Foundation, the program provides opportunities to enhance leadership experiences of Texas FFA members.

Due to a conflict in schedules between the Ford Leadership Scholars Summit and serving as a Regional FFA Officer, Alyssa was required to attend the State Convention with the Sweetwater High School FFA Team this week in Corpus Christi, Texas. "Just being selected as a Ford Leadership Scholar is a great honor," said FFA Lead Teacher Corey Rains. "Students rarely have conflicts, but Alyssa works hard to serve the Sweetwater High School FFA program. She is and outstanding leader who strives for continuous improvement while fostering positive relationships with other students on campus."

The Texas FFA Association is an agricultural youth leadership organization that has operated as an integral part of the state’s agricultural education curriculum since 1929. The organization is the nation’s largest state FFA association with a membership of more than 109,000 members in more than 1,045 high school and middle school campuses.  Sweetwater High School's FFA program serves more than 125 students with classes in livestock production, advance animal science, mechanics/metallurgy, and horticulture. The SHS Agricultural Instructional Team includes lead teacher, Corey Rains and teachers Bailey Minor and Jarrod Gee.

Sweetwater High School is proud to have 100% highly qualified staff in all areas of instruction and fully staffed extra-curricular, athletics, and fine arts departments.  The campus is working to improve the quality of instruction, create engaging lessons, and build on the success of current programs as they work to become the premier high school in the Big Country.

Sweetwater High School Teacher Selected by Texas Tech for Doctorial Program

Ms. Vickers, standing by a display in her SHS Dual Credit and Spanish Classroom, proudly displays Texas Tech University pride.

Ms. Vickers, standing by a display in her SHS Dual Credit and Spanish Classroom, proudly displays Texas Tech University pride.

Sweetwater High School Spanish and Dual Credit Teacher Kristie Vickers was notified by Texas Tech University that she was selected to complete her Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction degree beginning this fall. University Director of Graduate and International Admissions, Shelby Cearley, notified Ms. Vickers stating that "it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Dean of the Graduate School has approved your admission."

Texas Tech University located in Lubbock is entering a new era of excellence as they work to become one of the nation's leading research institutions. University enrollment is more than 35,000 students with annual expenditures on research in 2014 topping $150 million.  Texas Tech is committed to attracting and retaining quality students. The university strives to foster an environment that celebrates student accomplishment above all else.

Access to doctoral programs is reserved for students who have demonstrated uncommon scholastic ability at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Ms. Vickers will continue to teach Spanish and Dual Credit classes at Sweetwater High School as she begins the multi-year process of academic classes, research, and publication.

"As I work with students at school I realized that my students deserve top notch instruction from teachers utilizing the latest research on rigorous curriculum implementation," said Ms. Vickers. "I believe that the effort that I put into the program at Texas Tech will help me better serve my students in Sweetwater and our community."

Sweetwater High School is proud to have 100% highly qualified staff in all areas of instruction.  The campus is working to improve the quality of instruction, create engaging lessons, and build on the success of current programs as they work to become the premier high school in the Big Country.

Sweetwater High School Announces Senior Picture Appointment Schedule

Senior pictures for the class of 2016 are scheduled for July 20-21, 2015 on the stage in the Sweetwater High School Auditorium.

On Monday, July 20th, pictures may be scheduled from 11:30am - 3:45pm.

On Tuesday, July 21st, pictures may be scheduled from 8:30am - 1:30pm.

The yearbook staff would like to encourage all seniors to schedule their pictures during these times, if possible.  The cost will be $15 for cap/gown/tux/drape.  For the entire senior portfolio with all of the senior poses and casual outfits, the cost will be $35.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Mercer.

SHS Ends Summer Program and Prepares Students for Summer Testing

The campus principal, assistant principal, and office staff hosted a cookout for Summer School Students to thank them for their hard work and dedication during the Summer School program at Sweetwater High School.

"The students work hard and they deserve something special," said Office Manager Laura Orr.  "I know that taking the time to go to school each day, when most of their friends are still in bed, requires tremendous effort."

This year's summer school included four weeks of instruction four days each week.  Students were able to brush up on critical Algebra, English I, Biology, and English II skills while any student who needed to make up credit had the opportunity to complete courses in the Credit Recovery Classroom.  Terri Petty, Paula Ordway, Sandra Sanchez, Melody Copland, Dan Huskerson, and Shane Faucet were teachers that volunteered to work with students during the Summer School.

Snacks were provided to students each day during summer school. Several students reported that the best part of summer school was seeing what new snack was planned each day.  Funding for snacks came from the district's general fund and Champions for Kids.  Champions for Kids is a national non-profit organization that makes it simple to give kids in communities the resources they need to thrive!

The Texas Education Agency requires students to pass STAAR End of Course Exams to be eligible to receive a diploma from Texas public schools.  Summer School students as well as other students who did not pass the STAAR Exam may re-take the exam during summer testing the week of July 6, 2015.

Summer STAAR Testing Schedule:

Monday, July 6th - English I

Tuesday, July 7th - Algebra I

 Wednesday, July 8th - English II

 Thursday, July 9th - Biology and US History

Summer STAAR testing will start at 8:00 a.m. each day in the Sweetwater High School Library. The campus goal is for all students to pass required testing before entering their senior year.

The vision of the 2015 Sweetwater High School Summer School was to provide an opportunity for students to regain credit for failed classes while providing an avenue for students who failed STAAR subject area exams to prepare for the July 2015 retest.  Focused summer interventions and assistance for struggling students is another program that the high school is implementing as they work to become the premier high school in the Big Country.

Sweetwater Rotary Club Sponsors SHS Students in RYLA Leadership Camp

The Sweetwater Rotary Club is sponsoring four students from Sweetwater High School to join 100 other Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) recipients to participate in RYLA Leadership Camp in Levelland, Texas.

This year's RYLA selectees are 2015-2016 Seniors Alaina Andrews, Mark Lawrence, Michael Lawrence, and Mikeilah Foust.  

Camp RYLA is a youth program of Rotary International that teaches leadership, character development, free enterprise, and patriotism.  It provide a unique opportunity for youth to learn of the great opportunities for service and accomplishment while interacting with business and professional leaders from the area.

RYLA campers are carefully selected for their leadership qualities, scholarship and excellent moral standards. Campers learn the blessings and responsibilities of being a citizen of a free society. Camp RYLA engages the attendees on topics and activities designed to teach the vital ingredients in successful leaders. Campers develop their problem-solving and conflict-management skills, build self-confidence and self-esteem, and learn about community and global citizenship, sportsmanship, competition, physical fitness, spirituality and character.

"By working with today's youth leaders, Camp RYLA is trying to help guarantee a bright future for tomorrow's generation," said Michael Fernandez, President, Rotary Club of Sweetwater. "The leadership training sessions at Camp RYLA provide informal talks by selected speakers followed by discussion groups. Camp RYLA looks to remove the "generation gap" and to foster understanding, goodwill and critical thinking for those who participate through discussions and recreational activities."

Sweetwater High School is proud of the students selected by the Rotary Club of Sweetwater to represent our community at Camp RYLA as they work to make Sweetwater High School the premier high school in the Big Country!

SHS Student Selected to Attend the U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar

SHS Student Selected to Attend the U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar

Sweetwater High School Senior, Mary Morris was selected to attend the United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar in Annapolis, Maryland.  The program is a fast-paced, six-day experience for high achievers who have completed their junior year in high school. Summer Seminar teaches students about life at the Naval Academy, where academics, athletics, and professional training play equally important roles in developing our nation's leaders. The program is attended by students who may be interested in pursuing an appointment to one of the nation's service academies and serving our country as a military officer.

She applied to attend the Summer Seminar in February, was selected to participate in April, and attended the program this month. "When I received my acceptance notification I was ecstatic," said Morris. "Both of my parents were Gulf War Veterans and I've been thinking very seriously about following their footsteps. My goal is to graduate college as a chemical engineer and I would love to put my skills to work supporting and defending the United States of America." 

A typical day of training included 5:45 a.m. physical fitness training, followed by academic workshops in the morning and afternoon.  Dinner was served each day at 6:30 p.m. with evening workshops including career opportunity presentations by Navy and Marine Corps officers and the popular mock "Plebe Indoctrination Session." Each day ended at 11:00 p.m. with "Taps" and much needed rest for participants.

The Summer Seminar has an academic focus.  Mary attended workshops on Naval Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Chemistry, Ethics and Character Development, and Political Science.  

Mary is a member of the Best Robotic State Team, Lego Robotic State Team, Sweetwater High School Band, UIL Theater, and Sweetwater High School Girls Golf.  She will focus on applying for a Nomination from U.S. Representative Randy Neugebauer and Appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy this summer and fall. 

Faculty and Staff Support College Readiness at Sweetwater High School

Sweetwater High School Staff Kristian Morris, Sherri Whittenburg, Rebecca Duncan, Tracy Pradon, Ruth Ann Campbell, Jearlyn Allen, and Ronald Morris attend the AVID Conference in Dallas, TX.

Sweetwater High School Staff Kristian Morris, Sherri Whittenburg, Rebecca Duncan, Tracy Pradon, Ruth Ann Campbell, Jearlyn Allen, and Ronald Morris attend the AVID Conference in Dallas, TX.

Sweetwater High School teachers, counselors, and administrators attended the 
week-long AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) training in Dallas, TX. The purpose of their attendance was to help students prepare for four-year college eligibility.  The team was lead by the AVID Coordinator, Rebecca Duncan and Principal, Dr. Ronald Morris.

At the high school level, AVID targets students in the academic middle who have the willingness and drive to work hard in order to achieve their college dreams. The program, founded in 1980 by Clairemont High School teacher Mary Catherine Swanson, challenges students to take high-rigor courses, such as AP® and honors, but provides the academic and social support needed for success. Sweetwater High School has had an active AVID program supporting college readiness for more than six years.

"I was excited to start my new position by learning teaching techniques and curriculum to prepare students for college and careers," said new advanced math teacher, Tracy Pradon. "With more than 35,000 educators across the nation trained, serving more than 1,000,000 students, my role will support Sweetwater High School's vision to become the premier high school in the Big Country!"

Sweetwater High School uses proven practices and strategies to improve student engagement, increase graduation rates, and close gaps in student achievement. As a schoolwide system, AVID impacts the leadership, systems, instruction and culture of a school, emphasizing the academic and behavioral skills that are necessary for success in college and careers. A major component of the system is the AVID Elective class, which places students on a college track and offers support through curriculum resources based on critical thinking, writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading skills. 

"Our high school has been recognized as having one of the top AVID programs in our area," said Coordinator, Rebecca Duncan.  "Sweetwater High School will begin the multi-year process of becoming a National Demonstration Site were schools from across Texas will visit to gain a better understanding on how to increase academic rigor and graduate college-ready students!"

Sweetwater High School Choir Students Medal at State Competition

From Jenny Doggett - 

The SHS Choir had 6 students qualify at the Regional level to perform their Solo at State on Monday, May 25. I am very excited to announce that ALL 6 students received a medal for their performance at State! We had 4 Silver Medalists: Martin Morini- Sophomore, Dylan Jimenez- Junior, Abby McPherson- Senior, and Kori-Ana Gutierrez- Senior. The choir also had 2 Gold Medalists: Sara Henington- Junior, and Eliza Delgado- Senior. The SHS Choir is proud of these students as they represented SHS at the UIL State Contest. 

SHS Choir Senior, Eliza Delgado, has received a very important state award. She was recognized by the TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) Texas Music Scholar Award. Just like the Texas Scholars, she had to excel in the classroom, have leadership and distinguishing qualities, as well as excel in her TMEA music and UIL events. She was awarded a certificate from the state of Texas and a patch for her jacket. It is with great honor that the SHS Choir announces that Eliza is a recipient of the Texas Music Scholar Program.

Eliza Delgado