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LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR Dear Friend of Chinquapin Preparatory School, This summer I experienced the pathbreaking movie about U. S. schools –Waiting for Superman. I highly recommend this heartwrenching film to my friends of Chinquapin Prep, because I know you already understand the crisis in education that faces our nation. I believe our collective future will be determined by the education that our major cities provide to millions of students in underserved groups. Waiting for Superman taught me three things: 1) There is now a high demand in our nation’s cities to develop great schools; 2) We need many more high-performing schools than we have now; and 3) Compared to the schools featured in the movie, Chinquapin Prep is, by far, a superior educational model. Every parent and everyone searching for educational excellence needs to know about Chinquapin Prep. Waiting for Superman’s filmmakers should have included Chinquapin Prep in the movie! We, as supporters of Chinquapin Prep, need to tell the story of our school’s success! The Chinquapin Prep Fall 2011 Newsletter highlights some of the talented people who work every day to fulfill our mission. Chinquapin Prep has always invited talent, but now, because national attention is focused on urban schools, we are attracting recent graduates of the nation’s most highly regarded colleges and universities. These young men and

women applaud our teaching model. Recently, we welcomed eight dedicated community members to our governing Board. Two of our experienced board leaders, Jen Pickering and Sarah Callahan Baker, asked area professionals to help them redesign our recruiting and admission programs. As a result of their leadership and team-building with our staff, I confidently predict that the entering 6th grade will be the most academically talented group to enroll in our school. Chinquapin Prep has proved year after year that its high-quality college-prep program prepares our graduates to excel in college. When our graduates complete their college studies, they fulfill the school mission by becoming productive and compassionate citizens. In 2011-2012 we will make a detailed report about our 402 alumni and tell you, our supporters, what they are doing now. As you read about recent events at Chinquapin Prep, please pause to remember 1969. Superman did arrive that year. His name was Robert Moore. He and his wife, Maxine, created an exceptional school. Chinquapin Prep continues to fulfill Bob Moore’s mission – to bring excellent education to underserved boys and girls in the Houston area. Thank you for keeping his dream alive for 43 years. Sincerely, Ray Griffin

Dr. Ray Griffin School Director

Guadalupe Navarro First Vice President

Sarah Callahan Baker Vice President Student Recruitment

Jennifer S. Pickering Immediate Past President

Bridget Anderson Director Of Development

Byron L. Willeford Vice President Audit

Kelly P. Cliburn Vice President Student Relations

William N. Mathis Advancement Committee Chair

2011-12 Executive Board

Barbara M. Collie Vice President Board Development

Mary Peterson Secretary

Gardner H. Dudley Evaluation Committee Chair

Barton R. Bentley Vice President Buildings & Grounds

Robert C. Christy, Jr. Treasurer

Kate S. Kirkland Executive Advisor

Leon M. Payne, Jr. President

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Campus Renovations Over the summer, extensive renovations were done around the campus. All of the residences, including the Teaching Fellows’ rooms in the dorms were revamped. For over a month, workers were installing new bathrooms, new carpets, and painting around campus. In addition, the library and office bathrooms were replaced. Much of the remodeling was made possible by an extremely generous donation by Dan & Jen Pickering.

Alumni Spotlight “It is my great pleasure to announce that Lupe Navarro has accepted the position of First Vice President of the Chinquapin Preparatory School Board of Trustees. As many of you know, Lupe is a graduate of Chinquapin (Class of ’97), University of Texas at Austin (Class of ’01), and St. Mary’s University School of Law (Class of ’06). In addition, he has served on the Board of Trustees since 2007 and participated on the Student Recruitment Committee, New Director Search Committee and the Transition Committee. He has also been active in the Chinquapin Alumni Association. Currently, Lupe is a Staff Attorney at Lone Star Legal Aid. His unique understanding of the school and its many constituencies makes him an invaluable resource for the school going forward.” Leon M. Payne President, Board of Trustees

Save the Date Saturday, October 8, 2011 Homecoming Thursday, October 27, 2011 Wine and Cheese Art Auction Thursday, February 23, 2012 “Investing in Chinquapin” Annual Gala Dinner

Honoring Dan and Jen Pickering – 6:30 PM at Hotel ZaZa

New Darkroom at Chinquapin This spring, Chinquapin students immersed themselves in the art of darkroom photography. Through a generous grant provided by FotoFest International as a curricular addition to FotoFest’s Literacy Through Photography program, students built their own permanent darkroom in the former girls’ lounge. This week-long project was completed during the school’s annual “Creativity Week.” The Literacy Through Photography (LTP) program has been incorporated into the Creative Media class for the past four years. In May of 2011, FotoFest introduced cohort teacher Ben De Soto to Chinquapin. He joined Liz Thornton’s Creative Media class for a two-week teaching residence. Under his expert guidance, students learned to take better pictures and develop their own film; a lengthy process that requires controlled light, precise timing, and a lot of patience. A long time photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, Ben is passionate about sharing his love of photography with young students. He claims his early high school experience of working in a makeshift darkroom in the janitor’s closet at Sam Rayburn High School changed his life. At an early age, photography sparked his interest and later allowed him to make a good living working many years for a prestigious newspaper. Today, he gives back to his community by volunteering at The Ripley House and working as an LTP cohort teacher for FotoFest. Ben is especially proud of his work this past spring at Chinquapin Prep. “Having this facility here at Chinquapin gives these kids the same opportunities and knowledge base as the kids going to Rice Media Center, St. John’s School, Episcopal School, Kinkaid, and Bellaire High School. These kids are on par with those kids as far as knowledge base goes. (Because of this darkroom) they will have a better appreciation for the arts throughout their lives.”

Before this experience, many Chinquapin students had never stepped into a darkroom, let alone built one. Eric Volpe, a rising senior, enjoyed the unexpected opportunity. “I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s something I never imagined I could do, because of how complex it looked. But with Ben’s instruction, it was actually easy and fun.” Senior Bryan Acuna found the experience of developing an image to be more difficult than he originally thought: “It’s harder than just clicking a button, like in digital photography. I had a lot of fun and feel extremely lucky to have had this experience.” FotoFest International has supported Chinquapin Prep with funding, supplies, teacher training and visiting artists since 2007. Originally, Susan Davis taught the Literacy Through Photography curriculum in the Creative Media class, and she has since passed the torch on to Liz Thornton. Five teachers from Chinquapin have attended the training over the years, and in that time lessons from the curriculum have been integrated into AP English, World History and AP Spanish courses. The curriculum provides teachers with training and tools that help students make critical, literary, and creative connections using photography. Next year, the school hopes to put this new darkroom to use in a photography elective class for high school students. Students who take this class will continue to visit the FotoFest exhibitions as well as meet and interact with professional artists whose work is shown by the organization. Be sure to keep your eye out for the students’ work at local coffee shops, around campus and at the year-end Literacy Through Photography student exhibition, FotoFence 2012.

The Fourth Annual Bocce Ball tournament was held at the McAleer family ranch, Pecan Acres, this past spring. This year’s event raised more money than any of the previous tournaments, over $29,000! Over 180 people participated in the tournament on what was one of the prettiest days of the year. Sponsors included BMB, Amegy Bank, Buffalo Grille, Absolut, among many others, while Freebirds World Burrito helped to cater. During the Silent and Live Auctions, over $4,000 was raised. Two Chinquapin Urban Teaching Fellows were the winners of the tournament; Molly Socha and Lauren Vargas. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s event on May 19, 2012 at Pecan Acres!

Seniors Eduardo Belalcazar, Otilio Rios, and Alan Rodriguez were selected along with junior Jasmine Rangel to participate in the prestigious Rice Summer Business Institute. This two-week program in June is run through the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. Of only 40 high school students selected, Chinquapin was proud to send four of its own to learn about the stock market, portfolios, and brand dominance, among many other interesting topics. Besides classroom learning, the students garnered real-world business experience through visits to Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and ConocoPhillips. Chinquapin also had four seniors chosen to spend the summer in various foreign countries, thanks to The Experiment in International Living (EIL), who helped fund all of the trips. Through EIL, Chinquapin students traveled to three different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. Lizette Gutierrez went on a four week homestay and language training in Japan, where she lived on the northern island of Hokkaido. Alan Rodriguez spent five weeks in Botswana in a homestay and community service program, which culminated in a wildlife safari at the end of the program. Otilio Rios spent his five weeks in Poland. Otilio visited various regions of Poland and explored the theme of post-communist development.

Eric Volpe traveled to Turkey to participate in a homestay and community program, and to explore Turkey’s past, present, and future through travel and geographic exploration. Back in the United States, but almost as far away, senior Bryan Acuna and junior Jose Guevara traveled to Alaska for almost an entire month. They took part in the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) on scholarship. The students learned how to survive in the wilderness, ultimately navigating the terrain with no instructors.

A BULLDOG BY THE BAYOU My name is Paul Wasserman and I am a rising sophomore at Yale College. Originally from Washington, DC, I came to Houston and to Chinquapin through a Yale Summer Program called Bulldogs by the Bayou. Yale put me in contact with Chinquapin where I was able to secure a summer internship. During my time at Chinquapin I helped out with Summer Session as well as in the Development and Admissions departments. I lived for the summer at the University of St. Thomas with nine other Yalies who had various other internships. Besides just an internship, the Yale Club of Houston organized a number of events to introduce us to Houston, from going to Dynamo games, to visiting NASA, to enjoying a weekend trip to Austin. Through the program, Yale hopes to introduce cities like Houston that may be overlooked by job-seeking students who are only accustomed to the Northeast. This was the case for me. I had only ever flown over Texas; I had never come close to Houston before. I wanted to come down here to experience the “Texan” lifestyle. And what a different culture I found. After 10 weeks, it is clear that people and everything down here are nicer, happier, and yes, bigger. I found it hard to have to leave. However, I will be taking some Texan habits back to Yale, including a cowboy hat, two pairs of

cowboy boots, better manners, and an occasional y’all. What impacted me the most this summer was my time at Chinquapin. Everyday was a lively and exciting experience. I did almost everything imaginable, from coordinating Summer Session, to creating a statistical database chronicling the improvement of Chinquapin students, to helping with the remodeling. I loved every moment of it. What made it even better was my interactions with some of the students. I have never met anyone as polite or enthusiastic as these students were. Getting to know the students made me realize just how important Chinquapin is. Chinquapin truly is the best chance for many students to turn their lives around and receive a great education and be accepted into college. This made me realize how important education is in determining the future success of America’s youth. Chinquapin truly should be highlighted for its ability to send all its students to college and success. This has been a life-changing summer and I look forward to staying involved with Chinquapin for years to come. Thank you to all who made this summer the best ever.

a new face in admissions Tina Barr, our new Director of Admissions, comes to us from Boston. She attended a boarding school in Burlington, VT. She is a graduate of Northeastern University and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication. Prior to joining Chinquapin, she worked at the educational consulting firm of Carney, Sandoe & Associates, where she spearheaded the firm’s various social media initiatives. Tina brings with her a passion for working with children and a deep-seated belief in the importance of education. CC Image courtesy of telwink on Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Class of 2011

Colleges &Scholarships

Senior Name

Attending College

Tamar Alvarenga

Mount Holyoke

James Casas

Texas A&M



Loyola University (MD)

Robert Ramirez

University of Houston

Elber Reyes

Duke University

Alejandra Rodriguez

University of Houston

Alexis Roman

University of Houston

$5,550 Pell Grant

Nicholas Saenz

University of Houston

$2,500 Terrones Scholarship $500 ACE Scholarship

Brenda Salvador

$2,500 Rotary Club $1,000 Interact Scholarship $500 Heinzerling Scholarship

University of St. Thomas

$7,400 University Grant $5,550 Pell Grant $2,000 Zuber Scholarship

Chassidy Smith

St. Edward’s University

$5,550 $2,500 $2,000 $200

Pell Grant Terrones Scholarship Texas Grant Pilot Club Scholarship

Nyerere Thornton

University of Houston

$5,550 $2,500 $1,000 $500

Pell Grant Girl Scouts Scholarship Zoo Scholarship Heinzerling Scholarship

$1,000 Moore Scholarship

Marissa Garcia

University of Houston

$2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $500

Lucila Martinez

Texas A&M at Galveston

University of Houston

Pell Grant Nickson Scholarship

Lorena Perez

Ann Smith Scholarship Druck SAT Scholarship

Texas A&M at Corpus Christi

Rebecca Loredo

Delta Sigma Theta Scholarship

University of Houston at Downtown

Michelle Diaz

Texas A&M

University Grant

Samuel Mora

Texas Public Education Grant

$5,550 Pell Grant $500 Heinzerling Scholarship

Cesar Larraga

$8,000 $1,000 $700 $500

University of Houston

Pell Grant University Grant

University of Houston

University of Houston

University of Texas at San Antonio

Marcos Montalvo

$5,550 $5,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500

David Copeland

Elizabeth Herrera

Shomari McFadden

$42,046 University Grant $5,550 Pell Grant $1,000 Ann Smith Scholarship

Junior Forum Scholarship Rotary Club Service League Scholarship

Alumni Scholarship Garcia Scholarship Interact Scholarship St. Bernadette Scholarship

$500 Heinzerling Scholarship

$15,000 Best Buy Scholarship $1,000 Nasser Scholarship $500 University Area Rotary Club $35,000 University Grant $1,000 Moore Scholarship $1,000 Arrazolo Scholarship $48,110 University Grant $4,800 Pell Grant $4,000 Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship $500 Valdez Scholarship

$19,014 $5,550 $4,518 $250

University Grant Pell Grant Texas Equalization Grant Heinzerling Scholarship

$500 University Area Rotary Club

2011-2012 Chinquapin Urban Teaching Fellows Lee Bryant – Hi, I’m Lee! I just graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Theatre. I grew up in a small town outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, called Powell, with my mom, dad, older brother Adam, and our two cats, Belle and Goldie. I love hiking, camping, and birdwatching. Did you know Tennessee and Texas have the same state bird, the northern mocking bird? (It’s also the state bird for Arkansas, Florida, and Mississippi). Pretty cool. I also love creative arts activities like knitting, photography, and acting. I can’t wait to experience all that the Chinquapin community has to offer.

Jeremy Goodreau – The name’s Jeremy, and I have been in Houston for a few years now. I finished my degree at Rice University in May of 2011 as a Kinesiology and History major. While there I participated in Club Baseball, coached a women’s football team, and worked as a teacher, tutor, neurosurgery researcher, construction worker, and athletic trainer. I enjoy sports, exercise, and love to both teach and learn.

Robert Long – My name is Bobby Long and I graduated from Grinnell College in 2009 with majors in Sociology, Education and History. After graduating, I played professional basketball for the Rattelsdorf Independents in Germany. This past year, I taught Sociology and History at the High School level. Along with teaching, I am going to be helping out with various sports teams as well as serving as Athletic Director. After being on campus in April, I knew this is exactly where I want to be and I can’t wait for the year to start.

Christina Mairs – I am from Belfast, Northern Ireland and will be teaching art and math. This past spring, I graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in Visual and Environmental Studies (studio art). Although Boston and Cambridge are beautiful cities, I am not a fan of the long, cold winters of the Northeast and am very much looking forward to experience the Texan heat. In my spare time, I love to paint, visit art galleries and practice Irish dance.

Stephen Vrla – I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Starting in 2006, I attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where I majored in history but also took numerous courses in art history and environmental studies. I volunteered in after-school programs in addition to playing on the lacrosse team. Since graduating in June 2010, I have worked on an organic farm in California and, more recently, as a field instructor at a therapeutic wilderness program in Utah. I am very excited to give this community all the energy and excitement I will get from it over the coming year.

NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID HOUSTON, TX PERMIT NO. 2262 Chinquapin Preparatory School 2615 E. Wallisville Rd. Highlands, TX 77562-3199 Phone: 281.426.5551 Fax: 281.426.5553 Website:

ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED For address corrections or to have your name removed from our mailing list, please call 281.426.5467, e-mail, or mail your label with corrections or instructions to the above address.

new faces

Tara Kheradyar is an earth and environmental scientist with over 15 years of college and high school teaching experience. She teaches environmental science, chemistry and 8th grade science.

HollyAnne Joyner Giffin wanted to train dolphins, but fortunately a few swimming incidents led her to teach Spanish and Theater Arts at Chinquapin Prep.

Leslie Tamez graduated from Chinquapin Prep in 2006 and from UH in May 2011. She is doing a little Quid pro Quo helping as the receptionist and administrative assistant.

Shelby Cherin just moved to Houston from NYC after completing her master’s degree from NYU in TESOL and Spanish. She teaches 8th grade English, 8th grade Language Arts and high school Journalism at Chinquapin.

Erika Behrends grew up in a rural fishing village on the coast of Alaska. After graduating from Wellesley she joined the Peace Corps and spent time in Nicaragua. She now teaches Spanish.

Marianne Fives is the new Associate Director of Development. She has a BFA from Cornell University and a MA in Arts Management from American University. She has previous development experience working in numerous museums and galleries.

Chinquapin Prep 2011 Fall Newsletter  

Chinquapin Prep 2011 Fall Newsletter

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