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WATCH or READ: Checking In with Charles (11/21/19)

 

We have so much to be thankful for as we head into the Thanksgiving break. The past week has been full of opportunities to learn, to celebrate – and to heal.  

 

As I record this, we are preparing to return the Sugar Land 95 to their graves… the 95 individuals who were previously lost to history, buried in an unmarked and abandoned cemetery discovered nearly two years ago.

 

On Sunday evening, many community members joined us for a very special candlelight memorial service for these individuals.  We reflected on the injustices they suffered, victims of a horrific system that provided slave labor long after the abolition of slavery. This journey has not been easy, but I am thankful we are now able to re-bury them with dignity and respect. Looking ahead, we will continue to teach the history of the Sugar Land 95 to our students and our community, so that their lives and contributions will not be forgotten.

 

We also look forward to working with archeologists and university researchers to help identify any ancestors of the Sugar Land 95. As we speak, bone and tooth samples from each individual are at the University of Connecticut so that genetic analysis can begin. This will be an extensive process that will take several years, after which it will be necessary to enter the genetic analysis into genealogy data bases to look for ancestry matches. As we bury the remains, we are carefully marking each casket and grave so that they can be easily identified in the future, if descendants come forward and wish to relocate the remains of their family member.

 

Today, archaeologists, historians, and geneticists from the project will present information about the Bullhead Camp Cemetery and the research underway. Our community is invited to attend this symposium, which will take place at the James Reese Career and Technical Center. 

 

During this week’s Board Meeting, we had much to celebrate – as we recognized outstanding student leaders from Leonetti Elementary, who led us all in the Pledge of Allegiance. Both are members of the school’s safety patrol and demonstrate a dedication to learning each day.

 

We also recognized the Clements High School Symphonic Band, and the Garcia Middle School Chamber Orchestra. Both of these ensembles have been chosen to represent Fort Bend ISD at this year’s 2019 Midwest Clinic, the world’s largest band and orchestra directors annual conference.

 

Our Board also congratulated two counselors from Cornerstone Elementary, who received a bronze award from the Lone Star State School Counselor Association for excellence in school counseling programs.

 

These counselors and these students are all examples of the collaborative team members and servant leaders that Fort Bend ISD is committed to developing.

 

In Fort Bend ISD, we believe that everyone is a leader, and we are committed to developing leaders at all levels of the organization. This includes students, young and old, as well as our teachers and staff members. I hope you will take a moment to watch the video of our students sharing the impact of these programs with our Board. It was truly amazing to see them shine in our board room – and hear how they are inspiring the others around them. 

As always, you can find video from the board meeting at www.fortbendisd.com,  and much more information about how our students are excelling in and out of the classroom.

 

Before I go, I want to say good luck to the Ridge Point Volleyball Team – which is headed to the state tournament this weekend. And a few more shout outs to the Missouri City Middle School Theatre Program that won the district and bi-district one act play contest for the first time in school history; the Ridge Point Theatre Program for being invited to present their musical at the prestigious Texas Thespian Association; and the Bush High School STEM Team, ANN-Tech, for being named a state finalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest  for the second year in a row.

 

I am proud of all the great things going on in FBISD, our students and staff have worked so hard to make this a great fall semester. Now it is time for some rest. 

 

I wish all of our families a safe and restful break. This Thanksgiving – we are thankful to have your continuing partnership!