The Friendswood ISD Education Foundation (FEF) welcomed 80 new employees to FISD at its annual “Back-To-School” New Employee Luncheon on Monday, Aug. 10. The celebration was spread across FISD in four satellite locations with social distancing practices in place.
“While this year’s luncheon looked a little different, this celebration has never had more heart,” FEF Executive Director Ashley Adair said. “We may be spread out across 4 locations and 14 square miles but together we are mighty.”
Event Chairs and FEF Directors, Alan and Beth Stanfield, said that while the luncheon definitely looked different than previous celebrations, the committee’s goal is always to ensure each teacher feels valued and encouraged stepping into the school year ahead.
The afternoon was packed with delicious food, a variety of door prizes and goody bags full of treats donated by local businesses. In fact, the Foundation received more donations than any other year, ensuring every single new employee walked away with a prize.
“Even during unprecedented times, the Friendswood ISD Education Foundation created not only a safe environment for all employees but also set a positive tone for the upcoming school year,” Friendswood Junior High English Teacher Jackie McNeel said. “The energy in the room was contagious.”
Guest speakers for the event were Friendswood High School alumni Karan Jerath and FHS Speech Teacher Melissa Victorick. Jerath was a student of Victorick’s nine years ago and attributes the start of his successful career to what he learned in her class.
Jerath, who was named the youngest honoree on the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy list and received the 2015 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Grand Award, still recalls his former teacher’s words to his class during their first day of school nearly a decade ago: “Don’t be a nameless face in the hallway.” These words resonated with Jerath and challenged him to step out of his comfort zone and discover ways to set himself apart by making an impactful and lasting difference on the world.
Jerath said this type of culture that is embodied by teachers is what makes FISD a special place. He believes that by investing in their students, teachers can open students’ eyes to new passions and opportunities that can transform their lives.
Victorick echoed this when she shared how her teaching philosophy is shaped by the idea that every student she teaches is at risk for not believing in themselves and living up to their full potential.
“My goal is to be what they need me to be as a teacher,” Victorick said. “I want to meet them where they are and grow them beyond what they ever imagined.” Victorick challenged the new teachers to channel their favorite teacher as they step into a year of redefined innovation, unique student engagement and vital relationships.