Dr. Mark Porterie — Port Arthur ISD celebrating Hispanic Heritage with some homecoming fever

Published 12:49 am Saturday, October 2, 2021

As we prepare to conclude our first 9-week grading period and welcome the fall season, PAISD continues to educate nearly 8,000 students in person with a low count of Covid positive cases.

We are in the second half of our district- and community- wide celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and approaching our annual homecoming activities with excitement.

All of our campuses are celebrating Hispanic Heritage by participating in weekly dress up days, garment and flag parades, pinata contests, social media videos discussing what Hispanic Heritage means to our students and additional activities to educate all about this rich and vibrant culture.

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Some of our students and staff members accepted an invitation to participate in Lamar State College-Port Arthur’s first annual “De Colores, Fiesta!” event held at their Performing Arts Center in mid-September.

Our singers and dancers joined school board trustee Taylor Getwood in showcasing their talents to our community. We are currently hosting a district-wide art contest for students to submit entries that will be considered for next year’s PAISD Hispanic Heritage Month celebration logo.

This week, we began our annual homecoming celebration at Abraham Lincoln Middle School with various dress up days, a pep rally that presented the ALMS 2021 Homecoming Court and encouraged the boys’ football and girls’ volleyball teams to win their weekly sports contests.

Next week, Wheatley School of Early Childhood, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Memorial 9th Grade, CATE and Memorial High School will participate in a number of virtual and in-person homecoming events, culminating in our varsity football game against Galveston Ball on Oct. 8 at Titan Stadium.

We are anxiously awaiting the crowning of our 2021 homecoming king and queen.

This year, we invite our entire Port Arthur community to paint the town red, black and silver for homecoming. That’s right! Post those yard signs, pump up those beautiful balloon arcs, let the kids paint the driveway using sidewalk chalk and decorate the doors, windows-even the mailbox.

This is Titan Nation and it’s a city-wide homecoming celebration. We encourage our families, businesses and supporters to participate. Our students must know how much we love them and are encouraging them to succeed — both academically and athletically.

PAISD is aggressively pursuing our virtual supporters to increase our social media presence by following, liking, complimenting and sharing our posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can find us by typing the handle @portarthurisd in the search bar of all three platforms. Our website will soon be upgraded and enhanced as well, and we are looking forward to our new and improved makeover.

We’ve heard the rumors about the most recent social media and Tik Tok challenges some students are participating in across the country. We want our parents and students to know there will be severe consequences and possible parental fines that may be incurred if any of our students engage in destructive, deviant or abusive social media challenges of any kind.

We are proud to announce our employees have begun to receive bonus incentive pay for providing authentic Covid vaccine cards verifying full vaccination. This will continue for a limited period of time as we encourage all staff members, eligible students and parents to protect themselves and the community in our fight against this global pandemic.

We also want Covid patients who are able to do so, to visit medical facilities offering Covid infusions intravenously as another method of protection.

PAISD campuses eagerly celebrate Students of the Week on our social media platforms and on some of our campus websites; some schools are now saluting staff members of the week as well.

We appreciate the positive media coverage from our area news outlets, including our latest male varsity cheerleader’s recent Bright Futures feature in our local newspaper.

We look forward to closing out our first nine weeks of school on a high note with the electronic distribution of report cards available in the Home Access Center after 3 p.m. on Friday, October 15, 2021.

Some of our campuses have already planned ways to celebrate our student success. Jefferson Middle School is preparing to host free food, music and fun for honor roll and perfect attendance students.

In PAISD, every day is an opportunity to celebrate something significant: Hispanic Heritage, homecoming, sporting events, outstanding students, spectacular staff and so much more.

We are moving into fall with thanksgiving in our hearts for all we are accomplishing in the face of adversity.

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at mporterie@paisd.org.