MARY MEAUX — Wilson Early College students make history during Port Arthur’s birthday

Published 12:40 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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Earlier this week I had a chance to hear three Wilson Early College High School students talk about their experiences in a new program allowing them a chance to be tutors in elementary school classrooms.

They were articulate and expressive, mature and well poised as they spoke to Port Arthur Independent School District trustees and the audience.

To say I was impressed would be an understatement.

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As I looked at these students who represented their group, Damien Broxton II, Kaitlyn Desselles and America Virgen, I realized the district has embarked on something that is making difference in the lives of not only the 20-plus students in the tutorial program but also in the lives of their younger counterparts.

As the City of Port Arthur celebrates its 125th birthday I wonder what the leaders who founded the city would think had they been in the boardroom this week and heard these students.

I’d like to think they would be proud to see how far Port Arthurans have come educationally.

They would see the great futures these future lawyers, teachers and business people have in front of them and also see the students’ pride for their own city.

Damien Broxton II worked at DeQueen Elementary, the same school he attended years ago.

He said being on the campus he came from was a reminder of where he started and also provided a chance to advocate for the children. He worked with fourth grade ESL students, beginning with small tutoring groups.

“This motivated me in my career that I will matriculate to be a lawyer and a politician, which I’ll be studying for at the University of Texas at Austin this fall,” Broxton said, adding the experience helped with critical thinking skills.

Kaitlyn Desselles was assigned to Washington Elementary, the same school she attended when she was a child. She did not want to be assigned to this school because she grew up in the same environment these students did and wasn’t looking forward to going back, she said.

“However, this opportunity was greater than I could ever imagine,” Desselles said.

“The campus that I was assigned to, it came back, going into it with a totally different atmosphere and mindset as from a young student to now mentor or sub tutor as we were labeled. This environment was totally different. My temporary job turned into my main career focus after my first week. This job helped me to fine-tune a plethora of skills, for example, leadership, communication, creativity, management and emotional intelligence.”

Through this experience she learned to appreciate teamwork and the importance of working together. She plans to attend Lamar University in the fall and return to Washington as an aide with hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher at Washington.

America Virgen also tutored at the school she attended as a child, Sam Houston Elementary. She plans to attend Lamar University and major in human resource management.

She said the opportunity to be in the program gave her skills that can easily transfer to her career path.

She learned adaptability by completing any task given to her, patience by explaining to the kids how to do their work and how to do it thoroughly and comprehend the lesson. She also learned leadership skills, which she will need to lead in an HR job.

These students are now part of the long history of the city and of its future.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at