CFISD Police Officer Marvin Harris (center) shares a laugh with a parent before he and fellow officers load two bicycles into a vehicle on Dec. 20. The police department raised enough money through Beards for Bicycles – a spinoff from No-shave November – Tip-a-Cop night at Willie’s Grill and Ice House and Holiday Bowl at Tomball Bowl to purchase 153 bicycles for students.
CYPRESS — CFISD students, staff and community members closed the fall semester by experiencing the joy of both giving and receiving during the holiday season through school and business partnerships and volunteer efforts.
Among those was the CFISD Police Department, which turned a simple act of giving to its adopted school into a large-scale project to benefit more than 150 students. Officers combined their fundraising efforts through Beards for Bicycles – a spinoff from No-shave November – Tip-a-Cop night at Willie’s Grill and Ice House and Holiday Bowl at Tomball Bowl. The proceeds were enough to purchase 153 bicycles.
Students were identified to receive the bicycles through the Student Services Families in Transition program, with each receiving a personally signed letter from CFPD Chief Eric Mendez. Officers began delivering Dec. 15, while the Exhibit Center served as a pickup location for parents beginning Dec. 20.
“It’s pretty awesome that we’re able to do that for 153 kids in the district,” Mendez said. “We’re already setting our sights on what can we do that’s bigger and better for more kids next year or make more of an impact.
“We’re only 108 officers but we have a very large school district and we know that there’s a large population in our district that really could use the assistance at this time of year. Not just every day that we work, but the holiday season when you have kids that look at other kids and they wish they got something special and so we want to make difference for them too.”
Scott Homes (center), Tomball Bowl owner, stands with CFISD Police Chief Eric Mendez and department officers after his business was recognized by CFPD for helping it raise money for 153 bicycles for CFISD students. CFPD held its Holiday Bowl at the bowling center Dec. 1 to help raise funds for the bicycles.
Jersey Village High School administration, faculty and staff participated in an Angel Giving Tree at the campus. Becky Yerkes, associate principal and director of instruction secretary, created tree ornaments for each person with his or her gift wishes, and the school compiled enough gifts cards, toys, clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets and utensils, and technology to fulfill the wishes of 14 area families.
“The staff and students look forward to making the holidays a little brighter for some of our families through the Angel Tree program,” Yerkes said. “However, this year their response has been particularly heartwarming in that almost all the wishes were filled, even the wish of an eight-year-old for a bicycle. Our JVHS family is kind hearted and generous far beyond expectations.”
Members of the Jersey Village FFA chapter and Cypress Woods High School choir participated in the National Wreaths Across America project on Dec. 15, spending the day laying wreaths on the graves of veterans at Houston National Cemetery.
“I believe in serving others,” said Kyle Gilbert, Jersey Village FFA sponsor and agricultural science teacher. “I wanted these students to experience Wreaths Across America and to remember these brave soldiers.”
The student council at Andre’ Elementary School led a campus-wide effort to collect more than 30 boxes and bags worth of supplies and donations that were delivered to the Mission of Yahweh shelter on Dec. 14. Council sponsors brought the idea of a community service project to the students, who put together a presentation that was shown to every homeroom. The boxes were decorated and placed around the school’s Christmas tree, which were quickly filled.
In addition to delivering the donations, student council officers and sponsors toured the facility.
Jersey Village High School staff participated in an Angel Giving Tree, collecting and donating gifts cards, toys, clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets and utensils, and technology for 14 area families. (Photo by Taslin Tran, Jersey Village HS)
“Their reactions to the experience were overwhelmingly positive,” said Teri Butler, Andre’ fifth-grade teacher and student council co-sponsor, who added there are plans to make a presentation of the trip to share with the school. “Many of them realized how much they have in comparison to others and were so happy to be able to give back.”
Cypress Springs High School’s volleyball team collected just over 100 toys during its banquet Dec. 13 to donate to Texas Children’s Hospital. The idea sprouted from a conversation at the end of the season between Panthers Head Coach Alyssa Laker and junior libero Mariana Romero, who mentioned her mother’s business conducting a toy drive.
Laker tied the service project with the program’s end-of-year banquet, with students arriving with toys in hand.
“As a coach, one life lesson I like to instill in my athletes is having good character,” Laker said. “People you meet aren’t necessarily going to remember how well you played or what type of grades you made, but what they will remember is what type of person you are. It’s very important to always be a good person, even when nobody else is around. Being around this amazing group of girls that I get to coach, teach and pave the way for, makes me so proud. It means the world to me knowing that they want to give back to their community and really are great hard-working people.”
Members of the Jersey Village FFA chapter place wreaths on the graves of veterans at Houston National Cemetery on Dec. 15 as part of the National Wreaths Across America project.
The Transportation Department held a stuffed animal drive during its spirit week, just one of many activities it does through its’ “spirit charters” to promote teamwork and welcome new members. Across the five transportation centers, the department received approximately 400 stuffed animals.
A portion of the donations were provided to CFPD to give away to students as part of its bicycle giveaway, while the remainder were given to the guidance and counseling department for donation.
“It brings me pride to see the giving nature of our transportation team and how quickly they respond to opportunities to give back to the students they serve daily,” said Dr. Kayne Smith, director of transportation. “’CFISD Spirit’ is evident in the transportation team as they always go above and beyond the call of duty to serve and provide for the students of our district.”
A combined effort from girls’ athletics at Cypress Ranch High School saw more than 450 personalized snack bags delivered to Andre’ Elementary School students on Dec. 17. The idea spawned from school breaks causing anxiety for some students who may not know when their next meal will come. The girls’ basketball, girls’ soccer, softball and volleyball programs put together more than 450 bags, with each brown bag decorated and filled with snacks and food items, holiday cards, stickers and pencils.
The school worked with Andre’, which is the closest Title I elementary school to Cypress Ranch. In addition to delivering the bags, students dressed in festive attire and their lettermen jackets and spent time reading and visiting with the elementary students.
Cypress Springs High School volleyball players stand behind a table filled with the more than 100 toys the program collected during its end-of-year banquet Dec. 13 to donate to Texas Children’s Hospital.
“It is very important to all of our coaches that our female athletes believe and demonstrate their abilities to be strong female leaders that excel in both the classroom and other arenas,” said Candice Fuchs, Cypress Ranch head volleyball coach. “In this day in age, where social media has glorified outward appearances, our girls could not pass up the shear excitement of the youth and were able to let their inhibitions down and be silly and great role models for the elementary kids. Our girls read Christmas books, which then lead to conversations, which then turned into fun dancing.”
The choir at Salyards Middle School continued its annual adoption of students and families, expanding it giving this year to not only Owens Elementary School, but also Moore Elementary School and Cy-Hope. The program collected and provided clothes and gifts for 25 students.
Pope Elementary School students and its PTO donated a number of gifts and toys to students and families at M. Robinson Elementary School.
Hamilton Middle School students and staff collected approximately 750 pairs of socks to donate. At Aragon Middle School, girls’ athletics conducted a toy drive Santa’s Workshop at Cy-Hope and a jacket drive for Star of Hope, while the YLPA, YMPA and HOLA clubs collected and donated blankets to the Copperfield Estates Senior Living Community on Dec. 6.
At Cypress Creek High School, the swimming program collected 290 pounds of food and filled three shopping carts worth of toys, donating everything to Prince of Peace Catholic Community. In addition, the girls’ basketball program visited Francone Elementary School, as the athletes spent time with students and volunteered in the campus Santa Workshop on Dec. 12.
For a sixth consecutive year, Swenke Elementary School families sponsored families from Lieder Elementary School. Bicycles were among the toys and donations delivered Dec. 20.
Hundreds of stuffed animals surround a Christmas tree at the Westgreen Transportation Center. The Transportation Department held a stuffed animal drive across its five centers, collecting approximately 400.
Led by the cheerleaders and step team, Cypress Woods High School held a toy drive that resulted in the campus collecting more than 2,000 toys. The spirit groups teamed with Christian Deschamps, a Spillane Middle School eighth-grade student who spearheaded an effort in 2017 to collect and donate nearly 1,500 toys to Texas Children’s Hospital.
The toys collected during the Cypress Woods drive will be donated to Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
Fifty students at Hancock Elementary School were able to receive gifts and clothing through the school’s Angel Giving Tree. Additional donations came from Warner and Black elementary schools, helping expand the giving for the students.
Frazier Elementary School held its annual “Frazier Express” thanks in part to Adopt-a-School partner Flotek Industries and fellow business partner Allegiance Bank. The campus held a food drive, silent auction, bake sale and pull tags to help purchase needed items in addition to donations for Frazier families and those in the community.
Members of the Cypress Ranch High School softball program pose with the snack bags they decorated and filled. Students from the softball, girls’ basketball, volleyball and girls’ soccer teams came together to make the bags, which were filled with personalized cards, food snacks and treats. The athletes delivered more than 450 bags to Andre’ Elementary School.
In addition to the Cypress Ranch High School softball, girls’ basketball, volleyball and girls’ soccer programs making and delivering more than 450 snack bags to Andre’ Elementary School on Dec. 17, the athletes read to classes and interacted with the elementary students.
Students from Aragon Middle School’s YLPA, YMPA and HOLA clubs pose in front of the Copperfield Estates Senior Living Community sign. The organizations collected and donated blankets to the facility on Dec. 6.
The Salyards Middle School choir program collected and donated gifts and clothes to 25 students at Moore and Owens elementary school and Cy-Hope. Posing (from left) with some of the gifts are Evan Moynihan, Salyards assistant choir director, Kate Conrey, Amy Moore, Salyards choir director and Patricia Myers, Moore Elementary School principal.
Members of the Cypress Creek High School girls’ basketball team spend time in Francone Elementary School’s “Santa Workshop” during a visit to the campus on Dec. 12.
Swenke and Lieder elementary school staff members and volunteers pose with some of the bicycles that were donated by Swenke families to Lieder families in need Dec. 20, a giving effort in its sixth year. The bicycles were among the toys donated.
Cypress Woods High School’s students and staff came together to collect more than more than 2,000 toys to be donated to Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
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