Skip To Main Content

Header Holder

Header Utility

Toggle Menu

SnaPShot of the Week

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Dance

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, PS will host the performers Undebel Flamenco at special assemblies in Fellowship Hall on Friday. An art form originally from Spain but which has captured the imagination of people around the world, flamenco has been described as “magical and curious,” but it has a complicated history.

You may associate flamenco predominantly with dancing, but it is a complex folk music tradition that today incorporates poetry, song (cante), guitar playing (toque), dance (baile), poly-rhythmic hand clapping (palmas) and finger snapping (pitos) as well as audience participation (such as the familiar chant Olé). Although begun in Southern Spain, it has been shaped by musicians and performers in the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. 

As a way to celebrate cultural diversity, local artist, Mercy Saez (aka MercyFlamenca) shares her love of dance and honors her Spanish heritage by performing flamenco to local nonprofits. This week, she shared her passion with PS students.  

Flamenco dancing is very, very passionate and at one time, was shunned by the Spanish elites. Dancers were ostracized Gypsy (Roma) populations that lived in seedy urban areas. The artform was seen as a lifestyle that exploited people’s poverty, social, political, and economic inequality. It wasn’t until the early-twentieth century at the World’s Fair that the performers became more popular. Flamenco today has undergone renewed artistic and academic respect, demonstrating its complex relationship to Spanish national identity.

Research has shown that flamenco was created through the fusion of the Jewish, Arab and Romani (in Spanish referred to as Gitanos) cultures in Southern Spain, in the regions of Andalusia and Murcia, as early as the 15th century. This is when the Romani people arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, after a certain diaspora in which they traveled across different lands including most likely India, Iran and Egypt (similar to some Indian temple dances, hands and fingers draw symbols in the air). Andalusia was under Arab rule at this time, but it was not long before the Jews, Arabs, and Romani people were all to be persecuted by the Catholic Church and the monarchy. They fled to the mountains and lived in harmony, creating a fusion of their music and dance traditions that became flamenco. In the 18th century, when attitudes toward Romani people relaxed, these populations returned from the mountains and flamenco music became celebrated by the Romantic writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. It was not until the 20th century and the support of Europeans outside of Spain that the culture of flamenco attained regard by Spanish artists and intellectuals (this mirrored the European support of African-American jazz and blues that helped it gain popularity in the U.S.). Later in the 20th century, flamenco was highly commercialized by the Franco regime as a tool for tourism and nationalism. Despite flamenco's complex relationship with Spain and the Spanish national identity, today artists, scholars and historical preservationists study the art form and promote its historical and artistic significance for Spain and Andalusia.  In 2010, UNESCO recognized flamenco as “One of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” 

In 2016 Saez founded UNDEBEL FLAMENCO HOUSTON. A high caliber Flamenco production company that aims to promote arts but also to educate and empower the community. She partners with business owners from restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, nonprofits, clothing stores, etc. around the city to produce wonderful events to bring a big crowd. Although her focus is to produce shows locally she also produces shows internationally, working with artists from all over the world! It is her goal to empower the community presenting world class performances that will include local artists to celebrate greater cultural diversity.

Read More SnaPShots

The Second Grade Farm to Table Experience

Second grade students presented their knowledge of the ways natural resources are harvested, stored, processed, packaged, sold, and consumed in their Farm to Table Museum this week. Students learned about the local and global communities in which they live, and their role as citizens in those communities. By studying the process of how food goes from farm to table, students learned about managing natural resources and how individuals and businesses contribute to a community.

Discovering Heart through Art

The Discovering Heart through Art exhibit shines a light on expression, memory, community, and self-awareness.  Students in sixth through eighth grade make numerous discoveries in the act of making art, in the materials they make art with, and in the techniques they revisit and novel techniques, too. The art studio is a place where self-knowledge grows together with the building of skill. 

Embracing Middle School Days of Service

For nearly 20 years, the Middle School Day of Service at Presbyterian School has stood as a cornerstone of the curriculum, embodying the school's commitment to partnership, service with compassion and community engagement. This year, a change was made so that each grade level had a specific day of service instead of all three grade levels serving on the same day. Click on the link above to read more about our MS Days of Service. 

Congratulations to our OM Teams

The opportunity for our students to create, imagine, and problem-solve independently is priceless! Only the top 6 teams in each problem for their division were eligible to advance to the State Competition held in March at Texas Woman's University. We are so proud to congratulate 9 teams from Presbyterian School who placed in the top 6 of their division. Regardless of whether one of our OM teams advanced to the State Finals, we applaud each team's tremendous courage and risk-taking to work collaboratively with their teammates. Our students and coaches invested a significant amount of time into this process.

Forming Environmental Stewards: Fifth Grade's Actions Toward Change

Overlooking the city landscape on the 4th floor of Presbyterian School, fifth-grade students are interacting with more than just textbooks and worksheets. They are immersing themselves into the world of environmental science. Aligning with Presbyterian School's ethos of environmental respect, students are tackling current environmental issues, researching causes and brainstorming solutions. The culmination is the Environmental Summit Museum, where each student creatively presents their findings. Through diverse mediums like posters, model displays, and iMovies, they inspire action and reflection, prompting us all to consider our role in nurturing our planet.

Building Bridges Through Books

In a world where technology often competes with the joy of picking up a good book, initiatives like the PS Book Drive and Nehemiah Book Fair stand as beacons of hope, nurturing a love for reading in young hearts. Led by PS Chaplain, Brenton Smith, and being an added bonus for the year-long fourth-grade service project, this unique opportunity not only fosters a passion for reading but also cultivates empathy and leadership skills among the participants.

PK4 Students Explore Ancient Egypt at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Embarking on an extraordinary voyage of discovery, the PK4 students recently took flight aboard Pre-K Airlines, venturing into the captivating realm of ancient Egypt at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. As part of our immersive Pre-K Airlines curriculum, students embark on a global adventure, traversing seven different countries, including Colombia, India, Italy, and Egypt. Each stop along their journey offers a rich exploration of art, music, food, language, and culture, fostering a deep appreciation for our shared humanity.

Exploring Boundaries with the 8th Grade STEAM Museum

Students Blake and Sean proudly showcased their innovative projects at the 8th grade STEAM Museum, marking the culmination of a month-long exploration into a diverse array of scientific subjects. From the fascinating realm of visualizing sound waves to the practical application of honey as a preservative, these young minds delved into the realms of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). 

Harmonizing Education: Early Childhood Specialists Weaving Art, Music, and Play

In the realm of early childhood education, Presbyterian School (PS) stands out as a beacon of innovation and uniqueness. Unlike other peer schools, PS takes pride in offering formal art and music instruction to students as young as PK 3. This distinctive feature not only sets the institution apart but also provides a valuable and enriching experience for the fortunate students who are part of this educational community.

Nurse Julie Brunson Receives Prestigious Good Samaritan Foundation Gold Medal Award

In the heart of Houston at Presbyterian School, a shining beacon of dedication to the well-being of students, staff, and families has been recognized with the prestigious Good Samaritan Foundation Gold Medal Award. Julie Brunson, the school nurse, has not only been nominated for this esteemed honor but has emerged as one of the six gold medal recipients for the 2023 Excellence in Nursing, a remarkable accomplishment given the record-breaking 1229 total nominations this year.

Unleashing Creativity: The Panther Music Lab Experience

In an effort to expand the amazing world of music, Early Childhood and Lower School Music Teacher, Vasti Atkins, is taking students beyond the vocal and performing outlets to a behind the scenes approach to the process. A surge of student interest has led to the creation of a unique and innovative course: Panther Music Lab. We sat down with the creative force behind this musical venture to explore the inner workings of the class and the exciting projects that have emerged from it.

Empowering Voices: A Glimpse into the Middle School Senate's Journey

In the heart of a vibrant middle school, a unique and innovative approach to student leadership is taking root—the Middle School Student Senate. This revolutionary student council, inspired by the Roman Senate's egalitarian model, aims to provide every student with an equal voice and a chance to shape their school's future.  Read more about the process of selecting these young leaders and the exciting journey that lies ahead.

Bringing Art History to Life: A Conversation with our Early Childhood Art Teacher

Art has the power to transcend time and connect generations. In this insightful conversation with Brandy Collins, our early childhood art teacher, we explore the creative and innovative ways art history is introduced to young minds. Brandy shares her passion for teaching art through the lens of history and the magical "aha" moments that occur in her classroom.

PS Grandparent Shares Sculpture of ‘Kindness’ to Promote Kindness Month

In honor of kindness month, PS Grandparent, Kelly Penrod (Olivia '27), brought her sculpture "Kindness" to display in Founders Hall. Created as a labor of love and collaboration, "Kindness" showcases how small acts of kindness, much like the recycled materials that form it, can be transformed into something beautiful and meaningful in a world that yearns for unity and compassion.

Pre-K Airlines: Cultivating Curiosity and Cultural Connection Through Immersive Learning

In the fall of 2009, PK4 teacher, Lindsay Renken, sat down with colleague, Leanne Gotcher, with a simple idea of incorporating travel into the curriculum spurred on by her personal experiences in travel. This was the beginning of Pre-K Airlines. The curriculum now encompasses multiple countries that change year to year based on students' interests and the freedom teachers have to design a unique curriculum.

PS Farm to Table Draws Students into the Community

Second grade students have spent the year learning the process of how food goes from farm to table. As a culmination of what they have learned, they presented their commercials and projects to fellow students and families at their Farm to Table Museum. 

Encounters with the Natural World is a Must See Art Exhibit

4th grade students work with Glassell School of Art staff on the installation of the Middle School Encounters with the Natural World exhibit. The artwork will be on display March 2-24 and spans two stories in the Glassell School of Art building. Read more about this incredible collaboration.

MS Day of Service Models Kindness through Compassion

Since the founding of our Middle School, the Middle School Day of Service has been an important part of the curriculum. Chaplain Brenton Smith shares, “this important practice of time set aside to actively love our city is foundational to the PS middle school faith programming.” At Presbyterian School, our goal is for every student to be involved with service to our community. 

Growing Faith through Artistry

PS Director of Communications, Andrea Lawless, is gifting the world by teaching others how they can grow their faith through her incredible artistic ability and love for crafting. Read more about how Andrea is doing God’s work through art.

5th Grade Students Host an Environmental Summit Museum

5th grade students hosted an Environmental Summit Museum this week for parents and students to learn more about our human impact on the Earth. Students researched and shared about how humans contribute to light, ocean and air pollution, habitat loss, invasive species, beach erosion, flooding and overfishing. The Environmental Summit Museum is the capstone grade level exhibition for 5th grade.

PS Families Make a Difference Through Book Donations

Nehemiah Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 students were the guests of honor at the PS Book Fair Wednesday. Students were able to browse through and take home books that were donated by PS families this week during the Book Drive.

PS Pop Up King Cakes Proofed to be Amazing!

PS Faculty and Staff participated in making king cakes this week at a PS Pop Up Cooking Class taught by second grade teacher Patricia Tamminga. These delicious traditional pastries were made with a little bit of cinnamon, a little bit of icing, and a whole lot of love and laughter.

Students Shine with Mock Trial at the Courthouse

8th grade students were excited to participate in a recent presentation of their mock trial case in a courtroom at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Students swapped out their PS uniforms for dress suits and ties Wednesday as they took their murder trial before the judge, a jury, and a galley of excited parents. 

PS Mom Creates Non-Profit to Help Down Syndrome Families

PS mom, Karmel Garcia (Augie ‘30) was given a Down Syndrome diagnosis for her daughter, Zoe, at her 20 week ultrasound At the time, the diagnosis felt unbearably heavy and she wasn’t sure what it meant for her family and for Zoe’s future. Two weeks later, she was told that Zoe would need heart surgery within the first few months of her life. What Karmel didn’t know is that this terrifying experience would lead her to creating a non-profit that is modeling kindness and cultivating compassion by helping others with Down Syndrome.

Brigette O'Brian's Talents are Reaching Stages Worldwide

Middle School Performing Arts Teacher, Brigette O’Brian’s passion for dancing has led her into the professional world of choreography. Not only is she teaching PS students during the day, but she’s choreographing dances at multiple pageants and most recently, has spent some time on Broadway. 

Project Flourish Supports PS Faculty Non-Profits

In May of 2017, First Presbyterian Church unveiled a financial incentive to entrepreneurs who were looking to transform and renew the Houston community. Project Flourish was born as a shark-tank type model where $250,000 seed money was up for grabs. PS Art teacher, Terry Flores, and Head of Middle School, Brandon Walker, are proud recipients of Project Flourish funding for the development of their non-profit organizations, ArtPark Studios and The Summer Institute.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Dance

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, PS will host the performers Undebel Flamenco at special assemblies in Fellowship Hall on Friday. An art form originally from Spain but which has captured the imagination of people around the world, flamenco has been described as “magical and curious,” but it has a complicated history.

PS Faculty and Staff Bring the Spirit to College Colors Day

Ahh, College Colors Day is when we show our school spirit and welcome back the collegiate fandom, and kickoff of college football’s opening weekend. PS faculty and staff dusted off their old collegiate apparel to celebrate College Colors Day with a spirit that only PS can bring. 

Rising to the Occasion with the Eighth Grade Class Trip

For many of us, strapping a 35 lb backpack, lacing up some hiking boots, and hitting the trails of Colorado for a couple of days isn’t an item on our bucket list of things to do. However, for our 8th grade students, this is an important milestone in their middle school experience. Getting outside of their comfort zone and persevering through a challenging and new experience has taught our students that the journey is so much more than the physicality of the endeavor. 

Parent Volunteers Making a Difference

Imagine what can happen when time and gifts are pooled together, shared and extended back out to the community. Every day, our parent volunteers share their time and talents to create an incredible learning environment for students.