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SnaPShot of the Week

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 Presbyterian School Student Senate. This revolutionary middle school 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. Continuing reading below about the meticulous process of selecting these young leaders and the exciting journey that lies ahead.

The Selection Process:

Last year, the students worked on a preliminary framework for constitutional bylaws, setting the tone for a student council unlike any other. Rejecting the traditional hierarchy of presidents and vice-presidents, they opted for equal representation, mirroring the ancient Roman Senate. To align the selection process with their vision, candidates were required to anonymously articulate their voices, expressing why they would be valuable contributors to the Senate. The selection involved voting upon candidate hopes without know which voice or ideology was associated with which candidate. This anonymous voting process helped to ensure an unbiased selection of Student Senators.

The result was 15 elected representatives across 6th-8th grades, each chosen through 15 different elections held within the 15 advisories in middle school. The process was not without its drama, with tight races and even a couple of ties. The significance of each vote was emphasized, turning the selection into a lesson on the impact of individual participation in a democratic process.


“Most students won by one or two votes, and we actually have two of them that were a tie.” said the Middle School Ethics Teacher, James Menephee. “It was so fun to watch how very deliberate students were when casting their votes. They really sat down to think about how the beliefs articulated will represent them, the School, and our community.”

Inauguration and Responsibilities:

The newly elected senators were sworn in by a local Houston judge adding a touch of formality to their roles. As they celebrated with pizza, the conversation swiftly shifted to the responsibilities awaiting them. Beyond the usual student council duties, these senators are set to become mentors, ambassadors, and leaders within the Presbyteran School community.

Their responsibilities are divided into three main areas—school spirit, school leadership, and community engagement. From organizing Spirit Week to working closely with school administrators to address concerns, these students are not only leading but also actively contributing to the betterment of their school community. “Senators will be joining Lower School field trips and joining grade levels with their service projects where they will have opportunities to learn and grow as leaders” Mr. Menephee said. The commitment to mentoring younger students and acting as ambassadors for the School, showcases a dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive school environment.

Long-Term Vision:

Since the Senate is now a member of the Texas Association of Student Councils, they will be participating in state activities that collaborate with other Senates, contests, and scholarships for how they serve the community and serve the School. 

Looking ahead, the vision for the Middle School Senate is expansive. Plans include expanding the Senate to 30 members, with two representatives from each advisory. “The goal is to gradually hand over responsibilities to the students, allowing them to take ownership of events like Spirit Week and community outreach” shared Mr. Menephee. Additionally, the Senate aims to participate in state-level activities and contests, demonstrating their commitment to community service and leadership. “Students will have the ability to earn points throughout their term(s) and once they earn a certain number, they can actually get honors.” said James. “When they’re in eighth grade, it’ll actually be an honors type of thing for serving in the Senate. This will hopefully encourage them to really be active and not passive members. It also opens up opportunities for scholarships!”

The Middle School Senate's inauguration marks the beginning of a remarkable chapter in student governance. “Every single one of them, all 15, regardless of personality, grade, or their past history serving the School, they’re the first group to come together and do this and they are very excited and serious about the work to come” James added. As these students embark on their roles as mentors, ambassadors, and leaders, the impact of their voices is sure to resonate throughout the school community. The Senate's commitment to inclusivity, responsibility, and leadership sets the stage for a legacy that could redefine student councils for years to come. The excitement expressed by both students and faculty reflects a shared belief in the transformative power of empowering young voices in shaping their educational environment.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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PS Mom Creates Non-Profit to Help Down Syndrome Families

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PS Faculty and Staff Bring the Spirit to College Colors Day

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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.