Skip To Main Content

Header Holder

Header Utility

Toggle Menu

SnaPShot of the Week

Project Flourish Supports PS Faculty Non-Profits

In May of 2017, First Presbyterian Church (FPC) unveiled a financial incentive to entrepreneurs who were looking to transform and renew the Houston community. The church wanted to connect gospel-minded entrepreneurs and their ventures to the social, intellectual, and financial capital of First Presbyterian Church in order to make a transformative social impact on the city. Project Flourish was born as a shark-tank type model where $250,000 seed money was awarded to selected recipients. 

Through Project Flourish, FPC wanted to provide mentorship and expertise, access to capital, and community. Participants underwent a challenging process designed to enhance their projects or ventures through hands-on coaching from a team of experienced mentors. Semi-finalists participated in workshops over a two-month acceleration process. Following t his, they pitched their venture, Shark Tank-style, to a panel of judges and winning pitches were awarded funding from a pool of $250,000. Award recipients received start-up funding, consulting, financial and business planning assistance, and partnership opportunities with First Presbyterian Church.

The why behind the project was simple; to follow the way of Jesus who is recreating the world. He commissions us to be people of new life, creating, restoring, pastoring, and ministering to all of creation. These grants were to encourage and develop social and cultural renewal within Houston first and foremost. 

Presbyterian School Lower School Art Teacher, Terry Flores, was one of the lucky Project Flourisher recipients with her program, ArtPark Studios — a non-profit gospel-minded social art program designed to bring free summer arts programming to Houston’s under-served communities.

“A big part of why I wanted to create this program is because I noticed that the kids in my own neighborhood needed outreach. These kids weren’t being enriched in the summer time and were spending most of their days inside.” said Flores. “My co-founder and son Kevin, thought it would be a great idea to create a mobile art studio where we could provide summer enrichment classes to these kids with a primary focus on combating summer knowledge loss. We began our work with lower income HISD schools and SPARK Parks doing bigger community pieces in the beginning.” The Art Angels of ArtPark Studios would work with the students one-on-one in a quiet creative space, creating sanctuaries for students who needed them. “Then COVID hit. We didn’t want to be an extra layer of burden in the schools during the time so we decided to pivot and went on the renewal road. We filmed artists in their studios from here all the way up the East Coast from Cape Cod through the Appalachian Mountains talking about creativity, renewal, and how the creative spirit and your faith can see you through things. We are then taking that information and coupling it with an app that we have developed that we can then continue to reach these students, nursing homes, hospitals, and more.” Like with ArtPark Studios, Project Flourish looks to continue supporting gospel-minded entrepreneurial ideas to meet the challenges of the metropolitan Houston area. 

In 2023, The Summer Institute at Presbyterian School, lead by PS Head of Middle School Brandon Walker and PS PE Teacher, Darnell Cleary, was awarded $60,000 to help encourage, equip and empower under-resourced middle school students to become diligent scholars and faithful leaders in their communities. The purpose of the Summer Institute is to leverage the resources of a flourishing and celebrated learning institution and make a positive impact on students trajectory through a hands-on, STEM focused inquiry based instructional model, exceptionally low student to teacher ratios, tutoring services, and a comprehensive wellness program that includes life and study skills instruction, mentorship opportunities and intentional character development. 

Since its launch in 2018, Project Flourish has awarded $490,000 in seed money to a total of 11 start-ups. The funds have supported organizations addressing areas such as human trafficking, refugee aid, educational deficits, lack of access to the arts, food and housing insecurity, poverty, at-risk youth and other challenges of the Houston metropolitan area. 

 

 

Read More SnaPShots

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.