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SnaPShot of the Week

PS Families Make a Difference Through Book Donations

Presbyterian School believes that the school experience is not just about what happens through the end of students’ time with us—it’s about what happens to them for a lifetime. The training and lessons our students receive—or do not receive—during their years with us will have an impact not only on their character but on the choices they make in high school, in  college, and (dare we say it?) beyond.

At Presbyterian School, our goal is for every student to be involved with service to our community.  We believe that service provides needed perspective by reminding us all to be more like Jesus, “to serve and not be served (Matthew 20:28).”  Our grade level service projects and schoolwide service drives highlight the importance of giving back and gratitude. Click here to view our projects.

By means of creative programs in local and regional communities, we are taking up the task of training the next generation of leaders to understand that some of the greatest achievements of our time have been borne out of courageous service and that some of our most successful leaders subscribe to the adage that true leadership is about action and not position. 

This week, PS hosted an annual schoolwide book drive to benefit Books Between Kids which distributes more than 2.3 million books to over 500,000 children in 44 zip codes throughout Greater Houston. The School collected thousands of books. While the PS Book Drive typically benefits Books Between Kids, this year, 4th grade students were inspired to share some of the book donations and make them available to their Nehemiah Center buddies which they see on a weekly basis. 

From the very generous contributions, Nehemiah students were able to pick from over 200 age-appropriate books at a book fair specifically designed for them. “One service project that was most impactful on me when I was at Presbyterian School as a student, was working with Nehemiah Center.” said School Chaplain, Brenton Smith. “The lasting relationship has been so fruitful and has such an impact, especially resonating with alumni, because of the sweet relationships made between the students."

"We were trying to brainstorm a way to echo a tangible gift alongside the relational gift that we have with Nehemiah. Since our fourth graders already read to the students and encourage this love for books and reading, we found a natural fit to benefit the Nehemiah Center with our already established school-wide book drive.” PS wanted to create a model similar to what Books Between Kids does and distribute gently-used books to children we know and see every week who live at or below the poverty line. 

4th grade students combed through the book donations and picked out books for their Nehemiah Center buddies to choose from. The Nehemiah students were beyond thrilled to not only pick out fun new books, but to have their 4th grade buddies read to them, share a snack, and enjoy some outdoor play on the playground! 

Smith added, “I think this is an easy win as we already have a great partnership with the Nehemiah Center and Books Between Kids and we are carrying on both of their missions. What a great way to further both of the partnerships encouraging the love for reading!” 

A huge thank you to everyone who donated to the book drive this week and the Servant Leadership Parent Committee for helping! We collected over 3,000 books to benefit TWO great organizations, Books Between Kids and the Nehemiah Center! 

The Nehemiah Center

The Nehemiah Center’s mission is to provide assistance to low income families who are invested in seeking a better future for their children through education, emotional wellness and spiritual enrichment.

Our motto is “Neighbors helping neighbors create a safe haven in which children are motivated, inspired and equipped to realize their God-given potential”.

Learn More

Books Between Kids

Amy Barnes and Sandra Ahlhorn started off holding book drives in their children’s elementary schools for several years, motivated by the realization that many Houston children do not have books in their homes.  Collected books were donated to a few local elementary schools with children in need.

Now in our 10th year of operations, we have grown from a small organization that impacts a few hundred children to one that has distributed more than 2.3 million books to over 500,000 children in 44 zip codes throughout Greater Houston. We started with one program, Book Celebrations on the campuses of our partner schools, and now we operate three programs to distribute books: Book Celebrations, Community Partners, and the Book A Month program. Children often become first-time book owners because of Books Between Kids.

Learn more

Read More SnaPShots

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.