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Resolution Honoring the 2023 Student Heroes

Resolution Honoring the 2023 Student Heroes


WHEREAS the State Board of Education’s Student Heroes Award, created in 2015, recognizes Texas public school students who engage in selfless acts of kindness and service that benefit their fellow students or communities; and

WHEREAS State Board of Education members reviewed nominations and selected fifteen outstanding students across the state as recipients of the 2023 Student Heroes Award; and

WHEREAS Manuel Ramirez, a junior at Medina Valley High School in Medina Valley Independent School District (ISD), organized activities that served the elderly at a nursing home. He led the inaugural, “Start with Hello” program that showed students the difference between social isolation and loneliness which helped students to be more empathic; and  

WHEREAS Nathanael Gonzalez, a third-grade student at Flour Bluff Elementary in Flour Bluff ISD, hosted a successful toy drive that collected more than 300 toys, sports equipment, and monetary donations to gift kids in foster care. His endeavor led to the creation of Nate’s Next Kid Up which hosts toy and sports equipment drives for his community; and

WHEREAS Cooper LaBuhn, a senior at Gonzales High School in Gonzales ISD, has over 300 hours serving in various volunteer activities. He also began L&J Boer Goats for students who have the desire to participate in showing goats but lack the financial means. His heart for service brings joy to others and makes a difference in his community; and

WHEREAS Hope Faith Wiggins is a seventh-grade student at Texas Online Preparatory School, a program of Huntsville ISD. She is an advocate for children’s literacy challenging herself  to read hundreds of books and inspiring others to follow in her perseverance. She had donated hundreds of books to local organizations to encourage others to read; and

WHEREAS Catherine Tu, a junior at Westlake High School in Westlake ISD, has a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) that led her to create organic lights providing sustainable lighting and customizable message panels to those in need. Her project has received recognition from local and international volunteer organizations; and

WHEREAS Carsyn Collins, a sixth-grade student at Bear Branch Intermediate School in Magnolia ISD, created 500 craft kits to spread joy, provide comfort, and ease anxiety for patients and families at the Texas Children’s Hospital. The project was so successful that she expanded to other holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter; and

WHEREAS Ashlyn Gilchriest, a senior at Port Neches-Groves High School in Port Neches-Groves ISD, assisted with organizing and implementing the Life Skills Buddies program where special needs students feel included in all aspects of their student life. The program was successful that the concept was proudly shared to members of area student councils; and  

WHEREAS Alexandra Hamilton, a junior at William B. Travis High School in Fort Bend ISD, founded the organization, Youth in Politics, which amplifies youth voices, raises awareness of global and political issues, and provides interviews with local, state, and national leaders; and

WHEREAS Jordan Jones, a fifth-grade student at Rhodes Intermediate School in Forney ISD, shared her technological learning to her peers by donating a most-coveted 3D printer to her school’s 3D Modeling Club using funds from her magnet-making business. Through her selfless gesture, she was able to share her experience to others; and

WHEREAS V’Jae Brown, a junior at Killeen ISD’s Career Center advocated for streetlights in key areas of his community and organized a recycling art contest by partnering with the city council and other students in the Youth Advisory Committee. His service and dedication to sustainability has inspired others and made a tangible impact in his community; and

WHEREAS Cameron Taylor, a fourth-grade student at Tolar Elementary in Tolar ISD, has a heart for helping others by raising $600 from “Cameron's Lemonade for Kids" to purchase coloring books, baby rattles, wooden puzzles, and other toys for toddlers receiving treatment at Cook Children's Hospital; and

WHEREAS Madhalasa Iyer, a senior at Plano Senior High in Plano ISD, designed a wearable airbag that cushions the most fragile parts of a falling body which alerts caregivers about the fall. Her design was accepted and awarded by the Journal of Young Explorers, Meta. She then invested her award money to make a more robust prototype which she hopes results in future preventative devices; and

WHEREAS Taylor McCowan, a senior at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Grand Prairie ISD, formed a nonprofit called, The Confident Girl Project that distributes bags of feminine hygiene products to over 2,500 women in the community. Her efforts to spread awareness of this need expanded her nonprofit throughout North Texas and beyond; and

WHEREAS Elise Fuselier, a senior at Copperas Cove High School in Copperas Cove ISD, created the “Blessings in a Backpack” program that provided weekend meals to every student in need at her former elementary school. The program’s success led the district to fund “Blessings in a Backpack” programs at all campuses in the district; and

WHEREAS Lanie Salazar, a fifth-grade student at Fasken Elementary in Midland ISD, raised money each year for Janet’s Closet to buy toys and gifts that benefit children at a local hospital. Lanie continues to inspire others by her spirit of generosity and empathy for the children at the hospital; and

WHEREAS these remarkable students have modeled compassion in their schools and communities; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the State Board of Education extends its heartfelt thanks to each of these kindhearted students and commends them for their selfless volunteerism, good character, and integrity; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this resolution be presented to each of them and that a copy be included in the permanent records of the State Board of Education.

WITNESS our signatures this twenty-third day of June, two thousand and twenty-three, in Austin, Texas.

Keven Ellis, Chair     

Pat Hardy, Secretary