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E.C. Brice Elementary School Assistant Principal, Amy Stewart (center), receives a $2500 check from Lori Gray (left) from Horace Mann Insurance and Harley Eckhart (right), the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) Executive Director. Stewart was named the TEPSA Assistant Principal of the Year for the State of Texas in April.


(L to R) Alyssa Reynolds, Abby Mason, Blanca Antolin, Grace Whitten (not pictured Matthew Armstrong)


MPHS Students Recognized at International HOSA Leadership Conference.

Five Mount Pleasant High School students earned recognition at the HOSA 42nd Annual International Leadership Conference. The conference was held June 19-22, 2019 in Orlando, Florida and featured 11,500 students, advisors, and chaperones from across the United States as well as China, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Those receiving awards include Abby Mason in Healthcare Issues Exam, a 50-item test measuring a HOSA member’s knowledge of current health issues; Alyssa Reynolds and Grace Whitten in Outstanding HOSA Chapter, a chapter’s plan of activities all year following the areas in the guidelines and a scrapbook containing proof of those activities. Also, Matthew Armstrong in HOSA Happenings, a multimedia chapter communication event using a print or electronic newsletter or website; and Blanca Antolin for the Barbara James Service Award (Silver Division) which provides recognition to individual HOSA members for volunteer service in their community.

While in Orlando, the students were able to attend workshops about current health-related issues, explore the exhibit hall and talk to colleges and professionals about health careers, as well as enjoy time at Disney World. The students were accompanied by HOSA advisors Kristi Houchin and Shari Cabell.


L to R: Reid Pinckard, Connelly Cowan, Taryn Thurman, Ja’Quacy Minter


MPHS Speech and Debate team members compete at nationals.

Four members of the Mount Pleasant High School, Speech and Debate team, competed at the NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, June 17-20 at the Sheraton Hotel downtown. The tournament featured competitors from over 1300 schools representing 53 states and US International schools.
Over 7500 students qualified to compete in 23 categories.

Recent graduate Ja’Quacy Minter qualified for the national tournament in Dramatic Interpretation. After failing to advance to the top 60 in that event, Minter was able to enter supplemental competitions in both Prose and Poetry, his areas of expertise. In the end, Minter was named a Semifinalist in Prose, advancing to the top 14 out of 378 competitors. In Poetry, Minter made it to the top 35 out of 326 competitors. It was the best finish for an MPHS Speech team member at nationals in school history and Minter’s second national award. He will continue his speech and debate career at Tyler Junior College this fall.

In Policy Debate, the team of Connelly Cowan and Taryn Thurman began day one against 180 teams from across the United States. In prelims, they debated teams from Delaware, Missouri, Kansas, California, Hawaii, and Idaho to determine if they would advance to elimination rounds. In the six preliminary rounds, each series had two judges who would vote for or against a team, for a total of 12 ballots. To advance, a team had to have at least eight “for.” Cowan and Thurman had nine for and three against and would advance to the elimination rounds. In round seven they faced a team from New York and lost on a 3-0 decision. In round eight, they met another group from Missouri and were eliminated on a 2-1 decision, just one ballot away from advancing to series nine and ten. They finished among the top 58 teams at the tournament. It was the first appearance for an MPHS policy debate team at the national level and their first national award. Cowan will be a sophomore and Thurman will be a junior for the 2019-2020 school year.

Reid Pinckard qualified for the national tournament in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. After not advancing in USX, he was able to enter supplemental competitions in Extemp Debate and Impromptu Speaking. He proceeded to the third round of Impromptu Speaking that began with 520 competitors, making it into the top 90 or the top 17%. Pinckard will return for his junior year this fall.

The NSDA National tournament wrapped up the 2018-2019 year for MPHS Speech and Debate. Team members will attend various camps this summer, preparing for the 2019-2020 school year and their first tournament in September. They are coached by Cody Morris.


Pictured: L to R Lauren Southerland and Ashley Rodriguez

MPHS Future Educators earn national awards

Recent MPHS graduates Lauren Southerland and Ashley Rodriguez achieved the last of their high school goals—to win a national prize for their K-3 Children’s book. Southerland and Rodriguez earned their trip to Nationals by placing in the Top 5 at the state competition earlier in March. They attended the Educators Rising National Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas from June 22-25. In the end, their book placed in the top 10 out of 60 entries at the National competition.

The book, titled “The Friends of the Sun,” is a story from the sun’s perspective introducing each planet in a unique way for students to remember their place in the solar system. Rodriguez and Southerland spent a little over three months writing, painting, and putting the book together. “Our goal overall was to bring an enjoyable moment for any reader to have while reading and exploring science from a different perspective,” said Southerland.

“With all the efforts these future educators have put forth in creating the storyline, illustrations, and presentation, it is no wonder they have excelled in competitions state and nationwide,” said MPHS TAFE Advisor, Aimee Sweeden. “I am beyond proud of Ashley and Lauren. These girls have made it easy to teach as they truly have a heart for children and a passion for education. I cannot wait to work alongside these young ladies as teachers and ambassadors for education.”


Contact: Kelly Cowan