More than 150 students attended the 2017 Teen Summit at Highpoint East, where they heard from a former NBA player and Harris County judge and broke into sessions that addressed the theme of WORK, meaning “Worthy of Respect and Knowledge.” The event, held on Tuesday, April 25, was aimed at bringing students together to learn skills and discuss concepts essential to meeting their professional goals.
“Our goal for this year’s Teen Summit was to provide our students an opportunity to see, hear and experience real life situations beyond the classroom,” said Highpoint East Principal Marion Cooksey.
Harris County Judge Joe Stephens, of Justice of the Peace Court Precinct 3-1, kicked off the day’s schedule with an inspiring keynote address. The former Houston Rockets NBA player and North Shore Senior High school alum said he could relate to the struggles of the average Highpoint East student, but that those struggles need not define them.
“Shoot for the moon,” Stephens said, “If you don’t make it, you’ll land among the stars.”
Highpoint East is Harris County Department of Education’s alternative school for troubled youth. Highpoint East uses a multi-pronged approach to helping students get back on track and return to their home districts to graduate. A low student-to-teacher ratio along with a personalized plan for social and academic reform helps students become successful.
Following the keynote message, students broke into workshop sessions aimed at addressing key concepts for succeeding beyond the classroom. These included financial literacy, dressing for success, proper hygiene and social acceptance.
Social studies teacher Eric D. Joseph called these topics, which also included living above the influence of drugs and alcohol and teambuilding, “pressing” for the Highpoint East community.
“We envisioned addressing these issues by way of experiential learning and exposure because we believe that to be the best vehicle for solutions,” Joseph said.
Addressing students in his “Respect and Appropriate Communication” workshop, Officer K. Elis shared insights about how to talk appropriately and safely to police – advice that could end up saving a student’s life.
“Don’t make any sudden moves, and always keep your hands where officers can see them,” Elis said.
Broderick Wyatt, a Highpoint East teacher, led an engaging seminar on financial literacy, helping students understand the differences between riches and wealth and encouraging them to be smart about spending money.
“If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?” Wyatt asked the class.
A roomful of hands went up.
About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE helps school districts in the state’s largest county meet the needs of uniquely challenged learners, directly serving students at their schools or one of four HCDE-operated campuses across the county. Learn about these services and more at www.hcde-texas.org.