February’s student recipients of the Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence are a group of hardworking sophomores, juniors, and seniors who enrolled in the Electrical I class this year. These students recently achieved their CORE and Site Safety Orientation certifications. These are national certifications that employers want to see as part of the hiring process, and they increase employability skills that can help these students enter the workforce after graduation.
Staff recipients of this month’s Award of Excellence are from Victoria College, and without their efforts and expertise, MHS would not be able to offer a class like Electrical I and the certification opportunities that come with it. Instructors include Bill LeFurgey and Dwayne Maly. Bill was the chief engineer for TYO Corporation in Austin and also owned his own custom air conditioning and refrigeration company in Victoria, He also worked for Whataburger as a training coordinator for the South Texas area and managed maintenance for ten years. Dwayne hails from Shiner and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M in 1993. He worked for Alcoa for 23 years and has been with VC for the last 5. He is director of the CE Industrial programs including Core, Carpentry, Electrical, HVAC, Millwright, Pipefitting, Plumbing, Power Line worker, and Welding. On a side note, his father is a proud graduate of Sam and Will Moore Institute, so he has ties to our school traditions.
Kudos to our VC partners in education and our hardworking Electrical I students!!!
She has taught English for 18 years, and in each of those years she has served as the Student Council advisor. It is through StuCo that she has developed the leadership skills of our students, showing them how to plan, organize, and conduct events that improve the lives of our students. Under her guidance, the Council has earned the Outstanding Student Council Award 17 years running, and the Moulton Council has served as a district officer for 14 years. She has been named the TASC District Advisor of the Year in 2015, 17, 19, and most recently, in 2022, and a perfect example of how active our StuCO is can be seen in their bid for state president. In 2016, the students decided that little 1A Moulton would head to the state convention with a campaign plan to run for the President school of State StuCo. I had the privilege of chaperoning and helping our advisor and students from MHS force a run-off vote for the office. It came down to a 1A Council vs. a 6A Council. Moulton was the runner-up for president that year, but our Council members were the biggest winners at the convention because of their tenacity, teamwork, and leadership skills.
Rounding out her school efforts, she has been a 4-H club manager for four years, she sponsors the yearbook, and she has coached students to the state academic meet in Ready Writing and Prose Interpretation.
Her list of community activities is long and impressive, with most of her efforts centered around St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the Youth Mass Coordinator and helped begin the monthly pancake breakfast at church, and after years as a member and director of the Chamber, she now serves as president and was instrumental in obtaining the GVEC Power Up grant which added a 16-foot lighted tree to our downtown Yule Trail. You can see why I nominated her for the Chamber’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year, an well-deserved award she was presented Sunday night.
For her dedicated servant leadership and her commitment to her school and community, please help me congratulate our staff recipient of the Katz and Kittens Award, and our current Distinguished Citizen, Anna Bartos.
Moulton ISD Music and Band Directors, Mr. Joel Whittington and Mr. George Koudelka, are the recipients of the April Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence. These two have been with the district for many years. They both play an important role for our students. Mr. Whittington has been a band director for years and has been Moulton’s band director for 17 years. He teaches band to our students from 4th grade until high school. He is a wealth of knowledge and we are lucky to have him teaching our students. Mr. Koudelka has been with Moulton for over 40 years. He teaches music to our Pre-K through 3rd grade students. He is dedicated to Moulton and loves working with the students. Both of these recipients work hard with our students from teaching them music, using different kinds of instruments, and performing band concerts. They have helped grow our music program and Moulton ISD is lucky to have them. We congratulate our staff recipients of the Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence, Joel Whittington and George Koudelka.
Moulton Elementary Kindergartener, Christian Mezik, has received the Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence for the month of April. Christian has shown tremendous growth and we couldn’t be more proud of him. He is always polite and does his best in the classroom. He loves to participate in music and is learning how to read. Seeing his excitement as he learns new things brings us all joy. He always follows the rules! He has a great memory, is always willing to participate in class discussions, and works well with others. He always puts in 100% effort in everything he does. We are very proud of our newest Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence recipient, Christian Mezik.
High School Students:
This month's student recipients are two young ladies who have excelled both in and out of school. Our first student is a senior who has definitely risen to the occasion in our new art program and displayed her talents in a variety of ways. Her paper mache project you see here tonight is a testament to her talent and love of horses, and that same passion and set of artistic skills are reflected in her Houston Rodeo Art project, which won her Best in Show for Moulton High School. She has also utilized her artistic abilities as a member of our Poetry Interpretation team, and as a junior she competed at the UIL Academic State Meet in that event. She is also an active member of the Shiner Lutheran Church, where she often volunteers, and most recently she helped run a hamburger stand at the Shiner Cook-Off and Car show, with the proceeds funding camp fees for children at her church. After graduation next month, she plans to move to New Braunfels, begin her online Vet Tech training program through Penn-Foster, and work as a horse trainer with Destiny and Steven Ranch Horses. Eventually, she hopes to open her own horse training business. The daughter of Brian and Erika Baker, she is one of this month’s recipients of the Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence, so please help me congratulate Kristina Baker.
Our second recipient this evening is a junior who has been active in and out of school. She has represented MHS as a member of our cross country, basketball, and softball teams, and she has also participated in FFA as the club reporter. She has also exhibited lambs in the local and San Antonio stock shows, and she has represented MHS as a member of the livestock judging team. In our community, she has excelled in representing Moulton, Lavaca County, and Texas through the pageant circuit. Currently, she holds the state titles of Texas Teen Miss United States Agriculture and Miss Lonestar Teen, and she will compete in two national pageants in Florida in June and July. In her first pageant, she will represent Texas as she vies for the national title of Teen Miss United States Agriculture, and as Miss Lonestar Teen, she will compete with girls from the the United States, as well as contestants from other countries, during the Royal International Miss Pageant held at Disney in Orlando. She is the daughter of Eugene and Tina Trejo, and she is our second recipient of the student Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence this evening. Join me in congratulating Kaylee Trejo.
High School Educator:
The staff member receiving tonight’s Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence has been instrumental in reviving our high school art program, which has not been active since Mrs. Caballero was in high school decades ago. She shifted from teaching theater to art last summer, and when she did, she hit the ground running, earning her certification and then planning interesting projects for her students to showcase their talents. Her class has created projects involving stained glass, paper mache, and clay, and mediums she has introduced to her students include charcoal, water colors, acrylics, and pastels. In addition to art, she teaches a full schedule of English classes and also coaches Literary Criticism. This year her Lit Crit team has advanced to the regional meet in Brenham next week.
She volunteers her time outside of school to St. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, and she is very committed to her family- her husband Brian, children Kaitlyn, Emma, and Felix, and her parents Marlon and Debbie Novosad. A dedicated teacher who has taught a total of nine years- including the last three here in Moulton- please help me congratulate our staff recipient of this month’s Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence, Amber Nieto.
May Educators and Students of the Month
Moulton ISD Teachers Anita Drabek, Amber Kopecky, Brandi Chovanec, Bernadette Nieto, Jennifer Morrison, Karla Kresta, Megan Hull, and Pat Zidek are the recipients of the May Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence for completing the Texas HB3 Reading Academies. In recent years, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3 which includes HB 3 Reading Academies. This bill states that all Kindergarten-3rd grade teachers are required to complete the HB3 Reading Academies. This school year we had 8 teachers who have completed the Reading Academy. This was no easy feat. The Reading Academy was a yearlong online course which included dozens of assignments, artifacts to be completed, and hundreds of discussions that were had. These 8 people are all amazing teachers and spent countless hours completing this course. While they all earn 60 hours of continuing education, many spent more time throughout the year. These teachers are the core teachers in teaching our youngest students foundational skills. Region 3 has worked with us to make sure we completed our modules on time and they complemented our teachers at every update. They said Moulton has “such a hardworking and dedicated team.” We couldn’t agree more. These teachers are the definition of hardworking and dedicated. We congratulate our staff recipients of the Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence for the completion of the Reading Academies.
Moulton Elementary 5th Grader, Blake Robinson, has received the Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence for the month of May. Blake received the honor of Top Reader in the entire elementary. He has read enough books to receive 505.5 Accelerated Reader points. The goal for 5th grade is 125 points and as you can see he outdid this goal. We are so very proud of him. Not only is he a great reader, he also excels in the classroom. He will also receive the top level for XtraMath. He is willing to help others when they need help understanding different concepts. Blake always has a great attitude and always tries his very best. He works hard, completes assignments, and is always willing to help out. We are very proud of our newest Katz and Kittens Award of Excellence recipient, Blake Robinson.
High School Students:
Two young men who have done what it takes to excel in their respective sports, and at this time I would ask Trenton Meisetschleager and Mateo Vasquez to please come up. Trenton and Mateo, along with their families, have devoted countless hours outside of school to practicing, playing, and honing their athletic abilities, all the while making their academics a priority. Because of their dedication, talent, hard work, and perseverance, they have reaped the rewards. Trenton was named to the Student Athlete World basketball team and will represent his community and country when he plays among the best in Costa Rica this summer, and Mateo’s talent was recognized when he was chosen as member of the Barca World Tour soccer team in the 14U division, a dream of his that was cancelled due to COVID. He finally got the chance to play soccer in Barcelona, Spain, in April, and he has since been featured in the Victoria Advocate and in a TV feature story. Please join me in congratulating these young men- Trenton and Mateo- for all that they have accomplished.
Our Awards of Excellence continue with the students who placed at the UIL State Academic Meet in Austin last weekend. This group earned 102 points at the state meet and currently lead all 1A schools pending the Speech state meet in two weeks. As I call your name, please remain up here for a group picture.
Zoey Sturm- Zoey is a freshman and placed 6th at the state meet in Ready Writing.
The Math Team of Jaxon Bartos, Trenton Meisetschleager, Tatum Langston, and Lily Simper. This group brought home the silver medal in team competition in Math.
Lily Simper- Lily placed 2nd in Calculator Applications.
Oscar Lugo, Angelica Manzano, Leslie Juarez, and Julianna Buehring- This group won the state championship in Spelling with a score of 244 points, which makes them back-to-back state champs in Spelling. Angelica placed 4th individually, Leslie placed third, and Julianna, who is a sophomore, placed first in state spelling.
Blakely Richter, Moises Manzano, Alex Tortoledo, and Catherine Wenske. These students won the state Social Studies championship, which makes them back-to-back state champions as well. Individually, Moises placed 5th, Alex finished 4th, and Catherine Wenske won the gold medal. Please give these hardworking academic contestants a round of applause for their outstanding performance at state.
High School Educators:
Our solid tradition of success in academics would not be possible without the coaches who work so hard during school and in many after-school practices to push their students to be the best they can be, and tonight we honor them for their tireless dedication to excellence.
Anna Bartos coached Zoey to 6th place in Ready Writing, an event she has coached since 2010. During that time she has taken five students to the state meet, with Zoey and another of her students placing. She currently coaches prose interpretation as well and coached poetry in the past as well.
Randy Stevenson says he was like me- he didn’t know UIL academics existed until he moved to Moulton, and he began participating his freshman year because his friends told him to. He said he realized quickly that anything short of a medal at state was not acceptable. He competed in Spelling, Headline Writing, Computer Applications, and Computer science. When he began working at MHS in 2014, he was given Math and Calculator Applications to coach- events he had no experience in. But he learned the ins and outs of the test and how to maximize points, and his teams have captured the regional championship in Calculators the last five years of competition with three individual medalists at the state meet. 2022 is the first year a Math team advanced to the state meet, and through his guidance, they were the state runners-up.
Heather Olivarez has been coaching academic UIL since 1995, and she says she realized very quickly that winning was expected. Her first state appearance was in 2001, and after Mr. K left, she picked up spelling because she knew we needed the points to win the district and regional championships. In 2004, she made her first trip to state in Spelling. That’s the same year the UIL began the Social Studies contest, and she took her team to state that very first year.
In spelling- which I began coaching with her in 2009, she’s had nine state appearances with teams placing in the top three and individuals placing in the top six, in Social Studies, her teams have made ten state appearances with teams placing in the top three and individuals in the top 6, and from 2014-2022, her teams competed at state in both Spelling and Social Studies each of those years, with both of those teams the current back-to-back state champions in these two events. Moulton wouldn’t have the rich tradition of academic success without dedicated, hardworking coaches like these three, so please help me show our appreciation and congratulations for all that they do.