What's Happening in TS?

TRIO Day at the Capitol: Talent Search Capitol College Road Trip

Talent Search students from Gainesville High School went on a two-day trip to Austin in April.   The TRIO Day at the Capitol was held on the Capitol Grounds for Talent Search students from all over the state of Texas.  Our trip began with a scavenger hunt through the Capitol Grounds and Capitol Visitor Center.  Teams competed against each other.  The Gainesville team finished first with all correct answers on both hunts!  During our tour of the capitol building, we were treated to the delightful sounds of a middle school orchestra playing under the capitol’s dome.  After a tour of the capitol and the underground extension, we proceeded outside for a picnic on the grounds.  

We then visited the University of Texas and downtown Austin.  While on campus, the students had the opportunity to see first-hand different aspects of life on campus.  Our great tour guide was also able to answer questions.   We visited notable places on campus to include the Tower Library.  Did you know the library in the tower contains the Alexander Archives which features a wealth of documentation for the design and building of the tower to include the construction drawings, shop drawings, construction photographs, and project files?  The tower was designed by French-born architect Paul Cret and was completed in 1937.  All-in-all, we had a great experience in Austin and look forward to our next adventure with Talent Search.


Talent Search students participate in TAMS Summer STEM Academy

This summer, twelve Strickland Middle School Talent Search students were selected to attend a week long camp focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In a collaboration with Texas Academy of Math and Science, these Talent Search students participated in hands-on activities in the following areas:

Robotics: Students were transported daily to UNT’s Discovery Park campus, where they learned to program robots. On the first day they were instructed to program the robot to introduce them by making it speak and dance. By the end of the week students programmed the robots to maneuver a maze and act out a play.

The Factory: Students visited UNT’s creator lab “The Factory” daily where they worked with microcontrollers, 3D printing, scratch programming, robotics, and soldering. Although most of the activities were challenging, the students were motivated to learn about the many kinds of technology. They took home their 3D creations and electronic dice that they soldered together.

Chemistry: Students also visited the chemistry lab daily, where they learned about the various ways in which chemistry affects our daily lives. They used lab equipment to create bouncy balls, gelatin, and wax art. They learned about various things like lab safety, lasers, and even how to make the best chocolate milk.

Energy: Students also got to visit Discovery Park’s Zero Energy Lab. This is a simulated home that is powered by natural energy. Students learned about collecting rainwater and energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines.

Physics: A UNT professor showed the students fascinating physics demonstrations. A student sat in a chair covered in real metal nails, another student got to float around the classroom on a disk powered by a leaf blower, and they also explored wave length/frequency and static electricity.

Astronomy:  The campers started their Friday morning off at the planetarium, where they got to watch the film “Bad Astronomy,” which debunks common astronomy myths. Later that evening they were transported to the observatory were they had the opportunity to use professional equipment and telescopes to view the night sky.

Although the campers did not stay on campus over night, they got to live some college life experiences. They had meals in a UNT dining hall, and spent their leisure time in the TAMS residence hall. They learned about majors and career fields that they didn’t know of, and got introduced to opportunities like TAMS, which can get them into the University during their last two years of high school. This weeklong program provided these students empowerment to pursue a career in the STEM fields. See pictures below. 





Talent Search Leadership Summit 

Tamam Waritu, first generation college student and Harvard graduate, came to promote leadership and persistence among Talent Search students in May 2017. Sixty-four Talent Search students were in attendance for the full day workshop.

Students broke up into groups of seven and introduced themselves to each other using their favorite life mottos. They then brainstormed solutions to problems faced by high school students. They presented the problems (drug abuse, technology takeover, harassment, high school dropout, etc.) and their solutions – many of which were creative and sparked a lot of discussion!

Through a few games, students thought through several concepts of teambuilding and leadership. After lunch, there was a period of reflection, where each student could write down his or her goals and how s/he planned to achieve them. Academic or personal, big or small, everyone had something they were hoping to accomplish.

Mr. Waritu wanted the students to have a real “break through,” so he brought boards for everyone to karate chop! However, concerned about the safety aspect, Talent Search advisors encouraged him to just talk us through the breakthrough (:

Many students were encouraged by the day’s activities and Mr. Waritu’s personal story of perseverance through language and educational barriers. He cautioned students against being obstacles to their own success and urged them to not let life’s challenges stand in their way. He reminded us that, at the end of the day, the only person responsible for you is you, and that is a lesson we all can use. 



1st Annual Talent Search Youth Leadership Camp (TSYLC) 

Students had a great time at the 2017 Talent Search Youth Leadership Camp! Co-sponsored by Gainesville ISD and North Central Texas College (NCTC), students were able to visit three colleges, see downtown Dallas, look at the stars in two different planetariums, and hear from several speakers.

Camp kicked off with motivational messages from Dr. Jeffrey Brasher, Gainesville ISD Superintendent, and Dr. Andrew Fisher, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at NCTC. Audra Taylor at NCTC put together a great day with presentations from the equestrian program (who knew there were massage therapists for horses?), cosmetology, dual credit and the health and industrial sciences programs.

At UTA, we saw an awesome star show at the planetarium and toured the campus. After giving us a tour at SMU, current TRIO college students answered questions about life in college and gave advice on how to make the most of middle school and high school. 

For the first time in camp history, we went to the Dallas Museum of Art. Students were able to see the first and only United States exhibit of Mexico 1900-1950 – 50 years of Mexican modern art from artists like Kahlo, Rivera and Orozco. After seeing the exhibits and touring the entire collection at the DMA, we went around the block to Klyde Warren Park to enjoy the splash pad and eat popsicles!

On our last day, we were supposed to go to the landfill, but we got rained out! frown Ms. Owen came prepared with teambuilding and leadership activities for the day. 

The rained cleared up and we went to GlobeLife Park (aka Rangers Stadium). Students got a tour of the stadium and the guide told us all about careers in athletics, some for which you don’t even have to be an athlete (media…marketing…catering). 

The Blue Team won the Spirit Award, and camp was done for another year. yes Thanks to all the students, parents, sponsors and presenters who gave their time and resources to make it possible!

Special thanks to our sponsors & presenters:

Dallas Museum of Art

Gainesville ISD

North Central Texas College

Southern Methodist University TRIO

UNT TRIO Talent Search (100% funded by the Department of Education)

TSYLC 2018 is scheduled for June 4th-June 8th. Camp applicatin will be due Wednesday, June 9th. Please contact Sophie Thompson at sthompson@unt.edu for addtional information.  

A-TEAM students get an “A” for AWESOME ! laugh

A new tutoring and mentoring program called,  A-TEAM was launched at Ryan High School this year in an effort to better help incoming freshmen who are pursuing college to make the transition from middle school to high school.  Many of these students do not realize that the rigor of college-prep courses in high school will be a bit more challenging than what they are used to in middle school!  Ninth grade begins the official high school transcript grade point calculation (GPA)  and college admission will be determined by grades earned in 9-11th since students begin applying the beginning of the senior year to four-year colleges.  If a student doesn’t make a strong start in the Freshman year he/she can really hurt their GPA for chances at more selective colleges and higher dollar scholarships!

This year’s A-Team freshmen kicked off the program with a Team Building Orientation to help teach and emphasize some of the core characteristics of a college-bound student.    Through simulated team building problems students experienced the frustration and discouragement that can come from real-life challenges and learned some great life lessons about resiliency, determination, hard-work, failure – and getting back up!  Congratulations to the first A -Team group (Class of 2020) who came for eight months to after school tutoring!  So proud of you! ! !  Special thanks to the A-Team Tutor/Mentors – Jane Mark (UNT student) and Emily Billy (NCTC student) for your labor of love helping these students succeed!

A-TEAM members participate in peer led study session. Great job students! yes

Juliana Huerta shows off her picture that captures one of the many lessons communicated through the team building experience. enlightened

University of Texas at Arlington Field Trip cool

Red & Blue are popular colors with Denton Ryan Raider students so going to UTArlington for college would be a "Win-Win" since they share these vibrant and patriotic school colors!  On March 22nd  2017 Talent Search students from Ryan visited UT Arlington and Maverick country to experience UT Arlington up close and personal!  Students also learned about majors, college life, science programs, financial aid, housing, scholarships, admissions, & more!  Students also heard from former Talent Search Ryan grad  - Jovanta Williams, who is a current student a UTArlington about what college life is like and what his greatest challenge was in transitioning from high school to college.   Lunch was provided and students experienced college dining – a little lesson in self-control as it is hard NOT to keep eating when there are so many yummy options in a college cafeteria!
The tour ended with a trip to space in the planetarium where students learned about careers in astronomy and even got a short rollercoaster ride without even going across the highway to Six Flags in a 3-D experience that left students feeling like they could handle any unexpected turns that college could throw at them!

Ryan Talent Search students enjoy a science show and a variety of snacks on the campus of UTA. 


Talent Search Students Meet the UNT One O’Clock Jazz Band smiley

Seven Grammy nominations! Multitudes of great composers, performers, and educators all throughout the music world. Over 60 recordings and a tradition that just keeps swingin'...all boasts about the legendary UNT One O’Clock Lab Band! Since the jazz studies program began in the 1946-47 school year, the One O'Clock Jazz Band continues to make recordings up to today. Constituting one of the largest recorded bodies of work in all of jazz, NT Jazz created the world’s first university record label and also boasts seven Grammy nominations.

Strickland Middle School (SMS) Jazz Band Talent Search students came to campus to watch the band rehearse. Director Alan Baylock conducted a wonderful performance, even with a piece the band read for the first time. Students were able to interact with Mr. Baylock and the performers, asking them questions and getting advice on possible future careers with the UNT Jazz Studies Program. Just a few days later, both the SMS Jazz Band and the One O’Clock performed at the 2017 Denton Arts and Jazz Fest, which was held on the last weekend in April at Denton’s Quakertown Park. Follow One O’Clock on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theoneoclock/

SMS Talent Search Jazz Band Students pose with the UNT One O’Clock Band and Mr. Baylock


In line with the new partnership between UNT and the Dallas Cowboys in the way of career connecting, Talent Search students from Strickland Middle School were offered the opportunity to explore the educational and career aspects of a professional sports team and stadium.  On May 16, 2017, students got a VIP “Behind the Scenes” tour of the stadium to include the various career opportunities involved in operating not only the stadium itself, but also the operation and management of an NFL professional football team, our famous Dallas Cowboys!  

Students were given a private tour of the University of Texas at Arlington by a Ryan High School Talent Search Alum, Mr. Jovanta Williams-Blackburn.  Jovanta is a 2013 graduate of RHS and is pursuing a Math degree at UTA with a teacher’s certification. He is hoping to be able to teach and coach at Strickland MS one day soon. Jovanta spoke to the students about his experiences as he prepared for college during middle and high school and advised them to take advantage of everything that TS has to offer, get good grades and apply for financial aid early in their senior year…all very good advice! Thank you Jovanta!  

To be eligible for the trip, students had to write a one page essay on any of the topics from the ApplyTexas College Admission Essay Prompts. In doing so, students are getting a head start with college prep by practicing essay writing early! Our students wrote excellent essays and were rewarded with a full day field trip, including lunch at Jason’s Deli. Where shall we go next year???? Students and parents, send your suggestions to beverly.maloney@unt.edu.

Strickland Middle School students pose on the field of America's team















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