Never doubt that a group of determined people who are committed to a singular goal can produce unexpected and impactful results. That’s exactly what happened for students at Ford High School in the Quinan Independent School District when the students, staff, parents, and community combined to focus on a shared goal. That goal was to win the grand prize.
Recently, Ford HS gathered all students to hold a congratulatory assembly during which campus and district administration was presented with a check for $10,000. The prize money will be used towards a project centered around student growth and achievement. The prize, sponsored by Brookshire’s Grocery through their annual Extra Point Texting Challenge, represented the culmination of an effort by the Quinlan ISD community.
Early in the process, the Ford HS Vocational Department was selected to receive the funds. “This was a tremendous opportunity for our vocational program students,” Mr. Donald Merkel, Ford principal, said. “We discussed several different options should Ford be awarded the prize,” Merkel added. “But it made perfect sense to designate the vocational program as the potential recipient. It will help students gain the skills necessary to be better prepared for employment after high school.”
The Brookshire’s competition presented participants with very specific guidelines. Students were to text the name of their campus, once a day, every day, to a specific text extension. At the end of the competition, the school with the most texts would be named the winner. But the Ford HS students could not have met the challenge alone. The entire Quinlan community was involved in the texting onslaught. Fans at football games were encouraged to text. Parents and families became a part of the daily texting army. Community members were invited to add their strength to the shared goal. When the final votes were tallied, Ford HS received a grand total of 20, 289 texts, an average of close to 400 texts every day.
“The Vocational Department needed a place for our students to gain valuable job skills. Some students go into the community to work and develop skills, but there are not enough opportunities for all students,” Ms. Krista Best, vocational teacher, said. “Additionally, FHS has many students who need experience with real, hands-on job skills that can only be gained on campus. Our mission is to provide the students at FHS with all possible chances for a successful start after high school.”
With the support of the FHS administration, the prize money will be used to construct and manage a school store, tentatively called The Cat’s Den, that will be a benefit to all students. The vocational students, under the guidance of faculty members, will run the daily operations of the school store, thereby gaining workforce training and experience. The store will offer an ever-changing supply of purchase options to students such as school spirit items, school supplies, and seasonal specials. Additional items can be added based on student interest and requests.
“This was a program that benefits Ford High students on multiple levels,” Merkel said. “The school store will serve as a central point of focus for the campus. Once the construction is completed, the store can give our students important skills for living.
“But possibly even more important, the project showed our students that when we all work together towards a common goal, there is nothing we cannot achieve. That type of collaboration and commitment is what we strive to teach at Ford HS.”