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Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

Jan 1, 1970 News Archive

The soccer team at the Houston Academy for International Studies has some very smart looking uniforms thanks to the generosity of Dr. Jose Vazquez & 3DentTechnology.

The Houston Academy for International Studies (HAIS) is a magnet high school of the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Located in Midtown near the intersection of Elgin and Highway 288, HAIS has a unique mission – to prepare its students to take advantage of global learning and career opportunities. “Our focus has been on helping students develop a global view on life and issues, acquire fluency in a language other than English, and to participate in an international learning experience,” says Mellisa Jacobs, the founding principal of HAIS. For example, students on the soccer team have earned scholarships to study abroad in Singapore, Venezuela, China, Spain, Morocco, Peru, India, just to name a few.

Designated as an “early college high school,” students at HAIS are able to take courses and complete an Associate’s degree at Houston Community College (HCC) – Central Campus, while simultaneously earning their high school diploma. About 75% of the graduating seniors earn their Associate’s degree at the same time they received high school diploma. Over 70% graduating seniors enroll in four year college or university within a year. Students from the most recent graduation class were accepted to, Texas A &M, the University of Houston, Sam Houston State University, St. John’s University, Howard University, Tulane University and many others.

As a specialized magnet school, HAIS does not have traditional high school athletic programs. However, the school’s leadership is aware of the importance of sports in the learning process. Sports give students the opportunity to become more fit, learn teamwork, promote sportsmanship, and manage their time. “When we looked at other educational models, we saw that many of the elite private college prep schools require student to participate in sports. Because magnet high schools are smaller and do not participate in the University Interscholastic League, our students did not have the opportunity for sports programs,” Jacobs said. “We connected with other programs similar to ours – DeBakey/Health Professions, Challenge Early College, Carnegie Vanguard and others – to form our own league. It’s been great for the students who want to participate – it provides a good balance.” Robert Rogina, physical education teacher and soccer team sponsor, says, “We don’t exclude anyone, and everyone gets to play a role. I give the students quite a bit of autonomy so they can develop teamwork and leadership skills.”

Payton Ivey, a senior and starting striker on the team, said, “We didn’t win as many games as we would have liked to, but we had a great time working together and we all learned a lot. Next year, we hope to do better and plan on starting training earlier in the year.” Aaron Plateros, a junior who earned a scholarship from NASA to work on a project in Singapore, said, “It was great to have Dr. Vazquez donate the uniforms and everyone was very appreciative. What was even better was when he took the time to come by the school to meet the team and talk to us about his work and life.” Jackson Cloyd, a junior who studied Arabic in Morocco last summer, said, “To have someone of his stature take an interest in our school and team is a big deal. We hope we can get Dr. Vazquez to come out again and talk to us more about what he and his team at 3Dent Technology do. His experience can really help us, as we are preparing for the next stage of our lives.”

Heading into the 2017-18 school year, HAIS will also infuse more components of STEM education into its core program. The support of valued tech professionals like Dr. Vazquez and 3Dent Technology helps HAIS promote and encourage the success of its students.