Friday, October 19, 2018

Cinco Parents: Never forget we need you.

"Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless."-Sherry Anderson

Giving back at CRHS as a volunteer makes me a “Granny” to many.

My name is Angell Brown-Fontenot, and Katy has been my home since 1993. I have been called “Granny” for almost 16 years by many. I have 3 biological granddaughters 16, 8 and 2 years.   My volunteer work in the district has spanned many years and many schools. I started as a Williams Wrangler, then a Beck Bulldog and now as a Cougar and the VIPS coordinator at Cinco Ranch High School.

People who know me are aware how grateful I am to always help -  especially when it supports our kids. Here at CRHS we are a very large and growing family community. The connections we make as volunteers with other volunteers and with the education team at CRHS expand the safety net of caring adults who will watch over all my children because they know my kids and they know me.

This granny wears many hats…I’m uber Granny, Dr Granny and volunteering Granny just to name a few. I listen, I help, I hug and support whenever is needed. I've never had to perform surgery but I do carry a Mary Poppins bag filled with anything that someone might need. Need a icepack…. I have it. Just snap to activate. I could totally win on “Let Make A Deal”. I get the benefit of caring for many more “grandchildren” without having to worry about paying for their college.

I know, I know, volunteerism requires time. Between working, caring for kids, managing a home and various after school activities, we are all exhausted enough. Add in social commitments, family time and time to watch a little Netflix, and we have precious little to spare. I wish there were more hours in the day. After all, we are always busy, tired and surely someone else can do it. But there are small opportunities we have before us that make an impact on our children before they are off to college and adulthood. And one never knows how much your attention is felt by other children, not just your own. Our kids may tell us to stay away, but they really love when they can catch a glimpse of us volunteering. It's a point of pride for our children to know that we are invested in their academic success and have a desire to be of help at their school.

Just recently, a dad asked if there was anything he could do to help me with volunteering. I suggested he schedule a long lunch break from work one day to come help with our Wednesday pizza sales. This is an opportunity to see your child in their school environment, hanging out with their friends. This dad's daughter was so excited that he was there and made all her friends come by to see him. The smile on both of their faces warmed my heart. He called me after and expressed the gratitude and joy he felt. “I feel like a Rock Star."  

Your kids really are excited to see you involved at any level and it brightens their day. Parent volunteer involvement affords us the opportunity to learn about others, support the growth and development of our school and enrich the lives of our kids. I see it as extra bonding time, and we have the opportunity to get it while we can. Because tomorrow? They're off on their own, living their lives. And don't you want to see them build upon the legacy of community citizenship we began for them?

I'll see you on campus!

Angell “Granny” Brown-Fontenot

Friday, October 12, 2018

Cinco Ranch: It's a feeling!

When Mr. Cross recently approached me about contributing to the school blog, my knee jerk reaction was to pretend I didn’t see his email. You see, while I consider myself an avid reader, I have never considered myself a gifted writer, so putting myself “out there” seemed terrifying.

When I accepted a teaching position at Cinco this fall, my friends and family were shocked. I confess that as a Katy native, I bleed red. I have been a Tiger fan since I was eight years old when my father started hauling me to Tiger football games across the state. My husband and I are both Katy High graduates, my extended family are all KHS graduates, and most of our friends are as well. You can bet that our daughters have been raised to cheer for the Red and the White and show their Tiger Pride. How could I now cheer for “that school”?

And then a funny thing happened when I arrived on campus for my first meeting in August. Cinco Ranch seemed different – from running around the school on a scavenger hunt with other new teachers, to hearing from student leaders about their school pride and positive campus experiences, to walking across the stage for my Cougar initiation –  I suddenly realized that I had hit the teacher jackpot.

Throughout its history, CRHS has been recognized for its excellent academic achievement, high accountability ratings, exemplary fine arts performances, outstanding athletic programs and is now home to the 2018 Texas PTA Outstanding Secondary Principal. However, the real secret here at Cinco is the family. In just a short period of time, I have found a place I consider my home away from home. The staff, students, and parents make hitting the snooze button a thing of the past. I truly love coming to work each day! The community and culture that is Cinco is difficult to put into words. It’s a feeling – a knowing – an echo in the halls. You can’t understand it unless you are a part of it.

While my heart will always be a Tiger, I have already traded my reds for maroons, and I see my daughters as future Cougars! Thank you for welcoming this Tiger into your den. 

Rachel Tate, English Teacher

Monday, September 24, 2018

A Cinco grad shows us how to Seize The Day!

When Mr.Cross asked me to write for the blog, I was honored, but equally floored. As I thought about what to write, I figured I could sum up my experiences at Cinco in three words. Seize The Day.

Seize YOUR day. Every day that you enter CRHS, you have the choice to seize the opportunity in front of you, or to remain where you are. Meet someone new today, and tomorrow, and the next day and the next day after that. Seize your day.

Join a club, go to a varsity basketball game, or go see the next choir concert. Experience Cinco! Seize your day.

If I had never left my introverted shell I would not be in the position that I am today. My four years at Cinco prepared me for college and my current job. Cinco taught me how to deal with people, how to balance a busy (read: insane) schedule, and how to try new things. I dare you, yes you, to try as much as you can in high school, because for many, this is the last time you will be able to experience new things without penalty.
I was an average student, I never made straight A’s in high school, and taking 5 AP classes at a time (here’s looking at you Seniors) was not something that interested me. But between the people I met and my experiences at CRHS, I was more than prepared for life after the rigor of Cinco. How did I seize the day?  

I was 4-year class president, member of the Cougar Band, Captain of the football team, participated in Speech and Debate, FFA, wrestling, track and so much more. I tell you that not to brag on myself, but to let you know that this school is overflowing with opportunity. The opportunities I got, such as traveling to Indianapolis with band, or playing at state of the art stadiums, or even going to leadership camps are things that many kids across the US will never dream of. Seize your day.

Your “Seize The Day” probably won’t look like mine and that is ok. You don’t have to be the president of 3 clubs and have a 4.99999 GPA to be successful in life. But you do need the work ethic and drive, the hunger and passion to learn more about what you like to do. Seize the day.

Your “Seize The Day” might mean you joined the Art Club, you babysit a kid down the street, and met two new kids today. Your “Seize the Day” might mean you got straight A’s for the first time and you decided to take 2 AP Tests this year. Your “Seize the Day” might mean you went to tutorials all week to prep for your test in Academic English and you made dinner for your little sister at home.

I am by no means telling you to be busy. But I am telling you to attack everything that you do with gusto, with a relentless drive for excellence. “Seizing Your Day” while at Cinco ensures you will be more than prepared for whatever you decide to do after high school (and no, you do not have to know what you want to be now).

The people and mentors that I encountered at Cinco helped guide and shape me for what I was going to do after High SchooI. I wound up attending Berklee College of Music. I then worked for Apple and now I am a Band Director/ English Teacher at Paetow High School. I am glad to be in a position to give back to this school district. But I only give back, because Cinco poured in to me.

Seize the day. Seize your day. Because this, is “The Greatest High School in America”.

John Liner
Class President (c/o 2013)
Captain 2012 Cougar Football
Cougar Band Member
Cougar for Life

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cinco: United We Stand: A Student's Perspective

Everything is silent but the echoing of the voices and the snapping of the flag. All attention is turned to one stunning sight, colored red, white, and beautiful blue. Both the sounds of lips moving along to the words of our nation’s song and the booming cries of veterans in the audience reverberate in the stadium. This fleeting flash of unity is what excites me most about Cinco’s football games.

Every week as I watch the flapping flag and listen to the national anthem, I am fixated on the respectful silence yet unintentional noise of the crowd. Though the noise reminds me of our varying reasons for coming to the game — perhaps to show support, perhaps to socialize — I am lost in the allure of the silence because it represents a brief but significant moment which we all share together. Once the song ends, the football team gets ready to play, the Stars walk off the field, the fans in the bleachers scream and shout. Everyone goes back to their life, but in that moment we were one.

Because in that moment, when we are all turned the same direction with our hands on our hearts, singing the same words, all that is felt is unanimity. For those two minutes we are enveloped in a concept greater than us all and a feeling of oneness that supersedes any feeling of divergence. I feel that in this occasion, the football players, the Cougar Stars, the cheerleaders, the coaches, the band, and the audience all realize how blessed we all are to be given the privilege to savor the freedom to come together and enjoy, in my opinion, Texas’ favorite pastime. Additionally, in this moment, sparks of pride are lit within us all. Pride of course for our nation, but more importantly for our school (especially when our lovely choir is singing the national anthem so wonderfully).

This moment stands out to me because I believe it encapsulates the spirit of Cinco Ranch. Our school is one of unmatched diversity and camaraderie: two principles that every school tries to achieve but rarely obtains because of their paradoxical relationship. In almost every environment, differences seem to divide, while at Cinco it is a force that unites. As the celebrations for Cinco’s 20th anniversary continue, I believe this ideal Cinco has reached should be highlighted as one of its finest accomplishments. 

Lauren Parker, Senior
Student Council President

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

One-Way New York to Katy: Bargain of a Lifetime

I will never forget the day my family arrived in Katy, Texas eight years ago.  I can remember pulling up to our new home that my husband had picked out in a weekend and thinking, “What did we do?” I was extremely overwhelmed. Having been born and raised in Queens, New York and living in the same town for the first 34 years of my life with just a small period of time living in Bangor, PA, everything was so different from what I was accustomed to.

Little did I realize at the time that my family would soon become part of one of the most dedicated, fun, caring communities. A huge part of our community would be our schools.  One of those schools would be Cinco Ranch High School.

For me, Cinco Ranch High School represents more than just a place that my children go to receive a top-notch education.  Cinco Ranch High School represents family, friendships, teamwork, perseverance and, most of all, community.  The community that is Cinco Ranch High School works together through good times and bad times. While my kids are away from our home attending school, I can rest easy knowing that their teachers, the administrative team, and fellow students are taking care of them.  As a parent, I feel honored and privileged to be part of such a wonderful high school.  

The four years that our children spend in high school are also an opportunity for us parents to continue to be involved and participate in our kids’ daily lives. Cinco Ranch High School provides our children with the opportunity to learn more about themselves and us parents the opportunity to learn and grow in our parenting. I can't think of a place more welcoming than Cinco Ranch High School to share our children with and the experience of seeing them grow and become the adults that they are meant to be.

In the eight years that my family has been part of this community, I have come to realize the “what did we do?” has turned into “we are blessed and thankful that we did.”


Dawn Bell

CRHS PTSA, President 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Here's to the New Year. May she be...

Dear Cougars New and Old:

As I pull the stuff out of the closets and place it around my room for my 21st year in the profession, I came across one very special artifact that has been part of my d├ęcor for over thirteen years, from a very special person, Bridget Clock.

It was 2005, my first year of having Bridget as my aide in the classroom, and she noticed the Greek Orthodox icon of St. Paul that I picked up on the Island of Patmos, during my Greek sojourn in 2004.  After a year of putting up with me ;-) she gave me the little wooden carving of the Catholic peace sign, that she did at CYO Summer Camp (see photos) as a young girl.  It has remained on my desk, alongside the Pirate batting helmet sundae cup and an autographed baseball. Every year I have pulled it out and placed it in its usual spot, without really thinking about it.  When I placed it last year, Bridget was still here, and now she is gone!

As we start a new school year, none of us knows what lies in front of us. How could I have known that by the end of the year, our area would have been devastated by a once in a century storm, and Bridget would no longer be sitting next to me at the lunch table as she always did. 

So take a minute, take the time to look at these mementoes, remember why you keep them, why you have them, why are they important.  Maybe drop an email or call a former colleague or  catch up with that special student who gave you that little token of their affection for that reference letter, or for just “being you.”

There was a classic episode of the TV series M*A*SH that I thought of recently. It covered a year in the life of the 4077th, beginning with New Year’s Eve and ending with the next New Year’s Eve. Colonel Potter book-ended it with the same toast, “To the New Year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one!” 

I even quoted this to Mr. Cross as I shook his hand at the checkout table last May! He agreed.

It would be tough for this year to be worse than last year!  So enjoy your school year, whether you’re a raw rookie or someone like me with twenty or more years under your belt.  Enjoy the small moments and the grand ones, the quiet times and the big events, the football games, Bravo shows, AP exams, art shows but don’t forget to enjoy sharing a joke at lunch with your colleagues.

Tomorrow the gates open, and three thousand or so teenagers will pour into the building for the new school year, a year that will have its good and bad, but will be unique and unlike any other previous year.  I will hazard a guess that the new year as Colonel Potter on MASH put "will be a damn sight better than the old one."  Let’s hope.

Have a great year everybody!


Bob Diethrich
CRHS; AP Economics/Economics
Bowling Team Sponsor

Quiz Bowl Sponsor

Friday, August 17, 2018

Score 20 for Cinco! Let the celebration begin!

Hey Cougs!

I am excited to announce that our blog is back for 2018-19.  Did you know that we are celebrating our 20th anniversary?  Look for our blog to show up each week throughout the school year.  We will have thoughts and reflections from teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members. We are kicking off this year with a blog post from the second Cougar staff member ever hired at Cinco, our head football coach and athletic coordinator Don Clayton.  I know you will enjoy his thoughts on our school.  I think he might be a little proud.  I might be a little proud too.  Welcome Back Cougars! Looking forward to a fantastic year!

James Cross, Principal

A score is another way to say twenty years.  President Abraham Lincoln famously said in his Gettysburg Address, “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation….”  Well, one score ago, Katy ISD brought Cinco Ranch High School upon this continent to be the best high school in America.  What an awesome high school filled with outstanding young people mixed with caring teachers, para-professionals, custodians, and administrators.  From the day CRHS opened, we have been achieving varying high degrees of success in everything we do, from Academics to Athletics to Fine Arts.  Going into our twentieth year, we are only getting better at everything we do.  But the great thing is that our kids are complete kids – they are not only talented in a lot of areas but they truly care about their fellow classmates and about our community.  We are a proud Cougar Family.  As we go into our twentieth year, we do so with a great deal of excitement because we know that we are all on the same team and that we will always be here for one another – that’s family – our Cougar Family.  Personally, it has been unbelievable watching this school and community grow.  From my first day on the job on April 15th, 1999, this has been a ride like no other and I’ve been blessed to be around so many outstanding students and an awesome school staff.  I can say from first-hand experience, WE are the best high school in America!  GO COUGARS!!!

Coach Don Clayton