Roberts Middle School dedicated
Known for his dedication and concern for Pasadena Independent School District students, longtime school board member Fred Roberts officially became the namesake to a new school on Thursday, April 28, during a dedication ceremony for Fred Roberts Middle School.
“When I found out there would be a school named after me, I thought of how great an honor it is and what it really means,” Roberts said.
“Fred Roberts is just a name, but behind it are all of the people who have poured into my life as positive influences to make me who I am today. That’s what I want you to know, behind you there are so many people rooting for your success, I’m lucky to be one of them.”
The aviation-themed ceremony welcomed more than 400 guests including Roberts’ wife, Vicki, a Dobie High graduate, and their children: Zachary, Jacob, Sara and Jordan, all whom attended PISD schools.
The dedication included performances by the new school’s orchestra and band and the Dobie drumline and choir and featured presentations by PISD Superintendent DeeAnn Powell, Roberts Middle School Principal Jorly Thomas, Alyta Harrell, the district’s associate superintendent of campus development, and the Sam Rayburn High JROTC.
Roberts was also presented with a proclamation from Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell, declaring April 28, 2016, Fred Roberts Day.
“Fred is a true friend to this district, to these students and to me,” said the Rev. Emory Gadd, associate pastor of Sagemont Church and longtime friend of Roberts. “A true friend is loyal, accepting and honest and is always lifting up others. Fred is all of those things and more and it’s my honor to be here with him to celebrate.”
The youngest of seven children, Roberts attended Kruse Elementary, Jackson Intermediate and Pasadena High School. He later attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. He attributes his love of giving back to the community to his parents.
“That’s how I was raised,” Roberts said. “My parents were involved in Pasadena schools, church and the community. I have simply followed their example.”
Also present at the event were former PISD Superintendent Kirk Lewis, the construction and design staff from Texas-IBI Group, contractors from Morganti and members of the future facilities committee, which recommended the addition of the campus to the district.
“I speak for all of us when I say we truly appreciate the community and taxpayers for supporting the construction of this campus by the passage of the 2011 bond,” Powell said. “An integral part of any successful bond campaign is the Facilities Committee. We thank you for recognizing the contributions of Fred Roberts, a man worthy of this honor.”
Construction on the 128,000-square-foot facility, located on 13402 Conklin Lane near Beltway 8, began in December 2013. Last August, the school opened to 630 students.
Taking note of the school’s mascot, the Aviator, Thomas expressed his thoughts about the campus.
“At Roberts, we tell our students on a daily basis, if you believe it, you can achieve it,” Thomas said. “Aviators believe in themselves and others, allowing them to fly to reach their full potential. Remember to be the pilot of your own dreams.”
Rainfall dampens park grounds but not spirits
Hundreds of residents gathered at El Franco Lee Park this past weekend to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the South Belt Spectacular Cook-off.
While the area was spared the brunt of rainfall predicted by local media, the park grounds were still saturated from the previous week’s storms, sometimes making things difficult for event organizers.
“It was by far the hardest cook-off to date for those involved,” said organizer and Leader publisher Marie Flickinger, adding that event chair Dean Baier, of the Southeast Volunteer Fire Department, worked through the function with two injured discs in his back.
Flickinger said the event staff are already searching for additional volunteers for next year’s event, especially if foul weather is again expected.
At press time, it was unclear how much, if any, money was raised for the nonprofit event, as organizers incurred many unexpected costs, such as massive amounts of wood chips to dry the rain-soaked grounds. Promoters will also have to make repairs to the park’s soccer fields, which suffered extensive damage.
The goal of the cook-off is to raise funds for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. In recent years, additional funds were also raised to donate to local youth groups and provide scholarships.
Despite the weather problems, Flickinger conceded things still turned out better than they could have.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Flickinger said.
Texian Cookers won the prize for best overall cooking team, placing first in beans, fourth in chef’s choice and fifth in ribs. See a complete list of winners in next week’s Leader.
Les and Donna Haulbrook, who founded the annual cook-off in 1996, presented plaques on Saturday to the three teams that had participated the longest at the event: The Pyromaniacs, who have participated all 20 years; Bubba Chubs, who have participated for 19 years; and the South Houston Smokers, who have participated for 18 years.
“It’s exciting for us to see the how the community has grown and come together for the benefit of the community,” Les Haulbrook said. “When we started the event, there was only 11 teams, and of those, only 10 showed up because it rained, like it did again this year. It’s now grown up to 160 spaces (roughly 80 cooking teams).
This past March, the Haulbrooks were presented a Legacy Award at the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet for their involvement in the cook-off, among other community efforts.
A highlight for many young attendees was a concert by local rap artist Paul Wall, who was hired by the New Era cooking team to perform Saturday evening.
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