After Hurricane Harvey: Positive Changes to STE
Hurricane Harvey struck just over a year ago. A year since our school flooded with more than 20 inches of water. A year since the water separated families from their homes. A year since the water damaged more than half of our school.
Miraculously, this new school year is off to an incredible start and promises to be one of our best. How is this possible, you may ask? The flood, despite its destruction, contained so many blessings for Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School.
First, let me begin with major changes like our renovation project. The lower and middle school hallways are in the process of being torn down and will be rebuilt into a prestigious, three-3 level, state-of-the-art building that contains middle and upper school classrooms, labs, and study spaces. The lower school will be taught in the redesigned former high school building. New STEM and robotics classrooms will be added as well. Rooms will be specially designed for our world-renowned Scottish Arts Program and our Performing Arts Center. A larger gymnasium and theater will also be built. For details regarding these changes, click here to see a message from our Headmaster.
The new construction will allow STE to expand student enrollment as well. Incredibly, the STE Admissions Office reports an increase in applications and new student enrollment over the year prior to the flood.
Smaller changes have also been implemented this school year. To help students with busy extracurricular activities not miss class, a new schedule was created where core classes occur in the mornings whereas electives are generally in the afternoons. To battle Houston’s never ending heat, middle school boys are now allowed to wear navy-colored shorts. To promote school unity, every Friday students are encouraged to wear polo shirts that are color coordinated with their school level. To ease students’ workloads, Latin is no longer a required class and students get to choose from Latin, Chinese, Spanish, French or Greek as a language to study. This year, we celebrate more national holidays than previous years. All these changes promoted the students’ voices and showed the school community that leaders at STE are there to listen and implement students’ opinions.
In many ways, the flood has surprisingly strengthened STE and has nurtured the growth and accomplishments of our school’s community. It was a nice affirmation of our success to be named the #1 Best Christian High School in the Houston area for 2019 by Niche ratings. While overcoming a massive challenge brought on by a terrible natural disaster, Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School is thriving and still stands, taller than ever.
Read Rising Above the Water at STE by Reena Kudchadker for more on STE after the storm.
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