Saturday, September 03, 2005

Houston and new beginnings

In August 30, 1836 the Allen brothers advertised their new city, Houston, named for Sam Houston. Perhaps the advertising copy overstated the amenities claiming that "the site enjoyed a healthy, cool seabreeze," but ever since, this city has been a place of new beginnings for many people. Watching the news and reading the paper, I so proud of the efforts to help the people coming here from Louisiana.

The volunteer response from Houstonians has been tremendous and completely in keeping with one of the friendliest and most welcoming cities I have ever lived in.

Out here on the far west side of Houston, Katy is leading in the number of area school enrollments so far.

The Houston Independent School District enrolled 166 evacuee students Wednesday. Katy enrolled nearly 300 students this week. The Fort Bend school district admitted 54 students, and the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District had 16. Figures for other area districts weren't yet available.

There will be more in the coming weeks. They will be welcomed by this excellent school district. I have been subbing in these school libraries over the past few weeks and I am always in awe of the work the librarians do. Their facilities are wonderful. Beautiful murals dance along the walls and the shelves are filled with books. Their programs spark young imaginations, promote reading, support learning and instruct students with the skills they need to navigate and evaluate information.

Libraries are a safe havens in schools. The library is the one place where kids are free to explore and read about things that are of interest to them. The librarian is someone who is a constant in their school life. Their teachers change from year to year but the librarian gets to know their interests, reads their stories and poems, and selects books with special students in mind at times. I know I did.

In spite everything that has happened to them I hope these children will find help and comfort in thier new surroundings, especially at their library.


Kelly said...

Houston has been a real ray of hope in this terrible story. I'm happy you have an opportunity to help out in a real and meaningful way. Keep up the great work.

Jamie said...

I'm with you--I have been thrilled to see the willingness with which Houston has welcomed those displaced by Katrina. Neat to find out that Katy is leading in school enrollment--KISD really does have an outstanding record, though, so it's no wonder! Praying that all of the children will find some comfort in picking up familiar routines (i.e. school), and yes, the school library.

Off topic a bit, but I was just curious--are you in the Katy area too? Kind of sounded like it from the above. If so, hello neighbor! :)

Camille said...

Yup, I live here in Katy. Folks have their disagreements on certain issues in the district but when you look around the state, heck, the country, our schools are so good. I think when they see the elementary libraries in particular, they will think they have stepped into Heaven!

Jamie said...

I don't doubt that the school libraries here are amazing. We just were just at the elementary school around the corner from us the other day (my son is only 3, so he's not in school yet) and I was mightily impressed at how well cared for it was. So much love and attention went into decorating it--right down to the wall decor geared toward the children who attend. It just had such a home-away-from-home feel! I was really hoping to catch a glimpse of the library there, I'm sure it is just as warm and inviting. Maybe next time... we'll probably be there about once a week soon.