Rockwall ISD announced the 2015 Diversity Leadership Award winners at the February 16 Rockwall ISD Board of Trustees meeting.
The Diversity Leaders Awards seek to recognize leaders in our district who have fostered the improvement of relations and understanding between individuals, races, cultures, ethnicities and religions during the school year.
The first Diversity Leadership Award was presented to Mrs. Kathleen Finan, art teacher at Amy Parks-Heath Elementary. Mrs. Finan uses art as the medium in preparing our students for the 21st century multicultural society instilling an understanding and respect to those from other cultures. In her lessons you can see she believes that art is a powerful, pervasive force that helps to shape attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors. The understanding of multiculturalism and art education concepts assists in building a bridge among students from different backgrounds. In the words of a colleague, “When you enter Mrs. Finan’s room, you recognize that it is a special place. The projects themselves are cultural and diverse. For Mrs. Finan, art extends beyond the classroom and into the community. She finds it the perfect opportunity to share with our children about diversity in our district, community, and world.”
The second Diversity Leadership Award is presented to Ms. Karla Lopez, Doris Jones Elementary, Concilio Parent Liaison. Karla has served the parent population at Jones Elementary through The Concilio partnership and is committed to building a bridge between Jones Elementary and this predominantly bilingual parent group. Karla provided nine weeks of classes for the parents with the purpose of inspiring families to achieve big dreams. In her nine week program, Karla has served 50 families to help them become empowered in their child’s education. Parent Maria Aguilar says this about Ms. Lopez, “I took the 9-week course with Instructor Karla. For me those classes were a lot of help. I learned when and how to ask for help. I learned how to research information regarding my children, such as their classes, future goals, and motivations. Karla is a very good instructor. She is patient with our class, making it easy to learn. I am very thankful that the Rockwall district has this kind of opportunity for our community.”
Our final Diversity Leadership Award was presented to student, Rachel Schafer, founder of the Rockwall High School Model United Nations Club, and sponsors Desmion Grosshuesch and Linda Smith. Rachel Schafer founded this group as a way to exercise her responsibilities as a world citizen. By recruiting students from diverse backgrounds who share an interest in learning how to create a peaceful and harmonious world, Rachel has provided the elbow grease to keep this diverse group of students working towards a common goal. The Model United Nations group meets with other groups from around the metroplex to represent countries from around the world and to grapple with the same problems the United Nations strives to solve. These students must negotiate with each other regarding the best way to simplify, compromise, and still maintain strong ethical standards. They work to understand how global relations can be strengthened by respect, tolerance, and acceptance. According to Principal Dr. Gober, this group of students can be found in hallways and during lunches meeting with students who look or act different from them for the sole purpose of getting to learn more about them. They are in their classes contributing to conversations and helping to tear down stereotypes. By proving that a small group of students CAN change the world, with Rachel’s leadership and Mrs. Grosshuesch and Mrs. Smith’s support, the Model United Nations Club has quickly grown to 22 members committed to changing the world.
Congratulations to Rockwall ISD’s Diversity Leadership Award Recipients!