• 64°

PHOTO GALLERY — PNGISD honors teachers, student for colorful contributions

PORT NECHES — The spotlight at Port Neches-Groves High School was full of color this week at the Board of Trustees presented two teachers and one student with Spotlight of Excellence Awards.

PNG senior Brock Taylor, 18, was recognized for his work at Ridgewood Elementary, where he earned his Eagle Scout by giving the back play area quite the makeover.

His mother, Judy Visser, said Taylor gathered his troop and friends to paint a U.S. map with labeled states, a 1-100 counting area, alphabet blocks, a balance beam, various shapes, two hop-scotch game areas, a 4-square game area and a fun obstacle course.

“I knew it was a huge undertaking, but Brock assembled a team and tackled this project with a lot of enthusiasm,” Ridgewood Principal Kevin Schexnaider said as he read from the nomination letter he wrote. ”

Taylor’s team included 37 people from concept to completion, and the staff and students have been thrilled with the results.

“That’s a leader,” Schexnaider added. “When you talk about a 17-year-old, to do a project like that. I’m super impressed.”

Also given Spotlight of Excellence Awards by the board were high school art teachers Seida Bryan and Calvin Carter.

Under their direction, 12 of 17 seniors were chosen for the Protégé art contest.

“Protégé is a very prestigious art competition,” Principal Dr. Scott Ryan told the board. “They pick 17 pieces from the whole region; 12 of those were (from) PNG. That’s really a credit to our kids, but they also have great teachers. The arts really keep kids involved in school.”

Winning pieces from the Protégé competition will be on display at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas until May 4.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these two are some of the best in the area, if not the state,” said Superintendent Mike Gonzales. “I can tell you a story about Mr. Carter, and about a student that wrote him a letter one time and told him how he had made that connection with the student. The student was ready to drop out of school and for some reason he had made a connection with Mr. Carter. And that connection helped him stick it out and helped him stay in school.

“Those are the type of teachers that we have here. They’re not just the type of teachers that teach kids, but they’re the type of teachers that are there for kids.”