Our main goal in Alief ISD is to prepare students for life after high school. We want them to become productive citizens who contribute to society no matter what career path they may take and we certainly realize that not every student is meant to attend a four-year university.
That is why I have talked about the Alief ISD Center for Advanced Careers in previous messages. This 235,000-square-foot facility is capable of hosting up to 2,500 students and will house a plethora of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs such as advanced audio/video production, auto tech certifications, culinary arts, horticulture/floral design, medical sciences, robotics, welding, engineering, HVAC certifications and more.
This month I would like to talk about another career choice available for our students – the Armed Forces. Alief has honored graduating seniors entering the military at every graduation that I have attended since I arrived in Alief ISD seven years ago. Not only are these young men and women volunteering to serve our country but they are also opening up a career path that can provide training and skills to use after their military service.
We have three JROTC programs in Alief ISD and we have almost 540 students in these programs at our three traditional high schools. This is approximately 5 percent of our current high school enrollment. We have the U.S. Marine Corps JROTC at Hastings High School, the U.S. Air Force JROTC at Elsik High School and the U.S. Navy JROTC at Taylor High School. These valuable programs instill leadership skills, character development and discipline that will remain with them throughout their lives.
Speaking of discipline, leadership and good character let me talk about a young man from Hastings High School who received a football scholarship to the Air Force Academy. Jaylen Jones is an All-District linebacker at Hastings who was also named to the All-District Academic Team as well as being named to the Academic All-State team. Even though he is a great high school football player, he could not qualify to one of the service academies on athletics alone. He had to show a strong academic progress as well as great discipline and character to earn a scholarship to the Air Force Academy. In fact, he was also offered scholarships from the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Jaylen’s coach, David Martel, said that Jaylen “Holds himself accountable, shows great character at all times and never misses practice.” Martel added that the only day of school Jaylen has missed this year is when he visited the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
This young man is the second Hastings High School student athlete in as many years to receive a scholarship to attend the Air Force Academy. Anthony Ajou graduated Hastings in 2017 and currently attends the Air Force Academy. He was injured and missed the 2017 season but is on track to compete for a position with the Falcons in the upcoming 2018 season. Like Jones, Ajou also received an offer from the U.S. Naval Academy.
We sometimes fail to remember that the Armed Forces is a very meaningful and productive path after high school. I am honored to serve as superintendent of a district that values this service to our district, community and country by our current and future students.
We truly are preparing students for success after high school in Alief ISD.
Superintendent of Schools