Spring Branch students can earn college credit by attending Houston Prep, the pre-college mathematics and science summer program based at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). Fourth-year students photographed at UHD’s recently held Engineering Day are (left to right front) Nitzarindani Angeles, Northbrook High; Nazlee Khadjeheian, Stratford High; and Melissa Vicente and Emily Resendiz, both Northbrook High. Standing (rear left to right) are Fahad Iqbal, Westchester Academy; Brissa Gaona, Northbrook High; and Alfredo Aguiluz, Spring Woods High.
Houston Prep’s annual Engineering Day was conducted July 13 this year. Houston Prep has offered a varied array of enrichment activities to qualifying area high school students since 1989. The program is also designed to promote the mathematics, science and engineering career fields to underrepresented groups, including minorities or students in economically disadvantaged qualifying families. Middle and high school students are eligible.
SBISD students who attended the six-week long program took part in hands-on, project based experiments and projects led by professors and scientists, engineers and mathematicians, and high school instructors. College students work as tutors and mentors in the four-year program.
About 10 fourth-year students earned college credit in communications and computer science this summer. UHD college credit may transfer to other colleges or universities. Fourth-year students included Northbrook High School’s Nitzarindani Angeles, Melissa Vicente, Emily Resendiz and Brissa Gaona; Spring Woods High’s Alfredo Aguiluz; Stratford High’s Nazlee Khadjeheian; and Westchester Academy’s Fahad Iqbal.
“My experience at Houston Prep was really fun, and quite memorable” said Brissa Gaona, a Northbrook High junior. “I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun-filled, summer experience. You make friends, and it is really educational. I learned so much new.”
“My experience at Houston Prep was amazing,” said Emily Resendiz, who is also a junior at Northbrook High. “It’s a place where you can make new friends. You have new educational experiences as well.”
Four SBISD instructors support district students. They are Shikonya Cureton, a math teacher at Spring Oaks Middle; Angelica Contreras, a Spring Woods Middle math teacher; Robert Dantzler, a language arts instructor at DAEP, the district alternative school; and Daniel Angel, also a math instructor at Spring Woods High.
Ms. Cureton has taught problem solving and logic courses at Houston Prep for five years. This year, she co-taught technical writing and SAT Prep with Mr. Dantzler, who has also taught the Houston Prep program for five years. His son, who graduated from the program last year, is a LeTourneau University student this fall.
“The goal of the program is to prepare students for higher learning, whether it will be through further education at the University of Houston-Downtown or another university or college. I’m so grateful Spring Branch ISD continues to support our students and teachers who participate in the Houston Prep program, which blends so well with our T-2-4 goal,” Ms. Cureton said.
“This is an excellent program,” Mr. Dantzler said. “Last year, my son and nine other SBISD high school students completed the program. This is my fifth year in the program, and I look forward to preparing students for the next level. It is a great experience to see these students motivated to work in the summer to prepare themselves for the future.”
The six-week camp, which operates free of charge, focuses on the development of problem solving and critical thinking skills. Middle and high school students with interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) may apply for a limited number of 300 openings.
For more information on Houston Prep and the annual Engineering Day please visit:
SBISD students who participated this year in Houston Prep:
Houston Prep Year 1
Quincey Dantzler, 7th Grade, KIPP Courage College Prep; Madelline Betancourth, Hector Cervantes, Stephanie Figueroa, Jacqueline Garcia, Diana Villa and Valeria Zaragoza, all 7th grade, Landrum Middle School; Maryam Alshalhm, Kelly Chau, Jared Lee, Matthew Lee, Elias Meza Kavanagh, Corin Neal, Arturo Sanchez, all 7th Grade, Spring Forest Middle School; Nicole Tepozotlan, 8th Grade, and Beema Thenmalai, 7th Grade, both Spring Woods Middl School; Betty Carrion, Jose Mata, Iker Pelcastre, Paul Phan, Alondra Retiz, Pauline Rivera, Chase Segui and Nicholas Velasquez, 7th Grade, Westchester Academy; Sitlali Flores, Jonatan Rodriguez, Layla Sinno, 8th Grade, Westchester Academy; Maher Sinno, 9th Grade, Westchester Academy
Houston Prep Year 2
Jonathan Romero, 8th Grade, Landrum Middle School; Juan Andres Gonzalez Ramos, Natalie Ling, Serena Yusuf, 10th Grade Memorial High School; Ethan Nguyen and Chris Zhuang, 8th Grade, Memorial Middle School; Amanda Correa, 9th Grade, Northbrook High School; Anthony Salva, 8th Grade, Spring Woods Middle School
Houston Prep Year 3
Pierce Nguyen, 10th Grade, Memorial High School; Brandon Baltazar, Erik Baltazar, Laila Ortega, 9th Grade, Northbrook High School; Sandra Melgar, 10th Grade, Northbrook High School; Ubakum Mere, 9th Grade, Stratford High School; Alyssa McNeil, Megan Narvaez and Ulyses Pelcastre, 9th Grade, Westchester Academy; Vaniah Barrera, Javier Duarte Villafan, Charles Grollitsch, Juan Mata, Gabriel Toro and Diego Velazquez, 8th Grade, Westchester Academy; Kobe Stefan Halog, Ana Rivera, Nalanie Selin, and Angela Teco, 9th Grade, Westchester Academy
Houston Prep Year 4
Nitzarindani Angeles, Brissa Gaona and Emily Resendiz, 10th Grade, Northbrook High School; Yazmin Martinez, Alfredo Aguiluz and Nazlee Khadjeheian, 11th Grade, Spring Woods High; Fahad Iqbal and Melissa Vicente, 10th Grade, Westchester Academy; Ezekiel Coleman and Maria Linerio, 11th Grade, Westchester Academy