The Parents for African-American Academic Success event was held last year at the J.D. Center of HOPE building in North Lufkin.

Parents attended sessions, listened to student entertainment and were able to have discussions on how to provide access and resources for advanced academics. I’m glad we chose to continue the event virtually this year to offer parents the same great information, not only due to COVID-19 but also the unpredictable weather.

With snow and ice all week, this would have been the time we would have gathered for this important event. Even snowed in, parents were able to log on, listen to sessions with some of the same great event speakers and find out information that will best help their child.

The best part is that the site will be up all month long for parents to access.

The site has information about Advanced Academics programs including Gifted and Talented, Dual Language, STEM, dual credit, Advanced Placement courses and more. Videos were created for parents to learn more about the counseling services that the district offers.

Coach SaDale Lamb, LHS recruiting officer and girls’ basketball coach, who always has great information about academics and the student-athlete, made a video to help parents navigate the high school years.

He talks about everything from attitude to the ACT. His session is good for any student wanting to play sports in college. Gear-Up and Generation A are both programs that are highlighted on the site.

An addition to the event this year is “Interviews of Inspiration.” LHS students and an alumni student interview some inspirational individuals who have valuable information for parents.

From some of their experiences growing up in Lufkin, “Interviews of Inspiration” features Lufkin’s own Col. Hise Gibson, West Point Academy professor; Rhonda Fowler, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University; as well as Darren D. Kelly, Ph.D., associate vice president of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

LHS STEM students Camari Taylor, Hannah Spikes and Avery Sullivan ask the pertinent questions, as well as 2020 LHS graduate Alyssa Nunn who interviews Kelly. Nunn now attends the University of Texas at Austin and finds out from Kelly resources that will help parents bridge the gap to college.

I had the privilege of teaching Gibson. One of the advantages of teaching great young people is the opportunity to see them grow, come into their own as young adults, and later to enjoy their accomplishments in adulthood.

Hise, like all of the Lufkin High School students, had opportunities, but more than that, he held himself to high standards and worked hard for his successes.

Thank you to our community partners for providing weekly door prizes. Whataburger donated “Whataburger for a year” and a gift basket. Brookshire Brothers donated a $100 gift card. McWilliams & Sons and Juzi Spot also donated some prize items. Everyone who logs on to the site, peruses the sessions and interviews, and fills out a survey is eligible for the drawing.

Check out this virtual experience and you’ll see why I’m Lufkin Proud of our current and former students.

Lynn Torres is the superintendent of Lufkin ISD. Her email address is ltorres@lufkinisd.org.