The Blessings of White Oak ISD

As we head into the Christmas Season, it seems appropriate to “count our blessings” at White Oak ISD. Many would assume that means looking at the number of successes attributed to our students in the many areas of UIL competition. These events are truly a source of pride for all the stakeholders in the district. Our students have been very successful in the fall of 2013. We’ve watched our very young Volleyball team respond to new leadership and make a strong run in the playoffs. We’ve seen our Cross Country Teams run and qualify for the Regional Meet. The Regiment of Roughnecks, 160 strong, marched their way into the State Marching Band Finals and emerged as the Best 2A Military Band in the state of Texas. We watched as our Roughneck football team made a record run into the State Semi-Finals and became only the second team in school history to compete in a 15 game season!
These are events and accomplishments to be proud of, without a doubt. But, I will submit to you that the blessings of White Oak ISD run much deeper than events and accomplishments. Our blessings can be seen in the form of a supportive community for all things White Oak. Athletic events, academic contests, play productions and awards ceremonies are held all over the state. When those events include White oak ISD, you can expect a crowd. This community gives of their most valuable commodity, time. This is not the action of parents only, it is the whole community that shows up for a cold rainy football game, a state tournament in Austin or Garland and a marching band competition in San Antonio! The support that our students, faculty and staff experience in White Oak is not commonplace and certainly not something to take for granted. Roughneck Pride runs deep and far beyond the campus doors.
Our blessings can be seen in a strong, professional and caring faculty, staff and administration. From the bus drivers that are the first to greet many of our students to the support staff that maintains the physical plant and the instructional staff working with students on a daily basis, we are blessed to have the team that serves our students each day. This group is also in the stands, at the auditorium and standing by the field to support our students. We are there after school, on the weekends and in the summer to make sure there is a comprehensive plan in place that will give our students the best chance to experience success in the classroom and extra-curricular activities. Our staff sponsors clubs, organizes fundraisers and guides students through many of the moments that make up a positive memory of the time spent in school. Our administrative team is committed to providing each student with a safe learning environment that is conducive to the pursuit of academic excellence and developing skills that will be used to succeed after graduation. Another way to express all of the above is, we have adults that love and care about our students.
Finally, the biggest blessing in White Oak ISD is a group of young people that care, period. As a group, they care about their community, they care about their school and they most certainly care about one another. The success that is seen in White Oak ISD does not come from a set of strategies/formulas that you can publish and apply to any community. It is the result of a long-standing culture of caring about who we are and what we do, that sets White Oak ISD apart. That culture is handed down from class to class as students model who we are every year. Success at the High School does not start at the High School. It starts as soon as a student first enrolls in White Oak ISD. You can have the best community support, the finest instructional strategies, the best facilities and the most up-to-date equipment but if you do not have students willing to give their very best, you won’t have what we have in White Oak.
The billboard in front of the High School states, “WE ARE WHITE OAK” and I am here to say that is much more than a statement. White Oak ISD alumni Bobby Hawthorne said it best, “We are White Oak is a promise from the students, faculty and staff that are in school now, to those that came before them, that the Roughneck legacy remains strong in our schools.” The blessings of White Oak ISD are the people of this school system and the community that supports all that we do. I am so honored to be a part of the important and fulfilling work of educating our young people.
Christmas is a very special time of year and I want to close with this:

Merry Christmas!
May God extend his riches blessings on each of you this Holiday Season.

Michael E. Gilbert, Superintendent
White Oak ISD