Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary has HOPE.

HOPE, the Honoring of People Everywhere, is a non-profit organization that works with our City and Dallas public schools to promote understanding and appreciation between people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

This year, the organization has chosen six pilot schools, one of which is Zaragoza, for its first year-long educational project.

Sixth graders at each of the six schools have been assigned a culture to study throughout the school year. At Zaragoza, the students are studying Native American customs.

Zaragoza sixth graders are learning about the Native Americans’ respect for their land, as well as their oral traditions, legends, foods, clothing, history and contributions to science and mathematics. Guest speakers are visiting the school, and a HOPE volunteer visits monthly to work with the students.

The cultural lessons are being integrated throughout the sixth grade curriculum, says Liz Taheri, a HOPE volunteer and third grade teacher at Zaragoza who is responsible for bringing the program to the school.

“We have groups of nations here (at Zaragoza),” Taheri says. “The students are learning to respect their own nations, as well as others.

“The children who are Native American are coming forth and announcing their tribes.”

The HOPE project affects every grade level at Zaragoza. Taheri says, even though it targets the sixth grade. Younger grade levels have been invited to attend some of the Native American assemblies, and the sixth graders will sponsor a school-wide Native American fair in the Spring to teach other students what they have learned.

The six pilot schools also decorated Christmas trees last month with student-made ornaments. The trees are on display through December at NorthPark Center, Central Expressway and Park Lane.

Each of the six trees in the mall represents the country or culture being studied by the students who decorated it, from Nigeria to the Netherlands. The trees are located in the “Hall of Hope”, which is at the mall entrance between FAO Schwarz and Crate & Barrel.

In addition to the six pilot schools, HOPE also is working with other elementary schools just for the holiday season. Twenty-two schools are helping HOPE decorate Christmas trees in the Dallas public libraries. At Lakewood Library, 6121 Worth, the tree also will depict Native American culture, but it will be decorated by Bayles Elementary. Taheri’s third graders will decorate a tree at Casa View Library, 10355 Ferguson, depicting English traditions.

Jane Hook, HOPE educational partners chairman, says the HOPE organization, founded in 1992 by Dallas resident Sandy Cohen, has become a bridge between diverse ethnic groups in our City through educational projects such as the tree-decorating event.

HOPE’s first projects were solely holiday projects, since the organization’s original purpose was to coordinate an international holiday celebration. HOPE’s goals were soon expanded, and Zaragoza was one of the first schools to work with the organization.

Two years ago, Zaragoza volunteered to be one of eight elementaries to help HOPE decorate Christmas trees at City Hall. Since then, the organization’s involvement with schools has steadily increased, and HOPE has built a volunteer base of more than 90 people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The year-long project now underway at Zaragoza and five other elementaries is HOPE’s first effort to extend its influence at the school beyond the holiday season.

“Our mission is one of tolerance and the respecting of the beliefs of others so we end up in a City that can work together,” Hook says. “We’re not just another group putting pretty things together.

“The children are learning early on that they can be proud of their heritage, that they don’t have to be cookie cutter to live in the United States.”

For information about how to bring HOPE to your school, call 504-6836.

Students To Conduct Silt Tests on White Rock Lake

As the City prepares to dredge White Rock Lake, seventh and eighth grade science students at St. John’s Episcopal School, 848 Harter, will be testing the lake’s silt and water for pesticides, heavy metals, sulfur, ammonia and nitrates.

The science project will be funded by a grant St. John’s received last month. St. John’s was one of 37 Texas schools and the only Dallas school to receive an Environmental Challenge grant.

The grants are given annually for projects that expand student knowledge of environmental issues through their active participation in solving environmental problems. The grants are sponsored by the Texas General Land office, the Texas Conservation Fund and the H-E-B Grocery Co.

Grants range from $100 to $750. St. John’s grant of $748.90 will underwrite the cost of equipment needed to conduct silt and water tests.

“The educational goal is to give the students experience with problem solving, data collecting and the scientific process,” says Jacque Hall, St. John’s director of development.

Science teacher Toni Herrin wrote the winning proposal, and she will oversee the students.

The lake testing will be done in March and April, and results will be released to neighborhood residents, the media and City leaders in May, Hall says.

“Our kids have been very involved in this whole issue,” Hall says. “Every year, they go over and help with lake clean-ups. We’re sitting right on top of the lake.

“It will be interesting to see if the results of the test coincide with the City’s.”

Five Candidates File To Replace Peavy

As of press time, five candidates had filed to serve the unexpired term of former Dallas school trustee Dan Peavy, who resigned after secretly recorded tapes were released of his racist, sexist and anti-gay statements.

The candidates – college professor Lois Parrott, small business owner Nancy Powell, lawyer Deborah Wilson, homemaker Donna Wigley; and Lester Davis Scott, s sales representative for an agricultural chemical company – will seek the District 3 seat, which represents far East Dallas, in a Jan. 20 special election called by the school board.

The filing deadline for candidates is Dec. 6.

Peavy resigned in October, but his term does not expire until May 1997.

News & Notes:

NEW SCHOOLS NAMED: Three new neighborhood schools have been named. The Lipscomb/Mount Auburn Relief school, being built near East Grand and La Vista, will be named after former Dallas Symphony director Eduardo Mata. The Fannin/Bonham/Ray Relief I school, being built at 1802 Moses near the intersection of Henderson and Ross, will be named for former president John F. Kennedy; and the Bonham/Fannin Relief II school, being built at the old Health Magnet on Ross at Carroll, will be named for Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers.

The Dallas School Board of Education voted last month on names for 14 schools and for six magnet programs housed at Townview Center. Construction of new Dallas public schools is underway to relieve overcrowding in the district. The schools are part of a $275 million bond program approved by voters in December 1992.

STUDENT ARTISTS ENCOURAGE NON-VIOLENCE: Two Woodrow Wilson High School students were honored recently for their art work depicting a world without violence. These two students, senior Beth Matlock and junior Dmitryi Mogileu, were among students from 20 schools in grades one through 12 who entered the Week Without Violence Art Contest, sponsored by Mrs. Baird’s Bread. Matlock won first place among high school students, and Mogileu won third place. Both students had their art work displayed at Dallas City Hall during November.

POLICE ENCOURAGE SCHOOL ATTENDANCE: The East Dallas Police Storefront continues to seek donated bicycles to be awarded to elementary-age students with perfect attendance. The students will receive a bicycle, helmet, lock and chain. Neighborhood elementaries benefiting from the program include Mt. Auburn, James B. Bonham, James W. Fannin, William Lipscomb and Ignacio Zaragoza. Repairs on donated bikes and a safety inspection will be completed by police officers. To make a donation, call Sgt. Jim Little or Sr. Cpl. Lynn Albright at 670-5514.

STONEWALL RECEIVES CASH AWARD: Stonewall Jackson Elementary, 5828 E. Mockingbird, recently received a cash award of $2,910 from the Texas Assessment of Academic Standards during the 1994-95 school year. The TAAS measures student performance in reading, math and writing and is given to students each spring.

LAKEWOOD STUDENTS TEAM UP WITH DMA: Twenty sixth graders from Lakewood Elementary are learning to observe and analyze works of art in an Honors Development Program undertaken as a collaborative project of the Dallas Museum of Art and Dallas Public Schools. The students are meeting at the DMA galleries in six two-hour sessions, accompanied by Yvette Keller, the elementary’s talented and gifted teacher. The program makes the DMA’s permanent collection and temporary exhibits available to the students and encourages their creative interpretation of the art works.

CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR PRESCHOOL PARENTS: Lakewood Early Childhood PTA’s Christmas party is scheduled Dec. 8 at 9:45 a.m. at the East Dallas YMCA, 6220 Worth. Santa will visit. Admission is a book appropriate for preschool or young readers, or new or used shoes or clothing for children ages 3-5. Items do not need to be wrapped. Call 821-6836 or 826-6862 for information.

WOODROW HOSTS FOREIGN LANGUAGE OLYMPIAD: Woodrow Wilson High School hosts its first World Language Olympiad, and all-day event Dec. 2 for middle school students. The event was created to showcase the foreign language skills of Dallas public schools’ seventh and eighth graders. Eight schools will compete, including J.L. Long and Alex W. Spence middle schools, in 10 categories. The contest begins at 8 a.m. Woodrow hopes to make the Olympiad an annual event, says the school’s Spanish teacher Ben Ortiz. For information, call Ortiz at Woodrow, 841-5100.

NEIGHBORHOOD SCIENCE CHAMP: Neighborhood resident Sarah Landau, who attends George B. Dealey Montessori Academy, won an individual trophy for science at the recent Franklin Middle School Math/Science Competition. Landau was a member of a nine-member team from the academy. Dealey is a Dallas public school located at 6501 Royal that draws students from all over the city.