HOUSTON - In the wake of so many tragedies which have occurred in classrooms across the country this school year, most recently in our own backyard, academic distinction should be celebrated. Even when it is coupled with despair.
"We are recognizing students that not only did outstanding academically, but have also overcome some obstacles in their lives to be able to graduate and be successful," said HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan. "I'd like for Sofia Flores to come up."
This was the scene when Lathan visited Northside High School on Tuesday.
Flores is a senior heading to the University of Texas in Austin this fall as an education major. She`s the first of nine HISD seniors to receive the newly established superintendent board of education scholarship award. "Ms. Santos and I would like to present you with a scholarship for $5,000.00."
Overcome by emotion, it's possible winning this award is somewhat bittersweet. After all, she was just a sophomore when the unthinkable happened. Her 11-year-old brother Josue was stabbed to death walking home from middle school. Last week marked two years since his still unsolved murder shocked the community.
"We felt the loss of Josue Flores and we still feel the loss today," said Elizabeth Santos, HISD board member.
Flores used to tutor her little brother. She says his words inspired her future. He told her, "You should be a teacher because I know you like helping kids. And the way you helped me, you should do the same for other kids that are struggling. . . in whatever subject they are struggling in."
Josue believed in his big sister. For her, this is the perfect opportunity to honor his memory.