Students Show Board Bright Spots

HOPE – There were multiple bright spots Nov. 18 in the typically business-like atmosphere of the monthly session of the Hope Public Schools Board as student ideas and successes were highlighted in campus proposals, cross country athletics, ROTC, and robotics.

“A lot of good things have happened with a lot of good teachers and students,” HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said.


Hope Academy of Public Service students Lydia Bobo, Connor Moore, and Brady Rhodes presented a proposal developed by HAPS EAST program students for construction of a multiple-use outdoor court.

The students presented a video which pointed out the need for an outdoor activity space for organized physical education purposes that include a half-court basketball area, regulation volleyball court, and curtained archery range.

Dr. Hart said the HAPS students approached him about the idea and he asked them to develop a proposal for presentation to the board. The students enlisted guidance from community partners Bobo and Bain Construction and Ronald Stout and provided estimated costs for the area with a half-court basketball goal, removable volleyball net and poles, and five-lane curtained archery range. Estimates ranged from $3,600 for a 37×42-foot area to $11,770 for a 60×90-foot area, based upon the students’ research.

HAPS Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke said New Millennium Building Systems tentatively has agreed to donate materials and labor to cover the area for inclement weather usage.

Hart recommended the board take the plan under advisement, pending his discussion with the community partners regarding their participation.

HAPS students Priscilla Moreno and Amber Cisneros also provided board members with information regarding the collection of photographs stored at the former Edith Brown Elementary School into a digital archive, and the update of the HAPS campus emergency evacuation floorplan.


Co-Athletic Director Susan Powers and Hope High School Cross Country Track Coach Jill Carlson introduced the HHS Cross Country Track team, which has grown in its second year to 90 students.

The girls’ varsity team placed second overall in conference competition this year, which Hart said was remarkable for a program only in its second year. Five of the combined teams were named All-Conference, including Nick Sanchez, Briana Puente, Lizzy Arroyo, Drake Martin, and Dillon White. Puente and Arroyo also placed in the Top 10 finishers in the girls’ conference competition.


The Hope High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps student command presented a report of the unit’s recent Headquarters Inspection and yearly activities, with Hart recognizing the unit’s growth in the past two years.

“Two years ago, we were in danger of losing the program; and, last year it was on probation,” Hart said. “This year they completed their inspection with their best score ever.”

Cadet Corps Commander Britney Alvarado-Frayre said the entire unit was determined this year to “up our game.

“We felt like we could do better,” Alvarado-Frayre said.

She said the unit set two general goals; one in academics to show growth on the ACT Aspire test, and the second, to improve unit physical training scores and community service hours.

The unit received the Distinguished Unit Award in 2018 and Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Briana Rodriguez was named the 2019 Air Force Association Cadet of the Year in Arkansas.

Unit advisor Master Sergeant (Ret.) Jeremy Grice said the recent inspection also showed significant growth in the cadets.

“All of these activities, the regional director was very impressed with where we were going with our unit in the future,” MSgt. Grice said.

The unit was represented Monday night by Support Commander Briana Rodriguez, Deputy Cadet Corps Commander Alaysia Lewis, Operations Squadron Commander Joshua Johnson, Physical Training NCOIC Tre’sean Ogden, Training Squadron Commander Gianna Knight, and Cadet Corps Commander Britney Alvarado-Frayre.


The Hope High School Botcats Robotics Team placed fifth among 18 teams in the recent BEST Robotics Competition in Little Rock, missing a trip to international competition in Dallas by one match place. The team also brought home the Most Robust Robot award for solid robot construction and third place Spirit and Sportsmanship award for collaborative attitude.

Team captain Jacob Gunn said the competition was concept focused.

“You have to imagine what you have to do and design the robot to do that,” Gunn said.

He said the design concept is a collaborative effort that attempts to achieve a specific purpose, in this case aiding repairs to an electrical power grid.

“We take all of the ideas and mash them all together,” Gunn said.

Drawing upon the expertise of volunteer mentors, Coach Kathy Knight said the team developed its concept to answer the question, “What happens if the electricity goes out in your town?”

The team was represented Monday night by Cole Ayers, Dale Coleman, Jadora Rivera, Jacob Gunn, Samantha Bailey and Timothy Rowe, along with faculty coach Kathy Knight.

In other matters Monday night, the board:

–Heard a report from Hart on maintaining a state-mandated teacher salary increase beyond the planned three-year period of state-guaranteed support.

–Heard a brief update on a proposed solar power electrical services project for the district.

–Learned the Arkansas Department of Education has appealed a federal judge’s ruling in favor of the district concerning so-called “school choice” transfers of students, and oral argument before a three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set for Dec. 11.

–Learned that Hart will participate in a statewide information initiative of superintendents concerning student attendance.

–Adopted a millage budget for the 2020 school election which reflects the existing 34.7 total mills for the district, including 25 mills for maintenance and operations, with no dedicated M&O mills, and 9.7 mills for current debt service.

–Adopted a salary calculation provision for teachers who engage more than 150 total students per day in classroom instruction.

–Approved facilities use requests for the Yerger Middle School gymnasium and Hope High School gymnasium.

–Adopted a waiver for employment of a classified personnel employee.

Hope High School Cross Country Track team members were presented to the Hope Public School District Board here Nov. 18 in recognition of the team’s season, and All-Conference honors for five members. Team members pictured include, left to right, Jacquelin Jimenez, Lizzy Arroyo, Britzi Marrufo, Skylar Hawthorne, Evelyn Medina, Ruby Lopez, Dillon White, Drake Martin, Britney Alvarado-Frayre, and Brando Salinas. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

Hope Academy of Public Service students Lydia Bobo, Connor Moore and Brady Rhodes presented a student proposal for an outdoor multi-purpose activities space to the Hope Public School Board at its monthly meeting Nov. 18. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

Hope High School Botcats Robotics Team members Cole Ayers, Dale Coleman, Jadora Rivera, Jacob Gunn, Samantha Bailey and Timothy Rowe reviewed the team’s recent fifth place finish at the BEST Robotics Competition in Little Rock, and the design concept for its robot, Lester, to the Hope Public Schools Board at its Nov.18 monthly meeting. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

Hope High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps command cadets Briana Rodriguez, Alaysia Lewis, Joshua Johnson, Tre’sean Ogden, Gianna Knight, and Britney Alvarado-Frayre reported to the Hope Public Schools Board concerning the unit’s goals and successful year at the board’s Nov. 18 monthly meeting. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

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