HARLINGEN — Sofia Gonzalez ran her tiny hand along the tip of her cowboy hat.
“I like my hat, it’s fuzzy,” said Sofia, 6, who dressed up like a cowgirl in observance of Texas Public Schools Week.
“The children really enjoy it,” said Sam Houston Elementary Principal Ginger Armstrong.
“We do anything we can to get them involved, get the parents involved,” she said. “We start posting early on to let the parents know that those dress up days are coming.”
The Harlingen school district kicked off Texas Public Schools Week yesterday with a variety of activities at different schools. Children at Bonham Elementary wore brightly-colored clothes to signify a bright future. At Coakley, they wore boots, and the Harlingen School of Health Professions gave prizes for the top three craziest hats. The big district kickoff took place at Gutierrez Middle School, said Shane Strubhart, spokesperson for the district.
“We had the Vernon School of Rock band, we had the National Anthem, we had a performance of the Little Mermaid Jr.,” he said. “The theme this year is ‘Changing the World.’”
Texas Public Schools Week is an annual event which the district celebrates in grand style.
“It’s basically recognizing the efforts of public schools throughout Texas to educate every child,” Strubhart said. “It’s to bring recognition to all these different opportunities and choices that are available to our kids here in HCISD. It’s just to bring awareness that public schools have so many opportunities and choices.”
The celebrations continued yesterday, with schools throughout the district finding different ways to celebrate the recognition. Houston Elementary had its own Sam Houston, a.k.a. Caleb Johnson, who was dressed in the iconic red chops across the cheeks and long black coat.
“I’m a big history nerd,” said Johnson, a gifted and talented teacher at Houston as well as Travis and Jefferson elementary schools.
“I had a presentation this morning about Sam Houston and this afternoon we’re researching different men and women from Texas history,” he said.
He gestured toward the kids.
“They’re going to be presenting at the end of the day,” Johnson said. “Then we’re doing Texas geography, so there are a lot of different activities involving Texas.”
Many of the children as well as faculty and staff were in the spirit of the moment. A boy in a straw hat and blue western shirt walked through the office where a receptionist wore jeans and cowboy boots. In Johnson’s class, Mesha Gamez, puzzled over a tablet, looking sternly from under the brim of her brown straw hat. It went well with her pink western-style shirt.
“My grandma wanted me to dress up. She bought them for me,” said Mesha, 8.