Year of Jubilee

School opens new building in Harlingen

HARLINGEN — Leadership, character building and academics.

Jubilee-Harlingen offers that and so much more, and that’s why a new campus is opening this year to more than 500 students.

“This is really a great day for the city of Harlingen, but more importantly for Jubilee and for the students and all the educators here,” Mayor Chris Boswell said.

He was speaking to more than 100 educators, city officials and representatives of Jubilee Academies who’d gathered yesterday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new campus at 123 Palm Court Drive.

Harlingen Chamber of Commerce representatives sat attentively in white fold-out chairs. Members of Boy Scout Troop 189 of Brownsville did the presentation of colors, and a swift breeze tossed the U.S. and Texas flags.

“We’re ecstatic,” Principal Tanya Perez said.

Jubilee Academies previously held classes in two rented facilities. Jubilee Destiny was located at Grace Point Fellowship Church. Harlingen Leadership Academy taught students at Faith Pleases God. The new building will offer classes to more than double the number at the two rented facilities. It will serve students in grades pre-kindergarten through 8th.

“We’re going to be opening our doors Monday to welcome our students to the campus,” Perez said. “Although we’ve always been ecstatic, the facilities aren’t what made our schools, it’s the passion and just what we did in the buildings that really mattered.”

And what makes Jubilee stand out?

“Everything is about building a personal relationship with our students and their parents,” Perez said. “Every teacher that we bring on board is passionate about what he or she does. We’re very focused on the development of leadership, and we talk about ways to develop their leadership from early on.”

Jubilee Academies has traveled a long road, beginning 20 years ago with the first school that enrolled 60 students. Fast forward and now 12 schools in 10 buildings around Texas serve more than 7,000 students, said Superintendent Kevin Phillips, who had come all the way from Dallas for the ribbon-cutting.

“We stand here today experiencing the next big chapter for Jubilee,” he said. “There’s so much to be proud of. I’m really excited about the opportunities that we’re going to provide for the community and the families and the kids here in Harlingen.”

Members of the Jubilee-Harlingen Middle School Cheerleaders showed their spirit.

“It’s a group of seven girls,” said Amanda De La Cruz, a parent volunteer who works with the cheerleaders, one of whom is her daughter.

“They will be doing competitions and performing at events,” she said. “They have soccer and volleyball.”

She has two sons in elementary at Jubilee.

“The reason why I chose this school is because of the environment,” she said. “They get a lot of one on one. They focus on the child individually.”

Perez said the school also has basketball, track and cross country.

“Our athletic program is a little different,” she said. “We have a turf room where kids can be able to work on their athletic conditioning classes. We have PE coaches, but we also have sports performance coaches present, which helps with muscle development, the coordination of kids. All of that is done very differently.”

Now everyone left the protection of the white canopy and spilled into the late morning sun. Cheerleaders posed in front of a banner and then a mariachi band filled the air with joyous music to celebrate the new school.