Just down the street from Jessi Heiner's Magnum Manor home is a public school named after "Skinny" Wainwright, a veteran of both World Wars who survived mistreatment in Japanese prison camps with his soldiers before being awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor and promoted to four-star general. Skinny, known to get down in the foxholes with his troops, would have appreciated seeing Heiner and other community members digging deep to help motivated teachers and staff at his namesake school give youngsters a fighting chance at a good education.
As Magnum Manor Civic Club President, Heiner wondered about the education provided at Wainwright Elementary, an HISD math and sciences magnet school just a couple of blocks from Magnum Road. The nearby school, Heiner says, had come up during civic meetings. She decided that personal experience was the only way to find out just what Wainwright Elementary was all about.
So, she spent several days this year visiting Wainwright, its students, staff, principal and parents.
Popping in, often unannounced, Heiner and her cameras captured a school working vigorously to engage students from all walks of life. The result is a video Heiner shot that should be compelling to anyone who believes public schools and their surrounding communities have the potential to vastly improve lives.
"Needless to say, I fell in love with the campus, the kiddos, the teachers, the principal and admin team," says Heiner.
Heiner, who is not a parent, also ginned up a bucket list of ways SN 12 residents can help the school. Volunteers, whether parents or not, can help Wainwright Elementary continue its mission to become a valuable asset to the community, Heiner says.
"Wainwright Elementary School is always looking for volunteers from the community to help out," explains Heiner. "If you would like to volunteer, please register with the Volunteer in Public Schools program by visiting www.houstonisd.org/vips."
There are many ways to help:
- SDMC (Shared Decision-Making Committee): Wainwright is looking for 1-2 community members to be part of this committee that brings community members, parents and staff together to help determine the path for the school.
- Reading MENtor Program: Wainwright is looking for gentlemen in the community to adopt a classroom and come read with the students once a month.
- Assist Teachers: Teachers often need help with classroom projects and preparing materials for activities. They would love to have community volunteers help them out.
- Habitat and Outdoor Classroom: Wainwright has a large habitat that is currently not in use, but with much potential and an asset that could become an outdoor classroom as part of the school's STEM program. The school will be looking for volunteers to help clean up and plan out projects for this interesting space. And anyone connected with local landscaping companies that would be interested in bidding to regularly maintain this space, please let the school know.
In fact, a small clean-up event is planned for the Wainwright habitat. From 9-11 a.m. Saturday, November 4, volunteers will gather at Wainwright to do some basic cleaning and organization of the habitat area. During the event, plans will be made for upcoming projects designed to celebrate Earth day in April 2018.
For school updates, follow Wainwright Elementary on Facebook and Twitter, where volunteer opportunities will also be posted.