Originally delivered on 10/1/2023 12:31 pm

SUBJECT: DeBakey PTO Newsletter - October 1, 2023

DeBakey PTO

DeBakey PTO Newsletter

October 1, 2023

In This Issue
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • Sign up to continue to receive newsletter
  • School News
    • Principal Herrera Announcements
    • Meet our new APs, Ms. Tapia & Ms. Alexander
    • National Merit Semifinalists
    • DeBakey HSHP in the News
    • Soccer Practice
    • Thank You to New Sponsors
    • US News & World Report Rankings
    • Athletic Interest Form
    • Basketball Tryouts
    • College Night, Help Needed & Registration Info
    • First Pep Rally Pics
    • Thank You to Physics Community
    • Back to School Dance a Success
    • Volunteer Opportunity Training
    • Senior Class Photos (Class of 2024)
    • Classes of 2024 & 2025, Dues Reminder
    • Senior Signing Day Wish List
    • PTO Uniform Store Updates & Help Needed
    • DeBakey Blankets to Support Volleyball
    • Fall Festival Wish List
    • Community Support for DeBakey Needed
    • HOSA dues 
    • PTO meeting calendar
    • Birthday & Celebratory Greetings - Fundraising
    • Donate Coffee/Tea to Support Teachers
    • Travel Abroad Opportunities Info
    • New WhatsApp chat for Class of 2025 Parents
    • Save the Date - Nov 2 Poetry Cafe
    • New HISD 2023-2024 Calendar
  • Odds and Ends
    • VIPS application
    • Class of 2024 - SchooLinks FAQ 
    • Reminder: Student Volunteer Requirements
    • Bayou City Art Festival Volunteer Opportunity
    • InGenius Prep Webinars

  • Oct 2, online DeBakey blanket sales end
  • Oct 2, 3- 4 pm Houston Food Bank training
  • Oct 5, lunch - Uniform Store Open (only day this month)
  • Oct 5, 5:30-7 pm  - College Night
  • Oct 7, 8 am - noon - Boys Basketball Tryouts
  • Oct 10, 6:30-8 pm -  PTO meeting (virtual)
  • Oct 12, 3:30-4:15 or 4:15 - 5 pm - Girls Basketball Tryouts
  • Oct 13 - No School for Students; Professional Development Day for Staff
  • Oct 17 - No after school activities
  • Oct 17-18 - School Pictures
  • Oct 24 - Spirit Night @ Mendocino Farms
  • Oct 27 - Fall Festival
  • Nov 2 - Poetry Cafe
  • Nov 10 - No School

Sign up for this Newsletter (again!)

This newsletter is distributed through "Membership Toolkit" which requires all members to update their information each summer. 

Please take 2 minutes to update your information so you will continue to receive this newsletter throughout the school year. 

Update your membership info here

Announcements from Principal Herrera

Please congratulate our new Assistant Principals, Ms. Tapia and Ms. Alexander, on their new positions. We are very excited to welcome them to our admin team. 

Attendance – The state of Texas Compulsory Attendance rules state students who are at least six years of age, or who have been previously enrolled in first grade, and who have not yet reached their 19th birthday shall attend school for the entire period the program is offered, unless exempted.

If the student is absent ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, the student’s parent is subject to prosecution under Education Code 25.093, and the student is subject to referral to a truancy court for truant conduct under Family Code 65.003(a).

At DeBakey HSHP, our goal is to make sure our students attend school on-time every day. We are preparing them to pursue college degrees that lead to careers in Health Science. When students are absent, the workload is compounded, causing stress and anxiety.

Students should be seated in their classrooms by 7:55 am daily. Please make sure students attend school each day.

If an absence due to illness is unavoidable, please email Mrs. Perez, pperez6@houstonisd.org so that she can accurately track your child’s attendance.

Meet our new Assistant Principal, Ms. Christina Tapia!

Ms. Tapia is one of our new Assistant Principals and joins us from within DeBakey's math department. We are so excited she is joining the admin team. She will be the Assistant Principal for students with last name M-Z.

“I have successfully navigated my career path from teaching to administrative roles. My family brings me joy, and exploring new places through travel is also a passion of mine. I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue my career at Debakey High School.” - Ms. Tapia

Ms. Tapia's email: christina.tapia@houstonisd.org 

Meet our new Assistant Principal, Ms. Patricia Alexander!

Ms. Alexander is one of our new Assistant Principals and joins us as a DeBakey alum. We are so pleased to have one of our own DeBakey students returning to join our admin team. She will be the Assistant Principal for students with last name A-L.

 "I am a DeBakey graduate class of 1990 and so excited to be back and able to work with the current students! I have been in HISD as an educator since  August 1996. I have a 20 year old son that is an Eagle Scout and currently a junior at Sam Houston State University and an eleven year old furbaby that is a Saluki mix. Both boys keep me young at heart and continue to fulfill my blessed life." - Ms. Alexander

Ms. Alexander's email: PALEXAN1@houstonisd.org 

Congratulate our National Merit SemiFinalists!

Please give a big congratuations to our SEVEN DeBakey students who scored in the top 1% of the PSAT and were recently recognized as 2023-2024 National Merit SemiFinalists!

Charles Anstead

Zane Asadi

Siddharth Bommekai

Giovani Cheema

Sara Diwan

Nathan Giang

Marilyn Sun

DeBakey HSHP in the News

The Buzz recently featured an article: DocPrep Experience: Exploring the Medical Field about our awesome DeBakey program - check it out!

The Buzz: DocPrep Experience: Exploring the Medical Field

Soccer Practice @ Rice coming soon
Big Thank you to New Sponsors - AP Tutors and Mathnasium!

Thank you to our new PTO sponsors - AP Tutors and Mathnasium! We appreciate your support of our school. Let's show them our community support!

DeBakey ranks again in US News & World Report Best High Schools 2023-2024!
Interested in Athletics?

Sign up using the below link to indicate interest in one of the following sports:

  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • Running Club
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Athletic Interest Form here!

Basketball Tryouts!

Stay tuned for sign ups, but please mark your calendars:

Boys - October 7, 8 am -noon

Girls - October 12, 3:30-4:15 pm or 4:15-5 pm

Sign ups will have time slots within the above times.

All grades are welcome to tryout!

Volunteers Needed for Oct 5th College Night!

We will need student and parent volunteers for College Night - please sign up using the link below.

Sign Up Genius for College Night

College Night Info
First Pep Rally, Sept 29

From musical chairs to TP couture our first pep rally was a success! Students had fun celebrating their school spirit at the end of the first grading cycle!

Thank you, Physics Community!

A heartfelt thank you to those of you who have come together to help our Physics 1 and Physics 2 students. 

Super Successful Back to School Dance

Students were able to cut loose and celebrate the end of the first grading cycle with our awesome Back to School Dance! Many thanks to the PTO Dance Committee Amonee Haley, Tiesha Ward and Michael de la Cerda who put in many hours organizing and executing this fun night for our students! 

Thank you to the parents and DeBakey staff who helped make this happen with your donation of your time, decor, food and drinks! We are grateful when our community comes together to make our students smile. 

Volunteer Opportunity for Parents & Students

Do you like to volunteer? Do you enjoy helping your community? DeBakey will be a designated community Distribution Center for hte Houston Food bank. This Monday, October 2, 3-4 pm in the MDR we will have a training session to learn what this entails and who can help. 

The actual distribution dates will be hosted once a month (dates/timeswill be provided at a later time but will be Monday or Friday, times might be 10 am - noon but this is to be determined).

Bilingual speakers of any language are very welcome to participate! Some computer skills are necessary to process intake. VIPS approval is not required for this volunteer opportunity.

Sign Up Genius for Food Distribution Training

Senior Photos (Class of 2024)

Prestige Portraits will be the sole photographer for senior pictures for our next yearbook. Prestige was on the DeBakey HSHP campus on August 11 and 14.

If you were not able to attend either of those days, you may schedule at the Prestige Portrait office in Sugar Land. A flyer with details is listed below. When you schedule at the Prestige studio, you will have a wider selection of backdrops and poses.

The yearbook photo deadline is October 14th.

<< View their flyer for more information >>

Class of 2025 Senior Dues

Hey Class of 2025! 

Now is your chance to get ahead and start paying your senior class dues for next year. By paying ahead of time, you will help the parent volunteers who plan our senior events. The more money they have collected early on, the easier it is to figure out the budget and plan some cool events!

Class of 2025 Dues can be paid via Schoolpay.com 

Senior Signing Day Wish List

Please use this Amazon wish list to support our Senior Signing Day!

Amazon wish list linked here

Uniform Store - only open Oct 5 @ lunch
Click here to visit the PTO Uniform Store!
Uniforms re-stocked
Support DeBakey Volleyball & Buy a Cozy Blanket

Last day for online DeBakey blanket sales is October 2nd. Buy a blanket to stay warm this winter! A portion of the proceeds will support our four DeBakey volleyball teams.

Buy a DeBakey blanket here!

Support the DeBakey Fall Festival

It might be 100+ degrees out, but we are ready for our FALL Festival and Haunted House!

Please support the DeBakey Fall Festival by purchasing from the below wish list ~ the list includes candy and prizes for our students, along with art supplies for pumpkin painting activities. Any and all support is welcome.

Fall Festival Amazon Wish List


Are you a business owner or do you know a community member who'd like to help our school? 

The DeBakey High School PTO works to raise funds through the generous contribution of parents and local businesses. These funds are used in the school to make a significant impact in the lives of students, families and staff by providing enrichment activities that bring learning to life and improving relationships through community events. 

We are currently looking for community members who would like to join our PTO as a corporate sponsor for the 2023-24 school year. By becoming a sponsor, you will directly impact more than 900 students as well as staff and families in your community. As a PTO, our funds enhance the following resources and programs: 

Enrichment Programs 🐾 Art Department 🐾 Music Department 🐾 Theater🐾 Educator Classroom Support 🐾 Staff Appreciation 🐾 Technology 🐾 Sports 🐾 Student Events 🐾 Student Supplies 🐾 Clubs 🐾 and more 

We offer multiple tiers of sponsorship opportunities to fit your needs and budget. All sponsorship levels include visible recognition to our students, staff, and families. If you are interested in supporting our PTO, but cannot commit to a sponsorship we are grateful to accept any level of donations. 

Sponsor Directory Listing -  $200                       https://www.debakeypto.org/packet/40459998

  • DeBakey Sponsors are featured in the DeBakey PTO website under “Sponsor Directory” page.


Annual Newsletter or Website Sponsor - $1000https://www.debakeypto.org/packet/40460160

Website Sponsor

  • DeBakey PTO Website Presented by (your company/business name or logo)” on top of PTO website.
  • Website sponsorship is to last the entire school year. Starts as soon as sign up and ends on the last day of school.
  • Announcement of your company/business sponsorship throughout the school year on DeBakey PTO Facebook.
  • Acknowledgment at our monthly PTO Meeting
  • Included in sponsor directory

Newsletter Sponsor

  • “DeBakey PTO Newsletter Presented by (your company/business name or logo)” on top of PTO Newsletter.
  • Newsletter sponsorship is to last the entire school year. Starts as soon as sign up and ends on the last issue for the school year.
  • Newsletter goes out once a week to 200+ families.
  • Announcement of your company/business sponsorship throughout the school year on DeBakey PTO Facebook.
  • Acknowledgement at our monthly PTO meeting.
  • Included in sponsor directory


Benefactor Wall Plaque - $500                                              https://www.debakeypto.org/packet/40460309

The Benefactor Wall prominently displays the donors’ names in the shape of a DNA helix in the central area of the student atrium/cafeteria. The DNA structure reflects the school’s STEM focus.

General Donation of Any Amount                     https://www.debakeypto.org/packet/40459919       

Any support you can provide would be meaningful as a community partner supporting excellence in education for DeBakey students.

Support DeBakey while you shop!

Enroll in the Randalls and/or Kroger loyalty programs and select DeBakey as your organization to receive contributions based on your shopping. 

Log in to your loyalty account and select "community rewards" - search for the DeBakey PTO or enter our code VX994. 

An easy way to support our school while you buy your groceries! 


HOSA dues can be paid via schoolpay.com 

PTO MEETINGS 2023-2024

Join us to learn more about what the PTO is doing to help our school and get involved! All meetings will be 6:30 pm - 8 pm.

  • Oct 10 virtual
  • Nov 14 in person
  • Dec 12 virtual, Home for the Holidays edition
  • Jan 9 virtual
  • Feb 13 in person
  • March 19 virtual
  • April 9 virtual
  • May 14 in person, vote on new PTO board

More information will be shared as we get closer to each date.

PTO Meeting, October 10 (virtual)

In addition to the regular school news, we will feature a guest speaker from the medical architecture field. You won't want to miss out!

birthday message on screen
Purchase Birthday & Celebratory Greetings to Support our School

Parents, the DeBakey PTO is offering Birthday & Celebratory Greetings.   These are messages that will be displayed on the monitors around the school. You can send your child a birthday message or tell your child congratulations for a major accomplishment.  The Birthday & Celebratory Greetings are only $20.

  • The messages are posted the week of the event only, they are sent in the Friday before the event date.
  • The messages MUST be received by the PTO two weeks prior to the event via the following link on the PTO website in the Fundraising section https://www.debakeypto.org/packet/38437847
  • You may select a background for the message on the google form.
  • Belated birthdays & ½ birthdays are acceptable.
  • All messages must meet the approval of the administration.
  • The message will be removed if the student asks the administration to remove the message.

Email fundraising@debakeypto.org with any questions.

Show our DeBakey Teachers some Love!

Drop off at reception or ship donations of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or Keurig pods to the school for the PTO to distribute in our teacher lounges. 

Back to school season is always stressful - let's make sure our teachers feel our appreciation every single day!

Travel Abroad with DeBakey - lots of interesting opportunities below for 2024 & 2025
Link to Paris & the Chateaux Spring 2024 Trip Info
Link to Switzerland, Italy, France & Spain in 2024 Info
Link to Japan 2025 Trip Info
New 2023-2024 HISD Calendar

Don't miss checking the new (as of last week) 2023-2024 HISD Academic Calendar - there are several changes to note which effect days the students have school/do not have school this year. Changes in summary:

  • Friday, October 13 is now a professional development day (no school for students)
  • The professional development day previously scheduled for Nov 7 is now rescheduled to Friday, November 10th.
  • HISD winter break will now start on Friday, December 22nd and end on Monday, January 8th rather than prior calendar which ended the break on Tuesday, January 9th.
  • We will have school on Tuesday, February 20th (previously this was a professional development day for teachers).

Calendar is linked below.

2023-2024 HISD Calendar

Class of 2025 Parents Want to Stay in Touch?

There's a new way for the Class of 2025 Parents to communicate with each other and find out what is going on with all things DeBakey! Join the Class of 2025 Parent WhatsApp chat group using the below link.

WhatsApp Class of 2025 Chat

November 2 - Poetry Cafe

Save the date for the Poetry Cafe! More information coming soon.

Time to Renew Your VIPS application!

Parents and Guardians, it's that time of year! Even if you have been VIPS approved in the past, you must renew your application and be approved each year. You must be VIPS approved to volunteer in any capacity at any HISD school. Please apply now so you are ready when the volunteer opportunity arises!

Register for VIPS approval here!

Information below for our Class of 2024 seniors - SchooLinks is replacing Naviance
Reminder: Student Volunteer Requirements

REMINDER:  Every DeBakey student must have at least 100 community service to graduate with a DeBakey diploma.

Remember, colleges look at the community service and how you give back to your community when choosing a candidate to accept into their school. The summer time is a great chance to get caught up and to give back to the community.

Guidelines for Community Service Hours >>

Volunteer Opportunities in Houston >>

Volunteer at the Bayou City Art Festival, Oct 14-15
Free InGenius Prep Webinars

Webinar 1: "How to use Leadership & Entrepreneurship to Gain an Edge Applying to Top-Ranked Universities"

Date: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

Time: 12pm Pacific, 2pm Central, 3pm Eastern

Maya Gobert, Director of Innovation, will provide strategies to stand out in a competitive applicant pool through leadership and entrepreneurial experiences.

Webinar 2: "Unlocking Early Application Success: Join our Co-Founder for a Last Minute Q&A"

Date: Wednesday, October 4th

Time: 5pm Pacific, 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern

Yosepha Greenfield, co-founder, will answer last-minute questions and share tips for early applications.

Don't miss out on these opportunities to take your application to the next level. Reserve your spot today by clicking the hyperlinks!

DeBakey HSHP PTO Newsletter Sponsor AP Tutors!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -