Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on H-E-B: H-E-B schools awarded $54,000 for classroom programs

The Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Education Foundation awarded 22 Empowered to Excel teaching grants totaling $54,000 this month.
The Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Education Foundation awarded 22 Empowered to Excel teaching grants totaling $54,000 this month. Courtesy photo

Dyslexic students at Harwood Junior High will have the use of a new teaching tool this school year to help improve their reading ability thanks to a grant from the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Education Foundation. The classroom program is called “Fonts for the Future: Word Up” and will enable teachers to purchase a special font designed specifically to make reading easier for dyslexic students. Plans are to measure data to document the outcome of the program.

The money granted to Harwood was one of 22 Empowered to Excel teaching grants totaling $54,000 that foundation members awarded during the convocation for educators this month. The organization has funded more than $640,000 in grants since it was founded in 1995.

Another grant will enable all ninth-graders enrolled in the TriO program in H-E-B schools to take the pre-SAT test free. TRiO serves students who will be first-generation college students and focuses on helping them prepare for college entrance testing.

“There is no greater investment to be made in our community than in our teachers and students,” said Alicia McGlinchey, foundation board president.

Enthusiasm remains high for raising money for the teaching grants because of success stories from past grants such as the one awarded last year to Meadow Creek and Bedford Heights elementaries for students learning to speak and write Spanish.

“The greatest impact the grant had was in encouraging the fluency of Spanish,” said Meadow Creek Principal Doreen Mengwasser. “The Spanish-immersion students were able to talk to students from another Spanish-immersion campus and to native speakers in the bilingual program at Shady Oaks.”

Hoping to raise $105,000 in the annual campaign for the 2015-16 school year, the foundation has already received nearly $87,000 in support as well as a $50,000 gift from Carla and Kenneth Newell for the endowment fund.

“The early commitment from our generous donors allows us to quickly move forward on our big plans for the year ahead,” McGlinchey said.

“The annual grant program helps to enhance the educational experience for students and gives teachers the support they need to execute innovative teaching ideas,” said spokeswoman Kelly Pacleb. The foundation chooses to fund initiatives that support the school district’s goal to enhance student learning, with emphasis on closing the achievement gap to ensure that all students are college-ready.

To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation, call 817-283-1521, e-mail or visit

Genealogy club ready to help family historians

For those interested in tracing your family roots, the Mid-Cities Genealogical Society may be just the club you want to join. An opportunity to find out more about the organization and meet members is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 3 at the club’s monthly meeting the Mary Lib Salah Euless Public Library.

The club organized in 1978 with the mission of “assisting the public and club members in the study of genealogy and to encourage the libraries of the Mid-Cities area to obtain genealogical books and other records of genealogical interest.”

Guests are welcome at the meeting, where Lynelle Moss from the Plano Family History Center will talk about using for genealogical research. Moss has been involved in beta testing programs and indexing for FamilySearch and belongs to the Dallas, state, and national genealogical societies.

Officers of the Mid-Cities Genealogical Society are Bonnie Baker, Kelli Merk, Patsy Bufurd Harrison and John Pinkerton. The club meets the first Thursday of every month at the library, at 201 N. Ector St. Social time is at 6:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. meeting.

“The genealogical society has meant so much to me as I have researched my families for many years, and the society members have been quite helpful,” said spokeswoman Evelynn Kelly. “We have members who are very well educated on research and are very well known in genealogical circles as speakers at events both locally and statewide.”

Individual dues are $20 annually or $25 per couple. Learn more at

New roles for staff at Northeast Tarrant Courthouse

If you have business to conduct at the country courthouse in Hurst, there are a couple of changes in the roles for member of Precinct 3 Commissioner Gary Fickes’ staff.

Rebecca Barksdale has been named as the precinct administrator after serving in the role of community outreach coordinator since 2009. She succeeds Carolyn Sims after Sims’ recent retirement.

“I am excited to announce Rebecca Barksdale as our new Precinct Administrator. In this position, she will serve as chief of staff for my office. Rebecca has proven to be the right fit for her new role, and we look forward to her innovative leadership,” wrote Fickes in a news statement.

Barksdale grew up in Arlington, where her grandfather was one of the city’s first doctors. “He taught me the fulfillment of being involved in my local community, and that philosophy has truly defined my life,” said Barksdale.

The Baylor University has worked for the Texas Rangers, Sheraton Hotel, handled major accounts at an advertising agency and was the director of advertising and marketing for Allen Samuels North Loop Dodge. She was part of the team in the commissioner’s office that created the Empowering Seniors Health & Lifestyle Expo.

Fickes also announced that Devin Wenske will now serve as the community outreach coordinator. She has worked for the past three years in the office providing budget oversight and working on the Empowering Seniors event and the Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit among other responsibilities. She attended Texas A&M University for her undergraduate studies and received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. She’s active in several local charities.

“We are very proud of the role she has played in serving our community. Devin has proven to be a valuable part of our Precinct 3 team and is a great fit four our Community Outreach Coordinator,” wrote Commissioner Fickes in a news statement.

Congratulations to both of these women as they continue serving the community.

Salsa & Salsa back again for family fun Sept. 3

So popular that it’s back for the fourth year is the Salsa & Salsa event at Heritage Village Plaza, 841 W. Pipeline Road in Hurst. Guests at the free event will enjoy a chance to learn salsa dancing at 6 p.m. before Havana NRG takes the stage at 7 p.m.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the outdoor concert. The band will perform hot salsa-themed music as well as Cuban timba, merengue, bachata, and a mambo rap titled, Wrap the Mambo.

The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free jar of Mrs. Renfro’s salsa. Agua fresca will be served free of charge by the Hurst Public Library, and Latin food vendors will be on-site with great food to purchase. To inquire, call the Hurst Community Services office at 817-788-7305.

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