8/5/19

2019 Houston’s Back to School Fest




PHOTO (left to right): Council Member Jack Christie of Houston City, Education Director Juliet Stipeche of Houston City, Executive Director Alice Lee of Southwest Management District, United States Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston City, Director Sophie Chou of Education Division of TECO in Houston, Council Member Carla Cisneros of Houston City, Representative of Shell Oil Company, and (back row) Chief Samuel Peña of Houston Fire Department.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019
by Isabelle Chen
It is perhaps the warmest month of the year and what elementary children want to do is to enjoy their summertime and cool off in swimming pools, especially in Texas. However, the “new school year waits for no children”. It is also about time for them to be back at school.
During the first Saturday of August, inside the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, staff working at Taiwan’s representative booth weren’t sure if they heard correctly. A parent told them that her youngest son’s name is “Taiwan”! And her oldest son is called “Thailand.” These two boys’ mother said that she wanted her kids to know it’s a big world with many countries outside the United States. She hopes that Taiwan and Thailand will have opportunities to travel to their namesakes when they grow up.
This is the 9th anniversary for the Houston City Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest. Each year, the City of Houston holds the event to help K-5 students from economically-disadvantaged families before the new school year begins. Participants receive free backpacks, sponsored by Shell Oil Company, with school supplies distributed by exhibitors. The event also provides health screens, vision checks, immunizations, etc. Pre-registration is required and should be applied for by school teachers.
This year, the event had an estimated 25,000 students from the greater Houston area. An estimated 100 exhibitors and vendors attended the event. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston attended this event for the first time. To promote Mandarin language education opportunities in Taiwan, the Education Division of TECO in Houston designed handmade phonetic boards as giveaways along with Study in Taiwan stationery such as folders, pens, and pencils.
Among event sponsors and exhibitors, United States Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston City Council Members Jack Christie, and Carla Cisneros, Houston City Education Director Juliet Stipeche were present to support Mayor Sylvester Turner’s “Back 2 School Fest-Houston 2019”.


PHOTO (left to right): Director Sophie Chou of Education Division of TECO in Houston, Taiwan and Thailand’s Parent, Taiwan, Thailand, Ms. Isabelle Chen, coordinator of Education Division of TECO in Houston, (back row ) volunteer Mr. Roger Lo, (right1) Executive Director Alice Lee of Southwest Management District.

PHOTO (left to right): Volunteer Mr. Roger Lo, Coordinator Isabelle Chen of Education Division of TECO in Houston, Director Sophie Chou of Education Division of TECO in Houston, Consul Marcy Yu of TECO in Houston, and Executive Director Alice Lee of Southwest Management District

PHOTO: Attendees are in front of the Taiwan booth

PHOTO: Handmade phonetic boards designed by the Education Division of TECO in Houston

PHOTO: Handmade phonetic boards with illustrations created by the Study in Taiwan Program




休士頓助清寒學童返校開學不落人後

照片(左至右):休士頓市議員Jack Christie、主任Juliet Stipeche、西南管理區執行主任李成純如、德州聯邦眾議員Sheila Jackson Lee、休士頓市長Sylvester Turner、駐休士頓教育組組長周慧宜、休士頓市議員Carla Cisneros、殼牌石油公司代表及休士頓消防局局長Samuel Peña(後排)。


(2019)8月第一個周末,美國德州休士頓市區的喬治布朗活動中心(George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas)裡人聲鼎沸,擠滿了前來領取書包、文具、衣物、理髮券以及排隊等待做健檢的學童及家長,而這些用品及服務都是免費的!

每年到了暑假尾聲,新學期開始前,休士頓市政府會舉辦一場「市長返校大集合(Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest)」活動,發放開學所需文具及用品給休士頓地區K-5(幼稚園到五年級)清寒家庭學童,讓他們能在過完暑假後,順利返回學校上課。

休士頓市長返校活動今年邁入第9年,為擴大服務更多需要幫助的學童,市府發起募款及捐贈書包活動號召各界有錢出錢,有力出力,讓整個社會共同為教育盡一份心力。駐休士頓辦事處今年首度受邀參加並經由美南臺灣旅館公會捐款1萬美元贊助該活動,並於當日由駐休士頓教育組代表於會場設攤,發放印有臺灣特色圖樣、Study in Taiwan訊息的資料夾、華語文測驗文宣鉛筆、原子筆以及駐休士頓教育組專為國小學童精心設計製作的英文字母結合注音符號墊板,希望拿到墊板的學童對於華語有初步印象,進而激勵其日後學習華語的興趣。來自臺灣的李成純如(Alice Lee),擔任西南管理區(Houston Southwest Management District)執行主任,也愛心不落人後,特地到攤位幫忙發放文具用品給學童。

前來臺灣攤位的學童及家長,除領取具臺灣特色的文具用品外,他們也多對臺灣充滿好奇,許多家長藉機瞭解臺灣教育部提供的獎學金機會。而一名帶著兩個小孩前來臺灣攤位的家長,很興奮的向工作人員表示,她5歲的小兒子名字叫「Taiwan」,而她9歲的大兒子叫做「Thailand」。她說,她用國家名為她的小孩命名,是希望培養他們世界地球村的概念,同時希望他們長大後,能有機會去到與他們名字相同的國家遊歷。工作人員也特地教「Taiwan」跟「Thailand」說墊板上的句子:「你好嗎?」「我很好,謝謝!」TaiwanThailand兄弟二人也很認真跟著工作人員學習簡單的句子。

根據主辦單位,今年參加活動的學童估計超25千名。活動開始前,學校教師須上網站為其學生註冊,學生始得憑註冊證明領取由殼牌油公司贊助的書包以及大約100個參展單位所提供的文具及個人盥洗等各式物品。

照片(左至右):駐休士頓教育組組長周慧宜、家長、4歲學童Taiwan9歲學童Thailand以及駐休士頓教育組組員陳憶如於臺灣攤位前合影留念。(後排中)工作人員羅政欽;(後排右一)西南管理區執行主任李成純如

照片:臺灣攤位前人潮

照片(左至右):志工羅政欽、駐休士頓教育組組員陳憶如、駐休士頓教育組組長周慧宜、駐休士頓辦事處秘書俞欣嫺及西南管理區執行主任李成純如於臺灣代表攤位前合影留念。

照片:駐休士頓教育組特地為Back to School Fest精心設計製作之注音墊板。





活動日期:2019.08.03
撰稿人:陳憶如
資料來源:駐休士頓辦事處教育組