• by Sofia Bahena • IDRA Newsletter • April 2002 • 

“I saw the flame” banners and stickers were all being distributed to the roaring crowd of spectators. Hundreds of students and faculty witnessed the passing of the Olympic torch. As I stood there watching, I saw what Fox Tech High School had become – a united body who, despite racial and cultural differences, stood together as one.

Three and a half years ago when I first set foot on the Tech campus I had heard that two years earlier it was almost demolished due to its poor academic background. At first, I was a bit discouraged by this, but I am not one to pass up a challenge. So I enrolled at Fox Tech with the aspirations of contributing to a major change at Tech.

And, similar to the Olympic torch being lit, the Fox Tech torch was lit in 1996 with the restructuring of its faculty and the induction of a new leader, Ms. Joanne Cockrell. For the past six years, the torch has been carried by the Tech faculty and students. It is through their – or I should say “our” – hard work and ambition that we have accomplished what we have. It is Ms. Cockrell’s constant pushing, the teachers’ constant support and the students’ constant dedication that Fox Tech has been recognized at both the state and national level. The National Blue Ribbon Award, the Chase Award, the Texas Education Agency Recognized School (for two consecutive years, I might add) and Time magazine’s article describing us as the No. 2 school in the nation are but a few of the many honors to come.

Not only have we overcome academic barriers, we have broken through the brick walls of prejudice. Just one glance in the Fox Tech cafeteria speaks for itself. At a single table, the students vary from the “intellectual” to the “creative” to the “athletic.”

Pride beams in all our faces, but most importantly through our actions. One sees students and teachers pick up trash from the campus grounds. Furthermore, pride is shown on the faces of the students and teachers through the myriad of organizations and clubs, which allow us to become involved in our community and school. Organizations range from drama to band to academic decathlon to sports to vocational clubs to community service clubs. One particular service learning organization, known as Political Thinkers, emerged here with the help of its founder for the purpose of informing students of their civic duty to serve their community and the effect of laws on society. It is the first and only organization of its kind in the district.

The future success of this school shines brilliantly like the Olympic torch in Salt Lake City. On May 28, 2002, the senior class of 2002 will pass that torch on to the next class of seniors with the assurance of their future triumph. And from now until I grow old and gray I will be content knowing that I saw the flame.

Sofia Bahena is a high school student at Louis W. Fox Technical High School in San Antonio. Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2002, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the April 2002 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]