Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day will be observed on May 25 this year.
The acknowledgement of Memorial Day is easy to see in the Heights. The Heights World War II Memorial Plaza and Freedom Walk are located at the corner of Heights Boulevard and 11th street. The Memorial has the names of 224 deceased veterans inscribed on the five-sided center pylon, and 2,549 names or survivors shown on the curved walls. This impressive structure, was dedicated in 1999, and honors the area veterans of all the armed services who served. Three former Reagan High School (now Heights High School) graduates began the planning in 1995 and joined Leonard Ball who had the dream of erecting a memorial. The Memorial was delivered by then Chamber Gold Patron Member Spaw-Glass Construction Corporation in only five weeks, and came in $20,000 under budget. An interesting sidebar is the inclusion of a time capsule. On October 12, 2001 a time capsule containing World War II items was placed with the stipulation that it be opened on Memorial Day in 2050. Visitors are always welcome at the Heights Memorial. The Chamber appreciates and thanks all veterans for their service to our country.
In light of the coronavirus and the scrambling from all educators as well as the rest of society, this spring, The Education Committee focused on the annual scholarships and have plans to try and honor all teachers in the fall upon their return to schools. The students entering the military also had to be put on a different type of recognition as the recruiters and counselors did not have up to date information. This recognition is also planned for end of school, early summer. It will be generic as we do not have names. So, instead of having a partial list of teacher honorees displayed earlier, it was felt that working for an end of school recognition (if more names are submitted) would be better. Teachers/Educators have just recently gotten into a work mode that allows time in their day to collaborate with outside agencies more.
Basic needs are such a need right now for so many of the students and their families and this is a reality; schools were sent from Houston Highway Credit Union a resource manual to help address rent, utilities, food.
Education is a strong focal point of the Chamber and serving the educational community is an area the Chamber strives to be a resource for their needs. Traditionally, the Education Luncheon was the highlight of putting all the recognitions together! This year it is different–and the recognition of teachers, educators, schools, military and scholarship winners will continue to go on this summer. Look for new postings throughout the weeks. Thank you for understanding! Cindy Reibenstein, Chair of the Education Committee.
Cynthia F. Reibenstein, LCSW, ACSW Diplomate in Clinical Social Work
Elizabeth Stinsman, Director of Community Assistance Department, and representing County Commissioner, Jack Cagle, has graciously donated 3,000 face masks to the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce for distribution to schools, businesses, and the community.
The Chamber was recognized for its incredible outreach in providing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stinsman stated: “It is because of your hard work and dedication to those we mutually serve that our community will persevere. The Commissioners office is pleased to play a small part in your important role of providing and serving, not only the constituents of Precinct 4, but also the residents of Harris County.”
The masks were delivered by Precinct 4 workers, Peggy Peyton and Patti Parks. Cindy Reibenstein, Chair of the Chamber’s Education Committee expressed the Chamber’s gratitude for the masks which will be helpful in providing protection and continuing to flatten the virus curve. Mr. Mike Niggli, principal of Waltrip High School accepted the masks from Chamber Intern, Dina Padovan, a Sergeant with the University of Houston Police Department and a student in the University’s Graduate College of Social Work.
In addition, the Chamber is providing masks to area schools including: Garden Oaks Montessori, Helms Elementary, Katherine Smith Elementary, Heights High School, Washington High School, Northside High School and Black Middle School.
This year The Education Committee of the Greater Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the 21 students who will be receiving $1000 each towards pursuing their education at the college of their choice. With the COVID-19, Zoom interviews were held of the top 50 applicants. The traditional Education Luncheon will not happen this year and therefore the celebration of this award will be done in a couple of ways. There will be social media, school website, business website and chamber website publicity along with area newspapers and sponsors received decals for their business entries. The students will each be receiving a personalized yard sign with the sponsor name and logo and chamber name and logo. Each student will also receive a certificate and the student presentation will be captured so celebrations can continue through social media.
The twenty-one scholarship winners are as follows: Adams Insurance sponsored six students: from Waltrip—Aliyah Douglas and Feliece Hossman; from Lutheran North—Tabitha Waiser and Geonna Waddell and from Houston Christian—Adam Kral and Ellie Chaves. Frost Bank sponsored Morgan Hicks from St. Pius X; Houston Highway Credit Union sponsored Brooklyn Jade-Torres and Angelilque Martinez from Northside; Members Trust of the Southwest Federal Credit Union sponsored Chandler Solomon from Heights; Memorial Hermann Greater Heights sponsored Ymani Banks and Anaisa Gomez from Heights; PrimeWay Federal Credit Union sponsored Sloan Hudson and Sabrina Ysaguirre from Heights; Willie Diefenbach-Jones with Send Out Cards sponsored Carla Alexander from Northside; Third Coast Impressions sponsored Jennifer Montalvan from KIPP; The Tom and June Kimball Memorial Scholarship sponsored MacKenzie Payne from Northside; Reibenstein and Associates sponsored Angela Espinoza from St. Pius X; Reynolds and Associates sponsored Andrew Requena from St. Pius X and the Greater Heights Chamber sponsored Adrian Herrera from Heights and Juan Bustos from Northside. These young men and women will make a difference in their chosen field of study.
I hope you will take the time to congratulate seniors this year as it is tough missing out on all the traditional celebrations that they and their parents have been looking forward to their entire 18 years. Thank you for the sponsors for stepping up and making this year’s scholarship winners have a personalized celebration!
Cindy Reibenstein, Education Chair
Click on the pictures below for more information.
Thank you again to our Scholarship Sponsors:
|J&K Memorial||SendOut Cards|
|Third Coast Impressions|
The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce extends its sympathies to the family of Norma Skowronek, a former member of the board of directors. Norma passed away on March 18, 2020 in the company of her loved ones. She was a true local community person, growing up in Houston, attended Waltrip High School, and recently attended their 50-year reunion.
A distinguished banker during her business career, she made countless friends during her lifetime and gave willingly of her time to local professional and social organizations. After joining the Greater Heights Chamber, she served as a valued member of the board for 3 terms and served on numerous Chamber committees. She was the first female President of the Rotary Club of Houston Heights, and spent many hours volunteering at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where she served as a lifetime member of the Calf Scramble committee.
In 2010, she married Mike Skowronek, also a Chamber member who served as chairman, treasurer and interim president at several points during the Chamber’s history. Norma enjoyed many shared experiences with Mike including spending time at lake LBJ, solving every Wheel of Fortune puzzle and attending countless birthday parties, games, recitals and especially grandparents’ day.
Norma leaves an extended family and many friends including the many relationships she made as a Chamber executive and member. In closing, we chose a quote about Norma found on her Class Creator.com website: “Norma touched so many lives. She had a gift for making every person she met feel at ease, and she never forgot a face.” She is gone, but never forgotten.”
The Greater Heights Area Chamber of commerce board of directors and staff mourn the passing
of former president David Santana. David was elected as GHACC President and took office on
March 17, 2008. When the announcement was made in the Chamber newsletter, LINKED, he said: “I look forward to working with the Chamber’s Board of Directors, our committees, our members and building relationships with other key Houston constituents as well. I encourage your phone calls or emails regarding our Chamber and will welcome the opportunity to get acquainted. If you want to talk about fishing or golf that’s fine with me too!”
During his Chamber tenure, he was truly an “advocate for the Heights.” Working to helping
members during the economic recession in 2008, and facilitating recovery efforts during and
following Hurricane Ike. As president, David added Jacob Millwee to his staff as Director of
Member Services, a hire that would ultimately lead to his serving the Chamber for 11-years, five
of those as president.
Resigning as president in 2009 to enter the family business, David embarked on a path that
would find him working at family businesses and later assuming teaching positions at Garden
Oaks Elementary Montessori School and Waltrip High School. Working in conjunction with a
Chamber member, they established the Eugene Field Elementary School’s Mentoring Program.
During his teaching position with Waltrip, he assisted with beginning the school’s first
Montessori curriculum. He was a valued member of both faculties, and his personalized teaching
methods, demeanor and knowledge endeared him to many of his students and their parents as
David was a native Houstonian and a graduate of Sharpstown High School. He earned his
Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas and received his Masters of Education in Secondary Education also from St. Thomas. Prior to joining the Chamber, he held numerous executive positions with non-profit organizations and a Chamber in Florida.
On behalf of the Chamber, we extend our sincere condolences to David’s family. He will be missed by those of us who worked with him and treasured his friendship.
This month we are pleased to profile Jordan Bailey. He grew up in Rockford, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Everyone has an early life goal, and Jordan’s was to be a professional golfer. It was here that he began prepping for a future in golf. During high school, he began at the bottom of the golfing ladder so to speak. This saw him becoming a service attendant. What do they do? Easy answer, he took care of the bag room and golf carts plus shagged golf balls on the driving range.
Moving on, he heard the “Buckeye’s calling. By that we mean, he attended The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where he studied business management. Of course, they are known as the Ohio State “Buckeyes!” At the age of 18, Jordan moved to South Florida to pursue his dream. In these times he worked at golfing organizations in Florida, Iowa and Texas. Even serving as a golf instructor at a golf resort in Jupiter, Florida. While holding a variety of business-related positions, he accumulated a wealth of business experience that would serve him well in his future.
It was on to Houston in 2016 where he held sales management positions at Blackhorse Golf Club and as Director of Operations at Sweetwater County Club. His present position is serving as a Business Development Executive for Sabo Accounting & Tax Service, P.C. and Payroll Vault, a proud Chamber member. Serving as their Chamber representative, Jordan says he joined to: “Develop relationships with local business and not only help my company flourish but help others succeed as well.”
A member of several Chambers and a networking organization, Jordan emphasizes the significance Chambers have served in his career. According to him, the single most important aspect of these associations is; “That they have taught me how important it is to build quality/long lasting relationships.” He cites the fact that Chambers are the best way to build these relationships. Our Chamber is fortunate to have Jordan Bailey, as an Ambassador Committee member and a member that truly knows how to find and create value in relationships among his fellow Chamber members.
In his limited spare time, Jordan appreciates spending time with his many friends, family and of course playing golf. Residing with his fiancé (Jennifer) and Allison (14) and Kaden (11), he enjoys grilling for his family. The Chamber appreciates members like Jordan Bailey, who are always willing to lend a helping hand and help not only his business but others succeed as well.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to count all people-both citizens and non-citizens-living in the United States. Every household in the U.S. is asked to answer a short series of questions that will influence policymaking and planning for the next decade.
April 1 is Census Day where the U.S. Census Bureau wants the nation to respond to the 2020 Census, either online, by phone or by mail telling the bureau where they live and other information about themselves and their families. With the advent of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the deadline for responses has been extended to mid-August. Feel free to use either the form previously mailed, by phone (by calling 844-330-2020) or online (at my2020census.gov) because an accurate count provides vital information. An accurate count determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and influences dollars directed to public funds that are allocated for critical public services like emergency response, schools, hospitals, public benefits, roads and bridges over the next 10 years.
The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Crawfish Festival in the Heights was held on March 7th at 411 West 20th street. Cooler than expected weather greeted festival attendees, but the crawfish, corn and potatoes were in abundance. Mudbug eaters along with those that favored hot dogs and sausage on a stick enjoyed the food washed down, in some cases, with a wide variety of cold beers, sodas or water. Plenty of entertainment took place highlighted by the Zydeco Dots, a local band that played Cajun-style tunes that prompted spontaneous dancing in front of the Eureka Heights stage.
Additional entertainment was provided throughout the day by students representing local area schools and featured Helms Cheer and Drum group, Kathryn Smith Cheerleaders and Choir, Garden Oaks Montessori Singers and Cheerleaders, Sinclair Folklorica and Cheerleaders, and KIPP Nexus Cheerleaders and Dancers. Not to be overlooked were the Chamber members and others that manned vendor booths demonstrating or selling a diversity of products and services that ranged from: jewelry, art pieces, fitness and sports, children’s clothing, financial services, HEB, and cleaning and pest control.
Louie Gill, President of the Chamber reflected on the event and said: “Our festival has a rich heritage of bringing together the Heights community for a day filled with food, festivities and entertainment. Performances by our area school students showcased the talent enriched by outstanding faculty leadership. We are extremely grateful to our many sponsors, volunteers, staff, vendors and others that helped stage this year’s festival.”
Photos illustrating the event can be seen on the Chamber website homepage, www.heightschamber.org. on the top heading “Calendar & Events” and then by scrolling down to “Event Photos” and on https://www.facebook.com/events/1483576181791950.