- Crowley Independent School District
- Black History Quiz Bowl
We are celebrating Black History Month across Crowley ISD with this year’s nationwide theme of “Black Health and Wellness.” Our annual Black History Bowl will be virtual on Monday, Feb. 28 and begin at 9 a.m. The bowl will be a team competition, consisting of four students per team. There will be two age divisions, an elementary division (grades 3-5) and a senior division (grades 6-12).
Black History Quiz Bowl Results
Elementary Champion: Bess Race Elementary - Walker Agents
Secondary Champion: Crowley Middle School - Panther Pride
Art Contest Winners
First: Carree Clater - June W. Davis Elementary
Second: Mia Tellez - June W. Davis Elementary
Third: Jazmine Tazizon - J.A. Hargrave Elementary
Middle School Division
First: Mariah Love - H.F. Stevens Middle School
Second: Jayhelen Henderson - H.F. Stevens Middle School
Third: Marco Flores - H.F. Stevens Middle School
First: Samantha Gonzalez - North Crowley High School
Second: Kamirae Terry - North Crowley 9th Grade
Third: Raven Vasquez - North Crowley High School
First-Place Art Winners
Second-Place Art Winners
Third-Place Art Winners
Door Decorating Winners
Door Decorating Winners
Elementary Winner: Parkway Elementary
Secondary Winner: Summer Creek Middle School
Black History Month Spotlight: Connie Isabell
For our final #BlackHistoryMonth spotlight, we are pleased to present Crowley ISD Deputy Superintendent Connie Isabell.
Isabell has served in education for more than 50 years. She created the Black History Quiz Bowl and Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl in Crowley ISD.Crystel Polk, director of grants and innovation who coordinates the quiz bowls with Isabell, said of her: "Harriet Tubman said, 'Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.' Mrs. Isabell reminds me daily that the journey may not be easy, but it is worth it and that we sit under shade trees that we did not plant and we must keep going… because the students count on us daily to make a difference. She has been a phenomenal mentor and leader for me and so many others here in Crowley ISD."To learn more about Isabell, read her Q&A below:1. Tell us what you enjoy about your role as deputy superintendent in Crowley ISD.It is a joy to work with competent professionals, who understand the value of research, hard work and innovative approaches to creating the best learning environments for students to learn.2. Where have you served in education and why did you want to join the field of education? What do you love about it?My years in education have included:• History teacher and Assistant Principal- John Tyler HS, Tyler TX• Principal- Foster Middle School, Longview TX• Principal- Longview High School, Longview TX• Adjunct Professor- Kilgore Community College, Kilgore TX• Director of Schools- AIA Charter Schools, Tyler & Longview TX• Principal- Gilmer Intermediate and Gilmer Elementary- Gilmer TX• Director of Teaching and Learning- Gilmer ISD• Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction & Leadership- Lancaster ISD• Deputy Superintendent- Crowley ISDI entered the field of education because I love learning. I love teaching and researching. By concentrating my study in history, I was able to research and investigate accepted truths in order to validate or refute as needed. I deeply believe that a comprehensive, accurate education is the foundation for a democracy to prosper and grow.3. Tell us about the cultural history quiz bowls that you began in Crowley ISD and why you feel they are important for students and our community.I started the Black History Bowl while teaching history at John Tyler High school as a way of bridging the gaps in knowledge of the contributions that African Americans have made to society. I know that correct knowledge of “Who You Are/ Self Knowledge” is essential. It is the foundation of success. Students need to celebrate the accomplishments of their culture. Celebrate the people, inventions, plans, the victories, as well as celebrate the defeats, failures. For with both accomplishments and failures, students will grow. Celebration of accomplishments allows students to see their own possibilities. From defeat they learn that defeat does not stop the progress of a culture. For example, the long battle of MLK for human dignity, teaches students to persist toward a goal. They also see that bravery is not just in the movies, or a novel. It is daily life. The primary purpose is moving students from seeing themselves as victims to seeing themselves as victorious. For when you see yourself as victorious, everything is attainable.4. What obstacles have you had to overcome as an African American woman in your career and in your life?I have been blessed with faith in a God who has given me challenges with opportunities in order to reach many milestones.5. And what accomplishments are you most proud of?Aside from family, I am most proud of more than 30 years of creating and hosting the Black History Bowls in four different Texas cities and Hispanic Heritage Bowls in three cities. The BHB has now been scaled out to additional states in the United States through the support of a national fraternal organization. I hope to continue the growth of this essential tool.6. Tell us more about yourself, your family and what’s important to you.My husband and I have a blended family of four children. We have a total of 8 grandchildren- 6 biological and 2 adopted. We love to travel. Our travels have taken us to Egypt to see the Pyramids, to Peru to see Machu Picchu, and much, much more. Our trips are cherished memories of a life time.7. Who is your hero and why?My heroine has always been Harriett Tubman. Mrs. Tubman, first self-emancipated and then reached back into danger to help others. I committed myself to reach back and continue to help others through education. This is why I admire Mrs. Tubman. If we had more people who put the total communities’ welfare equal to their own comfort, we could eradicate many of the ills of society.8. What do you enjoy about working in Crowley ISD?The PEOPLE.9. As we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want the world to know about the culture and contribution of African Americans?The tapestry of the United States of America was created with threads of many colors. Acceptance of this understanding (in all areas of life) is what creates continued greatness.10. What do you hope all students will learn, understand and appreciate during Black History Month?I hope that all students learn that knowing your roots (Knowledge of Self) is essential for success; That all cultures help develop America; That by celebrating African-American accomplishments that they learn to persist; and that they learn that bravery is in all of us. Go for It!!!
Black History Month Spotlight: Daedon Jackson
We continue our #BlackHistoryMonth spotlights with Daedon Jackson, a student at Crowley Ninth Grade!
Jackson is known as a leader on campus whose energy and heart for others is contagious. “He speaks life into other people just by saying, 'Hey, can I help you?' and not just other students but teachers," Coach Cortney Billingsley, a mentor to Jackson, said. "I think it’s unique for someone so young to have a servant leadership quality. I see him being somebody who in the future can make real change.” Keeli Garza, Jackson’s school counselor, called him “literal sunshine” walking down the halls of Crowley Ninth Grade. "He has the natural ability and need to say hello to, and check on, the adults he crosses paths with each and every day," Garza said. Learn more about Jackson in his Q&A below:1. Talk to us about the importance of the Black family.The importance of a Black family is the culture and the love you get from it. The unity of our family is amazing.2. How has your Crowley family supported you personally and/or educationally?They have helped out in many different ways. They helped with Christmas, and when my mom passed. My mom passed at New Years. They let me know everything was going to be OK and made sure my grandma was OK and were really amazing.They also helped me become a better me. The teachers I’ve had over the years, as I get older, they are teaching me to see things that other people don’t see, like don’t be peer pressured by what other people do, and they taught me how to be more productive.3. How long have you attended Crowley ISD schools? What do you love about attending Crowley ISD schools and the people of Crowley ISD?I have been in Crowley since the fourth grade. I love the teachers. My best teachers were, and are, Coach B, Ms. Thomson, Assistant Principal Ms. Robinson, Ms. G, Mr. Allen and Ms. Sam. These teachers helped me with life and school.The teachers, they are outgoing. They tell you the stuff that they teach in class is going to help you in life. They explain it to you on a level that you will know and will stick with you forever. They have a relationship with students. They lift you up every day you go in their classrooms. They are amazing people.4. What activities are you involved in at school and outside of school? What do you enjoy about them?In school, I am in cooking class. I love it because my mom says every great man cooks. And out of school, I do no activities besides family.I live with my grandma and any time she needs something, I try to help her. Since my mom passed, I call my sister every once and while and make sure she’s doing good and annoy my brother a little to make sure he’s doing OK.5. Who is your hero and why?My hero is my mom. She always told me I could be whatever I want to be. She passed away this year. Seeing my mom in a casket changed everything. I really understand what people mean about how tomorrow is not promised. She’s watching over me.She is an amazing person. She raised two kids by herself. Even when we didn’t have anything, every birthday she came with everything we ever wanted. She made everything better.6. What are your career goals and plans for the future and why?My goal is to become a welder because they make a great living. If that doesn’t work, I want to become a massage therapist to help older people with their needs. I don’t want to be limited. That’s why I’m also taking cooking classes and I want to do everything I can to have lots of opportunities in the future.7. We understand you’re a leader on campus. Tell us about that.I try to make friends with everyone I see because you never know what they’re going through. Just you talking to them or saying hi, that can really boost their day, even teachers. They have feelings and things going on at home. I tell them hey or you look nice today just to boost their confidence because there’s not enough of that in the world.8. We understand you were chosen as a Student of Character. Why was that and what do you think that means?Student of Character means doing something right without anybody looking. If somebody is being hurt or something, don’t be a looker, be a helper. Do whatever you can to at least try to stop it or prevent it from happening to another person.It means everything to me (to receive that recognition). It means people are noticing what I’m doing and it gives other people the opportunity too. Because it’s not just me. It’s nice to see other people doing what I’m doing so if I’m not here that day they can take my place.9. As we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want the world to know about the culture and contribution of African Americans?I want them to know we are one. We are all family, but like all families we have flaws. So many people look down at African Americans to not give them a chance. We just want to be equal and when we go somewhere we want to be treated like how everybody else is treated.10. What do you hope all students will learn, understand and appreciate during Black History Month?There is a higher meaning behind Black Lives Matter. We are not just talking about our lives. We are talking about our kids’ lives and their kids’ lives.
Black History Month Spotlight: Ronnie Nichols
We continue to celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth with CISD spotlights!Meet Ronnie Nichols, a teacher and coach at Crowley High School. Nichols teaches U.S. Government and African American Studies as well as coaches women's basketball. Dr. Clarence Williams, school transformation officer for Crowley ISD and designer of the African American Studies course, said of Nichols, "Coach Nichols not only builds phenomenal relationships with his students, he engages the students in their own learning by connecting to their individual interests, passions, and cultivates inspiring inquiry not only about themselves but about the beautiful legacy of African American history."Learn more about Nichols in his Q&A below:1. What do you teach and what sport do you coach at Crowley High School, and what do you enjoy about those roles?I teach African American Studies and U.S. Government while serving as the head Women’s Basketball coach. I have a passion for working with youth and having a part in their development. It’s fulfilling to witness their growth and them mature into future leaders.2. Tell us about the African American Studies course you teach and what students learn.The African American Studies course was designed by Dr. Clarence Williams, and its purpose is to tell the story of the African American contribution to the world. It is a project-based course that commands participants to be investigative and obtain solutions to differences.3. Why is the African American Studies course an important course for students to take?The course is necessary because it promotes students learning their history to build bridges to their present. This will ultimately help participants make informed decisions concerning their futures.4. What other work do you do outside of Crowley ISD?Outside of Crowley ISD I work in developing youth basketball skills and knowledge. My wife and I also own and operate an entertainment business where we provide lighting, effects, and photo booth and DJ services across the Metroplex.5. Tell us more about yourself and your family and what’s important to you.I have a family of four that includes my wife, LaCretia Nichols, and my two daughters, Riley and Ryan Nichols. I have a huge extended family with three siblings, an older sister and two younger brothers – I have seven aunts, three uncles, 10 nieces and nephews and dozens of cousins. Family, community, service, integrity, and principles are very important to me.6. Who is your hero and why?My dad, Ronald McCloud, was my first hero. Despite the obstacles of being a non-custodial parent, he remained a presence in the lives of me and my siblings. He was key in my maturation process with his high standard of education, and level of accountability. My wife is my hero today. She is my balance and my rock. She challenged me to love, grow and see past limits I set for myself. I am forever grateful and indebted to her.7. What do you enjoy about working in Crowley ISD?I enjoy the sense of community and diversity within the district. Our school board members are progressive thinkers who push the envelope to attain student achievement. Our leadership at the district and campus levels are intentional about being available and being impersonal. I also appreciate how Crowley ISD speaks to the data and makes concerted efforts to address student need.8. As we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want the world to know about the culture and contribution of African Americans?The world should embrace the idea of celebrating Black excellence year-round. Africans and people of African descent are arguably responsible for math, science, music and countless technological advancements we have enjoyed over the centuries. It is our responsibility to make African American Studies a required history course in elementary and secondary schools. Black history is American history so you can’t tell one story without the other.9. What do you hope all students will learn, understand and appreciate during Black History Month?I want students to know their history. Black history tells us that the younger generations were conduits to the adults. They spearheaded movements for change and equality. Our kids are the future leaders. A quality education can affect change – change that is needed to reverse the hardships experienced in underprivileged communities. I love the concept of looking into the past to build a brighter future.
Watch a video about the African Ancestry Reveal Experience, part of the African American Studies course:
Black History Month Spotlight: Nissia Uwase
We continue to spotlight members of our Crowley ISD family for #BlackHistoryMonth!Meet Nissia Uwase, a senior at North Crowley High School and senior class president. Uwase came to the United States from Rwanda when she was 7 years old. Dr. Camcea Stapinski, NCHS principal said of Uwase, "Nissia is what we would consider a model student. She embodies all the characteristics of what it means to be a Panther. She’s honest, a person of integrity, a servant leader, and she really tries hard to take care of the people around her. She is going to do amazing things in her future. I can see her being an ambassador to the underprivileged. She is an absolute amazing student and role model to others." Learn more about Uwase in her Q&A below:1. Tell us about where you were born and at what age and why you came to the United States.I was born in Kigali, Rwanda, and I came to the United States from Arusha, Tanzania 10 days after I turned 7 years old! My parents brought me to the United States in order to study and cultivate a better future for myself.2. What was it like moving to the United States from another country? What were the obstacles and how did you overcome them? How did you and your family adapt?Moving to the U.S. as a child entailed a lot of barriers. When I first moved to the United States, I had to learn American English, which was much different from the British system I’d grown accustomed to. My family and I also had to adapt to American traditions, holidays and other ways of life.3. What do you enjoy about living in the United States? What do you miss about Rwanda?What I like most about living in the United States, is the amount of opportunity it has afforded me. It is truly a land in which anyone can be SOMEONE with the right amount of work and dedication to their craft. America has also blessed me with the opportunity to build lifelong friendships with people from other countries, such as my best friend who is from Iraq. And while I do like it here in the states, what I miss most about Rwanda is the people. I have no extended family such as aunts and uncles in the U.S., so sometimes it can get lonely. I also miss my friends terribly, and although we text and call often, sometimes it isn’t the same as physically being with each other.4. What activities are you involved in at school and outside of school and what do you enjoy about them?At North Crowley High, I am involved in academic programs such as Dual Credit and On-Ramps. This allows me to challenge myself academically and expand my knowledge beyond normal school standards. Outside of school, I am the class president of my senior class, and I'm also involved in Student Council, Key Club, and Black Student Union and also participated in debate my Junior year!5. How has your Crowley ISD family supported you personally and/or educationally?My Crowley ISD family has helped me educationally by having a great team of staff that care about my education. For example, my academic advisors for advanced classes have always been there for me to talk to in regards to what course of action was best for me in order to educationally excel. In regards to how my Crowley ISD family has helped me personally, Ms. Theresa Sirmans, the socio-emotional counselor at North Crowley, has always been there for me to talk to about anything concerning teenage life, and anything else I may have been going through.6. Who is your hero and why?My hero has, and always will be, Michelle Obama. I admire her because she is an example of a well-educated Black woman who carries herself with poise and sophistication and who is always the epitome of class in my opinion. She grew up in a lower class family and ended up at Princeton University despite all the adversity she faced. Her book has highlighted the importance of being an accomplished young, Black woman in America, and has inspired me not only to work harder, but to seize every opportunity that is given to me and execute it to the best of my ability.7. What are your career goals and plans for the future?In my future, I’m planning on attending Baylor University with a major in Technology and a minor in Business and Finance. I hope to work in an engineering firm or office as a network engineer or a software developer. If time allows, I could go back to school for my masters or even to pursue another degree.8. As we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want the world to know about the culture and contribution of African Americans?I’d like the world to know that Black people have helped shape the world as we know it. From the foods we eat such as watermelon, coffee, and even kola nuts, which are used in Coca-Cola soft drinks, to inventions such as traffic lights, gas masks, and home security systems, African Americans have been at the forefront of innovation and have a lot more to offer, not just to American society, but to the world as a whole.9. What do you hope all students will learn, understand and appreciate during Black History Month?I hope all students, regardless of color or creed, learn to be proud of who they are and what makes them that way. Black History Month started as a way to highlight the Black community's accomplishments to American society and highlight Black culture. I hope all students learn to highlight their cultures as well!
Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Christian SesayWe are excited to spotlight just a few of our awesome Crowley ISD family members for #BlackHistoryMonth!
Meet Dr. Christian Sesay, the lead case manager for special education at Jackie Carden Elementary. He is in his third year in Crowley ISD and serving his 14th year in education. Outside the classroom, he has traveled the globe advocating for students with special needs, including at the United Nations.Dr. Paula Brooks, Crowley ISD executive principal, said of him, "Dr. Sesay is a selfless, compassionate educator. He is a great role model for students and continuously inspires them to try harder and dream bigger. Dr. Sesay loves his school family. He always goes above and beyond to positively shape the climate and culture of the school community."Learn more about Sesay in the Q&A below! #CrowleyPrideUnified1. Why did you want to work in special education? What do you enjoy and appreciate about the students you work with?I was intent on serving students as an act of gratitude to the United States for giving me a second chance at political resettlement after a brutal civil war had erupted in my birth land, Sierra Leone. Prior to making the decision to work in special education, I briefly considered the military and the medical field as other viable options. Working with our special needs population is truly one of the best decisions that I ever made. The journey has not always been a rosy one, but the rewards in contributing to making a difference in the lives of our vulnerable population is truly gratifying. My next mission is to use my license as an Educational Diagnostician in the district.2. Tell us about your work helping, and advocating for, children with disabilities around the world, including speaking to the United Nations.Upon the completion of post graduate work in special education, I wanted to help change the narratives about children with disabilities in third world countries. Through that desire, I established a non-governmental organization (Center for the Promotion of Inclusive Education), which aims at helping provide children with special needs advocacy support, education stakeholder partnership, training of special education teachers and provision of basic resources where applicable. It was as a result of this effort that in the past three years, the Afro-European Medical Research Network (AEMRN), in partnership with the United Nations, has invited me as a guest at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to showcase and speak on the work that we have done in advocating for children with disabilities, including autism in Africa.3. We understand you are a published author of several books. Tell us about the books you have written, what you enjoy about writing and what the proceeds of your books go toward.To date, I have published six books, and the seventh will be out some time in June. The first in my collection of publications is titled, “Discovering my Hidden Treasures: The Journey of a Special Educator." The central premise of this book examines the story of my life - how I overcame obstacles and challenges in life to get to where I am today - and how those real, and sometimes perceived, limitations of weaknesses risk hindering the future of students with disabilities if people who care do not speak up for these children. The other books include, "The Odyssey of the All People’s Congress," "Making a Difference Around the World," "Soar High: Never Settle for Crumbs" and "Turning Lemons to Lemonade."4. Where were you born and when and why did you come to the United States? What do you enjoy and appreciate about living in the United States?I was born in Sierra Leone, a country with about seven million inhabitants. Due to corruption and mismanagement of the country’s resources, especially by successive governments, a rebel war broke out in 1991 and lasted for over 10 years. It was during the ensuing chaos and misery in the country, as was captured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, “Blood Diamond" that I was granted a political asylum and allowed to become a U.S. citizen. Living in the United States gave me an opportunity to experience the American Dream - the grass to grace story - which could not be found anywhere else in the world.5. What other work do you do outside of Crowley ISD?Outside of my work at Crowley, I run a church leadership and growth consultancy firm that is responsible for training, motivating and building strategic plans for church growth and discipleship. I was inspired by John Maxwell and Eric Thomas, two of the leading motivational speakers in the world. The organization facilitates leadership workshops, seminars and conferences, motivational speaking, all geared towards empowering of church leaders. Between its inception at 2019 to date, we have partnered with local and international churches all around the globe.6. Who is your hero and why?My hero is my mother, Madam Elizabeth Jackson. She did not only instill in me during the impressionable years of my life the value of love, hard work, integrity, focusing on the higher calling, good character, and human decency for all but will consistently model those life-shaping traits in everything that she does. She is still alive and just turned 75 last January.7. Tell us about the MOC 4 initiative at Jackie Carden Elementary, what students have accomplished as part of this program and what progress you have seen.The Men of Color initiative kicked off to a great start last year and since then, it has never slowed down. And, I must take this opportunity to thank the dynamic and agile leadership of our Superintendent, Dr. McFarland and his team for conceiving this worthy venture for our male student population.Typically, what we do at the program is to infuse a sense of character, discipline, leadership and "dare to dream big" mind set in our students. The response has been encouraging, and students have been passionate about the program. They are engaged with increased self-confidence, and look forward to our Friday afternoon meetings.8. What do you enjoy about working in Crowley ISD?Crowley ISD is a place that I consider fun, loving and family-oriented with a singular purpose of getting students ready for a brighter future. The camaraderie here at CISD coupled with the servant leadership approach with which leaders in the district go about the execution of their duties is second to none. Thank you!9. As we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want the world to know about the culture and contribution of African Americans?I want those reading now, and by extension the world, to know that all through history, the African American culture exemplifies profiles in strength and courage. We have to continue to build on the narratives of Black history, and get people to understand the important roles of Black people in the larger narrative of the United States. And that the varying contributions of African Americans towards the building and shaping of a more perfect union is no small feat, and deserve recognition for succeeding generations to learn and emulate accomplishments made and gained over the years.10. What do you hope all students will learn, understand and appreciate during Black History Month?The goal of spotlighting this month in schools is to hopefully provide a platform through which our students can best learn their proud history. It is also an opportunity for all Americans - of all race, gender and other affiliations - to know that the United States would not have been this blessed, wealthy and sustainable today if it were not for the relentless innovation, talent, work ethic and valor of African Americans that came before this generation of African Americans. Finally, Black History Month should remind us all that there should be no excuse to not impact our community, this nation and ultimately the world. If those before us did it, nothing should stop us now from doing it.
Quiz Bowl Information
The Black History Quiz Bowl will be held virtually on Friday, Feb. 25. Each campus may have a maximum of four teams. The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness.
This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.
For more information, contact Crystel Polk at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elementary: Grades 3-5
Senior: Grades 6-12