Circle of Support
TC helps students overcome life challenges and stay in school.
Clarissa Martinez, director of Temple College’s Circle of Support, stocks a shelf inside the Leopard Food Pantry on the school’s Temple campus. The Circle also operates a similar food pantry at the Taylor campus. David Stone photo
DAVID STONE | June 14, 2022
Temple College takes care of its own.
Circle of Support — a TC organization founded in 2020 just before the COVID pandemic hit Texas — provides assistance to students to help them stay in school.
“We encompass students with wrap-around support outside of academics,” said Clarissa Martinez, director of the organization. “We can help with housing costs and bills, transportation, emergency aid, child care and food — food is our biggie.”
Circle of Support operates Leopard Food Pantry inside the Arnold Student Union building.
“We can help with any need that might arise,” she said. “We want to make sure our whole student is taken care of so they can focus on school. They don’t need to be worrying about where their next meal is coming from or how they can manage rent.”
The TC program is modeled after a similar and very successful program at Amarillo College.
“Amarillo has a great support system, and we’ve created that here in Temple,” Martinez said. “We also operate a food pantry at the Temple College campus in Taylor.”
The pantries are open to enrolled students from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“We are affiliated with the Central Texas Food Bank and they hold a monthly food distribution here at Temple College on the fourth Saturday of each month,” Martinez said.
Distribution day is held in TC’s south parking lot from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
In addition to food provided by the Central Texas Food bank, Leopard Food Pantry in Temple also has fresh seasonal vegetables grown on the side of the Arnold Student Union.
“The Phi Theta Kappa honor society maintains a community garden and greenhouse on the south end of the student center,” she said. “They provide us with fresh peppers, cilantro and other vegetables when they are in season.”
The pantry has the usual stock of nonperishable items such as crackers, peanut butter and canned fruits and vegetables, and it also has fresh frozen meats such as beef, pork, poultry and fish.
“In addition to food staples, we also have cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products including toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo and soap,” Martinez said.
“Our space is divided into two sections — the food pantry and a nutrition lounge,” she said. “Students can shop for up to 15 items a day in the pantry, and they can come every day if they need to.”
“The nutrition lounge is where students can get up to three grab-and-go items per day. This includes noodles, fruit, oatmeal and cereal, muffins. We also have a tea and coffee bar. Students can either sit at a table in the pantry and eat and grab something to go.”
Hayden Korsmo makes a precision cut during a class in one of the Temple High’s Career & Technical Education programs. David Stone photo
Temple CTE department reaches new heights
Our Town Temple | June 14, 2022
The Temple High School Career & Technical Education Department is celebrating its continued impact on TISD students after posting some impressive results during the 2021-2022 school year.
The Temple High School CTE department released those numbers as part of the program’s year-end celebration.
A total of 186 students combined to earn 243 industry based certifications during the 2021-2022 academic year. Those certifications covered 15 different disciplines.
By comparison, 150 students combined to earn 184 certifications in the previous school year.
The CTE department also qualified 40 students for state competitions and completed 244 service-based learning projects and events.
Both of those totals are more than double the number from the 2020-2021 school year. The increased number of students earning certifications is a particular point of pride for the department because of the direct impact it has on their ability to get hired.
“When students earn industry recognized certifications, this shows employers they are ready to meet the technical challenges the workplace presents,” said Denise Ayres, director of CTE for Temple schools.
“It shows students have the knowledge and skill necessary to be value add to a team and it shows these students will need less on the job training than someone without this knowledge and skill, thus, they are ready to jump right into the work at hand,” she said.
The Temple High School CTE program features 13 different career clusters. Those clusters encompass 20 programs of study and 87 different courses. More than 2,100 students took at least one CTE course this year, with many of those students taking multiple CTE classes. That translates to 89 per cent of Temple High School students participating in the department’s offerings.
There are also CTE offerings at the middle school level and 35 per cent of eighth graders at Bonham and Lamar Middle Schools participated in CTE this school year. The higher number of accomplishments continues a department-wide trend of increases over the last five years. Ayres says the CTE department’s partnerships with local businesses are a big reason the program continues to grow.
“The increased number of students earning an industry based certification as well as the increased number of certifications earned demonstrates the workforce aligned education happening across Temple ISD’s CTE programs,” she said. “Partnerships with local businesses enable us to keep education relevant and meaningful and these successes exemplify workforce readiness as a priority across CTE programs.”
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