Education briefs for April 13

Contributed Reports
Posted 4/13/23

Education briefs for April 13, 2023.

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Education briefs for April 13


Katy ISD robotics teams head to world championship tournament

Two Katy ISD robotics teams are gearing up for the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship tournament taking place at the end of April.

The Cinco Ranch High School Polaris Robotics 24626Z and Tompkins High School Sushi Warriors 4583X will head to Dallas to represent Katy ISD.

There, Katy ISD students will be competing against 800 teams from around the world at one of the largest robotics events this year. Only a handful of those teams will take home coveted world championship titles.

Before advancing to the world tournament, the Tompkins Sushi Warriors 4583X team made a comeback during the state competition, starting in 42nd place and ending with the state championship. The Cinco Ranch Polaris Robotics 24626Z team secured a spot in the world championships after ranking in the top five of the Skills Division at the state competition.

“Both teams have worked extremely hard to sharpen their skills throughout the school year and they should be very proud of participating in this world championship event,” Seema Rama, Cinco Ranch Polaris Robotics Club president, said. “Aside from showcasing their work, students will have the opportunity to learn from other participants from around the world. These groups will design, build and program a robot that could quickly and efficiently solve specific challenges.”

Tompkins Sushi Warriors 4583X team members include Sanjeev Baskaran, William Ferrer, Omar Jilani, Bilal Mirza, Daniel Niechwiadowicz, and Aadit Sahgal.

Cinco Ranch Polaris Robotics 24626Z team members include: Dimitris Kalafatis, Puneesh Kapoor, Stevie Oberhofer, Angelo Reyes, Arjun Somavarpu and Delaney Tao.

The 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship will be held April 25-27 in Dallas.

Harmony Public Schools awarded $18 million grant for ‘Inspiring Futures Across Texas’

The U.S. Department of Education has granted Texas-based Harmony Public Schools $18 million for further expansion of its public charter school network throughout the Lone Star State.

The announcement was made April 3 by the department’s Office of Elementary & Secondary Education. The grant will further Harmony’s current “Inspiring Futures Across Texas” growth initiative, which focuses on offering quality enrollment opportunities to more Texas students at

future Harmony campuses. Currently, Harmony has 60 campuses across Texas, and one online-only virtual academy.

“Our new student application numbers are higher than they have ever been, and continue to grow each year,” Harmony CEO Fatih Ay said. “All over Texas, families are seeing the opportunity that Harmony Public Schools contributes to their communities, and this grant is proof that the U.S. Department of Education sees the value that Harmony provides, as well.”

The award was the latest in multiple major federal grants received by Harmony for its schools and programs. In recent years, Harmony has been awarded more than $110 million by the Department of Education.

Harmony is now accepting applications for both students and team members for the 2023-24 school year.

Katy Lions GSA scholarship deadline April 25

The Katy Lions work with the Giving Tree at First Christian Church Katy to fund an annual Gay-Straight Alliance Scholarship to a graduating Katy ISD senior. The deadline for this year's scholarship application is April 25. For more information, visit the website, the abbreviated URL for which is

Local students named to dean's list at Washington University in St. Louis

Five students from the Katy area have been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2022 semester at Washington University in St. Louis.

Washington University in St. Louis draws students to St. Louis from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. The total student body is more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

The students are:

  • Isaac Lendechy Olivares, who is enrolled in the university’s Olin Business School.
  • Robert Li, who is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Sophia Smilenov, who is enrolled in the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
  • Shreyas Venkitaraman, who is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Alice Zheng, who is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Local students make Honor Roll at Oregon State University

Five students from Katy, and a student from Fulshear, have made the Scholastic Honor Roll Winter 2023 at Oregon State University.

A total of 12,307 students earned a B-plus (3.5) or better to make the listing. To be on the Honor Roll, students must carry at least 6 graded hours of course work.

The student from Fulshear is Elise J. Gannon, a sophomore majoring in Pre-Apparel.

The students from Katy are Tessa N. Badger, a senior majoring in fisheries and wildlife sciences; Eric Eaton, a post-baccalaureate majoring in computer science; Dalton Houser, a sophomore majoring in business administration; Hannah Hwang, a freshman majoring in digital communication arts, and Hayley A. Lewis, a senior majoring in marketinng.

Katy ISD robotics teams, Harmony Public Schools, Katy Lions, Washington University of St. Louis, Oregon State University