103-Year-Old O.M. Roberts Elementary Rises Anew With Dedicated Staff, Parents And FirstSouthwest Friends

School parking lots are showing the first signs of public schools emerging from summer hibernation. Teachers are gathering to prepare for their students. The Office Depot staff vets are warning newbies that the next few weeks will be memory makers as parents and kids stock up on supplies.

And while the first day of school will range from nerve-wracking to thrilled-to-pieces, there’s one school that’s going to have a really big deal first day — O. M. Roberts Elementary School.

If you don’t know about this school that educates “children living in Jubilee Park, a 62-block community in southeast Dallas,” then settle back and enjoy.

The school was built in 1910 when William Howard Taft was president, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated and two years before the Adolphus was built.  It was named after Oran M. Roberts, the 17th governor of Texas, who served from 1879 to 1883.

Now fast-forward to the 21st century. The first few years weren’t so great. It was a low-performing school. Then from 2008 to 2010 with “the help of strong and consistent leadership, capable teachers and the work of volunteer tutors,” it “made remarkable gains and achieved exemplary status.”

By 2012 the facility was really showing its wear and tear and was demolished. After all, it wasn’t built like the pyramids. But in its place a new building went up that will officially open on Monday.

To prepare parents and kiddos for the new digs, a back-to-school open house was held Thursday with food, drinks and snacks provided by FirstSouthwest. To keep the momentum going for parent involvement, FirstSouthwest will be serving up refreshments for “upcoming PTA meetings held every six weeks throughout the school year.”

Robert Coulter, Eneida Padro Colon, Celia Sanchez, Mayra De Hoyos, Crystal Foster and John Muschalek

Robert Coulter, Eneida Padro Colon, Celia Sanchez, Mayra De Hoyos, Crystal Foster and John Muschalek*

O.M Roberts Principal Eneida Padro Colon explained, “Educating children for a career and college-bound future cannot be accomplished by working in isolation. At O.M. Roberts, it is one of our top priorities to work hand-in-hand with parents and community members to guarantee we are preparing our students for graduation and beyond. FirstSouthwest’s sponsorship has allowed us to celebrate and welcome our parents and community members to our new building while stressing the importance of true collaboration and commitment.”

And this isn’t the first time for FirstSouthwest to be involved with the Jubilee Park community. Back in March, FirstSouthwest, PlainsCapital Bank and PrimeLending donated $100,000 to renovate Jubilee Park & Community Center’s Teen Place building. In addition FirstSouthwest has helped fund Jubilee Park’s after-school program “Pay’s for A’s” for middle-school students. For every “A” on their semester-end report card, the student gets $5.

According to FirstSouthwest Chairman/CEO Hill A. Feinberg, “When schools and parents work together to support learning, children are likely to perform better in school and stay in school longer. Parents play a key role in establishing a positive outlook on education and FirstSouthwest is proud to support O.M. Roberts’ initiative to increase parent and family involvement.”

* Photo provided by FirstSouthwest