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  • Lights. Camera. Passion.

    Posted by Evan Henson on 9/13/2021

     Gabbi sitting under styled lights

    North East ISD offers students so many opportunities to find their passions. Whether it be dance, engineering, cooking, or theatre, there is something for everyone.

    Gabriella Griffith graduated from Churchill High School in 2015 and found her passion on the stage, or rather, above it.

    She recently took a moment to thank the District for the amazing opportunities she was given and update us on her path since leaving Churchill after graduation. 

    “My love for theatre started a long time ago, but my love for Technical Theatre started my freshman year of Churchill High School thanks to Mr. Wade Young. The second semester of my freshman year, I joined the tech theatre class where I was the spotlight operator for Hello Dolly. From there, I was hooked; I spent three more years in technical theatre as a spotlight operator and as a main stage and black box lighting designer. I then went off and got a BA in theatre and dance with an emphasis in lighting design from The University of Texas at Austin. I had a few internships during college and then landed at Electronic Theatre Controls, a very large lighting, and lighting control systems manufacturer, where I enjoy testing software for the Hog 4 line of lighting control consoles. I also freelance theatre on the side.”

    Gabriella found her path and passion #theNEISDway.

    Congratulations on all your success.

    Big or small, everyone has a story to tell. Click here to fill out a Tell Your Story form.

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  • Michael Vela learned how to market himself at Roosevelt

    Posted by NEISD Communications on 9/8/2021 8:30:00 AM

    Michael holds his 40 under 40 plaque Michael Vela has made a career out of serving others. His heart for equity and helping the people in his community who need it most started 20 years ago at Roosevelt High School.

    “I loved the diversity of the school. There were so many different people of different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds and I think it really shaped me as a human being.”

    Vela graduated from Roosevelt in 2001 and attended Texas State University. He has since worked with The Children’s Shelter San Antonio, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as a Special Projects Manager for San Antonio’s Tricentennial celebration. He’s also a proud member of the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list.

    Today, he’s the Executive Director of the American Red Cross San Antonio Chapter. When Vela thinks back on his time at Roosevelt, he remembers two teachers who taught him to invest in himself.

    “Barbara Moody was my English teacher and she always so nice to me. She was very encouraging and kind,” said Vela. “And Mrs. Eckhardt stood out to me because she encouraged me to be a part of a marketing program called DECA. That’s basically what I do today – I’m in communications, marketing and public relations. So that sparked my interest in marketing. I think that really shaped my interests and played a big role in who I am today.”

    Discovering your identity and deciding what you stand for is part of growing up. Vela learned many important lessons as a teen that carried over into adulthood. Being immersed in a campus with people from all different walks of life and backgrounds taught Vela that what makes you stand out in a crowd is what makes you special. And if you haven’t found your place just yet, just give it some time.

    “It’s so important for you to be yourself because there’s a group for everyone and you’ll find your people. Life is not a competition and success means bringing others with you.”

    Rider Pride is very much alive for Michael and the class of 2001.

    Big or small, everyone has a story to tell. Click here to fill out a Tell Your Story form.

     Yearbook photo of Michael Vela

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  • Churchill inspires passion for military and music

    Posted by NEISD Communications on 8/30/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Churchill High School made Natale Heilmann who she is today. After graduating in 2017, she attended Norwich University, the oldest senior military college in the nation, on a full-ride ROTC scholarship. Today, she’s a third-grade teacher and member of the Vermont National Guard. She credits her time in the Churchill JROTC and Orchestra programs for inspiring her love of service and music.

    “Churchill JROTC opened the doors to many opportunities. It allowed me to go to college at no cost to myself and allowed me to develop my strong sense of leadership,” said Heilmann. “The Churchill Orchestra had a huge influence on my career as a teacher. It taught me to love what you do and do what you’re passionate about. Music also allowed me to destress and put my negativity and stress in life towards something positive.” 

    Heilmann named three teachers who impacted and influenced her during her time at Churchill. 

    “Jason Thibodeaux: I have never met someone with so much passion for something. His passion for music was contagious. Every day, he was happy to be there with us. He believed in me more than I believed in myself some days.” 

    “Chief Richard Gonzales: He treated me and allowed me to make decisions like an adult. I think he had a large impact on who I am today because he allowed me to develop my leadership abilities by challenging and leading me rather than telling me what to do.”

    “1st Sergeant William Parr: 1st Sgt. taught me the importance of details and the little things. He also taught me the importance of NCOs. I think the most important thing he taught me, though, was that constructive criticism is crucial even when you don’t want to hear it!” 

    Has an NEISD coach or teacher inspired you? Click the link to share your story with us #theNEISDway.

    Natalie Heilmann's senior portrait Heilmann fires the JROTC canon

    Churchill graduate Natale Heilmann graduates from Norwich University Heilmann leads the Churchill JROTC program in 2017

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