Jo Nell Mellody

Great scores are not just for the students.  Friday, August 28th, the Health Inspector visited the Scott Elementary kitchen and Epps ESC administration kitchen.

The Scott Elementary Cafe Team and Trong Hunnicutt's kitchen at Epps ESC received a 100% perfect score! 
Stephanie Thomas is the Cafe manager at Scott Elementary.
Excellent job team! I love reporting great news and bragging on our food service cafe teams!
Cohnie Harris,
Royse City ISD Food Service Director


Jo Nell Mellody
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Cooper Gilliland & Madilyn Berry earn Lone Star FFA Degree

Cooper Gilliland and Madilyn Berry of the Royse City FFA Chapter Received Lone Star FFA Degrees

Corpus Christi, Texas – Cooper Gilliland and Madilyn Berry, of the Royse City FFA Chapter, were awarded the Lone Star FFA Degree at the 87th annual Texas FFA Convention in Corpus Christi, Texas.  The Lone Star FFA Degree is the highest degree bestowed by the Texas FFA.                  

The Lone Star FFA Degree recognizes FFA members who have received the Chapter degree, been active FFA members for at least two years, completed at least four semesters of agricultural science at or above the ninth grade level, maintained a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program, demonstrated their leadership skills and has shown a commitment to the FFA through involvement at the chapter level and above. (Student Last Name) was one of more than 2,500 FFA members to receive this esteemed degree.

The 87th annual Texas FFA State Convention recorded approximately 12,000 members and guests. Members of the agricultural youth leadership organization spent the week attending leadership workshops, participating in events and activities, being recognized for their achievements and serving as the legislative body for the Texas FFA Association.

The Texas FFA is the nation’s largest state FFA association with a membership of more than 109,000 members and 1,032 local FFA chapters. FFA gives students the opportunity to apply practical classroom knowledge to real world experiences through local, state and national competitions. For more information about the Texas FFA visit 

Jo Nell Mellody
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Paula Walker, Miss May Vernon Elementary School Principal. Walker recently retired after serving 32 years as a Royse City ISD teacher and principal

Paula Walker's 32-year career as a Royse City teacher and principal has come to an end, but there's a sound connected to her life in education that will likely never disappear.

     The sound? Ex-students -- many times, adults -- calling her name.

     "The best sound is when I'm somewhere and I hear, 'Miss Walker,'" she said. "It's an adult voice, and they've got that tone in their voice. When I turn, I know it's going to be a former student.

     "Sometimes they have children to show off, but there's that tone in their voice. There's nothing better than that."

     Walker said she knows the name of those adult ex-students "about 50 percent of the time."

     She will ask for the ex-student's name and the names of several other students in the class. Then, she said, it usually "starts clicking." Most of the time, she will recall the student and class.

     Walker, who grew up in the Grayson County town of Howe, taught three years before coming to Royse City -- in Amarillo for two years, then one year at Greenville Middle School.

     "I was not happy with education at that time," she said. “I was looking for a smaller school district, hopefully to get back more to my roots of a small town and a smaller school district. That's what I found in Royse City."

     Walker taught six years in Royse City before earning a promotion to principal.

Her first job in Royse City was Title I reading teacher, then she moved to teaching third grade at the recently-reopened H.H. Browning Primary School -- formerly the Ralph J. Bunche School. She later moved to Royse City Elementary School, which is now the site of Davis Elementary School.

     "I look back and think how small we were," Walker said.

     H.H. Browning Primary School -- site of the current Ernest Epps Education Service Center and H.H. Browning Alternative Learning Center -- had been closed, but was reopened to house kindergarten, and first and second grades.       Pre-kindergarten and early childhood classes were added later. The building that's now the site of Ruth Cherry Intermediate School was for grades three through high school.

     Walker said her 13 years as the Browning principal was the best job she's ever had because it was early childhood-focused.

      "It was the best job ever," Walker said. "I had every young child in the school district. I knew everyone. If you had a little one, I knew them. I worked really hard to know kids names, brothers and sisters and the connection there.”

     In 1989, Walker said, the school district “really took off growth-wise.” That’s when the pre-kindergarten program was added at Browning.

     “We had over 600 children in that building,” she said.

     Walker said she “lived through” construction projects at Browning when it was reopened and later was the principal who opened two new elementary schools in the growing community -- Anita Scott Elementary School in 2002 and Miss May Vernon Elementary School in Fate in 2007.

     With growth that Walker has seen over the years, "you start to feel the loss of being a part of the bigger community." And that, she said, is "one of the nicest things about moving to Fate.

     “Even though the school district has continued to grow, when we first came out here (to Fate), Miss May Vernon was the only new thing, the only big thing in the Fate community. We were so embraced because everyone was so excited to have the first school here since 1948.”

     In 1948, she said, schools that didn't have a certain number of students had to consolidate with another school.

     "Lots of schools closed in 1948," she said.

     Many people who were connected to Fate, including former students of longtime teacher Miss May Vernon, welcomed the school. Congressman Ralph Hall was among the teacher's former students who welcomed the new school to the community.

     Regarding changes she has seen over the years, Walker pointed to growth in the school district and state mandates.

     “The mandates from the state seem as if they are a moving target,” Walker said. “We do well as a school, then they change the tests, they change the objectives. That’s OK, but it’s just a moving target at all times.”

     Even though Royse City has grown and continues to grow, the school district continues to have support.

     “I think as Royse City has grown, we still have incredible support from our school system,” she said.

     Plans for her future include travel, doing some volunteer work and enjoying her hobby of quilting. She’s even planning a trip to Oregon to attend a huge outdoor quilt show.

Jo Nell Mellody
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Royse City students intern at Virgin Islands TV Station

Ten students and two teachers from Royse City High School travelled over 2,000 miles to the island of St. Croix in late April with the purpose of producing videos about the people, places, and history of the island.

“We had a chance to intern at the local ABC affiliate television station and they allowed us to produce several news stories which they aired on their local evening news,” said Steve Vaughn, RCHS Video Production teacher.  The group is part of an advanced video production class at RCHS called RCTV. According to Vaughn, the purpose of the trip is for students to use their video skills in a beautiful setting and learn about a different place and culture.

Among the stories they produced for the TV station was one over the annual Ironman Triathlon held in St. Croix for the past 27 years. “We interviewed the director of the race and numerous athletes from around the world,” said Kendal Hall, senior.  The students and teachers were also featured in a story on the evening news.  “They interviewed several students and myself about why we were in St. Croix and what we planned to produce,” Vaughn said.

“All the students were assigned stories to complete during the week,” said Vaughn.  One group did a story over a church that is over 250 years old.  “We interviewed the priest who gave us details on the rich history of the church,” said junior Laurissa Huffstetler.  Another group interviewed a park ranger to learn the history of the Salt River Bay, Fort Christensted, and Buck Island.  “It was interesting to learn that Christopher Columbus landed in Salt River Bay,” said senior Chase Wright.

Later in the week, the high school group got a chance to experience the “Jump Up” carnival in downtown Christensted.  This special celebration is the kick-off event for the Ironman competition and featured vendors, artists, and musical groups.

“Several of us decided to go and do a story about this event.  We interviewed vendors, elementary students who play the steel drums, and even a Senator,” junior Kolton Rogers added.

The students also produced a commercial for one of the condo owners where they stayed.  “The owner gave us $400 off our rent for producing the commercial,” said Rogers.  In the commercial, they filmed interior shots of the condo as well as exterior shots of all the amenities at the condo complex.  “We even used our aerial drone to get some great shots of the beach and ocean,” added Rogers.

One group of students decided to use the island backdrop to produce a music video.  They filmed for over six hours during the week to finish it.  “We wanted to do an awesome video with the palm trees and beach as a background,” Senior Stephanie Vaughn commented.  Vaughn is one of the lead actresses in the music video.

Besides all the work, the students also got to have some fun.

“We went to Buck Island which is a marine preserve.  We got to see and videotape all types of fish, a stingray, and even a reef shark while there,” said junior Alex Schar.

While out filming one day, the students came across a video crew from the Discovery Channel filming an episode of “Airplane Repo.”  “We met the director and he gave me his contact information.  We are hopeful we can come back and do an intern with him in the future,” said Vaughn.

Getting to the island was the biggest challenge for the group.  “We had to raise over $10,000 for the trip,” said Kendal Rogers.  The students raised the funds by videotaping weddings on the weekends and working at the football stadium, among several fundraisers.

“It takes a lot of planning and work to raise the funds for this kind of trip,” said Vaughn who added that he brought a group to St. Croix three years ago for the same type of experience.  “It’s not something we can do every year but it is a worthwhile trip.”

RCTV is a national award-winning program that has won numerous Student Television Network contest trophies.  The students in the program produce a bi-weekly new show.  They also produce the content for the video scoreboard at RCISD Stadium.

To view any of the videos from the trip or other RCTV work, please visit




Jo Nell Mellody

Royse City- Dr. Sean Walker has been selected as the Royse City High School Principal and Stuart Burt as the district Chief Technology Officer.  Dr. Walker will begin part-time in May then transition to full-time in June and Mr. Burt will begin his duties on May 6th.

James Olenski is our new Director of Maintenance and he began April 22nd hosting a breakfast meeting with the maintenance staff.  Mr. Olenski comes to us with 20 years of public school experience, working as a grounds supervisor and facilities director at Connally & West ISD's and most recently director of operations at Greenville ISD. 

Dr. Walker has been serving as the Alpha House Principal at McKinney North High School since 2010 and was an English major and graduated from Texas Tech University in 2003.  He earned his master’s degree from Texas A&M - Commerce in Education Administration with a focus on leadership, curriculum and instruction and his Educational Leadership Doctorate from Lamar University.  He has experience with the student 1:1 device implementation, which our high school will be experiencing in the 2015-16 school year.  Having involvement with the growth evolution at McKinney is another positive asset, with Royse City ISD on the verge of energetic expansion.

Stuart Burt, a former math teacher, is a graduate of Angelo State University Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and earned his Master of Education in Counseling & Human Development.  Burt has served in school technology leadership roles since 2006.  He is experienced in network support for Bring your On Device and 1:1 device initiatives.  He serves as a member of TEA’s long range technology planning committee and is a Cofounder of EdCamp Awesome.

Superintendent Kevin Worthy states, “We are extremely excited to welcome our new staff members to the Royse City ISD Team.  Each member values the importance of building trust throughout their organizations in order to promote a positive climate.  Please help me welcome our newest members to the Royse City ISD family. 

We welcome Dr. Sean Walker, Mr. Stuart Burt and Jim Olenski as members of the Royse City ISD leadership team and look forward to growing our district with their valuable experiences.

Jo Nell Mellody
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14th Annual School Bus Safety Speech Contest

April 20, 2015

Waco, Texas

Theme: "Bully Free Zone"

The Texas Association for Pupil Transportation hosted the 14th Annual School Bus Safety Speech Contest at the Region 12 Education Service Center in Waco. Of the thirty students who qualified, twenty-eight contestants from across the state presented speeches on the listed topic. These students represented 14 school districts located in 10 Regional Education Service Center areas. There were 96 competitors at the Regional level. Each of the thirty regional winners will receive a $50.00 check for advancing from their regional contest to the state competition.


9th Grade:

1st Kendall Carroll Granbury ISD Region 11 $600

2nd Jaeden Johnson Texas City ISD Region 4 $400

3rd Seeley Haas Dripping Springs ISD Region 13 $200

10th Grade:

1st Jakob Lucas Texas City ISD Region 4 $600

2nd Hannah Sanders Lindale ISD Region 7 $400

3rd Caleb Ward Roscoe Collegiate Charter Region 14 $200

11th Grade:

1st Kari Burns Lake Travis ISD Region 13 $600

2nd Megan Clark Amarillo ISD Region 16 $400

3rd Shane McClain Lindale ISD Region 7 $200

12th Grade:

1st Marissa Dusek Royse City ISD Region 10 $1,000 Overall Winner

2nd Colton Parker Lindale ISD Region 7 $400

3rd Samantha Sloan Groesbeck ISD Region 12 $200

Overall Winner

Marissa Dusek

Royse City Independent School District

Education Service Center Region 10

Speech Contest sponsors: Longhorn Bus Sales - IC Corp.,

AMA / Bus Air Mfg.,

Rush Bus Centers,

Longhorn International Trucks, LTD., and

Education Service Center Region 12

Jo Nell Mellody
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Royse City High School One Act Play Troupe

Royse City High School's success in University Interscholastic League one-act play competition ended at the area level, but the drama students' finale was performed in front of a hometown audience.

     And the finale on April 21 in the high school auditorium was an emotional one.
The performance was followed by applause, cheers, a standing ovation, bouquets, picture-taking, hugs and even some tears.
     The next day, Holly Stone, theater arts teacher, talked about the cast and crew of "Sending Down The Sparrows."
     "I'm super proud of all the kids," she said. "I'm very happy that we went so far and that the story changed after every single performance. There was something different they wanted to add, things they wanted to work on. And that was the best part. The show kept living. It wasn't stale after just one performance."
     The RCHS company advanced from zone to district, then to bi-district and area. Denison, Lindale and Hallsville advanced from area to regional, and Royse City was selected first alternate. The next level after regional is state.
     Stone said a Royse City High School one-act play hasn't advanced this far in several years.
     "We're excited," Stone said. "The kids were just happy to have gone so far and to represent Royse City."
     A highlight, she added, is that the drama department at RCHS is still growing and "we're always changing and trying new things.
     "Our goal this year was to try new things, to push ourselves just a little harder and to be a little bit better," she added. "I'm just really so proud of all the kids."
     Stone said cast and crew members couldn't suppress their excitement as they advanced from one level to the next. The director said she told them to be excited, but to not jump up and celebrate too much. But they jumped up and celebrated, she said.
     "They were so excited to advance they couldn't help but explode," she said. "Every single time, they would explode with happiness.
     "And when they didn't advance, they accepted it very gracefully. That's a good sign of good kids."
     The company earned many individual honors along the way.
     Junior Michael Sherrell was selected to the all-star cast at all four levels. Annabel Buchanan, another junior, was selected to the all-star cast twice and named honorable mention twice.
     Shealee Owen, a senior, made the all-star cast one time and honorable mention once. Bayley Owen, a sophomore, was named honorable mention twice.
     Noah Welch, a sophomore, and Monica Dunn, a junior, were named honorable mention once.
     Other cast members were Samuel Chase, Mary Edwards, Ashley White and Jamie Williams .
     Crew members Taylore Mullins, Juliet Villegas and Shelby Doroshow received "tech awards" along the way. Other crew members were Christopher Velo, Alicya Hernandez, Noemi Rivera, Kyle Johnson, Michelle Hilson and Bailie Anderson.
     Following is the publisher's comments of "Sending Down The Sparrows," written by Laura Lundgren Smith.
     "This work of historical fiction bears witness to the systematic persecution and extermination of the handicapped by Nazi Germany through the character of Viktor, a young man who is a reluctant member of the Hitler Youth. Viktor has a secret; a mentally handicapped sister who is the ward of a state institution.
     "Viktor soon finds himself caught between the Nazi ideologies of racial and genetic purity and the love of a sister for whom he feels shame. As the play unfolds, he must choose whether to continue protecting his secret himself or to come to the defense of his sister.
Jo Nell Mellody
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Royse City ISD Team

The Royse City District Team participated in the Special Olympics at Terrell Stadium on Tuesday.  The team had 6 participants from Davis Elementary, 3 from Royse City High School and 1 from HH Herndon. A great day of fun and sun for our sponsors and kids!

Jo Nell Mellody
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Scott Elementary Art Teacher Kristin Ortega with contest winners: Emma Davies 2nd grade - 3rd place; Ryan Houk 2nd grade - 2nd place; Nevaeh Brown 3rd grade - 2nd place; Macey Grantz 3rd grade - 3rd place

Pictured: Scott Elementary art students bring home some trophies for their poster art in the 2015 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest with the theme: "Bully Free Zone!"

Jo Nell Mellody
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Miss Olsen, Art Teacher Lyndie Pokorny and Miss Palmer

Ruth Cherry Intermediate is celebrating two of their 5th grade students who placed in the DFW Area Bus Poster contest against bullying. The theme this year was to encourage students to "Create a Bully Free Zone."

Gracelyn Olson placed 2nd and Anna Grace Palmer placed 3rd. We are really excited for these two Cherry students and the awesome way they represented Royse City ISD.