New school years are always full of promise. The 2016-2017 school year is set to be especially exciting, as we experience record growth in our schools, with a student population of more than 8,400 this school year. Our students are well-equipped to do great things.

In the few short weeks since school has been in session (and over the summer), our students have already achieved some amazing things, including national and state-wide recognition in academic and athletic endeavors.

The Waxahachie High School Technology Student Association (TSA) traveled to Nashville over the summer to compete at nationals with 7,000 students from across the country. Two TSA teams placed first in the nation in their respective categories. The WHS STEM Engineering Design team, Cameron Weldon and Chris Williams, designed and fabricated a 3D puzzle for visually impaired children, and the WHS Structural Design and Engineering team designed and built a bridge structure that weighed only 35 grams but held 371 pounds of pressure.

Our WHS FFA team, always one of the top in the state, was recently awarded the Golden Horizon Award, the highest state ranking to be bestowed upon a Texas FFA chapter. The award is based on exceptional chapter involvement and activities within the school and community. Also, 11 WHS FFA students were awarded the Lone Star Award, which is the highest degree awarded by the FFA. Those students are Mackenzie Baugh, Caymee Bigham, Loeva Cagle, John Calvert, Chelsey Catlett, Kelsey Duke, Courtney Felder, Jackson Leath, James Mismash, Haden Smith, and Grayson Yates.

In the world of athletics, our teams are off to a great start, with both our varsity volleyball and varsity football teams being ranked in the top 10 in the state. Athletes in both of these programs are being singled out and recruited by colleges and universities for their fantastic performances as some of the top athletes in the state of Texas. We are proud of these students for their hard work and dedication not only to athletics but their academic achievements as well.

But perhaps the thing we are most proud of is WISD’s recently-announced 22 Distinctive Academic Designations from TEA, the most the district has ever received in a year. Five of our elementary campuses, along with Waxahachie High School and Global High School, received distinctions, which show that students at those campuses are exceeding the state’s requirements for their academic achievement.

These distinctions wouldn’t be possible without the incredibly hard-working teachers, administrators, and professional staff members we have on each campus. Waxahachie ISD truly has the best people working for our children, and we couldn’t be more proud of the strides we are making in being an educational destination.

— WISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn has served in his role with the district since 2013.