Celestina and co Left to right: Celestina Melendez, Julie Price, Todd Litton, Carrie Miller and Sarah Stafford

Middle school students in four Houston Independent School District schools have gotten a boost after the sold-out second annual Citizen Schools Texas Luncheon. The benefit celebrated the partnerships that make it possible for Citizen Schools to provide a longer learning day and engage connections with about 100 volunteer professionals and 570 students this year.

Held on September 25th at The Junior League of Houston, the event raised $120,000.

Luncheon Chairs Carrie Miller and Julie Price, Citizens School Executive Director Todd Litton, and Board Chair Nicole Perdue welcomed over 250 guests to celebrate the work of Citizen Schools Texas. The combination of expanded learning time, personalized academic support, innovative apprenticeships, and important community explorations, is changing the outlook of middle school students across Houston.

At the event, Todd Litton, spoke about the importance of exposing children to experiences that connect their academics to future college & career opportunities. Alumna Celestina Melendez gave a touching account of the difference Citizen Schools made to her life and to her future. Celestina is a Senior at Lee High School and is an alumna from the 2010 class at Jane Long Middle School. She spoke warmly about her apprenticeship experiences and emphasized that this is where she learned about how to apply for college. Celestina is now a Posse Scholar finalist and is in the process of applying to college. She concluded her moving speech by saying, “Without Citizen Schools, I know for sure middle school wouldn’t have been a blast and I definitely would not have been as prepared for my journey in high school or college.”