Skip to main content

What the Battle of the Red Rail Means to Me

When I first started working in Grapevine Colleyville ISD, it was easy to identify my roots because I still carried my maiden name: Oravetz. If you are someone who has been in GCISD for a long time (and in this respect, I am talking over 40 years ago or so) you might recognize the name. My grandmother Nell Oravetz was a homemaking and mathematics teacher in the district and she taught at the high school that I now am an associate principal at: Grapevine High School. I never had the honor of meeting my grandmother as she passed away 3 months before I was born, but I have been told that we would have gotten along quite well. I know that she LOVED teaching (she often taught classes in the community as well) and that she was a bit of a disciplinarian (did I mention that I'm an associate principal...).

My roots in Grapevine High School don't stop there however. I am also the daughter of two 1979 graduates of dear old, GHS. One of my favorite pictures of my parents (see below) is from their high school yearbook and I grew up knowing all about what it was like to go to Grapevine back in the time of being a one high school town.

With all of this, it might surprise you though to hear that I am a little torn when it come to the Battle of the Red Rail. The reason for this is simple: although I have strong family ties to GHS and now work there, I spent my youth and early adulthood at Colleyville Heritage High School. As a student in the class of 1999, I was a sophomore the day that CHHS opened its doors. I remember going to the cafeteria at what used to be Grapevine Jr. High and voting for our school colors and mascot. In a lot of ways I still consider Colleyville Heritage my school and probably always will as an alum. 

My story at CHHS doesn't end there though. I enjoyed high school so much that when I graduated from college, I came back to my home and taught at Colleyville Heritage for 9 1/2 years. I was hired by my former principal and worked alongside several teachers who taught me in high school. Colleyville Heritage was where I learned what it was to be a teacher and now Grapevine High School is where I've learned to be an administrator.

The Battle of the Red Rail to me is about home and about family. The Battle of the Red Rail is about a friendly rivalry where people who have grown up together, played together, and learned together pick sides for one big night of Texas football. I can't say that I have a favorite high school in this district (no really I can't, I'd lose a lot of friends either way) but I can say I have a favorite district. No matter what happens Friday night, I still get to work in one of the BEST places on earth.


  1. GHS is still my favorite, but I love seeing my Panther students succeeding too!

  2. GCISD is the best district on earth...not perfect, but the BEST! Go Panthers!

  3. I have a picture of your grandmother in my 1971 yearbook!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Secret to Leading a School: Stay in Love

I had a moment this past week where I was walking around campus and things were just clicking. I was so in love with what I saw, that I went back to my post in the media center (where I prefer to spend my time instead of the office) and grabbed my cell phone so that I could take some pictures. The reason I felt so in love at that particular moment was that we were able to turn a schedule design challenge into something that would directly benefit our learners; and I was seeing the benefits to our learners in action! Our design issues was around the movement of our campus to a modified block bell schedule AND still trying to make time for our cross-grade level advisories that we call Networking. The result of that was the development of flexible days where learners sing up to go to particular classes as needed (or as required). 
What I saw on my walk of the building was the idealization of our goal to provide flexible scheduling to meet needs. There were learners who were having one on…

Leading by Doing: Why I am Using PBL to Design Professional Development

When I was first introduced to Project Based Learning it was as an offshoot to a much larger training that was provided to teachers in my (previous) district. I was in a group of classroom teachers who sought out the challenge of being a 1-to-1 iPad classroom in a school system that had previously not had this level of technology integration. The training was offered in such a way that the primary mechanism for teacher behavior change was through sparking interest and curiosity among educators. The goal being that we would feel comfortable stepping out on a limb and taking risks if we saw that there were other ways of doing things. The introduction went like a lot of professional development in a lot of places: As you can imagine there were a lot of people who were excited to try out Project Based Learning (PBL) and I was definitely one of them. Not long before leaving the classroom, I even launched my own nascent project that I fully regret not staying in the classroom a little longer…

Part 2: Leading by Doing: Why I am Using PBL to Design Professional Development

Identifying the Learning Objective
Recently, I shared the reasons why I am using Project Based Learning as a design model for our professional learning as a campus. This week, I would like to describe the early steps of that process.
I was hired in early July to be the principal of New Tech High @ Coppell. Any time you enter a new system (I was hired from outside the district) and especially a new campus, it can take some time to review the data, make observations, and develop a plan. The goal is to make sure that the plan that is created is not just driven by the traditions of the school or by the proclivities of the new leader, but by the current and future needs of the campus.
The first step in designing a lesson, project, etc. is understanding what standards, objectives, or essential questions that need to be obtained. When designing professional learning, the process begins just the same, the only difference is the question must be answered for adult learners. As a project based cam…

Currently Reading