Forest Brook Proud

By Rebecca S. Jones

HOUSTONWe are the few, intellectual and the educated; and we accept only those students who want to achieve.” Those words were recited every morning from the loud speaker, which soared across the campus of Forest Brook Senior High School when I was a student there. Although faint visions of that proud “Blue and Gold” are still visible, much of the “Blue” has been overshadowed by “Black”. The word “High” has been replaced with “Middle” on the school board and while there are many faculty and staff I do not recognize one thing still remains the same – that fervent spirit of “young intellectuals who want to achieve.”

Recently, I was privileged the opportunity to return home and what a delight it was. Not returning as a Magnet student or the Senior Class Vice President of the graduating class of 2000, but, as the Editor of African American News & Issues. As Ms. Quwanda Forest (Production) and I entered the classroom of Dr. Cheryl Banks-Jones, we were welcomed with smiles and intelligent conversation from a mixed crowd of 6-8 graders. Though the two of us were eagerly anticipating sitting down discussing journalistic styles and publication formats with our hosts’; we were overtaken by the ingenious minds who began teaching us lessons instead. (LOL)

Nelmy Y. Esparza jump- started the Journalistic conversation. “You know…nothing never really goes around like news, unless it’s something stupid-like fights and stuff. But, anything that is important like events and things that really matter never really go around. So, for the people who actually care and want to read the newspapers, they do.”

Jayla Hollins chimed in and shared how the Journalism team has been an asset in her life. “The newspaper helped me to become a better writer. Not just having the newspaper but, also having art classes because art isn’t just drawing. It can be acting, writing stories and different things that express creativity.”

The Force Behind the Pen

Dr. Cheryl Banks-Jones became a resident of Houston in 2005, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Not willing to allow her circumstance to overcome her volition, she began educating in Texas just as she had in her home state.

In past she has taught as an instructor at George Washington Carver Middle School, her graduating high school, McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School in Louisiana and La Marque Intermediate Technology Academy in La Marque. She began serving as an educator at Forest Brook Middle School in August, 2016. Although she has only been there a couple of years, she has already planted a great deal of seeds in the lives of her students. While facilitating as a History teacher, Dr. Jones saw the need to create a Journalism team for students. She was inspired by the fact that the middles school had never created a yearbook of their own. Therefore, she compiled a group of enthusiastic students and began teaching them how to format and layout a newspaper.

It was a method of teaching them how to apply what they were learning in class,” she said. She continued, “To me, it was important getting them to read, write and do the higher order of thinking.” Since establishing the Journalism team she has noticed that it has helped to “increase students’ confidence within themselves, build self-esteem, increase test scores and has assisted with their articulation.” All of the projects of the team are student-lead. She shared, “They have an urge to give back to the community and one of those results was displayed when they went to plant trees in Stewart Park.”

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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