GT Academy Newsletter

January / February / March 2018

Big picture

We did it again!

The Sablatura Quiz Bowl team did it again! All the months of studying paid off, and the overall championship trophy will be housed in our trophy case another year. Hosted by Pearland ISD Advanced Academics, this district event builds capacity and interest in the high school Academic Decathlon program. This year's theme was Africa, and our Quiz Bowl sponsors Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. VanderWoude, and Mrs. Maldonado did an excellent job of encouraging the team to study books, websites, and videos related to Africa, as students developed strong study skills that will benefit them for years to come. Congratulations to the following students who put in many hours of focused effort and working as a team to represent Sablatura this year:
  • First Place General Trivia: 6th Grade - Annie B., Riley J., Annabel T. and Wende W.
  • Second Place General Trivia: 5th Grade - Haley H., Kyle M., Daniel T. and Bowen X.
  • First Place Super Quiz: 5th Grade - Jackson F., Kesler D., Arella H., JP J., Christopher L., Marc L., Aivy N.and Tadewa O.
  • First Place Super Quiz: 6th Grade - Ethan M., Laila S., Melinda Y., Shawn S., Nandini N., Anagha J., Samuel B. and Jonathan R.
  • Sablatura Individual High Score: Bowen X.


Sablatura Robotics Exhibition

There is no lack of excitement for STEM at Sablatura, and this was evident at the second annual Sablatura Robotics Exhibition on February 22nd. Students from each of the robotics clubs demonstrated their robots and explained to visitors how they are preparing for upcoming competitions.

This year’s Ecobot competition has been designed around U.S. Agriculture. Teams are exploring the how technology in U.S. Agriculture has progressed since the mid 1700s to the future of agriculture, and work together to build a robot that can conquer challenges in four quadrants of the game board. Their goal is to earn a "green leaf" at the competition.The All-Earth Ecobot Challenge Day will be April 21st at Kashmere High School in Houston.

Seaperch teams are following the engineering design process to adapt their remotely operated vehicles to navigate an obstacle course and transfer cubes and rings to a platform underwater. They will compete at the regional competition at Manvel High School on April 7th.

The Drone Club is growing, thanks to a group of enthusiastic students who started the club this year. These students contacted drone pilots at Dow Chemical and invited the experts to demonstrate their drones at the exhibition. The Drone Club has been invited to attend the Energy Robotics and AI Network Summit this summer in June, on behalf of the Energy Drone Coalition! It is awesome to see what can be done when students who are passionate about science and engineering share their ideas with supportive parents and dedicated teachers.

The VEX-IQ club has had a successful first year, with Ben, Melinda and Ethan coming very close to advancing to the next round of competition. The VEX-IQ teams were eager to demonstrate their skills at the exhibition. The object of this year's game was to attain the highest score by scoring colored rings on the floor goal and on posts, by having uniform posts, by emptying starting pegs, and by releasing the bonus tray.

Friendswood ISD and PJHE TCEA teams joined us in friendly competition at the exhibition. Twenty-one teams signed up to compete in the TCEA "Mastering Mars" arena challenge. Our own TCEA "Mechanical Mahem" team placed first at the Area 4 competition in January, and will be advancing to the state competition on April 7th at Hutto High School. This team served as judges for the exhibition competition, along with Pearadox team members, Friendswood High School students, PJHW robotics students, and robotics mentors Mr. Comeaux and Mrs. Sherman.

The high school Pearadox team and PJHW First Tech Challenge team were also on hand to show students the next levels in PISD robotics. Take a look at the video below to learn more about Pearadox.

Several of our students also presented their robots at a recent PISD School Board meeting, and explained what they have learned about engineering as a result of being involved in Sablatura Robotics. Ultimately, the Sablatura Robotics Exhibition shows how exceptional students, knowledgable mentors, dedicated teachers, and a supportive community can work together to offer a strong foundation for our future engineers!

Mars Rover Celebration at UH

Six teams of GTA students attended the University of Houston's Mars Rover Celebration on January 28th. Congratulations to Team Galaxy Grizzlies (Abigail, Iris, and Sophie), on their first place win! Many thanks to Mrs. Stenvall’s hard work and dedication to making the Mars Rover project a success. Read more about the competition in The Daily Cougar, featuring our own Isabella, Riley and J.P.

Sab and PJHW Host TMSCA Competition

Over 300 enthusiastic students filled the halls of Pearland Junior High West on Saturday, February 24th on a quest to qualify for the TMSCA state meet. Students from Fort Bend ISD joined students from Pearland ISD to test their skills in Number Sense, General Math, Calculator, and General Science. Sablatura students have worked hard to prepare, and twenty-one sixth graders will be joining other top math and science students from across the state in San Antonio in April.

This is the second year Sablatura and PJHW have hosted the competition, under the leadership of Mrs. Needler, Mrs. Cybak and Mrs. Jamie Williams. A big thank you goes out to the many dedicated parents, teachers, AYLUS club and NHS students who volunteered their time to help make the competition a success. From the hospitality team, to the concession volunteers, the proctors, graders and runners... all were extremely helpful. A big thank you also goes to Central Texas Barbecue who always comes through for us with their delicious food and generous attitudes. We truly appreciate everyone's support!

A Day of Field Experiences

GTA students enjoyed a full day of mini course activities on February 28th. Students traveled to Dawson High School to cook with Chef Dunn, learned about meteorology at the National Weather Service office in Dickinson, marveled at the architectural design elements in historic Downtown Houston, and toured the Davinci Maker Lab in Alvin. Read more about what the students had to say...

Quilting Volunteers Needed

Research papers are finished and fifth grade GTA students are excited to begin sewing their TPSP quilts! Students are collaborating to design a quilt that reflects the main points of their research, and will soon choose fabric and begin the meticulous task of measuring and cutting the squares that will make up the background of the quilt. If you are looking for a way to get involved in an exciting project, then look no further! We welcome parents and grandparents who have a knack for sewing, trouble-shooting sewing machines, keeping kids on task, or just enjoy being a part of the creativity and problem solving. Please use the link below to volunteer!

Lights, Camera, Action!

GTA students were treated to an outstanding performance of "Ella Enchanted" by our own Drama mini course students. What a great way to end the third nine weeks and begin Spring Break!

Inventors Will Showcase Ideas April 6th

Creative thinking and communication are skills necessary for just about any career these days. Sablatura GTA inventors are preparing to share their creative ideas at the 2018 Sablatura Inventors' Showcase. Fifty students have been working through the invention process during mini course, and will present to a panel of judges in the Sablatura Library on Friday, April 6th. Family and friends are invited to come see the inventions on display in the library Thursday, April 5th 4:00-6:00. This is an ideal time for the inventors to practice before presenting to the judges. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the two after school work sessions to prepare for the showcase.

The top five inventors will be invited to attend the Houston Young Inventors' Showcase in May. The past two years have proven to be very successful for our inventors. Last year, our students placed first, second and third (see photo) and the year before, one of our students received the overall prize, which was the opportunity to work with a law firm to develop his idea.

Summer 2018 PearCamp

Calling all students who are looking for more fun STEM experiences this summer! Pearland ISD's PearCamp will be held this summer July 16 - 27 at Berry Miller Junior High. Current Pearland ISD students entering 7th or 8th grade in the fall of 2018 are eligible to attend. The aim of this camp is to engage students through hands-on experiences within the STEM disciplines of Programming, Engineering, Applied Math and Robotics.

Take a look at the link below to sign up now!

This year, students also have an opportunity to travel to Boston, Massachusetts to participate in a STEM workshop at MIT! Interested students and parents should plan to attend the information meeting Tuesday, April 3rd at the ESC 6:00 p.m. Contact Mr. Damon Rayburn, Advanced Academics Specialist for more information. or 281-485-3203.

Mark Your Calendar!

  • March 21 - Inventions Work Day - Display Boards - 4:00-5:00
  • March 26 - Sablatura Group Picture Day - Bring club shirts
  • March 26 - GTAB Meeting @ Sab Library 6:30 p.m.
  • March 29 - Sablatura International Festival 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
  • March 30 - Good Friday - No School
  • April 3 - STEM Discovery: Boston Interest Meeting @ ESC 6:00 p.m.
  • April 5 - Inventors Work Day - 4:00-5:00 / Inventions on display in Sab Library 5:00-6:00
  • April 6 - Sablatura Inventors' Showcase 9:00-12:00 a.m. @ Sab Library
  • April 6 - GRIT Rally - students wear TCU / Purdue shirts
  • April 7 - TCEA State Competition @ Hutto High School
  • April 7 - Seaperch Regional Competition @ Manvel High School
  • April 10 - 5th Grade Math STAAR
  • April 11 - 5th Grade Reading STAAR
  • April 13-15 - FPS State Competition @ San Marcos, TX
  • April 21 - Ecobot Challenge Day
  • April 20-22- TMSCA State Competition @ San Antonio, TX
  • April 23 - 27 Mrs. Mueller visits elementary schools
  • May 2 - Sablatura GTA Showcase @ ESC 6:00-7:30 p.m.
  • May 14 - 6th Math STAAR
  • May 15 - 6th Reading STAAR
  • May 16 - 5th Science STAAR
  • July 16 - 27 - Pearland ISD STEM "PearCamp"

Worth a look (for students):

Worth a look (for parents):

* The GTA Booster Club (GTAB) is looking for parents who are interested in serving on the executive board for the 2018-2019 school year. You can contact any member of the current board or Mrs. Mueller if you think you might be interested. GTAB helps to fund many of the field experiences, offers scholarships for students who need assistance to participate in competitions, and supports GTA teachers in many ways.

More Summer Opportunities!


Houston Museum of Natural Science (Grades K-12)
iD Tech Camps (Ages 7-18)
CompuCamp & Scholar Weekends at U of H (Ages 10-17)


The Health Museum (Ages 5-13) SummerCreativeWritingWorkshopswithWITS(GradesK-12) SeaWorld San Antonio/Adventure Camps (Ages 3-18)
Sea Camp at Texas A&M Galveston (Ages 6-18)
Aquatic Science Adventure Camp at Texas State (Ages 9-15 )
Duke University Talented Identification Program (Grades 4-12) CenterforTalentDevelopmentatNorthwestern(GradesK-12)
Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins (Grades 2-12)

Space Camp & Aviation Challenge at the US Space and Rocket Ctr (Ages 7-18)