Imagine yourself in a high school science classroom. You probably see black tables and sinks. You probably remember an odor telling you science is happening. Whether or not you consider yourself good at science, you probably have memories of cool experiments.

For me, science opens up an entire world of new possibilities. The reason most students love science is that you don’t have to be good at science to enjoy it.

As a proud Ball High School Class of 1998 graduate, I appreciate Ball High for preparing me in ways beyond academics. Students walk across that stage equipped with the social intelligence to thrive in our world because Ball High is rich in diversity.

Later, I discovered my passion for education thanks to the New York City Teaching Fellows, a highly competitive alternative certification graduate program. I taught middle school science in the South Bronx with very limited resources — wishing I could find a way to fund my ideas. While I grew professionally, I knew there was truly no place like home.

Today, I teach aquatic science at Ball High and love getting to walk the halls of my alma mater. It’s a regular reminder of how much Galveston Independent School District has influenced my life and how dear this little island is to me.

My homecoming is even better because of the support of the Galveston ISD Educational Foundation. Thanks to supporters like you, I’ve been able to give my students more experiences than I could’ve ever imagined.

My first foundation grant stemmed from a desire to create access to multiple class sets of modern microscopes; how can we label students college-ready knowing the first time they’ll look through a microscope lens will be in their intro to Biology lab?

Lack of updated supplies isn’t shocking considering the limited budget schools are forced to operate under. The funding gap comes from our high property values. In Texas our wealth is redistributed to other districts through the “Robin Hood” plan, creating a gap between funding we need and funding we receive.

I applied for, and received, a grant from the foundation to purchase 43 digital microscopes for our science department. For most of my students, the microscopes brought to life abstract concepts and pictures on a screen. It was their first time seeing something so small.

I can’t describe the feeling I had watching a completely new world open for them. This equipment gave all my students the same opportunity for success.

It told them that they were smart and important. This grant wasn’t just about science. It was, and is, about exposing students to a new world of possibilities.

Your gift to the Galveston ISD Educational Foundation makes the impossible possible for the teachers and students of GISD. If you’ve been a past supporter of GEF, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. If you’re looking for a cause to support this giving season, please consider GEF. Donations can be made at or mailed to P.O. Box 660, Galveston TX 77553.

Zahrah Ektefaei is an aquatic science teacher at Ball High School in Galveston.


(2) comments

Jose' Boix

Excellent guest column by Ms. Zahrah Ektefaei affirming the often unknown and untold benefits of having an Independent School District (ISD) education foundation. What deserves highlighting and underscoring, is that out of the 8 Galveston County ISDs, 7 ISDs have similar education foundations. Through the generous support of a myriad of donors, all these education foundations have awarded many innovative and creative grants to teachers and staff. Since its inception the Texas City ISD Foundation for the Future has granted over $3.3 million to TCISD teachers to fund innovative learning materials for students. So, yes, please become a supporter/partner with your local ISD education foundation.

Paula Flinn

Accurate article supporting the GISD Educational Foundation. This helps so many students in Galveston ISD with new supplies and programs to make learning fun and meaningful. Thank you for supporting your local ISD Education Foundation. Your donations are appreciated.

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