Recap: Spec’s Charitable Foundation Salute to Educators Concert

Recap: Spec’s Charitable Foundation Salute to Educators Concert

ABOVE: Spec’s President/Owner and Houston Symphony Board President John Rydman and Houston Symphony Chief of Education & Community Engagement Pam Blaine presenting the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Educator Award to representatives from HISD’s Chavez Feeder Pattern.

Each year, the Houston Symphony honors educators in the Salute to Educators concert. Educators who particularly stand out receive the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Educators Award. This year, Houston ISD’s Chavez Feeder Pattern received this award for their ongoing commitment to arts education. Learn about their story of expansion and impact.

Houston ISD’s Chavez Feeder Pattern Promotes Arts Education

In the 2016–17 academic year, Houston ISD’s District III Fine Arts Initiative conceptualized a series of programs in eight schools in the Chavez Feeder Pattern in Houston’s east area. At the time, students in these schools suffered from a lack of support and resources to promote arts education effectively.

Students immersed in
Lewis Elementary's violin program

Today, more than 10,000 students at Bonner, Lewis, Park Place, Patterson, and Rucker Elementary Schools, Ortiz and Stevenson Middle Schools, and Chavez High School have access to programs in choir, band, dance, orchestra, theater, and visual arts, including offerings such as ballet folklorico and mariachi that reflect HISD’s diversity. Partnerships with Houston’s arts organizations have enhanced and provided valuable resources for this fine arts initiative.

Stevenson Middle School students exploring music with support from their teacher

Innovative and timely, this initiative has reinvigorated the way students in the east area are nurtured by the arts,” says Dr. Sabrina Nguyen, fine arts specialist in HISD’s east area. “This continuing project has become an essential element, allowing our children to find and develop their individual talent.”

The Chavez Feeder Pattern has made great gains in just five years, with students advancing to UIL and other regional competitions, and performing all around the city. Graduates have gone on to universities to major in fine arts, and some have become pre-professional performers.

Students at Chavez High School rising to great heights with the support of their teacher

We have been able to cultivate our students’ talents and passion for the arts,” says Marlen Martinez, Principal at Ortiz Middle School. “This initiative continues to expand by attracting students from all areas of the city to attend our east area magnet schools and their exceptional fine arts programs.”

Spec’s President/Owner and Houston Symphony Board President John Rydman presenting the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Educator Award to HISD’s Chavez Feeder Pattern

The Houston Symphony and Spec’s Charitable Foundation salute the principals and fine arts educators of the Chavez Feeder Pattern for their work, which demonstrates the power of the arts in education.

Spec’s: Supporting Music Education

The Salute to Educators concert allows the Houston Symphony to honor Houston-area educators for their outstanding impact on the lives of young people and our community. Houston’s teachers work tirelessly to help students grow and succeed, and we are proud to support them in enhancing their students’ education through music.

The Salute to Educators concert is made possible by the Houston Symphony’s Principal Corporate Guarantor, Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods/Spec’s Charitable Foundation. Spec’s supports the Symphony’s education programs in numerous ways, including Symphony fundraising events like the annual Wine Dinner and Collector’s Auction, and the company’s own Vintage Virtuoso fundraiser.

In total, Spec’s has contributed more than $6 million to the Symphony since 1996. Spec’s president John Rydman currently serves as the President of the Houston Symphony Society Board of Trustees. We thank John, his wife Lindy, and his daughter Lisa Rydman Lindsey for their ongoing commitment to music education.

The Houston Symphony thanks all educators for their continuous support and commitment to their students. For more information on our Education initiatives and resources, visit

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