Fowler Middle School is celebrating 10 years of educating students and being the only Frisco ISD middle school located in the City of Plano.
Principal Donnie Wiseman, who opened Fowler, faced the challenge of leading a Frisco ISD secondary campus with parents and students who live in the City of Plano with a very positive attitude. FMS has become a destination middle school that attracts many Plano families who seek to live within its attendance boundaries – often calling the District to check an address before they sign a lease or contract.
“Being the only secondary FISD campus located in Plano has been a unique situation for us. Instead of allowing this to be an alienating factor, we celebrate that we are the Plano residents of Frisco ISD. Every student that attends FMS has a Plano address, so we have encouraged the Plano community to see our campus as the FISD hub for our school district. For so many of our students and parents coming to Fowler for the first time is an opportunity to interact and partner with other Plano families who attend Frisco ISD schools. We acknowledge this and we allow this to be a positive ways in which we are set apart of other FRISCO ISD middle school campuses.”
The school chant of “We Are Fowler” filled the school gymnasium Friday, May 12 and Pat and Catherine Fowler, the school’s namesakes, were front and center as special guests to observe the faculty “flash mob” dance to the song “Celebrate.” It was fairly obvious that the Fowler faculty has school spirit and the excitement of the students was deafening. FMS students Fiona Lai designed an Anniversary Flag to display and Fowler teacher Jessica Clark has donated a 10 year anniversary quilt to display in the cafeteria. Ten years of educating students is something to be noted.
“Motivation and school spirit are intentionally targeted components of our campus culture. We begin with our 6th graders on their very first day at Fowler constructing pride and school spirit. As often as possible we celebrate success and acknowledge hard work. We understand that students love to be a part of something great; therefore, we never miss an opportunity to highlight our accomplishments,” Wiseman said.
Fowler MS welcomed back several former employees and teachers, as well as former students Courtney Bay and Rob Rever.
Bay is now employed at Oklahoma State in sports media as a multimedia producer. “My journey to become a storyteller began in this building,” she said. “I started in Ms. Silver’s broadcast class.” She noted that no one could take a video on an iPhone back in those days.
Joining Bay in urging students to take advantage of the opportunities of middle school was Rever who is currently enrolled at Texas Tech University. He urged students to work on their focus and mindset at Fowler – not to wait until high school to choose to achieve their best.
Principal Wiseman agrees with his former student and says Fowler MS is already focusing on this goal. “Every teacher and staff member at Fowler understands the gravity of “The Middle School Experience.” Discovering a love of learning is less likely to happen for a child if they move beyond middle school without making that connection. The foundation created in middle school is so very vital and it is important to all of us that each student at Fowler has a positive experience. We want this for every child.”
Current students Tom Punnen, president of the National Junior Honor Society, and Franny Trezza, student council president, also took part in recognizing their fellow students and special guests. Trezza produced a special video interview with the Fowlers shown at the event. Pat and Catherine Fowler are both retired educators and they take great pride of meeting parents and students at various events and hearing about all the great things happening at the school. They attend as many school events as possible.
Mrs. Fowler also spoke to students, telling the story of how her parents had longed to go to college and not been able to complete their education because of the struggles of the Great Depression and other events. It is one of the reasons Mrs. Fowler was determined to go to college and become an educator. “Only about 6 percent of the world gets a college education,” Fowler said. She also talked about her role as a volunteer with Frisco Education Foundation and the pain of knowing that more students apply for scholarships than can receive them, due to financial constraints. But she also cautioned the students that success isn’t just about grades or mastering facts.
“People look for character, integrity, and people who give back to the community,” she said, proudly noting that Fowler Middle School has produced many students who fit this description. She praised both students and the teachers of Fowler for their hard work.
“Great teaching never goes out of style,” she said.