Time may fade, but Panther pride never goes away

Nick Farace, Staff Reporter

Apple had just released iTunes, “Finding Nemo” was in theaters, and LeBron James was playing his first NBA season. The year was 2003, and the idea of a new Humble ISD high school had just been introduced.

The idea of a Kingwood Park High School.

It would take four years, a lot of money and a new mascot before the silver, green and black would debuted.

Led by principal Larry Cooper, the old Kingwood ninth grade campus opened as Kingwood Park High School in August 2007.

During that school year, construction of the newest academic wing, gym and pool began.

“The transformation of the building was amazing,” current principal Lisa Drabing said. “The blue and white to green and black, creating the alma mater. It was an exciting time.”

Despite the construction, school days went on normally.

“Occasionally, the power would go out or the water supply would get cut off,” said Drabing. “One time, the downstairs of the school flooded, but it was all worth it.”

During the construction of the practice field, students would walk what became known as the “Green Mile,” a path taken by the students to reach buses after school that required going around the entire school to avoid construction.

One of the most prominent pieces of KPHS is the culture of the school.

Brooks Powell, a former student and three-time state champion swimmer, was one of many  who set the culture and pride of the school.

“There was a lot of excitement because you knew that what you do has the ability to shape the future of Kingwood Park High School,” Powell said.

Students, teachers, administrators and coaches felt pride in creating the culture and attitude for the Panthers.

Since the beginning, K-Park has had an active student body. K-Park students are always out supporting football, volleyball, theatre and other clubs and sports.

“We have leaders here,” said Drabing.

The sense of pride at the Park has been dubbed “Panther Pride” and continues to grow bigger and bigger each year.

“The key is the positive attitude in each and every student,” Drabing said of Panther Pride.

One of the biggest examples of the Panther community is when Joseph Stanton fell off his skateboard — and had his life changed forever.

“Everybody loves Joseph,” Powell said.

Stanton was a K-Park student who suffered a traumatic brain injury. His fall has affected every aspect of his life. Joseph was an excellent student always willing to help a fellow Panther.

“It didn’t affect the swim team,” Powell said, “but rather the whole school.”

Stanton touched many people’s lives through his actions at the school.

After Stanton was injured, everyone at The Park wanted to help out whether it was making the family dinner, visiting the hospital or volunteering to help with Joseph’s physical therapy.

“To this day, I and all the other swimmers, football players and many other KPHS students visit Joseph when we are in town,” Powell said.

K-Park has shaped the lives of many students throughout its ten  years. The school has also changed the lives of the faculty members, including Kristen Lynam, who has been teaching biology at the campus for 20 years.

“This is a special place that has special relationships between the faculty and the students,” Lynam said. “The good culture harbors a great opportunity to work with great people which has led me to be a better person.”

Powell ranks his experience at KPHS as an 11 out of 10 and says that becoming a life-long learner has changed his life for the better.

“High school in general is what you make of it,” he said, “and I felt my time at KPHS has prepared me not just for college, but for life.”

This year brought one of the biggest freshman class that the school has ever seen, and its effect on the flow in the hallways is easy to see.

“We won’t get any bigger,” Drabing said. “We are meant to be a 5A school.”

In the coming years, Lynam believes students will get more involved and challenge themselves even more.

“I expect an increased enrollment in AP courses, growing athletic programs and better student involvement,” said the teaching veteran.