Trailblazer honored for connecting classrooms to the future

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Foti Kallergis honors a principal he says gave him a running start in broadcast journalism (KTRK)

In 1994, a middle school principal became the first in the state to welcome computers into the classroom, way before the internet.

Vickie Schoppe changed the way kids learned forever not just at O'Donnell Middle School, but in Texas as well.

In fact, it was such a groundbreaking story, Eyewitness News covered it.

Now, 23 years later, reporter Foti Kallergis met with Schoppe again in the very same hallways he once roamed, and where he got his start after a millon-dollar investment in computers, cameras and digital infrastructure.

"We didn't know anything," Schoppe says. The internet was new. We did not know what we were going to expect."

An uncharted territory, met without fear. A whole new world unboxed. The future now in the hands of the future.

Today, a time capsule is kept outside the library with what was once the latest and greatest computers.

"At the time, it was so new, we were conscious about the rugs that we had because we did not want to have static electricity," says Alief ISD teacher William Marshall. "So everything was on the ground."

Marshall is a tech education teacher who remembers Mrs. Schoppe's directive: Think outside the box, take risks and always be steps ahead.

"Her vision as to what education could be, I think, was exemplified here," Marshall says.

Her vision on technology also focused on the arts. New VHS cameras used to broadcast the very first Mustangs Morning Show announcements, and guess who was front and center?

"We had no teleprompters," Schoppe says. "It was all little slips of paper, and you did a great job."

It was a spark, and who knew it would lead to this: a career in news for Foti Kallergis at abc13.

Kallergis returned to do the morning announcements, and says it changed since he did them 23 years ago.

Mrs. Shoppe ended their visit sharing this advice to all the teachers out there.

"Being a teacher doesn't mean that you have the answers," she says. "It means that you have all the questions."

Inspiring words, and for that a Foti High Five and a big hug to the woman who gave him a running start.

Do you know someone who's doing good works and deserves to be recognized on abc13 with a Foti High Five? Let us know!

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