'TIE' to success: Highlands school program teaches respect

HIGHLANDS, Texas (KTRK) -- Think back to when you were in middle school. Wouldn't it have been nice to have a teacher or coach to lean on for advice?

"The main thing is that we have students who want to better themselves," explained Heron Thomas, the assistant principal at Highlands Junior School.

Thomas, who also carries the job title of coach, has started the Thomas Institute of Excellence, or "TIE" for short, for seventh and eighth grade students at Highlands Junior School.

The focus is all on character building and learning to respect others. Students even take field trips to local businesses for career advice.

"No matter how much skill you have, without respect, they won't listen to what you have to say and try and see what you can do," explained 12-year-old Landon Trahan.

"We have students with discipline issues," explained Coach Thomas. "Students who come from single-parent homes. Students who lost parents. Students who struggle in the classroom. But the number one thing is that they have to be willing to better themselves."

There's a competitive application process to be accepted into the program. You can visit the Highlands Junior website here.

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