ABOVE: 2018 Senior Fest at Hightower High School in Fort Bend ISD
Graduating high school seniors within the Houston Independent School District and beyond are in for a treat this Spring, as they will have the opportunity to attend Educational Entertainment’s (Ed ENT) Senior Fest 2022! After facing a mandatory shutdown caused by the ongoing pandemic, the Senior Fest is a welcomed celebration.
Senior Fest was created to provide enrichment programming as the students prepare for graduation. The fest was incepted in 2018 and founded by Legends Do Live, a dynamic non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas. For the first-ever Senior Fest, Legends Do Live partnered with Fort Bend Independent School District and hosted its events at Hightower High School. At the time, the fest was a two-day event that featured a Senior Luncheon, an All-Star Scholarship Basketball Game, and an Empowerment Forum & Concert.
After a successful inaugural Senior Fest, Legends Do Live went on to impact inner-city youth and schools through several refreshing initiatives. One of the most popular – their buzzworthy literary program, Reading With A Rapper (RWAR). RWAR was founded shortly after the first Senior Fest and was created to relate ELA academics with socially conscious lyrics, video content and technology. The program garnered so much attention that not only did several Texas school districts adopt the curriculum into their schools, but districts in various states across the country joined in as well. In just three short years, the program has impacted tens of thousands of students nationwide.
In celebration of its ten-year anniversary this year, and with the support of Houston Independent School District and several corporate sponsors, such as Shipt, POST and Radio One; Legends Do Live decided to bring the Senior Fest back this spring, with some enhancements. The first being that the nonprofit organization has now opened a new sector of bringing culture to the classroom with Educational Entertainment (Ed ENT). Through Ed ENT, the Senior Fest will highlight the essence of its work — the youth.
The second improvement is that the Senior Fest, which started out as a two-day event, is now a weeklong celebration. Jampacked with engaging events such as a live concert that will feature world-class entertainment, the Senior Fest will also place emphasis on scholastic achievement, community building, and bridging corporate businesses and communities as it prepares students for the next journey in their young lives.
The final improvement focuses on an essential aspect of students’ lives – mental health. Every school who will participate in Senior Fest Week will receive free mental health services through Ed ENT’s partnership with H.E.M.Y.S. The mission of H.E.M.Y.S. is to provide culturally competent holistic healthcare services that reduce mental health challenges and social-emotional problems within our community.
Prior to Senior Fest Week, Ed ENT supported students, teachers, and schools in a major way by partnering with Kroger on Earth Day to provide food pantries to two HISD schools — Pleasantville Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School.
Two weeks later, for Teachers Appreciation Week (TAW), Ed ENT partnered with Turner Construction Company to award a grant to Worthing High School that would renovate the teachers’ lounge in the school. Ed ENT also hosted several outings to celebrate teachers in the city during the week. Among the festivities was an elaborate brunch hosted at the POST Houston. To attend the brunch, teachers were nominated by their schools and fellow teachers, and from the nominees, twenty-five educators were selected to attend. In addition to a delicious brunch prepared by Eisenhower High School Culinary Teacher Ashley Gibson and her students, the teachers also received one-year subscriptions from Shipt to utilize for groceries and supplies.
“We understand that in addition to the students getting what they need, it’s also important that we take care of our teachers,” Ed ENT Co-founder Jarren Small expressed.
Senior Fest Week will kick off on Sunday, May 15th with an All-Star Fundraiser Basketball Game at HISD’s Pavilion Stadium. The game will feature senior star players from HISD, and the students will face-off to showcase their talents in front of their peers, parents, educators, and community. Ed ENT will also award two male and two female students with scholarships during the game.
Senior Fest Week will continue with its Cultreverse Conference powered by MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) on May 17th through May 19th. The Empowerment Forums will feature a series of panel discussions, keynote speakers, job fairs, activations, and scholarship giveaways. The forum topics are as follows:
- May 17th – Pop Culture
- May 18th – Health is Wealth
- May 19th – Tech & Innovation
Ed ENT will feature world-class entertainment and surprise guests in the Senior Fest Concert on Friday, May 20th. Artists who appear on Ed ENT’s Field Day mixtape, a compilation album executive produced by Texas rapper and icon Bun B, will take the stage to perform in the concert, alongside selected student artists from Jack Yates High School.
Senior Fest Week will close at POST Houston. On Saturday, May 21st, Ed ENT invites the community to a block party dubbed ‘Field Day’.
On Sunday, May 22nd, Ed ENT will partner with “Have a Nice Day” (a creative collective whose mission is to support, celebrate and advocate for the AAPI community and beyond) for a Farmers & Vendor Market celebrating National Asian Awareness Month. The market will be open to the City of Houston and a portion of proceeds from the market will be donated to Ed ENT’s literacy initiative for underserved communities.
For more information about Senior Fest 2022, visit edent.world
Senior Fest 2022 Schedule of Events:
- Senior Fest Scholarship Basketball Game
- May 14th – Senior Fest Basketball Draft Day & Scholarship Dinner
- **May 15th – Senior Fest 2022 All-Star Basketball Game (4pm @ HISD Pavilion Stadium, 7525 Tidwell Rd., Houston, TX 77016)**
- Empowerment Forum (Panels/Vendor Booths/Keynotes)
- May 17th – Day 1 – Pop Culture (10am – 2pm @ Worthing High School)
- **May 17th – Fireside Chat (7pm @ POST Houston, 401 Franklin St., Houston, TX 77201)**
- May 18th – Day 2 – Tech & Innovation (10 am – 2pm @ Jack Yates High School)
- May 19th – Day 3 – Health is Wealth (10 am – 2pm @ POST Houston)
- Senior Fest Concert
- May 20th 10am – 2pm @ Butler Stadium
- Field Day @ POST Houston
- **May 21st – Senior Fest Community Block Party (12-4pm @ POST Houston, 401 Franklin St., Houston, TX 77201)**
- Farmers & Vendor Market Celebrating National Asian Awareness Month – in partnership with “Have A Nice Day”
- **May 22nd 4 –8pm @ POST Houston, 401 Franklin St., Houston, TX 77201**
** indicates that event is OPEN TO PUBLIC