Robstown ISD honors district excellence annual awards

Robin Bradshaw
Nueces Country Record Star
The Robstown ISD announced recipients of Teacher of the Year awards with two advancing to the regional honors.

Robstown Independent School District (RISD), held its board meeting on Monday, April 19, recognizing the area district's teacher of the year awards and honoring the annual Cotton Picker Award along with the regional and state final championships for the RISD powerlifting teams. 

Teachers of the year: 

  • Candace Rodriguez from Seale Junior High 
  • Melinda Venecia from Ortiz Intermediate
  • Martha Martinez from Robert Driscoll Elementary
  • Tracy Ramirez from San Pedro Elementary
  • Maria Garcia from Lotspeich Elementary
  • Bellanira Flores-Arias from the Robstown Early College High School 

Additionally, two teachers will represent Robstown ISD as they advance to the regional level at the Education Service Center.

  • Elementary Teacher of the Year- Melinda Venecia
  • Secondary Teacher of the Year- Candace Rodriguez

Cotton Picker Excellence Award: 

The RISD Cotton Picker Excellence award is honored to Martin-Henri Velasco.

Martin-Henri Velasco stands out due to the unparalleled combination of academic excellence, courage, perseverance and talent he has demonstrated.

Martin-Henri was diagnosed with a severe visual impairment while in elementary school at which time he embraced a variety of assistive technology devices to enable him to overcome the obstacles created by his visual impairment. Before beginning his freshman year in high school, Martin-Henri lost a huge part of his support system, his mother Martha. Soon after, his vision suffered even further decline. The courage and perseverance he demonstrated during this difficult period in his life are inspiring to those working with him.

Martin continued with a full course load, earned passing grades, learned braille, joined the RECHS Big Red Marching Band percussion section, and performed and competed in various band competitions. His musical talents have earned him several awards and recognitions in this area, including:

  • Featured performer on drum set and guitar in the Big Red Marching Band
  • Earning a 1st Division rating at Region competition and qualifying for Area Finals
  • Earning 5th place at Area Finals
  • Represented RISD with an interview by Tim Hinton of UIL for broadcast at State Marching Band Finals.

Martin went on to join the Red Star Indoor Drum Line; Martin’s accomplishments in this area include:

  •  Featured Performer on Drumset
  • Qualifying as a member of Winterguard International and
  •  WGI world championship Scholastic A percussion semi-finals

As the list goes, Martin is also a member of Sol Rojo Mariachi as a guitarist and has learned to play the electric guitar.

Regional and State Qualifiers for boys and girls powerlifting: 

RISD Girls Powerlifting Team: Jamie Casas, Amanda Lopez , Janessa Vela and Liliana Cortinas 


Janessa Vela

RISD Girls Powerlifting Team 

  • Jamie Casas Regional and State Qualifier
  • Liliana Cortinas Regional Qualifier and State Champion
  • Amanda Lopez Regional Champion 105 lb Weight and State Runner Up 
  • Janessa Vela Regional Qualifier 
RISD Boys Powerlifting Regional Qualifiers: Paul Rena, Mark Pena, Austin Lopez and Josh Maldonado Regional.

RISD Boys Powerlifting team and Regional Qualifiers:

  • Paul Rena Regional Qualifier
  • Mark Pena Regional Qualifier 
  • Austin Lopez Regional Qualifier
  • Josh Maldonado Regional Qualifier 
  • Edwin Aguilar
  • Benjamin Oyervides
  • Isreal Espinoza
  • Rodney Vaiz
  • Alexus Martinez