Austin High School

Receiver Cayleb Jones elects to transfer

Sophomore wide receiver Cayleb Jones has elected to transfer, Texas announced Wednesday night. Jones, an Austin native who graduated from Austin High School, was given an unconditional release by Texas. 

"We've really enjoyed being a part of the Texas program," Robert Jones, Cayleb Jones' father, said in a press release Wednesday evening. "We've talked about the situation as a family and we think it's best for Cayleb to get a fresh start and transfer to another school." 

As a freshman in 2012, Jones played as a backup receiver in 11 games and finished the season with one 10-yard run and two receptions totaling 35 yards. 

"Cayleb is looking for a fresh start," Texas head coach Mack Brwon said in a press release Wednesday. "We understand that and are appreciative of everything he did for Texas. We will support him as he moves forward and wish him the best of luck in the future." 

Cayleb Jones was suspended in June after an incident in downtown Austin. Jones allegedly punched fellow Longhorn Joseph Swaysland, a tennis player who was dating Khat Bell, a volleyball player who had been in a previous relationship with Jones. Swaysland, a junior, had a fractured jaw. 

Jones was originally charged with felony assault, but the charge were dropped to a misdemeanor this spring. He was suspended indefinitely from the team, but when the charges were reduced, Jones was only suspended for the 2013 fall opener against New Mexico State. 

Crossing the divide

A woman pushes a stroller across a stream of runoff water next to Austin High School on Tuesday morning. Much of Travis County received about three inches of rain Monday night and Tuesday morning, according to the LCRA. The storms coul dbring levels in Lake Travis up five feet over the next week.

rza Independent High School senior Emelia McKay accompanies UT junior Stephanie McCoy, Kinesiology and exercise science major, to class as part of the Garza Initiative, a program that encourages students to continue their education after high school. The initiative pairs college mentors with high school students, many of which did not fit into traditional school settings, to show them the opportunities available in college.

Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

A group of University students has taken the initiative to show underprivileged, underrepresented and unique high school students what they have the ability to do.

From Monday through today, the senior class of Garza Independence High School has been shadowing UT students from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. GIHS is an alternative, self-paced high school for students who were not able to finish or fit into a traditional high school setting and is part of Austin Independent School District.

Damilola Olatayo was an officer for the Gates Scholarship fund and decided to develop a plan to adopt Austin High School’s and create more Gates Scholars. However, Olatayo wanted to do more for Garza after being given a tour of the high school and founded the UT Garza Initiative before becoming its executive director.

“After talking to the teachers and the students, I realized this is really like a family,” she said. “This is really a second-chance school. The teachers just truly and utterly care about the students. They love the kids and they love what they do.”

Members of the initiative hope to provide scholarships, tutoring and guidance to students at GIHS, Olatayo said. They decided to create Shadow Week after hearing that some students had never been to a college campus, and some were born in Austin but had never been to UT, she said.

“I said, this can’t be the case,” she said. “Some of the kids who never even thought about education, some of their parents have been calling saying, I don’t know what you guys did at UT, but my son and daughter wants to go to college. When I heard that, they told the principal it makes me feel as though we’re making a difference as opposed to just visiting the school every now and then.”

About 57 students are visiting UT per day, and all are paired up with a UT student mentor, Olatayo said. Four teachers come along from GIHS, she said.

While the school’s graduation rate is more than 90 percent, many graduates have children at home or live on their own and have to hold down a job, said Linda Webb, principal of GIHS and UT alumna. GIHS is tailored to students who are in danger of dropping out, and students must have 10 high school credits to get into GIHS, she said.

“These are kids who want an opportunity to go to college,” she said. “Life may have dealt them a different hand, the comprehensive school just doesn’t work for them.”

More than 80 percent of Garza students are federally at economic risk, and the school was just awarded the Gold Performance Acknowledgement from the Texas Education Agency for having more kids ready for college, Webb said.

“We are so excited and just thrilled that these young people are taking an interest and giving back before they even get out of college,” she said. “I think they know they’re doing something wonderful, but I do not believe that they yet understand the impact it’s having on kids who’ve been told before, ‘They’re not gonna make it,’ and to have this experience that says ‘Not only can you make it, this is what it’s going to look like when you do, is thrilling.”

GIHS creates a good environment for kids who feel like they can’t excel in a traditional high school setting, said GIHS senior Matthew Krausse. It creates a positive atmosphere and a self-paced setting for students who could be working nights, working two jobs or trying to support their families, he said.

“Today, I went to an organic chemistry class, and it was really cool,” he said. “I didn’t understand a lot of it obviously. It was a second year class, but it was a great learning experience just to be able to see exactly how UT works.”

Published on Wednesday, Novermber 9, 2011 as: Garza High seniors get feel for life as UT students

About 70 Austinites spent their Saturday morning wearing flippers, pushing hula hoops across the group and carrying balls between their heads to raise money and awareness for SafePlace.

The third-annual SafePlace Field Day, held at Austin High School, brought together teams to compete in wacky relay races, providing a fun way to raise funds for the organization during sexual assault awareness month, said Jodi Tidwell, communications and marketing coordinator for SafePlace.

“We aren’t making light of these issues,” Tidwell said. “We are cheering for the fact that we are making progress and encouraging healthy discussion.”

SafePlace provides emergency and long-term shelter for women, children and men escaping abusive situations, offers counseling and transitional services and organizes community education programs and fundraisers such as the field day, which are critical to funding the organization, she said.

Tidwell said the teams earned about $50,000 creating individual Web pages in which they compete to raise the most funds and awareness for the organization.
“For us, the importance of it is that it also raises awareness,” Tidwell said.

The Blanton Museum of Art hosted an activity at the event in which children painted inspirational messages on denim to prepare for SafePlace Denim Day.

“We ask local businesses to allow their employees to wear denim on this one day in support of sexual assault survivors,” Tidwell said. “Many legislative offices and other Travis County businesses show support.”

Third-year law student Britany Binkowski said she volunteered for the event because she has seen first-hand effects of how SafePlace benefits many lives.
“I worked with the children rights clinic at the law school and had some experience with SafePlace,” Binkowski said. “They are a great organization, and I wanted to do something that would help the community directly.”

Amy Temperley, chief development and communications officer for SafePlace, said the 14 teams competing this year have raised the bar in generating funds by playing off of friendly competition for prizes at the end of the day.

“They are teams of five this year, [including] family teams and corporate groups,” Temperley said. “Some corporations have kind of challenged each other, so that can be interesting. We have people coming for fun and some who come here and really want to win.”

Northwest Austin resident Christine Ellmaker Price, who has been raising funds for SafePlace for 15 years, said she loves how the event encourages teams to find a quirky name and holds unconventional races and games.

“I served as a volunteer for a year after I didn’t have a work team anymore but had to get a team together because I was missing too much fun,” Price said.
Price said her team, “I Heart Tube Socks,” raised $845, mostly by spreading word through Facebook.