Early College High School

From left, Principal Timothy A. Isaly, Maj. Norma Cabana and Jessica Cabana

Reserve Organization of America (ROA) last week presented the first in the nation "ROA-Family Support Group Award" to the Early College High School of Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD at the Veterans Memorial in Carrollton. 

Masked participants participated as individual certificates were awarded to school staff who played a major role in the life of Jessica Cabana, the daughter of Maj. Norma Cabana. 

Those included Timothy A. Isaly, principal; Nikita D. Fisher, counselor; Maria C. Ramos, administrative records; Jaime Wegscheider, English and journalism teacher; Susan Freid, mathematics teacher; and Nabil M. Khawla, science teacher.    

After three overseas deployments from September 2015 to July 2019, and now most recently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic response mission out of Grande Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex, Maj. Cabanas of Carrollton said, “The Early College High School’s principal, faculty and staff went above and beyond to ensure and help steady her daughter Jessica’s daily challenges." 

Deployments are not only hard on the military member(s) but also on their families, the school stated. Schools play an integral part in keeping the military child steady, focused and supported. 

During one on of those deployments, Meason Kolkhorst from Long Middle School was the first to assist Jessica in completing her high school enrollment to Early College High School. During the few phones calls while deployed, Jessica shared many stories of other teachers who helped: Shawne Poplar; Richard Lewis; Jahee Kong; Ms. Swanson; Judith Tepper; and Patrick Pulliam.  Each assisted her in getting through some rough times.   

The Reserve Organization of America is headquartered in Washington D.C. and has a local Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter. The ROA Family Support Group’s mission is to assist and help sustain the reserves, the National Guard and their families.

This new ROA award was established in the Fall of 2019 to recognize the Silent Angels who seek no recognition but who go above and beyond the requirements in support of the Uniformed Service members of the Reserve and National Guard.  These include the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Major Cabanas stated, “Whether school staff realized it or not, their direct and indirect support made a difference to the whole family.”

At the time of the first deployment in 2015, Jessica was only 14 and attending middle school. With mom and sister Jennifer, both in the Army, with Dad and Jessica at home in Carrollton, and her closest relatives 1,300 miles away, life was difficult for this teenager.  Simple tasks were not an option for Jessica – she had to help with meals and cleaning, be responsible for going to bed and getting up for school and doing her homework.  Maj. Cabanas stated that she is sure it was the motivation and inspiration of her teachers that kept her focused.

Jessica plans to continue her college education at University of Texas at Dallas.  

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