Student Newspaper of Caney Creek High School

Creek Compass

Student Newspaper of Caney Creek High School

Creek Compass

Student Newspaper of Caney Creek High School

Creek Compass

9th grade campus on distant horizon after 2023 bond passes

An+aerial+photo+of+Caney+Creek+High+School.
Photo: Stephen Green
An aerial photo of Caney Creek High School.

The Conroe ISD bond proposition A passed, changes are coming over the next few years. Perhaps the most radical change for Caney Creek High School is gaining a freshman campus,  separating sophomores, juniors and seniors, a structure already adopted Conroe and The Woodlands to control ever growing populations.

“The district has done a great job providing, and helping us provide what we need to be a top-rated school,” Associate Principal of Operations Brad Milam said.

According to district bond documents, the ninth-grade campus will have a capacity of 1,600 students and is slated to open August 2027. Proposition A also included infrastructure improvements to the HVAC system. With the freshman campus having approval to be built, an expansion of the current campus is off the table. 

“We wouldn’t want to come in and spend a ton of money expanding the current campus knowing in four years we’re going to have a freshman campus,” Milam said.

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Conroe ISD previously bought land for the campus, which will be located on FM 1485 near Vick Cemetery Road.

The school has even been preparing for the day when freshmen move to their new campus, separating them from their peers class wise via a wing of the school dedicated for them.

“That’s why we created the freshman area,” Milam said. “Because we saw this coming years ago.”

There will still be complications, though. Principal Dr. Terri Benson was an associate principal at Conroe High School, as well as headmaster of Conroe’s Academy of Health Science. Her time at Conroe’s campus gave her insight into the day-to-day, operational issues with having a separate grade level.

“I was a part of the transition at Conroe High when we opened up the ninth grade campus there,” Benson said. “It does feel different at the main campus without the freshmen, but there’s pros and cons to every decision that’s ever been made.” 

Freshmen will have a maturity issue when they hit sophomore year because there’s no peer regulation, according to Benson. 

“In Conroe, we called the sophomores who moved to the main campus ‘fresh-mores,’” she said. “Because, by the time that upperclassmen force them to act a certain way ,it’s their sophomore year.”

Freshmen students will also manage various extracurricular activities on the ninth-grade campus. But once built, the ninth-grade campus will restrict freshman from moving campus to campus because of transportation cost. Though freshmen could feel alienated from their upperclassmen peers, they’ll have one another as a “collective unit,” Benson said. 

“I witnessed that at Conroe High, freshmen became their own entity,” Benson said.

This transition affects students, but also staff. 

“A year before we open the ninth-grade campus, I’m going to be meeting with all staff individually to determine if they teach freshmen next year,” Benson said. “Then, the following year, they’re going to separate. … That’s honestly the most difficult part.” 


Another section of the bond, proposition D, failed. It would have granted the district an expansion of the natatorium to include outdoor lanes. All six high schools currently split time in the natatorium, often causing a lack of time for everyone across the board.

Benson said the reason was lack of voter turnout.

“It was a super example of voter apathy,” Benson said. “There were several people who chose not to vote in the election. “On top of that, only 20% of Caney Creek’s eligible voters actually voted. I voted early, my husband voted early, and so did my 21 year old daughter and 18 year old son. So the question becomes: Why would someone choose not to exercise their right?”

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Your donation will support the student journalists of Caney Creek High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, travel expenses, development opportunities and cover our annual website-hosting costs.

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About the Contributors
Dell Fentress, News Editor (Local & State)
Dell Fentress is a section editor at Caney Creek high school, they mainly focus on local and state news. Dell has been a part of staff for the better part of the year, after being convinced by a friend when theatre didn't work out as expected. They swim competitively and participate in water polo. Besides working on staff and playing sports enough to get their hands on a letterman, they're fairly unremarkable. Though in the past, they did win first place in the Caney Creek poetry contest in 2020. They enjoy writing poetry, taking care of their animals at home, practicing on their guitar, reading the occasional horror novel, and above all, sitting down somewhere cozy with a mug of tea in hand and a cat on their lap.
Stephen Green, Adviser (Newspaper, Magazine, Yearbook, Website)
Journalism is in his soul. Stephen Green, CJE, is the adviser to Caney Creek Student Media that produces the CCHSCOmpass.com news website, Creek Compass print newspaper, and The Creek yearbook. He currently teaches digital media - journalism, and graphic design & illustration - advanced publications. He has taught photojournalism, advanced photojournalism, digital design and media production, journalism 1, and advanced journalism. His publications have won state awards from the Interscholastic League Press Conference and Texas Association of Journalism Educators, as well as national recognition and awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Association of Texas Photography Instructors, and School Newspapers Online. The Creek yearbook has been included in Balfour's Yearbook Yearbook, top 10% of all Balfour yearbooks, since 2013. While adviser, he has personally won awards from ILPC as the back-to-back state champion in the adviser's contest for subjective writing, and placed third in subjective writing in 2020. He has also placed in the Association of Texas Photography Instructors contest for photo story. He has presented, critiqued and judged photography, writing and design on the local, state and national level. He was recognized by the Journalism Educators Association as a Certified Journalism Educator in 2020. He was honored with the TAJE Pathfinder Award recognizing high-achieving advisers within their first five years advising, as well as from the JEA with its Rising Star Award that recognizes the same qualities. At Caney Creek, he is also the UIL Academic coordinator and assistant debate coach, specializing in individual speaking events and Lincoln-Douglas debate. He also sits as the fine arts department representative on the site-based decision making committee, overseeing a subcommittee on remote-learning practices. In 2020, he was recognized as the Caney Creek Teacher Achieving Excellence from the Conroe ISD Board of Trustees. Prior to teaching, he was the city editor for The (Conroe) Courier where he covered education and local government, as well as producing feature and investigative reports, one of which appeared on John Oliver Tonight. He also was the education and government reporter for The Huntsville Item where he earned the TCTA Silver Apple Media Award for education reporting and several awards for feature writing, feature video, and opinion writing. He was also awarded several accolades during his tenure at his college newspaper, The Houstonian, for investigative journalism, feature writing, opinion writing, breaking news reporting, newspaper design, broadcast announcing, documentary filmmaking, and more. He has a bachelor's degree in political science and a bachelor's degree in multiplatform journalism from Sam Houston State University in 2014. While at SHSU, he worked at The Houstonian, the school newspaper, for four years including two years as editor-in-chief, one as news and opinions editor, one as a senior reporter and web editor. He also worked at the college TV news station KSHU as a news anchor and KSHU The Kat radio station for a year as a DJ hosting the show "Weekly Weird News". At college, he had the honor of interviewing legendary CBS anchor and SHSU alumnus Dan Rather, working at the newspaper during its 100th anniversary, and traveling to Beirut, Lebanon, as part of the Center for Journalism and Democracy's mission, led by former CNN anchor Kelli Arena, to educate journalists in budding regions about socially responsible journalism, plus some. He graduated recognized as the Top Multiplatform Graduate chosen by the college faculty. At the state level while in college, he was the secretary and two-term president of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association and led an effort to formalize the policies that govern the student officers and presented lectures at conferences to his peers on journalism topics such as story development and gathering story ideas. In high school, he was the two-time editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, The Bear Facts, getting the ball rolling to modernize the program, as well as a member of The Cypress Log yearbook staff as the featured editor. He was a regional qualifier in UIL Academics in news writing and a multi-award-winner in feature writing, headline writing, and editorial writing. Since then, he has been a regional and local contest director for UIL journalism contests. He also was twice named KFDM's Student Journalist of the Year during that time period. Currently, he is nearing graduation with his master's degree in journalism from Kent State University with an emphasis on journalism education. His capstone project focuses on incorporating cooperative learning in journalism classrooms.
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