Mulligan receives first “Change Your School” award

Kirsten Mulligan said the recognition is humbling, and while she is most certainly honored by her selection as the inaugural recipient of
Vandegrift’s ‘Change our School’ award, the longtime VHS English teacher also downplayed any signi cant di erence between her and her peers at
the Leander ISD school.
“I just do what I do. I don’t know any other way to be. It’s who I am,” said Mulligan.
Of the students who recognized her in a loud, raucous ceremony capped o by a dance contest between classes, Mulligan said, “They
see bigger things that matter more than grades or AP tests. Those things are important, and they’re a part of what makes our school great, but that’s
not really what it is — it’s our ‘mojo’ that makes Vandegrift awesome.


Friday morning, one of Vandegrift’s most respected teachers was brought to tears by something she would have never expected. The football team presented the first ever “Change Your School” award to English teacher and Steiner Ranch resident Kirsten Mulligan for the amazing amount of work she has done for the school.

The typical dance celebrations that take place on Fridays in the English hall took a memorable turn as Mulligan is the first recipient of this award, which is a tradition the football program hopes to carry on.

“The idea behind this award was that we wanted to recognize someone who does not receive a lot of credit for the work they do,” said Drew Sanders, VHS athletic coordinator. “We wanted to find unsung heroes at Vandegrift High School and let them know that we do know and we do care, and in some way make them feel good.”

The coaching staff decided unanimously Mulligan was the person who should receive the first award. Mulligan coordinates the Pink Out Week, Relay for Life and is the English department chair. She is one of the original Vipers who has worked at the school since it opened.

Mulligan was at a lost for words when it came to giving her own reasoning as to why she has been given such an accolade.

“I feel a little undeserving because I don’t do anything that a lot of other people don’t do,” Mulligan said. “I just genuinely believe in Second to None, I have never worked with so many people who work so hard and love what they do.”

Sanders said there are certain people, who if they weren’t at the school, the school would be different, and Mulligan is one of those people. “She is in the fabric of our school and makes Vandegrift Vandegrift,” Sanders said.

Mulligan rates this award up there with getting married and having children.

“It means a lot when it comes from your coworkers and the kids you’ve had in class that you see out on the football field or out in the hallways,” she said. “It’s genuinely the best thing professionally that has ever happened to me, it’s just so special.”

When asked about how this award could encourage other teachers and faculty to become the best they could be, she responded with an answer that you could only expect from someone so caring about the wellbeing of the school community.

“We are truly a campus with amazing teachers and amazing students and amazing parents, and I think it’s important to remember that we are people first, and if we believe in what we do then good things will come,” Mulligan said.  

Kirsten Mulligan hugs Nick Hughes after receiving the “Change Your School” award as the football team
cheers on Friday.