Summer enrichment program celebrates 30 years of excellence, wisdom and creativity

July 9, 2024

DECATS scholars meet during an assembly at the Strake Jesuit College Preparatory campus. Daily assemblies offer music, singing, announcements and the famous “golden plunger” award, given for the cleanest restrooms. Students are required to clean school restrooms for the duration of the program. (Photo by DECATS Houston)

HOUSTON — Celebrating 30 years in the Archdiocese, rising third through sixth graders from local Catholic schools were given the opportunity to spend three weeks over the summer in an intensive academic enrichment program at The DeBusk Enrichment Center for Academically Talented Scholars (DECATS Houston), offered through a grant from the DeBusk Foundation. The program is centered in Catholic teachings and follows the example of Christ.

An “Exploration Awaits” space theme guided students through engaging courses in fine arts, performing arts, science, mathematics, language arts, history, team building and leadership. Core courses focus on manners, self-organization, time management, wellness or values and morals, according to grade level.

Students, called scholars, choose from a variety of course electives, including History’s Mysteries, Kitchen Chemistry, Get Growing, DECATS Dream House, Improv Your Day, Sew Cool and more. Upper level scholars also organized service projects.

The summer enrichment program began to operate locally in the summer of 1995 with 40 scholars and eight faculty.

Thirty years later, the program operates at three host campuses: Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, St. Anne Catholic School in Tomball and for the first time, Incarnate Word Academy in downtown Houston. The program now has 800 scholars and 120 faculty, staff and administrators.

Since 1994, more than 8,700 attendees have been through the program, following the motto “Better at does not mean better than.”

The DeBusk Foundation created in 1979 in the Dallas area by Manuel and Edith DeBusk with the goal to enrich gifted and talented scholars.

From there, the program has grown and spread across Texas. For more information, visit or