HISD alum and health pioneer memorialized in Earth Day tree planting


The HISD Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy community will plant 20 trees in one hour on Saturday, April 22 in honor of the late Dr. Planting Polly Sparks Turner. The Earth Day initiative is a partnership with the Astros Foundation and the Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Turner leaves an enduring legacy as a past President of the YWCPA and a Chartered Advisory Board member and as the 20th South Central Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

She graduated from Wheatley High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University. After earning her PhD from the University of Texas Health Science Center, she became a pioneer in her fields of health, pharmacy and higher education. Turner became the first African American director of pharmacy services at Beaumont City Hospital, Houston’s Twelve Oaks Hospital and Doctors Hospital and the first African American bureau chief of the City of Houston’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Aside from her professional accomplishments, Turner was an active philanthropist, fundraiser, mentor, and volunteer until her death in March 2023. She was 84 years old.

On Earth Day, students, volunteers and sorority members will give back to the community and celebrate Turner’s life by planting 20 trees in her honor.

Special guests include Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, Senator Borris Miles, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Councilor Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Astros Foundation’s Paul Harris), YWCPA Board Member Argentina James, and Turner’s family.

College Preparatory Academy for Young Women

1906 Cleburne Street

Saturday, April 22nd

10 a.m. – 1 p.m