Courtesy photo Wylie students taking the lead in the performance for TASA and TASB were, from left, Madilynn Garcia, Savannah Harrod, Ian Maryfield, Andre Wheeler, Daniel Jaquez and Emma Westhora.
Students, district step into TASA spotlight
By Judy Truesdell Staff Writer
Sept. 24 to 26, school officials from around the state met at the joint convention of the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.
Emmitt Smith was the keynote speaker, and Saturday morning, Wylie ISD presented the traditional student performance. An ensemble of 130 students provided the 5,000 convention participants with a look at WISD as it “Honors the Past, Celebrates the Present and Plans for the Future,” the theme and title for the students’ show.
Wylie ISD presented the program because Superintendent Dr. John Fuller is taking the reins as the new TASA president. Traditionally, the home district of the incoming president puts on the program and takes the opportunity to showcase the district’s history and strengths.
A preview of the show was presented as part of the teacher convocation at the beginning of the school year, and there was a public performance Sept. 21 at Wylie East to give friends and family the opportunity to see the program before kids, costumes and musical instruments headed to Houston.
The show, produced and directed by Fine Arts Director Mike Lipe, incorporated students from ROTC, theater, band and choir.
The premise of the show is that W.D. Wylie, town founder and namesake, has returned to check on Wylie schools. “When a school district’s named after a fella,” Wylie says, “that fella likes to make sure it’s doing all right.”
Utilizing a combination of live acting, music performed on stage and pre-recorded, vocal and dance selections, and videotaped presentations, the cast takes the audience – and W.D. Wylie – from the beginnings of the city and school district through the present accomplishments, all the way to the plans that are in place for the future.
Unique to the Wylie incarnation of this show was the incorporation of videotaped interviews with Raymond Cooper, Dr. Al Draper and Rita Smith, for whom schools are named.
Performers began last spring and rehearsed all summer and, when they took the East stage Sept. 21, their preparation and confidence were evident. When the final notes of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” rang out and the young singers and actors came into the house, American flags in hand, the audience rose for a standing ovation.
According to Lipe, the momentum carried to Houston. Not only did audience members jump to their feet at the conclusion of the show, but they also rose at the end of an earlier, show-stopping number, “Seize the Day.”
Lipe said the students were “just amazing” and they meshed seamlessly with the professional technicians handling lights, sounds and sets in the convention center. “We heard nothing but praise all day long,” Lipe said. “Members of the board [of trustees] said that, anywhere they walked throughout the convention, people would see their Wylie badges and tell them how great the kids were and how much they enjoyed the show.”
Fuller said new heights had been achieved. “The students were fantastic!” he said. “It was an incredible performance – they were hitting on all cylinders. They have certainly set a high water mark for future performances. As one lady said, ‘I have been coming to this convention for 15 years, and this was the best performance I have ever seen.’ Another lady told me the Wylie performance was truly a display of what fine arts should be all about.
“I have always been proud of Wylie ISD; however, at no time have I been prouder than when our students were on stage telling the story of Wylie to the 5,000 plus who were in attendance. Emmitt Smith did a great job as the keynote speaker; however, the students from Wylie were the talk of the convention.”
Ian Maryfield (W.D. Wylie) and Savannah Harrod (First-grader)
The following students contributed time, work and talent to the performance.
AFROTC Color Guard: Tim Hitt, WE; Alex Pagan, WE; Lisa Johnson, WHS; abd Breanne Figuly, WHS.
Actors: W.D. Wylie, Ian Maryfield, WHS; Wylie HS Student, Madilynn Garcia, WHS; Wylie East HS Student, Andre Wheeler, WE; Cooper Boy, Daniel Jaquez, Cooper JH; Draper Girl, Emma Westhora, Draper; and First-grader, Savannah Harrod, Whitt.
Elementary/Intermediate Choir: Samuel Abdellatif, Tibbals; Shirley Berthelot, Dodd; Kevin Betancourt, Dodd; Chelsea Cicio, Groves; Nicholas Figueroa, Hartman; Macy Herrera, Cox; Jaxson Hill, Akin; Anisa Hosseini, Cox; Emilie Johns, Watkins; Sam Johnson, Birmingham; Ashli Lucio, Whitt; Hailey McGinnis, Akin; Macyn McGuire, Watkins; Abigail Miller, Hartman; Joshua Moses, Smith; Caeden O’Donnell, Tibbals; Christine Quinto, Tibbals; Jenna Radkowski, Birmingham; Karina Ramirez, Hartman; Hayden Rhodes, Groves; David (Scott) Roper, Watkins; Brookelyn Smith, Akin; Anthony Toma, Birmingham; Christian Tomah, Smith; Nevaeh Tyler, Smith; Paige Weeks, Groves; and Katie Williams, Whitt.
Elementary/Intermediate Choir and Dancers for the “Seize the Day” number: Katelyn Belch, Draper; Luke Benfield, Harrison; Millie Chikumbindi, Davis; Shingi Chingaya, Davis; Anthony Garza, Draper; Ashley Henderson, Draper; Fatima Herrera, Harrison; Austin Jones, Draper; Kollier Knight, Davis; Emily Nguyen, Draper; Trey Peterson, Harrison; Priya Varghese, Harrison,
Junior High and High School Choir: Kristin Aaron, McMillan; Nnamdi Amadi, Burnett; Rachel Angle, Burnett; Shelby Henderson, McMillan; Jake Little, Cooper; Kelsey Morris, Cooper; Alexander Nkosi, Cooper; Grant Peterson, Burnett; Claire Railsback, Cooper, Keeley Sheffield, Cooper; Tanner Smithson, Burnett; Libby Villegas, McMillan; Marlena Arnell, East; Kevin Charles, East; Stephanie Delgado, East; Tyler Humphreys, East; Kaitlyn Johnson, East; Kelly Lim, East; Alec Shapiro, East; Brianna Souddress, East; Victoria (Tori) Warren, East; Tamera Wesley, East; Skyler Addicks, WHS; Chiazo Akagha, WHS; Rudy Anguiano, WHS; Fiona Bridges, WHS; Daniel Bryson, WHS; Meredith Childre, WHS; Troy Coleman, WHS; Kyle Cooper, WHS; Cody Diamond, WHS; Eric Dumois, WHS; Whitney Eaton, WHS; Courtney Henderson, WHS; Josh Jaworski, WHS; Lynette Kaniatobe, WHS; Nick Lawson, WHS; Ricky Lim, WHS; Olivia Martinez, WHS; Bao Han Nguyen, WHS; Elizabeth Omehe, WHS; Jessica Scott, WHS; Chris Smith; WHS; Brandi Streefkerk, WHS; Tyler Tracy, WHS; and Megan Williams, WHS.
High School Band: Jessica Almond, WHS; Tyler Baty, East; Caitlyn Bogart, East; Sara Brown, WHS; Shelby Brown, WHS; Allison Bryant, WHS; Luke Dailey, East; Matt Durkee, WHS; Jeneen Elkhalid, WHS; Jordan Ferguson, WHS; Ryan French, East; Edwardo Garcia, WHS; Niko Gilmore, East; Bobby Harrington, WHS; Dalton Hasse, WHS; Nick Hume, WHS; Ben Nabors, East; Chris Partridge, WHS; Priscilla Patterson, WHS; Sean Patton, WHS; Hillary Pick ett, WHS; Greg Pritchard, WHS; Sean Ragsdale, East; Travis Rehkemper, WHS; Macs Reynolds, WHS; Jamie Royster, East; Kerri Shomette, WHS; Jeremy Stone, WHS; Chloe Talamini, WHS; Pido Tran, WHS; Victor Vinh, WHS; Bryce Whitling, East; Corbin Williams, WHS.
Elementary/Intermediate Choir: Belinda Dennis and Deanna Aaron
Junior High/High School Choir: Dr. Bill Witwer and Chelsea Farmer
Rehearsal accompanist: Carla Gaylor
Band: Glenn Lambert
Acting director and coach: Brendan Kelley
ROTC: Col. Wayne Wilbanks
Choreographer: Ryan Drakes
Computer graphics operator: Kathy Lipe
Script development: Judy Truesdell
Producer: Mike Lipe
School namesake video filmed and edited by Mark Reese
Current WISD programs video filmed and edited by Summer Davies
Photo courtesy Wylie ISD communications Choir students perform one of the musical numbers that brought the audience to its feet at the TASA/TASB Convention Sept. 25.