JERSEY VILLAGE STUDENTS ATTEND PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION
By Emmilyne Thomas, Jersey Village HS
Forty-two students from Jersey Village High School traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony for the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, on Jan. 20.
Lan Lee, Jersey Village English teacher, organized the trip through EF Explore America, a company designed to bring life into education through travel. Each student that attended was nominated by their 2015-2016 English teacher and attended an informational meeting.
Although the students had to pay for the trip, the group received a large discount because of the number going. The 42 students, four chaperones and tour guide stayed in the Radisson Hotel in Rockville, Md.
Madeline Murphy, Jersey Village senior, said she appreciated the opportunity to watch history in the making. Murphy strongly believes that despite political beliefs, the trip allows for a whole new world of experiences.
“I have always wanted to visit our capital and experience it by being there for the inauguration, because to me, no matter what your political belief is, it’s still worth it to watch history being made,” Murphy said.
For many, the trip opened minds and eyes to the varying points of view on a range of subjects. Troy Willis, sophomore, enjoyed his time and explored different political opinions.
“It’s not every day you get to see a president get inaugurated. It was a cool experience. You got to see a lot of ways other people look at things, even if you don’t agree with them,” Willis said.
Each student took home a special memory from the trip. Some students will always remember the inauguration itself; others will think of the people they met and the friends they made. With family ties to the military, Adam Thompson, senior, found the monuments and 21-gun salute the most moving.
“Personally, my two favorite parts were the 21-gun salute and seeing all the Vietnam War veteran monuments. I have had many family members enrolled in the military, and my grandfather also fought in Vietnam so it was great to see all of the monuments and be able to show him the different things that I saw,” Thompson said.
While some students traveled to D.C. for the experience, a select group of students from the Vituosi of Houston Young Artists Chamber Orchestra went to Washington to play for various events. Seven students from across the district, including Jersey Village sophomore Victor Xia, attended the trip.
“I was selected as one of the Virtuosi members who had the privilege of performing at a Congressional Candlelight Dinner at the Hay Adams Hotel Dining Room, performing at the Black Tie and Boots Texas Gala and performing at the Inauguration Texas Leadership Dinner in the Trump Hotel,” Xia said.
“My favorite part of the trip would have to be the experience of being able to play for such important figures of the political society and being able to meet a few of them. There’s no thrill like being able to perform for such a prestigious audience as all of your hard work and hours of rehearsals come into play and guide the performance. I can happily say that I was able to meet and shake the hands of senators such as Marco Rubio and Gov. Greg Abbott,” Xia said.
LANGHAM CREEK WOODWIND QUINTET ACCEPTED INTO MUSIC FOR ALL NATIONAL FESTIVAL
The Langham Creek High School woodwind quintet has been accepted into the 26th annual Music for All National Festival, set for March 9-11 in Indianapolis, Ind. The quintet will join four other CFISD groups, including Langham Creek’s percussion ensemble, that were also accepted into the festival.
“We commend you and your students for your exemplary commitment to excellence and look forward to bringing national attention to your students and program,” said Music for All president and CEO Eric Martin in a congratulatory letter. “Performing at the Music for All National Festival is a prestigious honor and achievement. It places Langham Creek High School Woodwind Quintet in the extraordinary position of modeling to the world the results of performance excellence and a commitment to quality music education.”
CY RANCH GIRLS, CY WOODS BOYS WIN DISTRICT WRESTLING TITLES
The Cypress Ranch High School girls’ wrestling clinched its first title in program history in the District 10-6A championships Feb. 9-10 at the Berry Center, while the Cypress Woods High School boys defended their 2016 championship.
Cypress Ranch clinched the girls’ title with 179 team points, followed by second-place Cypress Ridge (163) and third-place Langham Creek (115).
“This was an expectation for us; it wasn’t a surprise,” said Chris Potter, Cypress Ranch head coach. “These girls have fought all year long and have done everything we asked. It’s a result of their hard work. [Winning our first title is] awesome. We keep telling them they make us as coaches look good, but it’s even better to make your school and community proud.”
The Cypress Woods boys earned 251.5 points to clinch first place, followed by second-place Cy-Fair (250) and third-place Cypress Lakes (230.5).
“I told them not to worry about the district title; I just wanted them to place as high as they could. Pretty much all of them did,” said Mike White, Cypress Woods head coach. “Before the finals round started I communicated the importance of head-to-heads. If we had a head-to-head with Fair or Lakes, we had to win it. They battled back and I’m proud of them.”
Cy-Fair Head Coach Tim Stockton was named District 10-6A Male Team Coach of the Year after the tournament, while Cypress Ranch’s Potter was named Female Team Coach of the Year.
Cypress Falls High School junior Augustina Ijoma, who wrestled in the 165-pound division, and Cypress Ranch junior Kaitlyn Banas (102) were named Co-Most Outstanding Female Wrestlers. Cypress Lakes junior Joaquin Bautista, who wrestled in the 132-pound division, was named Most Outstanding Male Wrestler.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the Region III-6A championships.
LCHS COLOR GUARD DIRECTOR LEADS AIRBLADES CAST IN SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW
Langham Creek High School color guard director Tim Newburn played a significant role in the Super Bowl 51 halftime show featuring Lady Gaga, directing a team of 30 performers who spun light-up Airblades.
Newburn, who directs the Cypress Independent Winterguard, was scouted by Touchdown Productions, which has produced Super Bowl halftime shows for the past 18 years, to assemble a cast that met casting requirements for the look of the show as directed by Lady Gaga’s creative team.
The cast consisted of 15 members from the current Cypress Independent and 15 alumni of the organization who committed to a rigorous schedule including 44 hours of rehearsal time over 10 days leading up to the game.
Cast members included several who are connected to CFISD: Alexandra Peña, Langham Creek alumna; Ryan Page, Cy-Fair alumna and current English teacher and color guard director at Cypress Ranch HS; and Luke Christisen, Cy-Fair and Cypress Creek color guard director.
Cypress Falls High School alumna Stephanie Chavez also served on Newburn’s administrative team for the project. All of the participants served in volunteer capacities.
“We knew going into this that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity,” Newburn said. “What I wasn’t prepared for was how much we’ve learned on all fronts about our craft. This has changed us all.”
Touchdown Productions provided the team with a practice set of Airblades that arrived one week prior to the start of daily rehearsals and allowed the cast to begin training on a less familiar piece of equipment.
The cast had 10 rehearsals over 12 days to put the project together, and rehearsed with Lady Gaga and her dancers for the final five days before game day. The Airblade portion of halftime can be viewed on the NFL YouTube video beginning at youtu.be/txXwg712zw4?t=6m
JJ WATT FOUNDATION GIVES $8,000+ IN SOCCER EQUIPMENT TO ARNOLD MS
Soccer players at Arnold Middle School received a surprise visit on Feb. 7, when the parents of Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, Connie and John, dropped by to present brand-new soccer uniforms and soccer goals to the students on behalf of the Justin J. Watt Foundation.
The donations, valued at more than $8,000, were the result of a grant application by Arnold Middle School soccer coaches. The Watts, who were in town for the Super Bowl, gave it a personal touch by surprising the 85 student athletes on the athletic fields.
“Our schedules don’t usually provide us the opportunity to get to a lot of these types of events, so when we do it really is special and really does motivate you even more,” John said. “They showed us their old uniforms, and they were good uniforms for their time, but it’s nice to be able to upgrade them and give them what they want. Hopefully it will help them be better students, better players, better mentors to younger players, and keep boiling over for the next generation.”
After getting approved for the equipment grant and learning that the foundation would make a personal visit, Arnold staff began working behind the scenes to make it a true surprise for students.
“We initially passed out our old uniforms, and the kids were obviously very disappointed. Last year they practiced with orange cones as goals, and they thought these goals were for the high school,” said Jodi Matteson, Arnold principal. “They thought they were here today for a required district meeting. They were truly surprised.”
The Justin J. Watt Foundation has donated more than $2.745 million to after-school athletic programs since its inception. In CFISD, the foundation has supported Club Rewind ROCKS, as well as Hopper and Anthony middle school soccer programs and Dean Middle School athletics.
CY RANCH SENIOR NAMED TO MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN TEAM
Cypress Ranch High School senior DiDi Richards was named to the girls’ East Team roster for the 40th McDonald’s All-American Games, which will be played at the United Center in Chicago on March 30. She received her East Team jersey at a celebration hosted by American Family Insurance and McDonald’s in the Mustangs’ gym on Feb. 8.
Richards, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard who has signed to play at Baylor, has enjoyed the success of a winning season, taking the district title with her fellow Lady Mustangs the night before the All-American event. “There are definitely a lot of emotions,”she said. “It’s been one of my goals as a player to be named a McDonald’s All-American, so this really is a dream brought into reality.”
Tresa Martin-Hornsby, Cypress Ranch girls’ head basketball coach, sees Richards not just as a great basketball player, but a good person. “She’s a joy to be around,” said Hornsby. “She’s respectful, always smiling, but knows when to turn it on for a game or practice and be competitive.”
Richards joins the class of elite CFISD athletes named McDonald’s All-Americans like 2016WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike and last year’s All-Americans De’Aaron Fox and Nancy Mulkey. Other past CFISD McDonald’s All-Americans include Cy-Fair High School’s Cassie Peoples (2011) and Jersey Village High School’s Nina Norman (2002).
“It’s an honor to be mentioned with these great players,” said Richards. “I hope to continue to reach my goals and excel in the game just as they have.”
Visit mcdonaldsallamerican.com for more information.
Category: Schools, Sports, Students