Broadway Connection Hosting “Kinky Boots” Master Class


Calling all Broadway-hopeful students: Broadway Connection is presenting a Master Class featuring cast members from the Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots.” The class is for 9th-12th grade students.

The workshop will sharpen performance skills through instruction and a mock Broadway audition. For the mock audition, students should prepare a 16 bar audition cut and bring sheet music. Students should come warmed up and dressed in clothing they can dance in. All performers should bring heels (Guys, if you don’t have heels, don’t worry about it).

The class will be on Saturday March 7 at Grapevine High School from 9 a.m.-noon. Parents are invited to the Q&A with the cast members during the last half hour of the class. The cost is $25 and you can register on their website.

HP Plans Bad Weather Makeup Days


Highland Park ISD has just released an email stating that April 2 and 3 will be the “makeup” days for the recent bad weather cancellations.

April 2 will be a full day with regular hours, while April 3 will be a half day (four hours, standard across all campuses, no lunch service).

The district is seeking a waiver for the third bad-weather day, but officials do not anticipate that date to require a makeup day for students and staff.

Help HPISD Design Their Birthday Card

2014-2015 Birthday Card designed by Armstrong first grader Hadley Groth

2014-2015 Birthday Card designed by Armstrong first grader Hadley Groth

Does your child want their artwork to grace the cover of the HPISD birthday cards? Now’s their chance!

HPISD is holding a design contest for the cover of next year’s card that is given to faculty and staff. Submissions can be in any medium- crayon, paint, photography, etc. The student with the winning design will have their picture featured on the back of the card.

To submit artwork, email a digital image to HPISD Director of Communications Helen Williams at Submissions can also be dropped off at the Administration Building (7015 Westchester Drive), but be sure to include the student’s name, grade, campus, and contact info so it can be returned. The submission deadline is Friday April 10.

Good luck!

Speigelman Receives SMU’s Literati Award

Willard Spiegelman (Courtesy photo)

Willard Spiegelman (Courtesy photo)

One of my all-time favorite professors, Willard Spiegelman, will receive the sixth annual SMU Literati Award.

That’s an award specifically for people who have “used the written word to advance the ideals of creativity, conviction, innovation, and scholarship.”

Past recipients include Laura Bush in 2011 and SMU’s Marshall Terry in 2012 — of whom our old Bradford Pearson was a fan.

Seriously, this man is a living legend. He’s appeared in The New York Times Magazine. He’s written a book on life’s simple pleasures. He’s given a TEDxSMU talk. He is my absolute living, breathing hero. I feel like I owe my entire professional career to him, but that’s another story.

If you’d like to witness Spiegelman’s honor yourself, reserve your seat at the Tables of Content dinner, benefiting the SMU libraries, at 6 p.m. on March 28. Nancy Dedman is the honorary chair.

The setup is quite interesting — you are assigned a table at which there is a “host” with the intent to foster lots of intellectual and philosophical discussion. Tickets start at $150.

Highlander Bands Soloists and Ensemble Members Heading to State

Highlander Band's All-State Musicians

Highlander Band’s All-State Musicians

Congrats to the members of the Highlander Band who qualified for the state competition coming up in May!

The students performed at the competitions in Coppell, Texas on Feb. 21 and 28. The musicians who received a “1” rating advance to the state competition at the University of Texas at Austin on May 29-June 1.

The following Highlander Band members qualified for the state competition either as soloists or ensemble:

Clarinet and Clarinet Choir: Jonathan Davies, Kendall Jordan, Albert Zhang, Eric Zhang, Abby Justine, John Pirok, and Charlie Morrill (bass clarinet)

French Horn and Horn Quartet: Iva Sadler, Parker Lacour, Jordan Wheeler, and Ben Smith

Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Euphonium, and Brass Sextet: Allison Walters, Matthew Houser, William Cerny, Braden Wallce, Michael Xie, Miles Iola, and John Stepehnson

Flute, Flute Choir, and Flute Quartet: Bethanne Bradshaw, Abigail DeWeese, Andie Caroline Dorn, Sarah Hong, Abigail Lindwall, Kaitlyn Rowland, Quinn Hughes, Michaela Davis, Mark Hitzelberger, Caroline Kibby, Amanda Reenan, Sydni Scifres, and Bridget Tharp

Two Fundraising Events to Benefit Ronald McDonald House of Dallas

Margretta Wikert, Lizzie Duplantis, and Katie Crow

Margretta Wikert, Lizzie Duplantis, and Katie Crow

Don’t miss out on two exciting fundraising events for The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas later this month!

Cate Ford and Lauren Swann are hosting Under the Moonlight at Trinity Groves on March 21 to benefit Ronald McDonald House. Guests will enjoy cocktails, dinner by Chef Sharon Van Meter, a live auction, and music by The Phonophreaks. The event’s honorary co-hosts are Vera and Tony Bangs and Cecilie and Ronnie Holman. Tickets start at $250 each and sponsorships start at $2,500.

Young Friends of RMHD are also hosting an event on March 26: A Night with Reckless Kelly. The live music event is at the Foundry in west Dallas from 8 p.m. to midnight. This event’s co-hosts are Katie Crow, Lizzie Duplantis, and Margretta Wikert. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at the RMHD website.

We Want to See Your Snow Creations

Zoe Zaner. 2nd Grader, UP Elementary. (Courtesy Photo)

Zoe Zaner. 2nd Grader, UP Elementary. (Courtesy Photo)

HP is closed again today. There’s more snow and sun, so that means playtime. Send us your pics and we’ll keep adding them to the mix.

Show us those snowmen and snow angels. Just send them to

HP Cancels After-School Programs Today


HPISD has just sent an email that all after-school activities, including sports and the Academy for Lifelong Learning, are canceled today due to impending weather conditions.

The district will monitor the weather as it progresses overnight and make a decision regarding schools by 6 a.m.

HP Grad Gets Taste of Success From Forbes

East Hampton Sandwich Co. founder Hunter Pond opted for a beach-inspired interior. (Photo: Chris McGathey) 0
East Hampton Sandwich Co. founder Hunter Pond opted for a beach-inspired interior. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

When Hunter Pond first opened the East Hampton Sandwich Co. in Snider Plaza in 2012, there’s no way he imagined winding up on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list just three years later.

“It was pretty freaking exciting,” Pond said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, it’s getting real now.’”

The restaurateur is only 27, but he’s already got three locations of fast-casual dining under his belt. Funny thing is, the Highland Park High School graduate never necessarily pictured himself opening a restaurant.

Hyer Auction a Success Despite the Snow

Mary Beth Wagner, Principal Jeremy Gilbert, Courtney Zelazny, and Courtney Gilbert 0
Mary Beth Wagner, Principal Jeremy Gilbert, Courtney Zelazny, and Courtney Gilbert

Even with the snow and ice falling on Friday, things were feeling pretty tropical at Hyer Elementary’s auction event.

The beach-themed auction went off without a hitch at F.I.G. “Our volunteers and auction team worked their magic to get it ready and it all came together,” said Hyer parent Elizabeth Wilson. Parents nibbled on snacks from Food Glorious Food and danced to local musicians Emerald City Band.

The big-ticket items at the auction included a stay at the Cabo House Casa Turquesa in Mexico, a Napa trip for four, and the newest auction item the Hyer Elementary Lock-In (it sold twice).

Courtney Gilbert, Mary Beth Wagner, and Courtney Zelazny chaired the event.

HPMS Student Gets Royal Mardi Gras Treatment

John C. Reilly was the King of Bacchus XLVII, and HPMS student Thomas Lembcke was one of his pages. (Photo: Steve Randon)

John C. Reilly was the King of Bacchus XLVII and HPMS student Thomas Lembcke was one of the pages on his parade float. (Photo: Steve Randon)

Thomas Lembcke, a seventh-grader at Highland Park Middle School, recently got to experience some Mardi Gras revelry firsthand when he was one of 18 young pages during the Krewe of Bacchus parade in New Orleans.

But wait, it gets better. Lembcke got to ride on the King’s Float with the celebrity King of Bacchus, which this year was Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly.

The krewe — with more than 1,400 members and 33 animated floats — stages the only parade to feature pages, and in order to receive that honor, you need to be the son or grandson of a Bacchus member. The theme of this year’s parade was “Children’s Stories That Live Forever.”

Lembcke and his fellow pages tossed beads and doubloons to the crowd during the procession through the French Quarter and other landmarks.

George W. Bush to Speak at SMU Graduation


W. Unbridled. 

Today in things that fill me with envy, former U.S. President George W. Bush will be the keynote speaker at SMU’s May 16 commencement ceremony at Moody Coliseum.

“This commencement is especially noteworthy because 2015 is the 100-year anniversary of SMU’s opening,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner said.”So it is fitting that we should hear from a president who led our nation and the world during historic times and is a valued member of the campus community.”

President Bush also gave the commencement address at SMU in 1999 when he was governor. He is the first speaker to complete a second commencement address at SMU.

As many know, former first lady Laura Bush is a graduate of SMU, and President Bush’s library is located on SMU’s campus. Turner estimates that 700,000 people have visited SMU through the presidential center.

President Bush received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his MBA from the Harvard Business School — which is appropriate, because SMU’s colors are Harvard Red and Yale Blue.

As a side note, I graduated in 2011 — the centennial of the university’s founding — and got U.S. Senator John Cornyn as a commencement speaker. So pony up, everyone.