Category: Education

Award-Winning Violinist Named SMU Chamber Music Director


Aaron Boyd

Award-winning violinist Aaron Boyd, a member of the acclaimed Escher String Quartet, has been named director of chamber music and professor of practice in violin in the Division of Music at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, beginning with the fall 2017 semester.

“During the past two years, Aaron has worked with many of our students and faculty as a member of the renowned Escher String Quartet and, this past year, as interim associate director of chamber music,” director of the Meadows Division of Music David Mancini said.

Providence Eighth-grader Completes 140 Books


Elizabeth Thompson

Providence Christian eighth-grader Elizabeth Thompson recently completed her 140th book, becoming the first student to complete every work in the school’s Headmaster’s Reading Society list.

Many years ago, a group of school parents and staff compiled an exhaustive recommended reading list. The general consensus was that there were too many works included, making it overwhelming to students and parents.

To ensure students were reading the very best works, outgoing headmaster Dr. Tony Jeffrey asked librarian Sue Netherland to compile a “Top 35” list for each grade level.

UP Student Earns Acting Award


Courtesy Photo

Macrae Smith, a University Park resident and student at Trinity Christian Academy (TCA), recently received the Outstanding Actor in a Minor Role award at the Schmidt and Jones Awards Gala for his performance in Cinderella. Smith was one of three students from TCA who received awards for their role in the play.

Greenhill Names Hark New Head of School


Lee J. Hark

The Greenhill School announced this afternoon that Lee J. Hark will be the new head of school effective July 1, 2018. He previously worked as the upper school director and associate head of school at Durham Academy in Durham, North Carolina.

Hark graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an English degree in 1992. He also holds a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and did doctoral work at the University of Virginia.

HPISD Unplugged

When buildings are not in use, officials want lights off and electronics unplugged. (Courtesy HPISD)

Highland Park schools have gained recognition for strides in energy conservation.

“For almost three years we have been reducing energy usage,” district spokesperson David Hicks said. “This includes common sense things — making sure the lights and HVAC system [are] turned off at the end of the school day. Additionally, we make sure that when the service staff is working, only the lights are on that are absolutely necessary.”

The same is true during summer breaks as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Lights are turned off and all devices are unplugged.

Wesley Prep Students, Homeless Inspire Each Other


Wesley Prep students and Austin Street Center residents write poems together. (Photo: Amy Good)

Ernestine Slanti’s hands were shaking as nearly 300 people listened to her read a poem on a small coffeehouse stage.

Slanti wasn’t even sure if she could make it to the reading. Nerves and a fear of sharing her work made her want to run away, but a sense of obligation to a wide-eyed group of fourth-graders ultimately convinced her to overcome her fears.

The Common Ground Experiment started as a class project at Wesley Prep to provide sack lunches and Christmas cards to Austin Street Center, a shelter helping the underserved transition out of homelessness.

Belles Annual Spaghetti Supper Set for Sept. 8


Courtesy Highland Belles

The Highland Belles drill team will kick off the first home game of the 2017 Highland Park High School football season with its annual Spaghetti Supper and auction/raffle fundraiser Sept. 8. This year’s theme is We’re All in Fringe Together.Amore Italian Restaurant will again partner with the Highland Belles for the 22nd year.

The entire community is encouraged to attend the silent auction held in the HPHS Cafetorium during the supper. A fun-filled family night is planned to rally HP spirit before the Highland Park vs. Waxahachie football game.

This is the Belles’ only fundraiser. Proceeds will fund many of the drill team’s essentials including bus transportation to football games, props and equipment for performances, choreography, sound systems and competition expenses.

The Belles are seeking community support through underwriting, a silent auction, and raffle sales. There will be over 500 silent auction items that have been donated by community businesses and friends. Dinner tickets are $10.00 each and raffle chances are $5.00 each or 6 for $25.00.

Tickets go on sale June 15 and can be purchased from any Highland Belle or via email at, [email protected].

HPHS Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian


HPHS principal Walter Kelly, valedictorian Sandra Kong, salutatorian Sarah Hong, and superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg enjoy a moment during the Senior Honors Day celebration.

Sandra Kong was announced as Highland Park High School's valedictorian during the Senior Honors Day ceremony today at the school's Palmer Auditorium.  Sarah Hong was named salutatorian.

The graduation ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow night inside SMU's Moody Coliseum.

Congressman Visits Shelton School


Congressman Jeb Hensarling and son Travis (center) with fellow students and history teacher LuAnn Dolly.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R – Dallas) recently took to a different style podium. Instead of one used in Washington, D.C. as Chairman of the House Finances Committee, he stood behind the podium at Shelton School and presented a lesson on the United States Constitution to seventh grade students.

Hensarling was introduced by his son Travis, a Shelton seventh-grader. ]Travis led the introduction by enlisting a round of applause for teachers present in the audience.

Hensarling spoke with students about the Constitution, the Constitutional Convention, the Declaration of Independence and Articles of the Confederation. “You should get an ‘A’ in this course,” he told one student who correctly answered many questions about how an idea becomes a law.

Not all student questions were serious ones. Students queried Hensarling with “Have you ridden on Air Force One,” “Where do you live,” and “Do you have a pen used by the President to sign laws?” Hensarling, who’s been a congressman for 14 years, described his everyday schedule to students, his D.C. living quarters, and his travel arrangements. He cautioned students to help him track his time, with the admonition that “politicians can be known for talking too long.”

“We were pleased to have the congressman on our campus. And I’m proud of the way our students conversed candidly with him” middle school history teacher LuAnn Dolly said. “This makes history come alive for our students.”