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SSISD administrators address Travis parents’ concerns

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Administrators Thursday night answered parents’ concerns over administrative, disciplinary and safety issues raised recently at Travis Primary School.

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11 SSHS performers in All Region Clinic

Eleven Sulphur Springs High School band students will have the honor of playing in concert at the All Region Clinic at 3 p.m. Saturday in Mount Pleasant High School’s auditorium. The event is free to the public.

“Out of the last 17 years, we have had the most students ever to qualify for the All Region Clinic this year,” said SSHS Fine Arts Director Charles McCauley. “They were in competition against students from ninth through 12th grades, from different school districts from the entire northeastern part of our state.”  

On Dec. 12, the road to All Region began. Students from more than 30 school districts tried out to be one of 50 members in the Wind Ensemble or one of 80 spots in the Symphonic Band. 

In order to select the top students, a panel of five judges were chosen and hidden behind a screen. Students were asked to come up one at a time and perform three separate pieces that were pre-chosen by the state. Students were divided by instrument into different rooms and had to perform in front of their peers.  

“One of the toughest parts of trying out for All Region is playing in front of fellow students. The judges are hidden, but all the students are watching the performer to see what they can do better. It can be very stressful for those students in front of a large audience,” said McCauley.

The guest conductor for the Wind Ensemble is Dr. W. Dale Warren. He is a senior wind band conductor of the wind symphony and professor of music at the University of Arkansas. Warren has conducted the Razorback Marching Band for years and performed numerous times for former President Bill Clinton, including the 1992 presidential inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.

“The Wind Ensemble is a smaller group composed only of the elite players. Every student will get to perform their own part in the concert,” said McCauley. “For the concert, the students will be performing music they have never seen before. We will start rehearsal tomorrow and Saturday morning, then perform at 3 p.m.  Our students will learn so much about how to prepare for a performance.” 

Carrissa Carter, Zach Herron and Timothy Ramos will be performing with Wind Ensemble and perform Trittico, Intermezzo from Act 3 from Manon Lescaut, Olav Trygvason, Op. 50, Danzon No. 2 and Rolling Thunder.

Symphonic Band will be conducted by Vandegrift High School Music Director Jeremy Spicer. Spicer’s band was named the 2013 UIL 4A State Marching Band Champion. His band has also been named class champion and finalist in Bands of America regional competition with his Wind Ensemble placing third at the 2013 Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band competition. 

“These students have really worked their tales off to be in this concert,” said McCauley. “It will be amazing to hear what they can do in such a short amount of time.”

Sarah Anderson, Hannah Deaton, Emily Moran, Jose Lopez, Christian Corona, Giovanni Villegas, Aaron Randolph and Carlos Ramirez were selected for the Symphonic Band. They will be performing Melodious Thunk, Play!, Hallie’s Light and Garage Band.  

SB’s Cortez accepted into TAMUC honors

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Sulphur Bluff High School senior Raney Cortez has received notification she’s been accepted into the Honors College at Texas A&M University-Commerce. That means a full scholarship covering the cost of tuition, books, room and board, along with other perks.

Cortez told Bear Tracks newsletter she owes her mom a tremendous debt of gratitude for pushing her to work hard, even when things did not come easily to her. She said that she used to hate science, but her mom pushed her to take Advanced Biology. She worked with a tutor and is currently ranked No. 1 in her senior class.

She also has a good ACT score, excels in math and science at school and plans to major in pre-med and work toward a degree as a physical therapist.

Cortez was interviewed by A&M-Commerce Honors College faculty member Dr. Eric L. Gruver and Dean Dr. Ray Green, who have invited her to join the program. 

In addition to her mom, she credits science teacher Hannah Graham Garrett for her help and offers thanks to teacher Leah Gore, who helped her prepare for her college interview.

Kiwanis International turns 100

Members of Sulphur Springs Kiwanis Club celebrated the 100th birthday of Kiwanis during their noon meeting Wednesday.

Kiwanis International began as a single Detroit club and, over the last 100 years, has grown into a premier international service organization with  Kiwanis and Kiwanis-affiliated groups, such as Key Club, CKI and Aktion Club.

Kiwanis International donates more than 18 million hours of service each year and raises more than $100 million in charitable funds annually. 

The local club, chartered 65 years ago, is the home club of four lieutenant governors for Division 32 of the Texas Oklahoma District of Kiwanis International: Jim Tully, Kerry Craig, James Law and Dan Hamiter.

The local club stays busy year round with projects that include the upcoming Pancake Day, cooking burgers for the Special Games day, providing T-shirts for Hopkins County Special Olympics, Kiwanis-Brookshire’s Christmas Food Drive that provides food boxes for as many as 350 families each year, and the flag project that places United States flags around the square and throughout the city on special holidays. Kiwanis also participates in or sponsors Kidfishing at Peavine PInion Pond, CASA, providing lunch for the Key Club Headstart program, Easter eggstravanganza and other events.

The local organization also sponsors the Sulphur Springs High School Key Club and, each year gives a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating senior in one of the high schools in the county as well as a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating Key Club member.

A vast majority of money raised through the local club’s projects remains in Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County.

Sulphur Springs Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at Home Plate Restaurant on East Shannon Road. Danny Weems is the current president of the local club.

SB celebrates homecoming all week, announces nominees for king/queen, other honors

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Sulphur Bluff Independent School District is gearing up with a week’s worth of activities. The candidates for homecoming queen, king, prince, princess, duke and duchess as well as the elementary attendants have been announced.

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