A Non-Profit Corporation Supporting HPISD Arts Education ~ End of Year 2014-15

Dear HP Arts Members and Supporters,


The HP Arts Board of Directors is proud to present the newly designed digital Artisan. Our newsletter will still have all our district's great accomplishments you have supported with your membership and gifts to HP Arts, but our electronic version will be much more cost-efficient, saving money in printing and mailing so we can continue our mission of Supporting the Arts in Education to an even greater degree.


The 2014-15 school year was an exciting one as our Programs Committee approved an impressive $83,417 to support enrichment programs and provide much needed equipment and instruction for our students in all grades, K-12. HP Arts' giving is made possible by donors like you and a generous grant from La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas. Thank you for your support! Read on to find out more details about how you made a difference through HP Arts this year.


In closing, I'd like to share what Dr. Dawson Orr cited as his favorite quote when he addressed the HP Arts Board and members of Park Version who serenaded him with the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" at our last meeting this year. The quote is about music, but as Dr. Orr said, the word "music" can easily be interchanged with "The Arts."


Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. ~Plato


I hope you enjoy a summer full of the Arts and the "charm and gaiety to life" that they lend.   


Artfully yours,


Amy Jent


2014-15 HP Arts President



HP Arts Student Awards

HP Arts Linda Raya Scholarships

Dr. Dawson Orr, Margaret Hall, Peter Sommers, Kay Braly, Amy Jent
Margaret Hall and Peter Sommers were awarded the scholarships during the Honors Awards assembly on May 28th. Margaret will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in costume or fashion. Peter will be attending Centenary College of Louisiana and majoring in theater with a focus on technical theater and set design. Both students expressed their thanks to HP Arts and theater teachers Linda Raya and Christopher Eastland for their support and encouragement through the years.

Senior Art Award Winners  

Photography 1st place - Kate Simone

Photography 2nd place - Maury Sheeder

Photography 3rd place - Will Read


2D Art 1st place - Griffin Powell

2D Art 2nd place - Hayley Hendrick

2D Art 3rd place - Pearson Feagans


3D Art 1st place -  Katie Crow

3D Art 2nd place - Alex Slear

3D Art 3rd place - Leah Williams


HP Arts Community Awards

HP Arts Honors Outstanding Supporters

HP Arts annually recognizes outstanding faculty, staff and community volunteers who help further the mission of bringing the arts into the classroom curriculum. Teachers receive a monetary gift, flowers and a certificate of recognition.
Prior to the award announcements, former HP Arts President, Anne Blakeney, pictured below, shared the founding story and a bit of history of HP Arts, which is celebrating 28 years of "Supporting the ARTS in education."

Linda Raya, Anne Blakeney, Amy Jent

Lifetime Community Arts Adv ocate Award 

Dr. and Mrs. Orr, Leslie Melson, Helen Williams, Amy Jent
Dr. Dawson Orr is retiring as Superintendent of Schools for HPISD this summer.
He has been
a dedicated Champion for the arts during his six year tenure! HP Arts honored him with the Lifetime Community Arts Advocate Award and a seat in the
HPHS Palmer Auditorium.

HP A rts Advocates Award 
Anne Besser, Amy Jent, Amy Berry
Amy Berry and Jill Sayre (not pictured) received the HP Arts Advocate Award for their outstanding work on the HP Literary Festival. Incoming co-chair Anne Besser accepted the award on behalf of Jill Sayre .

Arts in Education Teacher Award
Pam Adams, Jill Bellomy, Tracy Bundy
Librarians Jill Bellomy and Leesa Cole (not pictured) received the
Arts in Education Teacher Award for bringing the arts into their
program and curriculum at MIS and HPMS.

Friend of HP Arts


Amy Jent, Linda Raya, Marta Gott

HPHS Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs & Assessment Marta Gott received the Friend of HP Arts Award for her behind the scenes support of the arts. 


Celebrating Fine Arts Teachers

HP Arts Celebrates Fine Arts Teachers with a Reception at the Kumpf Home

The HP Arts Board welcomed the HPISD Fine Arts faculty and administration to a reception in their honor at the home of Wendy and Richard Kumpf. The house was filled with student artwork representing kindergarten through high school. The Highlander Strings ensemble provided the music, and the doors were all open to enjoy the unseasonably warm January weather.


Paul Doucet, Dina Jones Steele, Susan McCormick, Dr. Laurie Hitzelberger

Each year, a student's artwork is chosen to grace the cover of the invitation, and this year's invitation featured Bradfield's Joshua Rubin's artwork of aspen trees. The artwork was on prominent display and greeted guests as they entered.


Joshua Rubin with Impressionist Aspen Trees

HP Arts President Amy Jent thanked those in attendance for the multitude of ways the Fine Arts faculty, at every campus, inspire and encourage the very best in all disciplines of art, music, literature and performance. Linda Raya, HPISD Coordinator of Fine Arts and faculty representative to the HP Arts board, was most gracious in pointing out that HP Arts touches every student at every campus in a myriad of ways and what an invaluable and generous partner they have been in keeping the arts alive and well at HPISD campuses for almost 30 years.


Put a smile on the face of someone you love! Support the arts by
purchasing a commemorative brass plaque for an auditorium seat in the HPHS Palmer Auditorium. Your donation accomplishes two goals:  it supports the arts and it celebrates the family, teacher, graduating senior, or other person you choose by placing their name on the plaque. Each commemorative plaque is $500 and can be purchased by going to the HP Arts website.

Play It Again Sam!

The HP Arts program, Play It Again, Sam! is designed to recycle instruments from the community back into the school music programs. The instruments are considered a donation to HP Arts and are eligible for a tax-deductible contribution. If you would like to donate an instrument, please contact Kathleen Whalen. This year, HP Arts received:  

          • Double Bass, half size
          • Violin, half size
          • Cello, full size
          • Trombone
          • Drum Set, beginner
HPISD Centennial Celebration

Alumni and visitors were welcomed to the HP Arts booth in the Scots Museum during the HP100 Centennial Celebration in October. The exhibit featured HP graduates who have had notable careers in the fine arts, along with the costume hats from the Linda Raya Gala held during February of 2013. There were many fond memories and good stories surrounding the HP Arts Centennial Museum display.


The daughter of Dorothy Malone (film actress, class of 1941)  snapped a photo of the display and said her mother would be thrilled to see she was included. Others remembered being in plays with Stark Sands (two-time Tony Award acting nominee, class of 1997) and Doug Wright (Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, class of 1981) . Many had read Elizabeth L. Silver's book, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton, and remembered her as the fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof. One gentleman wandered up and bent down to see the poster and two CD's of the Mockingbird Sun country music band and said, "That's my nephew, Brett Taylor, I had no idea they were doing that well!"

High School News

Dance I Students Learn Dances from Around the World 



The week before Thanksgiving had the Dance I classes with Emily Sanchez going around the world for instruction and inspiration. Pictured are HPHS students in grades 9-12 learning the northern Indian style of dance known as "Bollywood." Sarita Venkataraman was invited by Ms. Sanchez to teach for the day and helped students understand this style of dance unique to the country of India and its cinema. The students enjoyed four additional days of the dance styles of West Africa accompanied by drums, the highland dances of Scotland, fan dancing from China, and Spanish flamenco. This is the fifth year HP Arts has sponsored these visiting instructors, enriching the dance experience of these first year dance students.  


A "Thank You!" Message from Video Tech Students
Thank you HP Arts and La Fiesta 
When the students in the HPHS Video Technology class received a $12,00 0 grant from La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas to purchase new equipment, they found the perfect way to say thank you - by using the new technology to produce a video. The students and Video Tech teacher, Manuel Vasquez, appreciate the support they receive from La Fiesta and HP Arts. 

HPHS Art Students Advance to State Competition   


HP Arts supported the Art department with the purchase of drying racks for 2-D work and a Dell color multifunction laser printer. Additionally, a visit from Even Stone, a copyright lawyer, who provided professional insight into the protection of their craft, was made possible through HP Arts.

Griffin Powell, Anna Fain, Finn Jent, Sarah Walker, Alex Novak, Elle Meneghetti

HPHS art students participated in the state Visual Arts Scholastic Event art competition in April. HP had seven works of art advance to the state level. Each year there are more than 28,000 entries at the regional level, and 1,600 of those advance to state. HP students advancing to the state competition include:

          • Alex Novak, two medals
          • Griffin Powell
          • Elle Meneghetti
          • Finn Jent
          • Sarah Walker
          • Hannah Fain
Highlander Band Percussion Success!

The HP drum line spent one Saturday in November, shuttling between competitions in two different cities - and emerged champions in both. The students competed at the Lewisville Drum Line Contest, where they won all four instrument categories and first place in class.

They then competed at the state's largest drum line contest, the Lone Star Classic, where they advanced to finals and won their class. In addition, they won outstanding bass line, and Matthew West was awarded second place for his original composition solo on the tenors.

For competition, the drum line includes the drum section, the battery (bass drums, tenors and snares) and the front ensemble, which includes other percussion instruments such as mallet instruments, synthesizers, and gong. The drum line is directed by James LaBrecque and assistant Zach Sherburne. HP Arts funding provided an expert teacher for the Front Ensemble. What an honor to be a small part of their success!

"These two championships represent untold hours of work by the students," HPHS Director of Bands Reagan Brumley said. "Mr. LaBrecque is a master teacher and is completely dedicated to quality in all that he does. Our students are very, very lucky to have someone this competent leading our percussion program and working with the band program in general."

Academic Decathlon Team Advanced to National Meet for the First Time   



Five decathletes represented HPHS at the National Academic Decathlon meet in April in Garden Grove, Calif. (The results of the State Ac-Dec Meet can be found here.) HP Arts was pleased to play a role in the success of the Ac-Dec team this year through materials funding. It was the first time ever for the Scots to advance to the national meet, and of the 90 medals awarded to decathletes representing 33 states, China, and the United Kingdom, HP earned 8 of them: 

  • Captain David Wiegn placed third in Honors Art and scored 8,243 points overall.
  • State Scholastic overall champion Rousha Nikbeh earned a silver medal in Social Science and bronze in both Art and Science. She broke the 8,000 point mark with a score of 8,129.
  • Alex Gerrese brought home silver in Social Science and bronze in Speech and was HP's top-scoring decathlete with an overall score of 8,350.
  • Becky Jenkins captured silver in Music and Science and scored 7,800 points overall.
  • Stephen Chambers scored 6,893 points.
  Lassies Invited to Perform at TMEA  


The HPHS Lassies, the varsity women's choir, was invited by the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) to perform in concert at the 2015 TMEA State Convention in February. This is the first invitation for HPHS since 1994. 


Each year, hundreds of high school choir recordings are submitted to a committee that listens for musical excellence, high levels of artistry and passionate singing. The committee then selects seven to eight high school choirs to perform at the TMEA convention.  


In support of this tremendous honor, HP Arts support provided an accompanist for rehearsals in preparation of the performance. 

Debate Team Accolades

The Debate Team, which includes members from the high school and middle school had a remarkable year.
HP Arts assisted with funding two debate consultants to help throughout the season. More than 90 students are involved with Debate in grades 7-12. Click here to read all about their success. 

Theater Students Learn New Stage Skills

Linda Raya's and Christopher Eastland's Theater students had the opportunity, thanks to HP Arts, to learn some new skills for the stage. Approximately 1,000 students in grades 9-12 took part in some or all of the following workshops: Kent Williams Stage Combat, Improvisation, Caroline Hardin Choreography, and Acting for Film.
New Mellophones for the Highlander Band

Musicians in the Highlander Band who play the French horn during concert season play the mellophone during marching season. HP Arts was pleased to provide funding for seven new mellophones to be used this fall! The Highlander Band has seen tremendous growth under the direction of Reagan Brumley, Director of Bands; up from about 95 members in 2011 to an estimated 150 for the fall of 2015. Go Band!
Orchestra Benefits from Sectional Coaches

Hauntcert at Northpark Mall
Throughout the year, HP Arts underwrote special sectional coaches for nearly 90 orchestra students. These students share their talent in the community and throughout the district at special events such as Convocation, HP Arts Celebration of Fine Arts Teachers, Hauntcert at Northpark Mall during Halloween, as well as several free concerts in the Palmer Auditorium.

HP Arts was honored to provide a special arranger for the spring concert music. 

Seniors Reflect on Their Fine Arts Experiences

Mallory McMinn   


I have been a part of the Fine Arts program throughout middle school and high school. I am a twirler, play the clarinet, and love studio art. My freshman year, I took Drawing I, as a filler class, something easy to add to my day. I did not realize that I would come to love art so much. I was not great at drawing, but I talked with my teacher and he told me about the Ceramics class that I could take my junior year. 


When junior year arrived, I was in Ceramics and ready to learn. It was there that I found my true passion - studio design and clay. I had a fantastic year and made so many new projects. I ended up being a helper for other kids in the class who had trouble working with the material. The end of the year was approaching and I knew I definitely wanted to take another art class, however, I wasn't sure what class would allow me to continue working with the same material. My art teacher suggested a very challenging class, AP 3D Design.


McMinn had a ceramic design featured in the
Highlander Festival Art Show.

This class was unlike any other class I have taken; the work was intensive and I was required to make pieces in mass quantity. For the AP exam at the end of the year, I had eight pieces of Breadth (or mixed art of my choice) and 12 pieces of Concentration (pieces having to do with a certain theme or idea). I was overwhelmed and sometimes I wished I hadn't taken that class, but I found that this was something that I wanted to continue throughout my life and not just as a hobby. I decided I wanted to earn an art degree. I really can't imagine what the past four years would have been like without the fun and inspiration of my art teachers or my art classes.


Art has helped me define myself and has helped guide me in what I want to do in my future. This coming fall I will attend Southern Methodist University, majoring in Studio Design and minoring in Botany.   


Peter Sommers 

My love of the arts, especially theater, began in sixth grade when I was told, "No" during "Music Man Jr." rehearsals. I wanted to help backstage, but had to wait a year. By the end of 8th grade, I was hooked on Technical Theater.  


My freshman year was difficult. At the time, freshmen took Theater I and did not work backstage. I felt lost and my grades suffered. Beginning in my sophomore year, I was active in Technical Theater and joined the Highlander Band where I was in the color guard and played euphonium in the spring during concert season. My grades improved!  


The fine arts have given me my best self. I am more adventurous for my fine arts experiences. During my high school years, I have taken ballet and Broadway dance classes and spent a summer traveling the country with the Crossmen, a World Class Drum Corps. I was honored to perform the Drum Dance during Senior Night last fall. I took Art I as a senior where I had my first project, a clay sculpture, selected for the Highlander Festival. You can see it in the town of Highland Park's library.


In college, I will major in Theater Arts, with plans to be a set designer, and then get my masters in fine arts after a few years of work experience. Thank you, HP Arts, for everything you do to support the arts at Highland Park High School and throughout the district. The arts have changed my life for the better! 


HP Literary Festival

The Highland Park Literary Festival seeks to inspire and encourage students, teachers, and the community to celebrate language in its artfully written, spoken, and sung formats. The two-day festival offers student assemblies with noted speakers, a community event, and more than 50 small group workshops connecting HPHS students with novelists, journalists, poets, storytellers, playwrights, screenwriters, and songwriters. Read more about this year's Lit-Fest here. 

The HP Literary Festival is made possible with the support of the HPHS English faculty and by generous donations from La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, HP Arts, HPHS PTA and HPISD families.  


The 19th annual Highland Park Literary Festival welcomed award-winning author Jeanette Walls as the keynote speaker. Walls, an American journalist, is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including The Glass Castle: A Memoir.

2015 Highland Park Literary Festival Student Awards Breakfast

The festival includes a student-run Open Mic Night during which students share readings, musings, poetry, and musical performances. The festival concludes with a student writing contest and awards breakfast. 

Nonfiction (essay)
Sarah Grace Forbes
Amy Liu


Elizabeth Armistead  

Hannah Kubik


Sarah Grace Forbes

Cindy Ren  
Raef Rothschild
Natalie Steinway
Charles Seidel

Honorable Mention

Karen Chen 

Honorable Mention 
Ashley Farley
Middle and Intermediate School News

Choir Students Excel in Plano Festival

The MIS/HPMS choir students traveled to Plano in May and returned with two superior Division I  trophies for their stellar performances at the Pride of Texas Music Festival. HP Arts was pleased to  provide a professional clinician for the Raider Choir as they prepared for their competition season.  
Susan McCormick Featured in University Park Life, April Edition

HP Arts was pleased to support the Creativity/Playbill classes at MIS/HPMS with a Stage Combat Workshop from Kent Williams this spring. A Chinese Dance Workshop for Drama TEKS was held in November.

Photo by Jin Kim Studio
From University Park Life, April Edition: 

This year marks Susan's 38th year of teaching. She taught middle school and high school in Montana for a decade before she started at Highland Park Middle School (HPMS) and McCulloch Intermediate School (MIS), where she teaches classes in acting, musical theatre and creativity.

"When I started teaching, I could see the change that drama would create in kids," Susan said. "I could see also that it was a safe place for kids to be - to use that creative energy and just to grow. That whole idea to me is very, very fulfilling."

Susan said she teaches at the middle school level to impact kids during a transition period in their lives. Those years were a difficult period for her, and she remains grateful for a mentor she had during that time. Read the full story here.

Raider Band Received Two New 3/4 sized Tubas
Seventh grader with full size tuba.
HP Arts funded two new 3/4 sized tubas for the Raider Band. This smaller size makes the instrument more accessible to a sixth grader. After all, no concert or marching band w ould be the same without the tuba! "It is the foundation of the band's ensemble sound." said Reagan Brumley, Director of Instrumental Music for HPISD.

Academy Award-Nominated Actress Visits with 8th-graders


Mary Bedham, the actress who played Scout Finch in the 1962 classic movie To Kill a Mockingbird, visited Highland Park Middle School in November. Bedham, who earned an Academy Award nomination for her role, spoke to eighth-graders about the book, the film and her role in it, and the important themes from this work. It was the culmination of their study of the novel.

Community members were also invited to hear Bedham speak that evening. The events were funded by HP Arts.

Elementary School News

The Fort Worth Opera  


Students in 2nd & 3rd grade at Armstrong, Hyer and UP Elementary, enjoyed a visit from the Fort Worth Opera. The students were enthusiastic in their participation as they helped in the telling of "The Ugly Duckling" (Hyer and UP) and "Billy Goats Gruff" (Armstrong).





"The Butterfly Guy" Meets Hyer 4th-graders

Hyer 4th graders were paid a visit by "The Butterfly Guy" Tony Delia, who is a specialist in monarch butterflies. Delia used a perfect blend of art and science to teach the science of the metamorphosis of the Monarch butterfly. HP Arts encourages education that uses artistic teaching tools in the core curriculum.

Author Dianna H. Aston Visits Elementary Schools

Thanks to HP Arts, author Dianna H. Aston visited for a full day each with Armstrong, Bradfield, Hyer, and UP students in grades K-4. On her website, Aston describes her visits, "Talking with school children is one of the best parts of being a children's book author. I'm inspired by their curiosity, their questions and their interest in learning. My hope is to plant a seed that writing, art and music are fuel for the imagination and that they can earn a living by doing what they love." Aston is the author of an amazing series beginning with the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet.

Painting with Wool

Fourth graders at Armstrong, Bradfield and UP elementary schools learned about the history of making wool sheets known as felting. The students listened to traditional music from Mongolia while they learned how the people of Mongolia create large sheets of wool, used to cover their dwellings. Students were able to choose colorful strips of wool to create their own works of art! Janet Reynolds and Mimi Smith from The Brilliant Art Ladies, provided a learning opportunity that included geography, history, music, and art. 

Shelton Shakes Up Students

Armstrong and UP first graders, and Bradfield first and second graders were entertained by the high-energy presentation of percussion by Mark Shelton. "Strike, Scrape and Shake" is Shelton's way of demonstrating the various ways people from all over the world, from the beginning of time, have made music. To illustrate his point, Shelton began the program by entering the auditorium while striking the seats, walls, books, his shoe, a trash can and various instruments with drum sticks.

An interactive presentation allowed the students to suggest other ways people make music, "Rocks! Sticks! Bones!" Shelton suggested that our own bodies work quite well as he encouraged students in the art of hambone. Percussion is not just about being loud, however, as soothing and mellow sounds were demonstrated using a steel handpan instrument called the Halo.     

Shakespeare Dallas Teaches and Entertains Hyer and UP Students

Fourth graders at Hyer and UP Elementary schools enjoyed the performance Shakespeare Dallas: Oh This Learning, What a Thing It Is! The production focused on the language of Shakespeare with period costumes, beautiful scenery panels, and audience participation. HP Arts is honored to support the learning of history, literature, drama, and language through events like the one Shakespeare Dallas shared with these students. 

Remember HP Arts During Back to School Sign Up

Remember to renew your HP Arts membership during Back to School Sign Up (BSSU). HP Arts is able to provide funding for many valuable programs thanks to members like YOU! Giving is easy through BSSU, or make an on-line donation at the HP Arts website here. Click the link below to learn more about the importance of the Arts in HPISD. A special thank you to David Hicks and the HPISD Communications Department for sharing their Fine Arts Oral History video.

HPISD Centennial Oral History Chapter 6: Fine Arts


The sixth video in the HPISD Communications Department's Centennial Oral History collection focuses on the tradition of excellence in Fine Arts within HPISD. Click to view the video which includes interviews with:

  • Linda Raya, HPISD Fine Arts Director
  • Eddie Coker, 1979 HP grad, performance artist
  • Doug Wright, 1981 HP grad, screenwriter/playwright
  • Stephanie March, 1992 HP grad, actress
  • Pierce Allman, 1950 HP grad and HPISD Distinguished Alum
  • Rebecca Beasley, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas
  • Leslie Melson, HPISD School Board President
  • Jerry Fullinwider, 1946 HP grad

Board of Directors 2014-15

Executive Committee

President - Amy Jent

Vice President - Polly McKeithen

Secretary - Bebe Triplett

Treasurer - Renee Hansford

Programs Chair - Ashley Meece

Publicity Chair - Wylly Goodson


Committee Chairs

Arrangements - Tish Key

Artisan - Susan Sommers

Community Outreach - Sarah Clark

Membership - Katherine Schultz and Beth Susens

Play-It-Again-Sam - Rebeca Peterman

Publicity Assistants - Jennifer McIlyar and Julie Smith

Special Events - Pam Adams and Wendy Kumpf

Student Art Coordinator - Reva Knight Henderson

Take-A-Seat - Brandi Sarfatis

Website - Christy Gehlbach


Programs Committee - School Representatives

Armstrong - Kathy Gameros

Bradfield - Beth Newton

Hyer - Rachel Blaylock

UP - Dana Manley

HPMS/MIS - Tracy Bundy

HPHS - Karen Walters


Board of Directors 2015-16

Executive Committee

President - Tish Key

Vice President - Bebe Triplett

Secretary - Reva Knight Henderson

Treasurer - Katherine Schultz

Programs Chair - Dana Manley

Publicity Chair - Brandi Sarfatis


Committee Chairs

Arrangements - Beth Susens and Robyn Galerston*

Artisan - Wylly Goodson

Membership - Molly Pieroni*

Play-It-Again-Sam - Kathleen Whalen*

Publicity Assistants - Wendy Kumpf and Stacey Cochran*

Social Media - Amy Camp*

Special Events - Margaret Napier* and Jodi Perdue

Student Art Coordinator - Pam Adams

Take-A-Seat - Sue Sanford*

Website - Leslie Kibby*


Programs Committee - School Representatives

Armstrong - Kathy Gameros

Bradfield - Beth Newton

Hyer - Rachel Blaylock

UP - Carrie Ellen Adamian*

HPMS/MIS - Tracy Bundy

HPHS - Karen Walters


*New Members


New members L-R include: Margaret Napier, Kathleen Whalen, Molly Pieroni, Amy Camp, Leslie Kibby, Jodi Perdue, Not pictured: Robyn Galerston, Stacey Cochran, Carrie Ellen Adamian, Sue Sandford

Fine Arts Newsletters 2014-15

Read about the Fine Arts Achievements and Honors at all HPISD Schools


 Fine Arts News October 2014 


Fine Arts News November 2014 


(Not published in December & January)


Fine Arts News February 2015 


Fine Arts News March 2015 


Fine Arts News April 2015 


Fine Arts News May 2015