Conroe ISD recognizes student successes by musicians, cheerleaders

February 28, 2017 GMT

Conroe ISD’s monthly meeting of the board typically consists of a small gathering of educators, information or initiative presenters and a few local residents.

On Feb. 20, this was not the case.

The boardroom was packed from wall-to-wall to witness the district’s recognition of the successes of two specific groups of students - the Oak Ridge High School Cheerleading Team and musicians from across the district who participated in the 2017 Texas Music Educators Association All-State.

The students recently participated in competitions against teams from across the state and the nation, both leaving victorious within their divisions.

The Oak Ridge High School Cheerleading Team became UIL 6A Band Dance Cheerleading State Champions and UCA National High School Cheerleading Champions in the Super Large Varsity Game Day Division.

They are the first-ever UIL state champions from the district.

Oak Ridge High School Coach Sarah Parker joined the district in 2006, and since then she and the team have gone to national competitions multiple times, but have never won on this caliber.

For the UIL statewide competition involving 126 other 6A teams, the Oak Ridge High School Cheerleaders placed third overall and first in the Band Dance division - which is the specific achievement the team was recognized for during the board meeting. After this state-level win, however, the team went on to compete in the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s national high school competition where they won first place overall.

During the board meeting, the athletes wore white jackets, which Parker said is a symbol of their victory. If a team arrives wearing a UCA white jacket, it shows the other teams that they’re winners.

“For both wins, it put a little bit of spirit back into our school, especially with the national win,” Parker said.

“I will say that we were already a school recognized for doing well in these categories, but now we get to serve kind of as role models for other teams in our district. We want to help be leaders and guide them in the right direction. We want to serve as a stepping stone. Like, ‘Hey, if we did it, so can you.’”

For the 2017 TMEA champs, the group of students is made up of bands, orchestras and choirs from across the district in individual and group ensembles. Conroe ISD’s Coordinator of Fine Arts Robert Horton said the students began the auditions for this competition in September, making their way through the selective process.

Horton explained the process, saying that what began as 68,000 students dwindled down to 1,700 students from the across the state hoping to perform in one of 15 ensembles, which include band, orchestras and choirs.

“Less than 3 percent of musicians who initially audition become All-State musicians, and 24 of these students are from Conroe ISD,” Horton said via email. “We are extremely proud of these students for their diligence and high level of accomplishment. They are excellent examples of the reward of perseverance and being willing to persist in a learning journey.”