"Marking Our Mark" Plano ISD Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 21, 2016
Plano ISD's annual tribute celebrating the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was held the evening of January 21 at Williams High School. The event featured the theme "Marking Our Mark" and showcased student talent through stage and musical performances, essay readings and awards presentations. "Remember When" videos featured retired district leaders.
History of Plano ISD
Read a history of Plano ISD, narrated by Teachers of the Year Lilli Wisler and Jennifer Denton, Williams High School students and Superintendent of Schools Brian Binggeli.
Pre-program entertainment was provided by the Rice Middle School Jazz Band, directed by Jason Tucker and David Lipe. Nancy Humphrey, school board president.
As guests arrived at the event, they enjoyed browsing a gallery of MLK Art Contest gallery of finalists' and semifinalists' artwork and enjoyed making their marks on an interactive chalk art wall.
Art Contest Awards
Recognition of the first place art award winners in each of four categories was provided by Board President Nancy Humphrey and Teachers of the Year Lilli Wisler and Jennifer Denton. The contest was sponsored by the Plano ISD Education Foundation.
Plano Children's Chorale performed a popular Zambian song, "Bonse Aba" to help culminate the tribute event.
Tate Keen sang “Song of Freedom," with lyrics by Michael Cao, Skaggs Elementary School student, and music by Tate, a Plano Senior High School and Texas Christian University alum. He was accompanied on piano by his sister Rachel Franklin, Plano Senior High School alum.
"This event wouldn’t be possible without the work of the Plano ISD MLK Planning Committee under the direction of Dr. Myrtle Hightower. Dr. Hightower has served as chairperson for this event for many years and we appreciate her leadership at this event and throughout the community."
-Nancy Humphrey, President, Plano ISD Board of Trustees
"270,000 residents now call this 72-square-mile piece of land home, creating a rich melting pot of culture. With one in four Plano residents being born outside of the United States, this has truly become an international community. More than 85 languages are spoken by Plano ISD students alone.
One-room school houses have transformed into 72 schools that hold 55,000 students and 6,600 employees who are all making their mark in the classroom and within the community. Students are building their lives on the foundation laid by those before us by embracing collaboration and immersing themselves in the global society."
-Dr. Brian T. Binggeli, Superintendent of Schools
Williams High School Student Narrators
Throughout the tribute event, the following Williams High School students narrated a history of Plano ISD, taking the audience on a journey from 1964 to present day.
- Morgan Alexander
- Jesenia Castro
- Mikaela Pratt
- Lisa Amen
- Gabriela Evans
- Jaydn Sims
- Luke Baldwin
- Anakuh Hunck
- Sanya Srivastava
- Blake Bathman
- Skye Maulsby
- Danielle Trujillo
- David Blackman
- Jacqueline Mazariegos
Elementary Student Legacy Writing Winners
MLK Essay Contest winners read their award winning original letters to Dr. King throughout the MLK Tribute event.
- Ciara Matthews -- Hedgcoxe Elementary
- Leah Comisar -- Centennial Elementary
- Samuel Paiz -- Mendenhall Elementary
- Keira Hines -- Centennial Elementary
- Maya Comisar -- Centennial Elementary
- Victoria Catin -- Daffron Elementary
- Sahasra Davuluri -- Hickey Elementary
- Elise Nelson -- Centennial Elementary
- Imae Mbede -- Davis Elementary
Diversity Leadership Awards
Nominees and winners of Plano ISD Diversity Leadership Awards were announced at the MLK Tribute event by Nisha Springer, Plano ISD Diversity Advisory Committee awards chairman. Winners were presented with awards by Autry Daniel, Plano ISD employee recruitment and retention assistant director.
The awards are coordinated annually by the Plano ISD Diversity Advisory Committee to recognize students, staff and community members whose actions honor the work and ideals of Dr. King. The winners were announced in a video featuring Pearson Early Childhood School students.
Shray Tapaiawala, Plano East Senior High School (Honorable Mention)
When this Plano East Senior High School student isn’t fulfilling his duties as the secretary of a non-profit organization that helps build schools in rural villages in India, he is busy planning and founding new events to bring awareness to the many diverse cultures on his campus. Through entertaining events that include dance, fashion, food and fun, he hopes to help spread the idea that we all have so much to learn from one another and that no culture is better than another. Recently, he helped found an organization called Hindus of America, which caught the attention of the State Representative from Hawaii who now endorses the group.
Jenine Taher, Plano Academy High School
This year, the school district challenged staff and students to “Make Your Mark,” and Jenine is someone who is doing just that both on a local and global level. Whether leading a small team to raise $20,000 to help families in Thailand, Burma and Africa or acting as liaison to the community on behalf of a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide relief in Syria, Jenine is consistently engaging our community to help those in need around the world. Her current project includes planning the implementation of a program in Jordan this summer working with schools to provide books and mentoring young people whom she feels are victims of a school system that doesn't instill the idea of hope and aspiration in their students.
Forman Elementary School’s 'Beautiful Me' Program -- Andrea Jaramillo, Jody Duran, Linea Villarreal, Courtney Tarrer and Amy Durham
After teachers at Forman Elementary began noticing some of their female students seemed to suffer from low self-esteem, these coordinators made it their mission to create a place for these girls to learn the importance of celebrating their individuality and uniqueness through increasing their love of self and others through community and school service projects. This group provides a safe place for Forman fourth and fifth grade girls to learn life skills and build on their discovered inner strengths and uniqueness. “Beautiful Me" not only strengthens the inner self-worth of each young lady though. It also exposes them to possible future professions allowing them to develop skills and knowledge to ready them for future leadership.
Donna Moreland, Haggard Middle School MathCounts Program
For the past few years, Donna has given countless hours of her time as a leader in the in this program at her campus. Each year her students in the program compete in the MathCounts competition for the deaf and hard of hearing in Rochester, New York. This experience gives her students an opportunity to not only be a part of a group with shared goals but also gives them an experience that allows them to relate to their hearing peers as well. For the students to be chosen to compete is an honor and a great self-esteem booster. She is persistent with her encouragement of her students and actively promotes acceptance by encouraging them to share their experience of being on a MathCounts team with their hearing peers. Thank you Donna for working so hard on behalf of your students.
The following group and individual were also nominated for the award and recognized at the event.
- Clark High School ESL Program - Natalie Bauerkemper, Laura Caffrey and Sharinda Stone
- Chloe Kersh, Plano West Senior High School
- Greg Arp
- Kris Benson
- Dr. Brian Binggeli
- Earnest Burke
- Dr. Kary Cooper
- Autry Daniel
- Dr. Camica Davis
- Reuben Davis
- Chris Dunkle
- Margaret Dyer
- Gloriane Fernandez
- Brionna Gray
- Bill Gilkison
- Chris Glasscock
- Mary Gorden
- Laura Grundler
- Dr. Myrtle Hightower, chair
- Dr. Cheri Izbicki
- Jeremy Kondrat
- Kathy Kuddes
- Joy Lovell
- Brian Lyons
- Gloria Martinez
- Nicole Michener
- Jonathan Miller
- Jason Myatt
- Karla Oliver
- Natausha Sibbaluca
- Earl Simpkins
- Lesley Range-Stanton
- Joel Remakel
- Travis Smith
- M'Lou Taylor Hyttinen
- James Thomas, III
- Brittnea Ussery
- Arthur Young