CORY MCCOY, email@example.com
Grace Community School has taken the state's top honor for private schools.
Students from Grace recently won the Henderson Cup award from the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. Headmaster Jay Ferguson said the award was based on points accrued in everything from academic to athletics.
"It's really a schoolwide award. Probably every kid at the high school contributed some points," he said. "It really is a truly schoolwide effort. You'd be very hard-pressed to find somebody in the high school that didn't contribute in some aspect."
This is the first time Grace has taken the award since 2002 and also marks their first win as a 5A school.
Grace finished with 73 points, just three points ahead of runner up Grapevine Faith Christian and four points over Austin St. Michael's Catholic school.
Academics: Grace Community School students competed in the TAPPS State Academic Meet receiving fourth place in the Overall Ranking, the highest ranking of any private school in East Texas. Grace had eight speech and debate entries and 12 academic entries place at the state academic meet in April.
Fine Arts: Grace Community School's Orchestra won the Orchestra State Championship. The band placed fifth in the State Band Competition, while Art finished with third in the State Art Competition. The Grace Choir won the Vocal State Championship for the sixth year in a row. The One-Act play placed second in district and competed as one of the top eight schools in the 5A Classification at the State Meet.
The Drum Line competed in the TAPPS State Drum Line Competition and swept the "Best Of" in every division (Best Tenor Line, Best Snare Line, Best Base Line, Best Cymbal Line, and Best Front Ensemble). The Drum Line also won the State Championship for the third straight year.
Grace swept the TAPPS State Fine Arts of the Year awards with all three of their nominees. Class of 2017 Seniors Jacob Levels and Maci Maddox received Male and Female Fine Arts Student of the Year, while Drum Line instructor Jeff Shelton was recognized as Fine Arts Teacher of the Year.
Athletics: The Grace Football Team finished second in District and were Bi-District Champs, and Regional Qualifiers.
The Lady Cougars won District Championships in Basketball, Soccer, Track, Golf, and Tennis. The Lady Cougars also placed second in District in Cross Country, Volleyball, and Softball. Grace Cheerleaders and Cougarettes competed at the TAPPS State Championships with two girls making First Team All-State and four girls making Second Team All-State.
The Cougar Baseball team took first in District, while the Cougar Soccer, Track, and Golf teams placed second in District.
Both Grace Track Teams finished as the Regionals Runners-Up with five student-athletes winning Regional Championships and 31 student-athletes qualifying for the State Championships. The boys' track team finished as the State Runners-Up and the girls' track team took third in the state rankings. Grace Tennis teams sent three players to the State Championship. Four members of the Grace Swim Team qualified for the TAPPS State Meet.
Athletic Director Joseph Walker noted, "The best part about this award is that it encompasses all of our school competitions and not just one area. It would be difficult to find a student in our high school who did not contribute to this championship directly as part of a team or organization."