Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

November 15, 2012

Drama in the board room

Ram Theater members take center stage at MWISD board meeting as they prepare for state festival event


Mineral Wells Index

— By LIBBY CLUETT

At the Mineral Wells ISD board meeting Tuesday, officers of the International Thespian Society Troupe No. 4607 presented pledges to the United States and Texas flags and, along with a company of Mineral Wells High School students will represent the only Class 3A or smaller high school qualifying to perform at the Texas State Thespian Festival.

Josh Davis, Marina Loredo, Jonna Pennington, Courtney Havens, Lynse Phillips, Derrick Lorher and Caleb Byram each told trustees how being involved in the Ram drama program has affected their lives at MWHS.

These students are part of a company of 29 MWHS thespians who recently had their play “Tombstone” judged and accepted for performance at the Texas State Thespian Festival. The state festival, part of the International Thespian Society, takes place Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Houston. The Ram Theater company must raise funds for registration, travel, gas, hotel, food and the like in order to send the full complement of cast and crew to the festival, along with the set, props, costumes and everything that goes with the production.

Last summer, Loredo and Havens qualified to perform “Take Me or Leave Me,” from the Broadway musical “Rent,” at the International festival after they scored “superior” ratings at the state festival. At the international festival the Ram thespian/singing duo scored “excellent” ratings from all three judges.

Theater Director Kris Allen previously told the Index that the state festival includes numerous learning opportunities, such as workshops presented by professional actors and instructors. Loredo told trustees that she would like to see more of her troupe attend the state thespian festival and possibly advance to the international festival.

On Nov. 24, the MWHS “Tombstone” company and parents will hold a fundraiser garage sale, from 7 a.m. to noon, in the parking lot behind Metro Food Store. To donate items to the garage sale, contact Aurora Garcia at (940) 452-1253.

For any community members who want to contribute or find out more information on how to help send the Mineral Wells High School Ram Theater Company to the state festival in late November, contact Theater Director Kris Allen at kallen@mwisd.net or theater sponsor Beth Williams at (940) 325-1344 or (940) 327-7159.

In other business Monday, trustees:

• Recognized internal employees as the district’s partners of the month, including food services, transportation and maintenance staff, as well as campus security and school resource officers.

“A student learns better when he or she has good food, comfortable facilities, transportation to school or field trips and has a safe environment. These people are essential partners,” said Public Information Officer Mary Creighton.

Superintendent Gail Haterius and board Vice President Scott Aaron additionally awarded Creighton with a Partner-in-Education certificate, namely for her hard work at organizing the Veterans’ Day ceremony for students, veterans and the Palo Pinto County community.

• Had a public hearing in which they heard from Chief Financial Officer Paul Hearn that MWISD received a “superior achievement” rating on the 2010-11 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.

“Superior” is the top rating possible and MWISD scored 67 out of 70 potential points, Hearn said, adding that the district missed a few points because its debt-related expenditures per student were greater than $350, at $852.

“This number was inflated because we paid $740,273 for the bleacher payoff,” Hearn told trustees. “Our total debt decreased by [$1.978] million during 2010-11 … [and] we have been decreasing our debt for the past several years.”

Hearn added that MWISD is “well under the state statute debt limitation of [$73 million], which is 10 percent of our total assessed valuation.”

• Heard district and campus improvement plan updates from Assistant Superintendent Jay Walsworth and each campus principal.

• Read the Policy Update 95, affecting local policies for the second and final time. Trustees then approved the proposed policies.

Changes include an increased number of absences a student is allowed  in order to compete in district-level competition. Haterius said she heard the maximum of three absences kept some students from district competition last year.

Now, provided the student has a grade point average of at least an 80 in each course and has not accrued more than nine absences per class being missed (four in a nine-week course), the student can now have up to five absences for district-level competition.