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Woodlands Schools, Sports, Students
October 2017

Family members prepare to take a picture of their student artist in front of his artwork at the District-Wide Art Show.

Family members prepare to take a picture of their student artist in front of his artwork at the District-Wide Art Show.


Conroe ISD hosted a District-Wide Art Show at the Dean L. Sadler Administration Building in Conroe on Saturday, Sept. 9. The show featured student artwork from each campus highlighting the outstanding visual arts programs in the schools and community.

“Of the over 1,300 submitted artworks, 370 were chosen by a selection committee of art teachers to represent the best of K-12 visual arts in CISD,” stated Dr. Robert Horton, Coordinator of Fine Arts. “The CISD District-Wide Art Show gives our students a unique opportunity to display their talent and learning for an entire school year. We are grateful to their outstanding teachers for their exemplary work.”

Conroe ISD’s art program provides a quality, sequential and cumulative learning experience for all students. Student artwork has been featured in numerous periodicals and art books. The art show allowed families and members of the community to preview the exhibit which will be on display until August 2018.


“The 12 Stages of Grief” by Grace Ritch.


The concentration piece that The John Cooper School alumna Grace Ritch (’17) included in her Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art 3D Portfolio was accepted into the 2017-18 AP Studio Art Exhibit. Entitled “The 12 Stages of Grief,” Ritch’s work is currently on display at the Brodsky Gallery of the Chauncey Center in Princeton, New Jersey, and will be shown through Oct. 5. In July 2018, the exhibit will be a featured event of the AP Annual Conference to be held in Houston.

A team of AP Studio Art teachers and college faculty selected the work from over 60,000 portfolios that were entered in the AP Studio Art Exam in May 2017. Works were chosen as exemplars of the highest levels of achievement of AP Studio Art students. “They demonstrate the diversity of ideas, materials, processes and forms within the portfolios,” said Wendy Free, Ph.D., Director of Arts Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Advanced Placement of The College Board. “These works honor the teaching and learning that led to their creation, and serve as resources and inspiration to art students and art educators.”

Ritch and her instructor, Cooper visual arts teacher Emily Taylor, were each asked to submit either an audio or video statement about the work.

“My inspiration came from appreciation for sculpting the human form,” Ritch shared in her video submission. “I am interested in the universality of how people deal with grief and loss,” she said. “We all transition through the same stages of grief.” Her piece includes 12 heads that are half the size of a life-sized head, with facial expressions that transition through the emotions. “I enjoy art that moves me emotionally, so I wanted to create something that would do the same for my viewers,” Ritch said.

In her audio submission, Taylor, who has taught at Cooper for 13 years, reflected on teaching Ritch for the last four years. “Grace has always shown a passion for the material, strong concept development and an incredible attention to detail, not to mention the dedication she has for her art,” Taylor said. “The culmination of years of hard work is her piece, ‘The 12 Stages of Grief.”’

Ritch, who will attend The University of Texas at Austin this fall, is the third Cooper visual arts student to achieve this high honor. Colin Kelly (’03) and Elizabeth Karlsson (’07) were also invited to display their AP sculptures in AP Studio Art exhibits.



Twenty-three outstanding 4th-8th grade students from Conroe ISD were among the over 1,200 students from across Texas to participate in Education in Action’s 2017 Lone Star Leadership Academy summer camps.

These young leaders were selected for the Lone Star Leadership Academy camps based on demonstrated academic success and leadership ability, an educator recommendation, and involvement in school/community activities. The participating students traveled to Dallas/Fort Worth (4th, 5th and 6th graders), Austin/San Antonio (5th, 6th and 7th graders), and Houston/Galveston (6th, 7th and 8th graders) to take part in the camps.

CISD students include: Cox Intermediate: Lauren Green; Grangerland Intermediate: Aaralyn Dabbs and Kylie Jones; Irons Junior High: McKenna Cunningham, Judy Dang, Grace Hebert, Kody Henderson, Nathaniel Murphy, Rose Richards, and Damon Thurston; Lamar Elementary: Ella Dafferner, Sophie Gischel, and Alice Thomas; McCullough Junior High: Ethan Harte and Robert Stacks; Milam Elementary: Ronal Cardona; Mitchell Intermediate: Samuel Hopkins; Tough Elementary: Surya Arakere, Samantha Bisbee, Raphaela De Marchi Padovani, Nicolay Langkaas, and Cian Mathews; and Wilkerson Intermediate: Claire Jones.

During the week-long, overnight camps, the students experienced what they are learning in school through visits to notable and historically significant Texas sites. Venues included places such as the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza on the Dallas/Fort Worth program; the offices of participants’ state legislators at the Texas State Capitol, The Bullock Texas State History Museum, bat watching on the Lone Star Riverboat, and The Alamo on the Austin/San Antonio program; and NASA, a boat tour of Galveston Bay with a marine biologist, the San Jacinto Battle­ground Monument, and Moody Gardens on the Houston/Galveston program. In addition, professionals the sites introduced students to a wide variety of unique careers during each camp.

Education in Action is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young people to be informed and active leaders in their communities. Visit educationinaction.org/lone-star-leadership-academy.for more information.

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