Student Achievements: Five To Celebrate

1. Giving a big check

Student co-chairs for the Junior Symphony Ball (JSB) presented Dallas Symphony Orchestra League (DSOL) president Anne Ligon with a $238,432 check.

The ball was finally held outdoors in June at the Toyota Music Factory after being delayed from January because of the pandemic.

The “Purpose with a Party,” now in its 64th year, brings high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from 40-plus participating schools together to raise funds for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s music education and outreach programs. More than 1,300 students attended.

“The funds raised by JSB will ensure these kids have years of music instruction with the best teachers,” Ligon said. “In 20 years, some of these kids will be at a DSOL event sharing their success story, and you are actively taking part in it now.”

Student co-chairs attend the Episcopal School of Dallas – Fletcher Calvert, Riley Calvert, and Lili Kelly; Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas – Sam Jackson; Highland Park High School – Harrison Keys and Madison Muncy; the Hockaday School – Kate Wills; Parish Episcopal School – Abbey Jackson; and Ursuline Academy of Dallas – Emma Sweeney.

Parent co-chairs were Alison Muncy, Suzy Calvert, Liz Kelly, Debbie Robinowitz, Paula Wills, Justine Sweeny, Angela Jackson, Alyson Jackson, and Tish Key.

Next year’s JSB is scheduled for Jan. 29 at Gilley’s. Visit

2. Young Woman of Distinction

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas will honor Margot Meyer, a senior at The Hockaday School, at noon on Oct. 29 during the 17th annual Women of Distinction event, presented virtually this year by AT&T.

Other 2021 Young Women of Distinction honorees include Plano West High School senior Katie Chang and Rock Hill High School senior Alexandra Vincent.

Margot’s three-part Girl Scout Gold Award project at Dallas ISD’s David G. Burnet Elementary focused on health. She painted murals, organized, and provided new furniture for the school clinic, promoted on-campus telemedicine to students, and provided a database of physicians to serve as resources to clinic staff. She received the U.S. Presidential Service Award for that work.

At Hockaday, she founded the Hockadocs Medical Club to inspire young women to pursue medical careers, has participated in Hockaday’s varsity swimming and softball teams since her freshman year, and has earned multiple National French Contest Awards. (Courtesy photo)

3. In the Army now

Cadet Michael Nolen, son of Michael Sr. and Toni Nolen, Sr. of Dallas, has completed cadet basic training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he expects to graduate in 2025 and earn his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

The basic training, designed to instill discipline, pride, cohesion, confidence, and a high sense of duty, includes first aid, mountaineering, hand grenades, rifle marksmanship, and nuclear, biological, and chemical instruction.

Michael Jr. graduated from The Cambridge School of Dallas and was active at Park Cities Baptist Church in University Park, where he earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2018 with BSA Troop 518.

4. Border photographer

In November, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will present St. Mark’s School of Texas junior Ekansh Tambe with a 2021 Power of Children Award (POCA).

The honor rewards sixth through 11th-graders committed to service and improving others’ lives and comes with a $2,500 grant to invest in their social action projects and the opportunity to choose a partial scholarship to a university in Indianapolis.

Four years ago, when he was 13, Tambe convinced his father to take him to Brownsville to see for himself what was happening on the border. The short trip inspired a multi-year, multi-continent photojournalism project called Beyond Borders and led to several public speaking opportunities.

“I was incredibly surprised by how the reality I witnessed contrasted with the divided public opinion,” Tambe said. “In actuality, borders are more than places of conflict; they’re intersections of rich cultures and exchange of ideas, hubs for trade and commerce and even places of natural beauty.”

5. Quail comeback

Northern Bobwhite Quail will be making their calls in North Texas this year – thanks in part to efforts by Spencer Burke and others at the Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve.

Burke, a senior at St. Mark’s School of Texas and Eagle Scout, incubated and hatched quail eggs in his house, raised the quail in brooders in his garage, and recently banded and released hundreds of them throughout the Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve and Oak Point Park in Plano.

Spencer worked under Bob Mione, Texas master naturalist, Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve manager, and president of the Connemara Conservancy Foundation Board of Trustees.

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.