A Big Check, Winning Letter, And Impressive Scholars

1. Money for music

The 64th Annual Junior Symphony Ball raised a record-shattering $446,000 for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League. The money supports music education programs serving disadvantaged youth throughout North Texas. FROM LEFT:  Nicholas Koch (St. Mark’s), Peyton Plumlee (Parish), Caroline Syler (Ursuline), Kim Noltemy (president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association), Venise Stuart (president of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League), James Click (ESD), Ava Haberer (Highland Park), Anne Rubi (Hockaday), and Cade Jordan (Jesuit).

(Photo: Deborah Brown)

2. Reading to librarians

Robin Benway’s Far from the Tree made an impression on Kaden Rice, inspiring an award-winning missive about how the novel moved the Highland Park Middle School eighth-grader to “consider the hardships that adoptive children face.”

Rice won first place for Level 2 (grades seven and eight) in the Letters About Literature Texas contest and the opportunity to read her letter/essay at the Texas Library Association Conference (TLA) on April 28.

“I started considering the millions of underprivileged children given up for adoption, but not taken in,” Rice writes in a letter addressed to Benway. “I began to realize how lucky I was to have such amazing parents who care deeply about me and how many children do not.”

The narrative also prodded Rice to action.

“Your novel has guided me to help children throughout my community and beyond and benefit these children by receiving their most basic needs,” she tells Benway.

Over last summer, Rice spent a few days a month serving food at soup kitchens, reading storybooks to children, preparing activities for children waiting for their parent’s court cases, and doing similar tasks.

“Your novel has made me think on a deeper level about what a real-world connection can do for just one person and has brought me closer to my community,” said Rice.

3. Rename Hockaday? 

Graduates of the Hockaday School have impressed D Magazine editor Tim Rogers so much he wants to rename the school “The Rhodes Factory on Forest Lane.”

The witty blogger suggested as much after learning 2018 graduates Mary Orsak and Elizabeth Guo are headed to the University of Oxford in England in October as Rhodes Scholars.

“That’s four Hockadasies in six years — and five in the last 11 years,” Rogers noted.

Mary Orsak, a senior at Yale University, plans to pursue a master of philosophy in Russian and East European studies in England and one day become a professor of Slavic literature and art history. Talk about a timely choice given world events.

Elizabeth Guo, a senior at Harvard University, plans to pursue master of science degrees in mathematical and theoretical physics and social science of the internet at Oxford before returning to Harvard for law school.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Hockaday

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.

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