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12 Belton ISD Students Earn All-State Honors

A record number of Belton ISD students — 12 — have earned the highest state honors in their fine arts activities this school year.

The recognitions in choir, band, orchestra and dance come from the Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Dance Educators Association.

“We are proud to be able to offer such high-quality fine arts programs in Belton ISD and  incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication these students have shown to reach this level of recognition,” said Keith Zuehlke, director of Fine Arts. “These successes represent many hours of rehearsal and practicing, and while most musicians and dancers don’t perform for recognition, it’s always a great day when our students achieve recognition of their talent and commitment to excellence.” 

The choir, band and orchestra students will join other All-State musicians in February to perform concerts during the TMEA Clinic/Convention held in San Antonio. The All-State dancers performed at the TDEA Convention Jan. 5-8 in Houston.

Superintendent Matt Smith said the recognitions highlight Journey of a Graduate competencies the district aspires to instill in students such as perseverance.

"To compete at this level in fine arts activities and, in our case, have such great success, is a true testament to the students, staff, and families in Belton ISD,” Smith said. “I am so proud of the commitment and perseverance they model for the rest of our district and congratulate them on their amazing success."

Choir

Belton High School seniors Sarah Millington, Jordan Pilgrim, Daniel Holcomb, Jackson Reasoner and Ashland Reyes earned a spot in the TMEA All-State Choir. 

All five musicians sing with BHS’ A Cappella Choir and Madrigal Show Choir, under the direction of Tonya Lovorn and assistant Christopher Orr. Millington also studies privately with Jennifer Harvey. The other four study with Shelley Dennis.

“Most schools are fortunate if they have one student make it to this level,” Lovorn said. “We have five. I am so proud of this huge accomplishment and excited for them. This is an experience they will never forget.”

Lake Belton High School sophomore Erin Hankins made history by becoming LBHS’ first-ever student to receive state choir recognition with her placement in the Small School Choir All-State Mixed Choir. 

LBHS, which opened in fall 2020, is only in its second year of operation. 

“I was overjoyed but not surprised to see that Erin made the choir,” said Terrance Livingston, head choir director. “She has spent many hours dedicating herself to excellence in her music and sight-reading skills. Her hard work is what got her here. I am very proud.”

Band

Senior Ethan Rasmussen from Belton High School and junior Sam Fothergill and sophomore Jacob Wiley from Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow were selected for the TMEA 6A All-State Band. 

Rasmussen and Fothergill are percussionists. Wiley plays the French horn. 

“BHS has not had three All-State Band members in one year since 1971,” said Shannon Gill, director of bands. “It’s the highest accomplishment for a high school musician and a testament to their consistent practice and dedication to their craft.”

Assistant band directors at BHS are Kevin Kwaku, Ian Smith and Chris Kreger.

Orchestra

Jackson Belobrajdic, a senior from BHS, was selected as a violinist in the All-State Orchestra. He is the first orchestra musician from Belton ISD to earn a place at this elite level. 

“This recognition is well deserved,” said Preston Patterson, head orchestra director at BHS. “Many students that place in the All-State Orchestras started playing violin as young as age 3, making violin one of the most competitive instruments. Jackson couples his natural talent with hard work, and the results speak for themselves. He’s a fantastic musician.”

Belobrajdic was ranked 81st out of almost 400 violinists which placed him among the top violinists in the Sinfonietta All-State Orchestra. 

Dance

Senior Maggie Hodnick from Belton High School and junior Kaylee Rivera from Lake Belton High School were recently named All-State dancers by TDEA. Both girls serve as captain of their respective dance teams, the Magic Belles and Silver Spurs.

The Magic Belles are under the direction of Rachel Hill and Emma Soard. The Silver Spurs directors are Choats and Shelby Carney.

January 13, 2022