Frenship convocation features Hollywood, FHS alumni

Hollywood played a big part in Frenship Independent School District’s convocation to welcome back teachers and staff, with the theme of the event being Frenship Grammies.

But heroes also played heavily into the event, which ran just under two hours.

Kelsie Watts, a 2009 Frenship High School graduate, and Jerome Bell, a 2001 FHS grad, were featured heavily in the district’s new performing arts center at the high school.

Bell was a contestant on American Idol in early 2011, while Watts has recently moved to Nashville and signed a recording contract.

The two were surprise performers for the Frenship staffers. Members past and present of the FHS choir started singing “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical, “Rent.” They were joined first by Watts, then by Bell, to the delight of teachers and staff in the audience.

The two singers entertained the audience with several numbers sprinkled through the convocation, some as solo acts, others as duets and another number with Frenship choir members.

FHS band members also performed “Eye of the Tiger,” the national anthem and the school’s alma mater and fight song while lining the aisles of the performing arts center.

Later, a 2012 graduate, Omar Haney, played a saxophone solo of “Over the Rainbow” with Frenship band members backing him up onstage.

Watts sang a Mariah Carey hit, “Hero,” after Frenship gave out two awards for facing adversity.

Bell’s childhood friend, Joy Harris, graduated from FHS in 2002. She was also featured in a guitar solo during convocation, and she and Bell performed “Stand By Me.”

They wound down the convocation with a performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” while accompanied by Frenship choir members, including a few who have graduated in the last few years.

“These are the guys that are in your classroom,” FISD Public Relations Director Andy Penney said to teachers in the audience. He reminded them that they are making an impact on students like the musicians.

Watts told teachers that she understands how exhausting teaching can be — her mother is a teacher.

But she also reminded them that they are making an impact.

“The next success story will be sitting in their classroom,” Watts said of the teachers there.

The convocation also celebrated heroes. A new award for facing adversity was given out that Frenship Superintendent David Vroonland said he would like to see given annually.

The family of Ted Phillips, Frenship High School’s former tennis coach, received the first award, which will be called the Ted Phillips Honorary Courage Award. Phillips died in December after a battle with cancer.

The second recipient of the award was volleyball coach Jennifer McCully, who will be returning to FHS this year after battling Lyme disease last year.

Vroonland said their battles made them heroes because they handled adversity with courage and dignity.

But the superintendent said every janitor, bus driver, cafeteria worker and teacher in Frenship has the opportunity to be a hero to students.

Vroonland noted that his own son was leaving Lubbock for college Tuesday. He said a teacher his son had never had a class with as a fourth-grader in Wichita Falls inspired his son because he took an interest in him.

Some of Frenship ISD’s school board members were in attendance at the convocation, and Vice President David R. Miller welcomed the teachers and staff back to school, noting that teachers are the main reason for Frenship’s success.

“Believe in yourself and believe in the people around you because I know this board believes in you,” Miller said.

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