Education Celebrations: 2 Victoria East students win UIL academic medals

By Diane Boyett
June 1, 2014 at 1:01 a.m.

The list of celebrations continues to grow in Victoria ISD.

As the school year winds down, competition season heats up, and VISD students have shown that they are among the best in the state.

In the recent UIL state competitions for academics, two Victoria East students captured medals: Summer Gregurek in informative speaking and Jade Hayes for her skills in editorial writing.

In the area of UIL music, the list of honors is long with students from East and West taking high honors in band and choral music. West band students Xochitlinda Gonzalez, Tivo Tristan and CJ Weber earned silver medals, and Natalie Clark earned a fourth-place spot. From Victoria East, all nine solo performers earned medals as did all four ensembles for a total of 25 medals. Gold medals went to Alan Olmos and Robert Jurgens and silver medals for Willord Simmons, Jessica Lam, Skyler Rayos, Iliana Reyna, Wesley Ybanez, Miranda Aguilar and Xin Chen in solo performances. In the ensemble state competition, gold medals went to Alan Olmos, Robert Jurgens, Hannah Balentine, Andrew McCleskey, Willord Simmons, Jessica Lam, Lauren Hurta, Alyse Dominguez, Iliana Reyna, Skyler Rayos, Austin Smolik, Rachel Wood, Miranda Aguilar, Wesley Ybanez, Abigail Muehlbrad and Zach Hamilton.

In choir, the list of medalists is equally impressive - seven medals for Victoria West students. Gold medalists include Nalina Burgos, Katherine Henderson, Sierra Robles and Vanischa Stephens while silver medals went to Kevin Clark, Evonna English and Lillie Rayborn.

Five Victoria East choir members earned medals for their performances. Congratulations to gold medalists Carolyn Norris, Gabrielle Hise and Samuel Gross. Silver medals went to Tatiana Espinoza and Jonathan Drozd.

The hundreds of people in the audience who got to take in the musical performances of several groups in the "Music for Mass Consumption" event in May were delighted by the talents of VISD students who joined the Crossroads Community Band and the Victoria Civic Orchestra for a huge concert. A choir of almost 100 fourth- and fifth-graders lined the entire stage of the Victoria Fine Arts Center never missing a beat in "We Are the People of the 21st Century." And Victoria East student Willord Simmons wowed everyone, conducting the Community Band in the premiere of his composition, "Relentlessly Peaceful." The composition mirrors the current state of life in Nigeria. The VISD Ninth Grade Orchestra joined the Community Band, and by the end of the evening, everyone was on their feet.

You can learn more about the wonderful artistic talents of VISD students by visiting the VISD Web page and clicking on the link to Fine Arts Information.

This is the final week of classes for the 2013-14 school year. High school graduation ceremonies begin with Liberty Academy on Thursday at the Victoria Fine Arts Center. The event begins at 6 p.m. Victoria West graduation is at 8 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium. Victoria East graduation is at 8 p.m. Saturday, also at Memorial Stadium.

Congratulations to the classes of 2014.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Con tact her at



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