“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”: WISD Fine Arts Schedule Celebrates the Season

By Larry Carpenter

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Never have words been more true when thinking about the upcoming winter holiday season and all of the great holiday happenings scheduled with Waco ISD Fine Arts students. From musicals to concerts and ensembles to community service…there is something engaging for audiences of all ages and individual tastes. As the Director of Fine Arts for Waco ISD, having the holidays overflowing with cheer and excitement is truly a wonderful time of the year for me. Through our various activities and performances, we hope to spread that same joy to the Waco community. We hope you can come and join us at some, or even all, of our special holiday happenings this season. From WISD Fine Arts, many blessings to you all! Happy Holidays!

Waco ISD Fine Arts Holiday Happenings 2016

November 24

  • UHS JROTC “Feed the Homeless” community service @ Salvation Army

December 1

  • Indian Spring Jazz Band @ Richland Mall 2:00 p.m.
  • UHS JROTC Color Guard @ WISD Outstanding Teacher @ UHS

December 2

  • UHS/WHS Orchestra @ Waco Wonderland 5:00 p.m.
  • UHS/WHS JV Orchestras @ Dr. Pepper Museum 8:00 p.m.
  • Waco High Jazz Cats @ Waco Wonderland 8:00 p.m.
  • Tennyson MS presents Elf, Jr. @ TMS 6:30 p.m.

December 3

  • Brook Ave Choir @ Waco Wonderland TBD
  • Tennyson MS presents Elf, Jr. & Dinner Theatre @ TMS 6:30 p.m.

December 4

  • WHS Jazz Combo Performance @ Barnes and Noble 8:00 p.m.

December 5

  • Carver Choir Concert @ Carver Cafeteria 6:30 p.m.
  • Indian Spring Middle School Jazz Band “Sound of the Seasons” @ City Hall 2:00 p.m.
  • Waco High Choir Holiday Concert @ Waco High Performing Arts Center (WHS PAC) 7:00 p.m.

December 6

  • UHS Trojan Singers, UHS Orchestra & Cesar Chavez Middle School Holiday Choir Concert @ UHS PAC 6:00 p.m.
  • WHS Choir Tour @ City Hall, Stillwell, etc.
  • WHS Band, Jazz & Color Guard Holiday Concert @ WHS PAC 7:00 p.m.
  • UHS JROTC “Feast of Sharing” community service @ Convention Center

December 7

  • Tennyson MS Holiday Band Concert @ WHS PAC 6:00 p.m.
  • WHS Jazz Combo @ Friends of Texas Public Schools Gala, Baylor Club 6:00 p.m.

December 8

  • Mountainview 2nd Grade presents, “Elfis and the Sleigh Riders” @ Mountainview Elementary 6:00 p.m.
  • Indian Spring MS Holiday Band Concert @ WHS PAC 6:00 p.m.
  • Cesar Chavez MS Holiday Band Concert @ CCMS Competition Gym 6:30 p.m.

December 9

  • Lake Air MS Choir Sound of the Seasons @ City Hall 2:30 p.m.
  • Lake Air Montessori Holiday Band Concert @ WHS PAC 6:00 p.m.

December 12-16

  • University HS JROTC/Soccer Programs present “Make a Wish” to students at Alta Vista, South Waco, Bell’s Hill, & Cesar Chavez.

December 12

  • Tennyson MS Beginning Band Winter Recital @ TMS Gym 6:00 p.m.

December 13

  • Bell’s Hill K-2nd Grade Performance @ UHS PAC 5:30 p.m.
  • Bell’s Hill 3rd-5th Grade Performance @ UHS PAC 6:15 p.m.
  • Brook Ave Holiday Program @ Brook Ave 6:00 p.m.
  • Dean Highland 4th and 5th Holiday Program @ DH Cafeteria 6:00 p.m.
  • Parkdale K & 3rd Grade Holiday Program @ Parkdale 6:00 p.m.
  • South Waco Holiday Program @ South Waco 6:00 p.m.
  • Tennyson Varsity Choir Winter Concert @ TMS 6:30 p.m.
  • University Mass Concert Band & Jazz Band @ UHS PAC 5:30 p.m.
  • Waco High & Tennyson Orchestra Concert @ WHS PAC 7:00 p.m.

December 14

  • Brook Ave Choir Caroling and Sound of the Seasons @ City Hall TBD

December 15

  • Kendrick all-school Concert @ Kendrick Elementary 6:00 p.m.
  • West Ave Holiday Music Program @ West Ave. 6:00 p.m.
  • Hillcrest PDS All-School Winter Holiday Music Program @ First United Methodist Church 7:00 p.m.
  • Tennyson “Bowls for Art” sale and display @ TMS 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Tennyson Non-Varsity & 6th Grade Choir Concert @ TMS 6:30 p.m.

December 16

  • Lake Air Montessori School-Wide Holiday Singalong @ LAMM Cafeteria 8:30 a.m.

December 17

  • WHS Jazz Combo @ The Klassy Glass 8:00 p.m.

larry-carpenterLarry Carpenter is the Director of Fine Arts for Waco ISD. Having been with WISD for 17 of his 23 years in education, he has served WISD as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant director of Advanced Academics and now Director of Fine Arts. He is a life-long Wacoan.

Squishy Circuits? Paper Animatronics? Waco is Making and Tinkering at the Design Den!

By Emily Clark

design-den-bearThe Mayborn Museum has just opened Design Den, a new permanent exhibit space that focuses on making and tinkering with real tools, real technology, and real materials. As Design Den Coordinator, I get to spend my days testing fun new projects, like designing paper masks with LED circuits and building marble roller coasters out of toilet paper rolls! It’s seriously a dream job, but it can be hard to explain to people what it means to make and tinker.

img_3059The “Maker Movement” has been gaining in popularity across the nation and around the world, but it’s really nothing new. As humans, we have always been makers. That’s how we have come to live in such a technologically rich world! The only downside? Technology has really spoiled us. Why would I make my own when I can just buy it at the store? The Maker Movement and Do-It-Yourself culture have recently gained traction as a way to reclaim our inventive nature. Make your own soap! Make your own furniture! Make your own robot! (Or at least put the tutorials on your Pinterest board and totally make them later.) There’s a pride and sense of accomplishment in creating something all on your own. Not to mention, it is fun!

Museums have picked up on this trend of making and tinkering. Places like the New York Hall of Science’s Makerspace and the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio have lead the charge, and they have noticed something that is pretty cool: we learn best by doing! Making and tinkering are especially effective ways to learn because we become invested in our projects. I may use math to measure the perfect piece of cardboard. I apply physics when I realize that my marble roller coaster needs a steeper incline. I hone my communication skills when someone asks about my project and I have to explain my own thought process. Perhaps most obviously, I learn to problem solve. If my LED mask isn’t lighting up, there may be something wrong with my copper tape circuit. I move a few pieces of tape and adjust the battery and…. Voila! It works!

img_2497Here at the Mayborn Museum, we have been busy making and tinkering in Design Den since we announced the new space in May. We began this summer by prototyping different activities with the help of our teen volunteers. After observing visitors and listening to their comments, we found that making and tinkering activities were very popular. Some of our favorite activities were Inflatables, Squishy Circuits, and Paper Animatronics.

This fall, Design Den has opened in its permanent exhibit space. We have a front area of Design Den where guests can drop in anytime to build their own creations using different types of blocks. The back area of Design Den is a new workshop space where we invite guests to make and tinker for special events and programs. At our Halloween event, guests made their own LED paper masks in the workshop.

img_2196Design Den has also been busy this fall connecting with the Waco community. In October, we made LED Wearable Pins with festival goers at Science Fest. Later that month, we talked with high school students about careers in museums and invited them to tinker with Squishy Circuits at City of Waco STEAM Day. We even made stop motion videos at the Farmer’s Market in a partnership with the Museum Association of Waco’s Traveling Museum, a project coordinated by Matt Doyen, Baylor Museum Studies graduate student and Graduate Assistant for Design Den.

img_3476In late October, Design Den joined the rest of the museum in welcoming families from Brook Avenue Elementary and West Avenue Elementary at our first Family Science Night, planned in conjunction with Prosper Waco. At Family Science Night, one of our activities had participants use recycled materials to make something to add to our Happy City. We asked, “What do you think a city needs to be happy?” You can see in the photo below that we had an airport, an art gallery, coffee shops, a hospital, and even a science museum!

Our last event for 2016 will be our Christmas at the Mayborn event on December 1. In Design Den, we will be making pop-up holiday cards and ornaments. We have a special activity, making stockings decorated with sewing circuits and LEDs, reserved for guests ages 8 and up.

img_3437The coolest thing of all is that making is happening all over Waco. Places like Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue, Waco ISD’s Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA), and even Midway Middle School’s new makerspace have begun to engage the community in making and tinkering. At Design Den, we love the idea of introducing our guests to a making and tinkering mindset that leads to bigger and better and even more awesome making, whether that’s at the Mayborn or somewhere else in Waco. Happy making!

emily-clarkEmily Clark is originally from Joshua, TX, but moved to Waco in 2009 to go to Baylor. She has two degrees from Baylor, her B.S. in Biology and her M.A. in Museum Studies. She was hired on at the Mayborn Museum in May after working there for two years as a graduate assistant. Her husband, Andy, is in his last year at Truett Seminary. They live near campus with their silly pup, Pepper, adopted from the Humane Society of Central Texas.  Emily loves to binge watch TV shows, eat queso, and listen to the Eagles.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org  for more information.







Warm Family-style meal provides a sense of “home” for homeless students

By Craig Nash

On the week before Thanksgiving every year the National Coalition for the Homeless commemorates National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, in an effort to draw attention to some of the most vulnerable of our neighbors. Waco is home to numerous non-profits, churches and focused initiatives to address the issue of homelessness and hunger, such as The Gospel Café, Salvation Army and Caritas, just to name a few. The newest of these is The Cove, which is dedicated to providing a safe space in the evenings for the students of Waco ISD who find themselves, for whatever reason, without a permanent home.

In addition to tutoring assistance, connections to social services and providing a place to shower and wash clothes, The Cove has partnered with several churches and other community organizations to provide a warm, nutritious meal for students every school day. Meals are served family style, which gives students an opportunity to experience a sense of normalcy and “home.” Kenneth McAdam, an MSW intern for The Cove, says that both the students and staff are enjoying the meals, and the partnership is vital to the current success of the organization.

Currently meals are provided by groups from Antioch Community Church, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, and Baylor’s Campus Kitchen. Wednesday meals are provided on a rotating basis by other individuals, churches and non-profits. They have meals being provided through the end of the year, but are beginning to look ahead for early next year. If you or your organization is interested in participating in this exciting and important effort to alleviate the burdens of hunger and homelessness among Waco ISD’s students, send an email to thecovewaco@gmail.com. For more information about services The Cove provides, and how you can help, their website is www.thecovewaco.org.

craig Nash.pngCraig Nash has lived in Waco since 2000. Since then he has worked at Baylor, been a seminary student, managed a hotel restaurant, been the “Barnes and Noble guy,” pastored a church and once again works for Baylor through the Texas Hunger Initiative. He lives with his dog Jane, religiously re-watches the same 4 series on Netflix over and over again, and considers himself an amateur country music historian.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.