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MPISD – News

Lakyn Fortenberry and Christo Escalante with their 3rd place plaque for the talent contest.
Sam Brown, outgoing Area VI FFA President
Ethan Easley, newly elected Area VI FFA Secretary for the 2022-2023 year
MPHS FFA at the Area Convention

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS FFA members attend area convention

Thirty-five Mount Pleasant High School FFA members attended the Area VI Convention in Sulphur Springs on February 28, 2022. Members listened to area officer speeches and show-stopping performances by the FFA talent teams. Delegates also voted in the 2022-2023 area officers.

The Mount Pleasant High School FFA Talent Team of Christo Escalante and Lakyn Fortenberry placed 3rd in the talent contest. They performed the songs “You Look So Good In Love” by George Strait and “Ring Of Fire” by Johnny Cash. 

Junior Ethan Easley represented MPHS FFA as an area officer candidate delivering a speech with a Hokie Pokie theme about being involved in the FFA. As a result, they voted for him to serve as the Area VI FFA Secretary for the 2022-2023 year. In this position, Easley will have to create and present several leadership workshops and attend various functions throughout the coming year.

Senior Samuel Brown facilitated and gave remarks at the convention, which signaled the end of his term as the 2021-2022 Area VI FFA President. Over the past year, he has presented several workshops on leadership skills to FFA members and has attended conferences put on by the State FFA Office. In addition, Brown has done an outstanding job representing the Area VI, Paris District, and Mount Pleasant FFA associations and chapters. 

In July, MPHS FFA members will attend the Texas State FFA Convention in Fort Worth.

MPHS Tiger Dolls travel to Los Angeles

The Mount Pleasant High School Tiger Dolls have enjoyed the usual football games, playoff trips, basketball performances, and preparations for their annual spring show. But there has been one exciting moment they have been looking forward to all year, a spring break trip to Los Angeles.

The Dolls spent four days in L.A. from March 16-19. They enjoyed a guided tour that covered the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the famous Chinese Theatre on day one. Also, the Dolby Theatre, where they were setting up for the Academy Awards, the iconic Hollywood sign, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.

Day two was a magical day spent at one of the happiest places on earth, Disneyland. Day three included a dance class at Millennium Dance Complex where celebrities including Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Jennifer Lopez have taken classes or held rehearsals, the L.A. Farmer’s Market and The Grove, a VIP tour of Warner Bros. Studios. They concluded with dinner and sightseeing at Santa Monica Pier. They spent their final day taking another dance class at Millenium Dance Complex and going through Grand Central Market.

“I am thrilled we were able to take this trip to Los Angeles,” said Tiger Doll Director Jaton Broach. “The Tiger Dolls take a big trip every four years, and I was nervous COVID would put a dent in our plans. The looks of awe and wonder and memories made throughout the week will stay with all of us forever. I am so thankful for the dance experiences they had during the trip—the girls really came out of their shells, tried new things, and learned from some of the best in the business. I want to thank Green Light Tour Groups, our administrators and principals, and my Tiger Dolls and parents for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Four-year member and Tiger Doll senior, Mackenzie Lide, said, “Not only was dancing at one of the most famous studios and walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame an incredible experience, but visiting L.A. with my Dolls was an amazing bonding moment for the entire time that I am so grateful for!”

“Traveling is a fantastic way to broaden experiences and put things into perspective by trying new things,” said Tiger Doll Captain Mary Kait Heeren. “Our Tiger Doll Trip to Los Angeles did just that! My favorite part included the dance classes at Millennium Dance Complex, which provided us with challenging, yet super fun dance styles, that were taught by well-known dance choreographers. With photos of the past celebrities and dancers who have danced at Millennium hanging up, it was inspiring to even walk through the hallways of the Complex. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Los Angeles & Hollywood and would gladly go back if given the opportunity.”

Next up for the Tiger Dolls is their annual spring show on Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, at the Mount Pleasant High School auditorium. This year’s theme is fitting, “California Dolls.” Tickets and programs will go on sale at on April 1.

L to R: Connelly Cowan, Coach Enrique Martinez, and Anthony Orellana with their speaker awards and UIL State silver medals

MPHS CX Debate team brings home UIL State silver medals

The Mount Pleasant High School Cross-Examination debate team of senior Connelly Cowan and junior Anthony Orellana competed in the UIL 5A State CX Debate tournament on March 18-19. Held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, it would mark the return to in-person state competition for the first time since 2019. The event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID and was held online in 2021. It would be the fourth and final appearance at state for Cowan and the first for Orellana.

On day one, the field began with 55 teams entering from across Texas. Mount Pleasant CO debated teams from Highland Park, Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), Princeton, and Frisco Independence. That evening, the teams gathered in the University Teaching Center to learn if they had advanced to the second day. 

They determine scores by a combination of wins and losses and the speaker points given to each team member. 

The first awards given are to the top six speakers in each division. Orellana was awarded the Gold Gavel with the highest speaker points among all 110 contestants in 5A. He earned 59.9 adjusted speaker points, just .1 away from a perfect score of 60. The third year in a row that the UIL 5A State Top Speaker is from Mount Pleasant High School. Cowan was awarded the Bronze Gavel with the third-highest speaker points, just .9 behind her partner. She was the Silver Gavel recipient in 2021.

After presenting speaker awards, they announced the top 16 advancing teams in each division in alphabetical order. Mount Pleasant CO learned that not only had they advanced to the top sixteen and would debate for state medals the next day, but they would do so as the No. 1 seed in 5A.

Day 2 started with the octofinals, where MPHS would defeat Friendswood on a 3-0 decision. In the quarterfinals, MPHS would face Princeton for the second time and be able to beat them on a 3-0 decision. Finally, they defeated A&M Consolidated in the semifinals on a 2-1 decision and found themselves in the UIL State finals, a feat never before achieved by an MPHS CX team.

In the final round, they were eventually defeated by LASA CH, a nationally ranked team from Austin, to take the UIL State Silver medal. It was the seventh UIL State medal and second state speaker award for Cowan and the first state medal and state speaker award for Orellana.

“This year’s state tournament was the perfect conclusion to my UIL debate career,” said Cowan. “Anthony and I have worked hard all year long in hopes of achieving state success, and competing in the final round is a memory I will cherish forever. I am incredibly proud of Anthony for his progress this year. I’m also so grateful for the support of my parents, coaches, and teammates. It’s hard to believe this chapter of my life is over, but I cannot possibly think of a better way for it to end.”

In June, Cowan and Orellana will compete in their final CX tournament together at NSDA Nationals in Louisville. After that, they both turn their attention toward extemporaneous speaking with the district meet set for this weekend. Cowan is currently deciding which university she will attend and is the daughter of Collin and Kelly Cowan. Orellana will return for his senior year in the fall and is the son of Vicente Arroyo and Onelia Orellana.