high school
keith kocinski
April 28, 2014

Talented Texas Students


Shelby: Next up, you will definitely want to remember their names. Five high school seniors have taken center stage after being accepted to a school that produces all kinds of famous artists. Keith Kocinski has the story.

Keith: Norah Jones went to this high school and so did Erykah Badu. And it isn’t a flashy, expensive New York City or L.A. school. In fact, it is a public high school. This is Booker T. Washington High School, a public magnet school in downtown Dallas that focuses on fine arts. To enroll, students first go through a selection process that tests their creativity. Teachers push their students to reach for their dreams, even ones that seem impossible. Lily Weiss has taught dance classes here for almost four decades.

Lily Weiss: We have never been a faculty that believes in telling a student that they can’t.

Keith: Once they are finished, many of its students are prepared for the best performing colleges and universities. For some of these seniors, their dream was to graduate and attend New York’s prestigious Juilliard School, known for developing the talents of young performers who often turn into superstars. But with an acceptance rate of only about 7%, getting in is just as tough as getting accepted to an Ivy League university.

Madison Hicks: It’s something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was little.

Keith: Madison Hicks is one of the Booker T. seniors who auditioned for just 24 open slots in the Juilliard dance program. A few weeks ago, she got a phone call from Julliard. She made it.

Madison: It was very shocking and very exciting.

Keith: Mason Manning auditioned too. His Juilliard call came right after Madison’s.

Mason Manning: It’s almost like your body doesn’t even process it, like your ears literally kind of shut off to protect you from the rush of emotion you’re about to get.

Shelby: The excitement kept building as the phone kept ringing. By the end of the day, five Booker T. students were headed to Juilliard. The hallways erupted in applause.

Weiss: Everybody came out into these atrium hallways and everyone started applauding them. That was when I started crying because this is the magic of Booker T. Washington.

Keith: It seems just about everyone at the school is reaching for the top, and the proof is in the numbers. The school’s 204 graduating seniors have all earned more than $23 million in college scholarships.

One of the key’s to this school’s success? Dedication. Alicia Crowder spends up to eight hours a day on the stage. She earned a spot in Juilliard’s acting program.

Alicia Crowder: It’s unbelievable almost, but I think it’s a testament to the students and to the school.

Keith: Keith Kocinski, Channel One News.

Shelby: We will be watching for those guys in the headlines!


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