BELTON — Several award-winning Belton Independent School District students, including a state medalist in University Interscholastic League academic competition, were recognized during the Belton ISD board of trustees meeting this week.

Christina Gaw, a sophomore at Belton High School, won fourth place in headline writing, “bringing home the first state medal in recent history,” said Kyle DeBeer, Belton ISD communications director.

Christina is coached by Kathy Person.

“She did an outstanding job and we’ve got her for another couple of years,” said Joseph Savoldi, academic team coordinator.

Solo and ensemble medalists in band and choir also were honored for their performances in the Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest in late May. Four vocal soloists and one group received superior ratings and gold medals: Christina Arellano, Tess Rudasill, Kacey Wollenberg and Riley Wesson. The Belton High School Madrigal also earned a gold medal.

A trio of band soloists and two ensembles also earned superior ratings and gold medals: Chad Wallace, Byron Bordales and Heather Parker.

The French horn quartet and percussion ensemble also earned medals.

Bordales was selected as an outstanding performer for the entire competition, being singled out from all the other performers at the state level.

“That says a lot about our fine arts program,” school board President Randy Pittenger said. “We have a great group of students and teachers. Thank you for representing Belton ISD in such a remarkable way.”

The BHS softball team, which won a district championship, also was recognized.

Middle school soccer

Belton ISD Athletic Director Bob Shipley made a presentation to the board about the need for a middle school soccer program.

“Any time we look at adding a program, there are a lot of things to consider,” he said. “That includes the number of students who will be impacted, facilities, start-up costs and travel.

“Middle school soccer is already being offered in similar area schools. Facilities are not a problem, the start-up cost is minimal, there would be no new staff needed and there are no travel cost concerns.”

Surveys were given to students about to enter seventh and eighth grade, Shipley said, and 217 boys and 169 girls indicated an interest in participating in a middle school soccer program.

“To me, that’s overwhelming, and we do need to make this happen,” he said. “The coaches have done research and this would enhance our high school program.

Board member Mike Cowan, who Pittenger called a “soccer dad,” voiced his support for the program.

“I have been immersed in the soccer culture, and I’m very supportive of this opportunity,” he said.

Board Vice President Penny Digby also spoke in favor of middle school soccer.

“I appreciate the fact that you’re looking out for kids and want to offer this opportunity,” she said. “Thank you very much for doing that.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the program.

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