Grace Community School wins the 2017 Henderson Cup, the overall state championship award given by the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). This annual award is presented to the school that earns the most points in 27 TAPPS competitions in a given school year. TAPPS competitions include three areas: academics, fine arts, and athletics. Grace is the first school in East Texas to win the Henderson Cup in the 5A classification.
“We place a high value on community at Grace. The Henderson Cup is a tremendous honor, because it requires the efforts of the entire community coming together to accomplish this goal. We’ve come close to winning it the past several years, so it’s especially meaningful to reach the goal this year. God gives us the bodies, the minds, and the ability to do anything, and so we really want it to be an act of worship of Him, giving glory to Him in this, and in everything we do as a school and a people,” said Jay Ferguson, Headmaster at Grace Community School.
Grace Community School finished first with 73 total points, followed by Grapevine Faith Christian with 70 points in second place, and Austin St. Michael’s Catholic School with 69 points in third place. Grace competed against 37 other schools in their classification to receive this prestigious honor. Achieving this high award illustrates the well-rounded students at Grace who excel in multiple aspects of high school. This year’s highlights include:
Academics: Grace Community School students competed in the TAPPS State Academic Meet receiving fourth place in the Overall Ranking, the highest ranking of any private school in East Texas. Grace had eight speech and debate entries and twelve academic entries place at the state academic meet in April.
Fine Arts: Grace Community School’s Orchestra won the Orchestra State Championship. The Band placed fifth in the State Band Competition, while Art finished with our best showing yet, with third in the State Art Competition. The Grace Choir won the Vocal State Championship for the sixth year in a row. The One-Act play placed second in district and competed as one of the top eight schools in the 5A Classification at the State Meet.
The Drum Line competed in the TAPPS State Drum Line Competition and swept the “Best Of” in every division (Best Tenor Line, Best Snare Line, Best Bass Line, Best Cymbal Line, and Best Front Ensemble). The Drum Line also won the State Championship for the third straight year.
Grace swept the TAPPS State Fine Arts of the Year awards with all three of their nominees. 2017 Seniors Jacob Levels and Maci Maddox received Male and Female Fine Arts Student of the Year, while Drum Line instructor Jeff Shelton was recognized as Fine Arts Teacher of the Year.
“All of our fine arts instructors and students have worked so hard this year and were definitely excited about all of our results in our various contests,” said Delisa Bice, Fine Arts Director at Grace Community School. “The Of the Year awards, although honoring individuals, also shows the strength of our arts program. Then to top off the year with an honor for all of our groups – academics, athletics and the arts – with the Henderson Cup demonstrates the spirit of our school to work with excellence as unto the Lord and as an act of worship in all that we do. We are so thrilled!”
The Lady Cougars won District Championships in Basketball, Soccer, Track, Golf, and Tennis. The Lady Cougars also placed second in District in Cross Country, Volleyball, and Softball. Grace Cheerleaders and Cougarettes competed at the TAPPS State Championships with two girls making first Team All-State and four girls making second Team All-State.
Both Grace Track Teams finished as the Regionals Runners-Up with five student-athletes winning Regional Championships and 31 student-athletes qualifying for the State Championships. The boys’ track team finished as the State Runners-Up and the girls’ track team took third in the state rankings. Grace Tennis teams sent three players to the State Championship. Four members of the Grace Swim Team qualified for the TAPPS State Meet.
Athletic Director Joseph Walker noted, “The best part about this award is that it encompasses all of our school competitions and not just one area. It would be difficult to find a student in our high school who did not contribute to this championship directly as part of a team or organization.”
In 2016, Grace Community School was the runner-up for the Henderson Cup. Grace has finished in the top five for the Henderson Cup points in its classification every year since 1999, the inception of its high school. Grace Community School has won the Henderson Cup two other times, 1999 in the 3A classification and 2002 in the 4A classification.