Grace Community School wins the 2021 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. This is the second time Grace has won the Henderson Cup in the 5A classification and Grace is the only school in East Texas to win the Henderson Cup in this division.
“For us ‘Teaching Jesus’ means more than Bible study. It means teaching the whole student: physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. God created us as whole beings, and we teach to every aspect of who He created us to be. To have been as consistently successful as we have been over the past 20 years is an incredible testimony to God’s hand upon our school, and we are tremendously grateful,” said Jay Ferguson, Ph.D., Head of School at Grace Community School.
Grace Community School finished first with 92 total points, followed by Fort Worth Christian School with 76 points in second place, and Houston Lutheran South Academy with 71 points in third place. Grace competed against 35 other schools in the 5A 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: In the TAPPS Academic and Speech categories, Grace students placed in the following categories: ready writing, current events, literary criticism, science, calculator, and LD debate.
“There are so many ways to ‘Teach Jesus’. I am so proud to be a part of a school that teaches Jesus in so many ways,” said Lanny Witt, Principal at Grace Community High School. “Grace is such a complete school with so many strengths. It is such a pleasure to watch our kids perform in athletics, arts, and in the classroom. What a great recognition for all the hard work and dedication shown by students, teachers, coaches, and parents alike.”
Athletics: The Lady Cougars won the Track and Field State Championship and finished as the State Runners-Up in Swimming and Cross Country. They won Team Regional Championships in Track and Field and Swimming and District Championships in Cross Country, and Track and Field. The Lady Cougars also placed second in District in Basketball and Soccer. Grace Lady Cougars Golf qualified for the Regional and State Championships and the Lady Cougars Tennis Team sent four players to the TAPPS State Championships. Lady Cougar Basketball and Softball advanced to the Area round of the TAPPS 5A State Playoffs and Soccer advanced to the Regional round.
The Cougars won the Swimming State Championship and finished 5th in the state in Track and Field. They won a Regional Championship in Swimming and finished as the Regional Runners-up Track and Field. The Cougars won District Championships in Soccer and finished as the District Runners-Up in Football and Cross Country. The Cougar Tennis Team sent three players to the TAPPS State Championships and Cougar Golf qualified one medalist for the Regional and State Championships. Cougar Football, Basketball, and Baseball advanced to the Area round of the TAPPS 5A State Playoffs and Soccer advanced to the Regional round.
“I’m so proud of what our students accomplished this year in winning the Henderson Cup,” said Joseph Walker, Ed.D., Athletic Director at Grace Community School. “Last year, we had a great opportunity to win before COVID stopped everything. For our kids to come back this year after that disappointment and perform the way they did in all facets of our school is just incredible. The best part about this award is that it encompasses all areas of educational achievement. 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.”
Fine Arts: The Grace choir program earned Vocal State Champion for the 9th year running. Every entry – 11 solos, 10 ensembles, and 3 large choirs earned 1st division ratings. Orchestra earned 2nd place, just 2 points behind the champion, and the band, which includes our drum line, solos and small ensembles as well, also took 2nd place.
In art, Grace had a dozen works that placed in Visual Art including 2nd place winnings in oil painting and communication design and 3rd place winnings in computer generated and pottery. Also under the art category, we received eight final rankings in film composed of 1st, 2nd, 10th in documentary; 2nd, 3rd, 5th in narrative; and two awards in animation.
Contributions were made as well from the fall when our One-Act Play placed 5th at the state festival. Our field band earned 2nd, and our drum line grabbed their 6th State Championship title with accolades of the “Best of” for every section.
“With the exception of the fall events, all of this year’s events had to be submitted virtually, but our department met the challenge to stand again as one of the Top Fine Arts programs in the state. More importantly, it gave our students the forum to sing, play, and create once again as an act of worship in a community that works together with excellence as unto the Lord. We were greatly blessed in the experience,” said Delisa Bice, Fine Arts Director at Grace Community School.
Grace Community School has finished in the top six in the TAPPS Henderson Cup Competition in its classification every year except one since 1999, the inception of its high school. Grace Community School has won the Henderson Cup three other times, 2017 in the 5A classification, 2002 in the 4A classification, and 1999 in the 3A classification. Grace has also finished as the runner-up four times 2009 (4A), 2016 (5A), 2018 (5A), and 2019 (5A).